Finland Summer Retreat 2007

Bhrigu - July 13, 2007 8:21 am

The latest summer retreat has just ended, so it is time to share some of our experiences! I thought that I would begin this time, since I was so late last year. No pictures, unfortunately, but I am sure that others can make up for that.


I arrived at the island on the 3rd, together with Krishangi and Kamalaksa. It was a kind of win-win-deal to come so early -- I had so much stuff (all the items needed for the Murti-puja as well as for any homas) that I needed a lift, and K & K needed someone to help out with all the things that had to be done before the retreat officially began on the 5th. We had great weather on the 3rd, but that was unfortunately the last we had of it; this year's retreat was perhaps the worst so far when it comes to the weather. But not in other aspects! I spent most of the evening raking, getting my tender brahmin (=lazy guy's) hands all blistery.


On the 4th, people started arriving. We had a late mangala-arati and then just continued raking, cutting reeds, cleaning and so on. Haripriya came that day. I got to work in her company, which always means better results. She is such a hard worker that even I have to stop slacking out of fear of being shamed. (In the end, she still did more, of course). No midday arati this day, but a blissful Gaura-arati in the evening. Most of the Poles arrived at about 11 pm. Their arrival must have been rather dramatic. K & K loaded all eight of them in Anna, a sturdy and beautiful old wooden fisherman's boat belonging to Kamalaksa's father and took them over to the island in one go. She went so low that Kamalaksa was afraid she'd start taking in water, but everything went well. However, since the beach at the island is very shallow and there being no proper landing place, the men all had to jump into the rather cold waist deep water and wade ashore. The fairer sex was carried, someone even getting to ride on Kamalaksa's skinny back. Still, everyone survived, put up their tents and unpacked. I went to sleep at this point, but I later heard that the poles had stayed up late, sharing experiences and memories and eating everything we had left for them. That was my realisation nr. 1:


Arriving guests are always hungry.


My experience in the Gaudiya Math is that guests are always offered prasadam on arrival, even if they arrive at awkward hours. I really like that system (having often had the opposite experience myself). We didn't really serve anything when they came, but fortunately there was enough prasadam left from the lunch to still the worst hunger. My second realisation is connected to the same incident:


Polish devotees have conquered sleep


I don't know how they did it, but they always stayed up much longer than me and all the other Western Europeans (perhaps excepting Kamalaksha), and they were always awake when we awoke. Perhaps the light northern nights helped?


The 5th was the first day of the "official retreat". More devotees arrived in the forenoon, and Guru Maharaja was supposed to arrive at 4 pm. Unfortunately -- and, as it appears, as usual -- there had been a problem with a connecting flight, so he came only a couple of hours later. We greeted him at the beach, and a small but endearing incident happened there. He was stepping off the raft Kamalaksa has built as a temporary landing place onto the beach in front of me, and I put out my hands in case he needed something to take hold of. He didn't, but he thought I wanted to hug him, so he hugged me and then the other male devotees as well. :) Guru Maharaja was too tired to give any talk that evening, but I think that we were all electrified and enthused just by seeing him after what seems such a long time.


6th -- 10th was the main part of the retreat. My days were a busy and extremely satisfying round of aratis, pujas, bhoga offerings, classes, japa, baths, cooking or warming the sauna, other seva and naps. As before, I found that Krishangi's and my "Two naps a day" © - system was the best. Even a short nap before each class went a long way in ensuring rapt attention!


Guru Maharaja gave two talks every day, plus readings from Prapanna-jivanamritam or Siksastaka after two mangala-aratis. The theme this year was Rupa Goswami's Sri Upadeshamrita. He apologised for not having prepared the classes or even brought the book, but that mattered little, since he knew both the verses and much of Bhaktivinoda's commentary by heart. Guru Maharaja did not really get further than the fifth verse (the rest he briefly summarised during the last class), but instead delved on them in great detail. Personally, I found the classes this year less intellectually stimulating than before (I "knew" most of the material), but -- surprising myself -- felt extremely enthused by them. Swami hammered on the point of jñana-sunya-bhakti especially in the first class. I asked him what that can practically mean in the life of a sadhaka (=Bhrigupada Dasa), and he said that one (=Bhrigupada Dasa) should not read too many books. Oh-oh. :blush: Also in general, the classes were quite down-to-earth and practical, and I'm sure everyone will find them useful. In other words:


