Japa Retreat 2013 at Hare Krishna Dham by ISKCON Houston

Devotees during the Japa retreat 2013.   Photos: Nawal Sharma

Devotees during the Japa retreat 2013. Photos: Nawal Sharma

By Swathi Murali
HOUSTON: The holiday season is filled with many happy occasions where people gather together to celebrate love, life and happiness. For devotees of Hare Krishna Dham Houston, this holiday season was made even more special due to the Japa retreat conducted by His Holiness Romapada Swami.
Chanting the names of God is a form of worship that is common among all the great religions of the world from Christianity to Islam and is a common practice within Hinduism as well. Devotees of the primeval lord Krishna chant what is referred to as the Hare Krishna Maha mantra.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
They do this in order to help reconnect with God (Krishna). Many people have a desire to understand who God is and what relationship they personally have with him but often times cannot find the time or means to do so. This retreat provided the perfect opportunity for both obstacles to be overcome by providing the resources needed to enter into your relationship with God. With more than 150 persons attending the three day retreat it was amazing to see how many people were more than willing to reconnect to the holy name of Krishna. The three day retreat, from the 27 to 29 of December, was held in the greater Houston area at Hare Krishna Dham (www.iskconhouston.org) where the presiding deities Sri Sri Radha Nila Madhava are worshipped with great care and attention.
Many people from all over North America attended the retreat and gained tremendous spiritual benefit from attending the lecturers by HH Romapada Swami, kirtans by world renowned musician and long term devotee HG Bada Hari Das and chanting and hearing in the association of devotees. The highlight of the entire retreat was the 64 round (chanting of 108 times the Maha Mantra means ONE round) day where the attendees, having taken a vow of silence for that day called mouna vrata, worked toward entering deeply into the holy name by focusing all their attention on chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. This is the day where all the various resources given through the lectures and discussions are utilized by the devotees to reconnect with The Lord through the medium of His Holy Names. The final day and often time the favorite day of the retreat the attendees share their realizations followed by a question and answer session which is mainly focused on how you can take the retreat home with you.
Unlike other retreats that one might attend, this retreat provides one of the rarest gifts and unveils to you the treasure of spirituality, love of God, in its purest form. Truly, there can be no better way to start 2014 than by re-establishing your transcendental relationship with The Lord in this wonderful way.
We wish to take this opportunity to welcome you all to the Hare Krishna Dham Houston at 1320 W 34th St, Houston TX 77018 (713 686 4482)
For further details visit http://www.iskconhouston.org