Saturday, March 31, 2012

Retreat to Vrindavan, India

The March 2012 retreat to Vrindavan was one that I had been dreaming of for years and I feel so glad that it happened. Vrindavan, is a spiritual oasis disguised within a sea of chaos. An extremely holy city, Vrindavan is the location of many of the pastimes of Lord Krishna, who's stories we heard much of while there. We stayed at the very comfortable and accommodating Jiva Institute, where we had our meals, relaxation, ayurvedic massages, space for daily yoga classes, and an unlimited supply of filtered water. Satyanarayana Dasa (Babaji), Jaya, Arun, Kamela, and the rest of the staff and residents of Jiva made us feel so at home. We couldn't have been better taken care of (or fed!).

During our days in Vrindavan and visiting the surrounding areas (Mathura - the birthplace of Lord Krishna, Radha Kund, Agra - to see the Taj Mahal, and other small villages not even found on a map) we saw so much! Please enjoy the photos below for a small taste of what we experienced in India.

Visting a small village outside of Vrindavan. The whole town came out to see Babaji for a meeting in the small, open air temple and to show us around. You can see here how the cow dung is dried and then stored to be used in a variety of ways.

At Care for Cows, truly one of the most beautiful places on Earth. These rescued cows are all so well cared for and loving.

Everyone is happy after a visit with the cows.

We make the long drive to visit the Taj Mahal. Truly beautiful.

Giving donated clothing to local children, who were thrilled to be getting these items. They would run in joyfully to each pick out something special.

Yoga every morning in Babaji's beautiful library.

Celebrating at the Durga temple in a small village.

Visting the Giriraj diety at Govardhan Hill. Giriraj was sheltering his most humble devotee from the intense sun.

Meeting and honoring friends everywhere we went.

Eating dinner at night in the small, mosquito-free indoor space that we began calling "the cafe."

Many many rickshaw trips began with intense negotiation about the fees.

Our last night was celebrated with an amazing Odissi performance in Babaji's library, turned stage.

Bye, Jiva Institute! See you again soon!

If you are interested in coming along on the next trip to Vrindavan, scheduled for March of 2014, please get in touch!

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