Exciting classes are not always the most inspiring


It was extremely nice to meet all the old and new devotees that came to the retreat. Tadiya and Syama Gopala had clearly benefitted from their time in Audarya and were full of enthusiasm and good humour. Mathuranatha had brought a new and very enlivened person with him, Ludwig, and I was inspired by both, but especially by Mathuranatha who had practically single-handedly brought this person to Krishna consciousness and made him so enlivened. Mathuranatha is the kind of person who does not make a big hulabaloo about himself, but silently works wonders.


Another person like this was Gaura-sakti from Poland. I knew of course that he is the leader of the Polish disciples of Guru Maharaja and that he would come, but I didn't realise which one was Gaura-sakti until the second day of their stay. I was expecting him to be a shoulder-rubbing "Haribol!! What's up guys?" - type of person (=American, basically), but he is an extremely self-effacing, almost shy person. He had brought all except one of the Polish devotees present to Guru Maharaja, and he and they all respect him very highly, but he very much preferred to stay in the background. He led the very last Gaura-arati, when almost only Poles were present, and as I had expected, his singing was very sweet and devotional. That is:


Bhakti certainly doesn't always show on the outside


To my unbridled delight, Guru Maharaja gave three intiations on the 9th: Bhavabhakti from Poland received reinitiation (1st and 2nd) -- she received the name Vrajasundari -- and Krishangi and Kamalaksa received 2nd initiation. K & K initially refused, of course, but had to accept, and I am sure that this new initiation will be as fruitful for them as their first was. Guru Maharaja made a good joke on my expence in this connection. The evening before, he asked me whether I have a thread for Krishangi. Behaving just like the neurotic disciples of Srila Prabhupada that Swami often mentions in his classes, I thought that he was testing my liberality and "feminism", so I said yes. Guru Maharaja laughed and said that she wouldn't take 2nd intiation if she doesn't get a thread like the men, and that Kamalaksa wouldn't take it if he had to wear the thread! :D I laughed as well, but still had to ask the next morning whether he had been serious or joking... :blush: In the end, it was Kamalaksa who got the thread, and even though he half-heartedly complained about the long GM-style thread, it looked very good on him.


I also got to do a homa for the intiations. It was an overcast morning, and during Swami's lecture I was all the time afraid that it would start raining. It did rain a little bit, but not too much to force us inside, and it kept up during the homa itself. I love to do such homas, and Guru Maharaja liked it as well, so what could have been better?


I did all the aratis. Guru Maharaja usually didn't stay for Gaura-arati but left immediately after the class and soon after went to the sauna. On the last days, Kamalaksa accompanied him and got to spend some time alone with him. I was envious of this and on the last day endeavoured to as quickly as possible after everything was finished wash the arati plate, change clothes and rush to the sauna to get at least a few moments of Swami's precious company. Of course, I met them returning from the sauna on my way there... :Cry: I was so envious of Kamalaksa!


Kamalaksa, Syama Gopala and I were the last ones to leave on the 11th, by Anna to Porvoo. During the delightful boat trip, Kamalaksa got a call from Krishangi who had earlier on left with Guru Maharaja to the airport. I understood from Kamalaksa's replies that she was worried about something, but he brushed it away, saying that it cannot be helped, don't worry and so on. After finishing the call, Kamalaksa told us that Guru Maharaja's connecting flight had been cancelled, and the only way to insure that he wouldn't miss his final flight to Costa Rica to sign important papers there had been to get him a 1000 € business class ticket via Berlin to Frankfurt. K & K may be better off than me or even most of Guru Maharaja's disciples, but that is still what I call surrender! They also hardly slept or ate during the week, so I most certainly had no reason for being envious of their getting a little more time with Guru Maharaja. As Guru Maharaja says,


Few things are as unbecoming as envy


I've left out many more things so as not to discourage others from writing! All in all, I wish to thank everyone who made this wonderful retreat possible: Guru Maharaja, Krishangi, Kamalaksa, Gurunistha, Syama Gopala, Mathuranatha, Ludwig, Tadiya, Haripriya, Mikko, Gopinatha, Shama, Jayanta Krishna, Sulocana & their kids, Jan, Jananivasa, Gaura-sakti, Rama Govinda, Patrick, Rama-priya, Nityangi, Vrajasundari, Kami, Ukas, Balabhadra and Premarnava. Please forgive me if I left out anyone!

Madhavendra Puri Dasa - July 13, 2007 9:15 am

Thank you Bhrigu Prabhu so much for that. I am trying to push Polish devotees to write something on Polish Swami's website, but I suppose, after proving on retreat that they conquered the sleep, now they sleep 48 hours straight :blush:

Jiva-daya Dasa - July 13, 2007 1:00 pm

Wow! What a wonderful experience. I always look forward to reading about the retreats. Thank you so much for sharing with us. It's very inspiring to hear about such great devotees. And initiations! Glad you guys made the most of your time with Guru Maharaja. On the cd lectures I listen to that are from Finland, it is always very apparent to me how dear you all are to him and how energized he is being with you. I really hope to meet some of you someday...


Jiva-daya dasa

Syamasundara - July 13, 2007 7:32 pm
Another person like this was Gaura-sakti from Poland. I knew of course that he is the leader of the Polish disciples of Guru Maharaja and that he would come,


That sounded so sweet, like in the Caritamrita, all those devotees, and groups of devotees, headed by someone or other, and then they would all meet at the Ratha Yatra.

Syamasundara - July 13, 2007 7:38 pm
and even though he half-heartedly complained about the long GM-style thread, it looked very good on him.



Long? Longer? I was going to say: "We get them in Vrndavana at any store just like anyone else, but I guess maybe something has changed meanwhile, like the danda.

Babhru Das - July 14, 2007 5:41 am

How long is long?


Some of us who are a little isolated have resorted to making our own.


And this business with K & K sounds so much like what we've come to expect. I can't wait to meet them.

Syama Gopala Dasa - July 14, 2007 8:59 am

I see more posts here of non-visitors of the retreat than of those who did. So I guess it is my turn to write something.


I arrived at the Helsinki airport the 5th of July with the understanding that I had to take the bus to Porvoo where Krsangi would pick me up. While walking out of the gate, my phone lighted up and a message from Krsangi appeared. Guru Maharaj had missed his flight and was coming later. Or was actually coming only one hour after me. I called Krsangi and she was on her way to the airport. After not seeing Guru Maharaj for four days, this was a pleasant surprise, because it meant we would all drive together to the island.

Guru Maharaj stepped out from the terminal and greeted us happily. While driving to the island, he shared some of his plans in Costa Rica and talked some about Audarya life. We were greeted by Kamalaksa who drove the boat to the island. Guru Maharaj was rather tired so he shortly greeted all the devotees. I was pretty tired too and have to admit my memory was quite disfunctional. I remember walking to Guru Maharaj's cabin and bringing his bags.

The next days most of the talks focused on the Nectar of Instruction. I always liked this book. Years ago I would hop on the train for two hours and visit my devotee friends. The book I always brought on these journeys was nectar of instruction. It is small, but contains much. I feel compelled now to reread the book. We mainly discussed the first few verses. GM would sometimes speak about two words from a verse for two hours straight.

Some days Guru Maharaj would ask if there were any questions. Sometimes this was followed by a great silence. The last day GM had announced he would do a question and answers session, so Bhrigu foreseeing the great silence demanded that everyone should have a question to ask. Of course GM found out and he started rating questions after a final conclusive talk on NOI.

One evening Kamalaksa did a Vrindavana presentation. He had given GM a set of about 40 big printouts on nice paper. He discussed each one of them and opened up the floor for GM or other devotees to give further comments.

It was nice to see so many devotees from Poland had come. Their journey had been between 30 and 38 hours by land and sea. The first morning I thought they hardly spoke English and they kind of stayed within their own group. However, when I started speaking English to them and made some jokes in my usual Dutch humor, I received more responses than expected. It almost seemed like they were a bit shy in speaking English. Once they opened up, the Fins opened up and Bhrigu called for cultural integration day. This day everyone had to speak English, so we would all understand each other. Something the Polish were better at playing than the Finns. :blush:

The kirtans were especially nice with the interaction between the Polish flavor and Gurunistha's leading. The one afternoon where Gaura Sakti sang is also noteworthy of mentioning.

I also got a lot of questions about Costa Rica from the Polish devotees. Since the American government makes it quite hard for Poles to enter the US, this would be an excellent location for them to serve Guru Maharaj. And some of them seemed quite thrilled by the idea.

Guru Maharaj didn't visit some of the aratis, because he was quite busy with the preparations for his Costa Rica stay. The only possibility of internet at the island was dialup. However, for some reason this didn't work and luckily Krsangi had a mobile phone which linked up through bluetooth with GM's macbook. Modern technology met ancient wisdom, once again proving that it is the perspective that counts. Exploitation or devotion.

Kamalaksa and I were the last ones to leave the island. We picked up Bhrigu who had been waiting at the shore for us and went on a three hour boot ride back to Porvoo. We were going to a small canal when Bhrigu saw some very nice lotus like flowers and wanted them for his deity. He asked if I could steer close to the flowers so he could pick them. On even hearing those sounds, Kamalakse shrieked and forbade us to come close with the boat. This only left one option for Bhrigu, dive in, which he did and resulted in probably a nice offering to his deities. We continued for some time to Porvoo where Krsangi picked us up. The retreat was over, a bus and airplane waited. Although the scenery had been very beautiful along the waters, its beauty did not make up for the loss of association after 5 months of being close to GM. Sadhu sanga ki jay!


Some short observations:

- the food was very opulent, did we really eat sweets every day?!?!?

- the weather wasn't that bad

- where were the mosquitos?

- "Ludwig almost talks more than you, Syama Gopala!"

- The Polish lack of need for sleep

- Mathuranatha doing service :blush:

- Kamaksa being called a Ksatriya for his ways in management

- the new Polish website for saragrahi.pl

- the plans for a Polish temple and GM's remark "if you don't hurry up, I will take all of you to Costa Rica"

- Ludwig's enthusiasm and having Bhrigu do a sanskrit pronunciation class

- Sitting at the top bench in the sauna and listening to GM speak

- The sad observation that the retreat flew by like anything


Some photos here:



In the works, a short video compilation and portrait gallery of the assembled devotees. (that is once I get my lost bags with my adapters and get my Macbook to work)


Okay, next please.

Bhrigu - July 14, 2007 12:47 pm
Long? Longer? I was going to say: "We get them in Vrndavana at any store just like anyone else, but I guess maybe something has changed meanwhile, like the danda.


Times they are a' changing, Syamasundara! :blush: But seriously, I didn't know whether Guru Maharaja would bring any threads, so I brought a bunch of my own just in case. I also buy them at any store in Vrindavana, but I ask for either "GM-style" or extra long, since I like to wrap them around my thumb while doing acamana etc, and longer ones are more convinient for that.

Syama Gopala Dasa - July 14, 2007 2:42 pm
Times they are a' changing, Syamasundara! :blush: But seriously, I didn't know whether Guru Maharaja would bring any threads, so I brought a bunch of my own just in case. I also buy them at any store in Vrindavana, but I ask for either "GM-style" or extra long, since I like to wrap them around my thumb while doing acamana etc, and longer ones are more convinient for that.


(I think with "GM-style" Bhrigu means Gaudiya Math style. This may have caused some confusion as GM often means Guru Maharaj on this forum.)

Syamasundara - July 14, 2007 2:55 pm

Oh let's talk about it... the ones I have seem long to me, but as far as thumb wrapping, that doesn't allow me to keep my back straight or my hands on both my knees during gayatri. Can anyone smuggle some of those threads my way in San Diego?

Syama Gopala Dasa - July 14, 2007 6:49 pm

A collection of video clips is now live at:

It mostly portrays the agni hotra ceremony/ the initiation.


And oh, Brighu, here's the proof that I looked up the meaning of the prasadam song:





bhai-re! sharira avidya-jal

jodendriya tahe kal,

jive phele vishaya-sagore

tara madhye jihwa ati, lobamoy sudurmati

ta'ke jeta kathina samsare


krishna baro doyamoy, koribare jihwa jay,

swa-prasad-anna dilo bhai

sei annamrita pao,radha-krishna-guna gao,

preme dako chaitanya-nitai




O Lord, this material body is a place of ignorance, and the senses are a network of paths to death. Somehow, we have fallen into this ocean of material sense enjoyment, and of all the senses the tongue is the most voracious and uncontrollable; it is very difficult to control the tongue in this world. But You, dear Krsna, are very kind to us and have given us such nice prasada, just to control the tongue. Now we take this prasada to our full satisfaction and glorify you Lord - Radha and Krsna - and in love call for the help of Lord Caitanya and Nityananda. "

Syamasundara - July 15, 2007 6:33 am

Oh, thank you for putting that song and the translation. It's very important that devotees know what they are saying or singing. It can be quite powerful. When SP said that all the gaudiya siddhanta is found in the songs of our acaryas, he meant for real. I am eternally indebted to BVT for his songs, which I studied when I was learning Bengali for my own song to GM. There are some words that just create explosions in my heart, like "kinibo lutibo, harinama rasa" "I will buy this taste for harinama, I will steal it if necessary."

Just this morning I was listening to an mp3 of Dayal Nitai Caitanya bole nac're amar man (recorded at Sri Caitanya Sarasvata Matha) while setting up those damn Tshirts that nobody wants. "Nac're" are my favorite words. "Naco are!" Means "Dance!" and it's said to the mind: "Oh mind of mine, come on, dance while saying the names of the merciful Nitai and Caitanya!" I find this beautiful. The mind is really like a baby. Control is good, but it's also good to preach to one's own mind compassionately, or just tell it "Stop being such a mind, just dance to the holy names." So that's what I was doing, explaining the purport of nac're to myself, as if it was another person, and then it got so sweet that those Tshirts took forever to go from the trunks to the table, I couldn't care less. I always imagine the devotees singing this song in a bhajan and then they really get into the meaning and start to get up and dance. Nac're! Nac're! Madly, no consideration of time, place and circumstance, who is looking at us, if we are being ridiculous, just absorb your mind, make it dance, and the body will follow. Soul, mind and body engaged in Krsna nama. Our bhajans and kirtans are not like that, they are so composed, how much of an anubhava is our dance? I gave a lot of thought to that. In Iskcon we used to just dance mechanically as soon as the rhythm would kick in. When I joined GM's mission, everybody was barely moving, then again, everyone was so new. I just forget pretty much everything when I dance. Dvijamani said I look like an epileptic, but it's ok. I learned how to focus on the Name, and then your arms really want to rise, even if you are sitting and playing kartalas. Still, I am containing myself, because too much crazy dancing might look like sahajya behavior. Lately, though, I started to see it differently; I started to see dancing as using your whole body in krsna kirtana, just like any sadhana, it may not be spontaneous at first, but it will sink in, and the taste will surface in due time. We do any other material activity with transportation, why hold back on bhakti? Dance is good. But you've got to know what you are singing. Just the gaura arati is quite an astounding song, a deep meditation. At least to know that one should be mandatory. GM wanted us to play the bell and blow the conch while singing "sankha baje ghanta baje madhur madhur madhur baje", (which, by the way is "baje", plays, not "bhaje", worships) he was really on the bank of the Jahnavi, seeing Gauranga on a throne receiving arati by Brahma and the devas, with Sanjaya, Mukunda and Vasughosa singing so sweetly. Gauracandra's face resplends like many million moons (say "bohu koti" many millions, not bahu, which means arms), and that garland around his neck... Siva, Sukadeva and Narada are trying to sing, but their voices choke up. It's just wonderful. Gurvastaka is another song we should know. Vrndaranya made a study group on it in Eugene. GM cares about that a lot, but he can't constantly hammer on such basic things. Please, everyone, know what you are singing; I don't mean learn Bengali, but at least know the meaning of each song, word for word.

Aparadha dure jabe, pabe prema dhana. What do you want more? Sing! Dance! Nitai Caitanya!


Boy, what a digression; maybe we should make a separate thread, but it would be so passive.


As far as this song, thank you again, but.... where did you get the translation?


Bhai 're! means O brother, not O Lord, especially in this context.

Krsna bada dayamaya, karibare jihva jaya, sva prasada-anna dila, bhai.

Krsna is very merciful, in order to conquer the tongue, he gave his own prasada.

And "sei annamrta pao" is more of an exhortation, like "Take this nectarean food!", some say "khao" instead of "pao", which means eat.

Sing about the qualities of Radha and Krsna and call in love: CAITANYA!!!!! NITAI!!!!!



Bhrigu - July 15, 2007 12:41 pm

Good points about the meanings of songs!


And "sei annamrta pao" is more of an exhortation, like "Take this nectarean food!", some say "khao" instead of "pao", which means eat.


A very direct translation of sei annamrita pao would be "Drink this food-nectar!". You don't really eat (khao) nectar, but drink it, just like in the pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam -- verse.

Syamasundara - July 15, 2007 2:10 pm

As far as I remember paoya means to get, attain, find, like all those instances of pabe, paiya, pai', pabo, etc, in our songs.

Khaoya is used for anything you bring to and consume in your mouth: to eat, to drink, to chew, to enjoy, even to smoke.


Also amrta is usually equated to sweet rice with ghi, or anything that sweet and invigorating, so the lines between eating and drinking are blurred there.

Oh, and anna (annamrta) means rice, by extension food in general.

Rasa, on the other hand, means, among other things, juice, so that can only be drunk.


In any case, eat, drink, or take as much prasada as you can folks! (Try not to smoke it)

Kamalaksa Das - July 15, 2007 7:41 pm

A big thank you to everyone who made the retreat what it was! The weather wasn't exactly the best we have had, but then again few of us came for the weather.


I will strive to make a few posts of thoughts and occurances, but please be patient. For as I am writing his Krishangi and I have embarked on another type of adventure. We are in the midst of trying to ride our bikes fro our home in Porvoo to the North Sea. The distance we have to cover is about 1700 kilometers, and what that makes in miles is anyones guess.


For those interested in our journey, please visit our blog at




and also see Krishangi's own blog for added commentary




The only catch is that the texts are generally either in Swedish or Finnish, but they are easy languages to master. I mean, even I did it!


But back to the retreat. One thing that we hadn't done prior to this year was call the press to join us. This year we figured it would be a fun thing to do, and thus I walked to the local paper and had a chat the editor in chief. He liked the idea, even when I told him the best time to come over would be for mangal arati. Then again, it wasn't he who had to wake up at four in the morning to be there.


So as we were to celebrate the first "real" mangala arati on the island, we had a photographer and a reporter from Borgabladet join us.


i knew the photographer since years back, as I had once been teaching him, and he has helped us in many projects, both Krishangi's books as well as with our yoga magazine Ananda. The reporter was a young lady, "summer bird" as they are called in the newspapers. She was new to the trade, but quite dedicated, though not fully comfortable with all the routines of her work. This could be seen when the article sported more than a few spelling mistakes. (I also noted that a few of the boys could appreciate her looks, but that's a different story...)


I must admit I was feeling just slightly nervous over how they would react to all the peculiarities of our faith. I mean tulsi-puja for instance can be a rather confusing ceremony for a new comer. But for the greater good, I thought, as I picked them up from the shore.


A select few were interviewed, among them Gurunistha and Bhrigupada. (Gurunistha later got blamed by Krishangi for the spelling errors in the article - Krishangi held that it is always the responsibility of the interwieved to make sure all names are spelled correctly.) And though I tried to avoid being featured, Kristoffer's power of persuation proved to much for me. At least Krishangi is in the foreground. Clearly more representable than I.


And here is the outcome, three pages of their Saturday edition. We have received only positive feedback for the article, and you have to admit, the pictures are beautiful. And sure, there are a few errors and inconsistencies other than the name of Guru Maharaja, but you really have to look at the big picture. Now our group is slowly beginning to be seen - and best of all in a positive light!


So maybe in a not too distant future someone looking for spiritual life does not automatically go to the other big group. One can only hope.


I will share more personal commentary with you later, but for now, you’ll have to be satisfied with this.




I will not translate everything, as it would be selfish to horde all service to myself (Mathuranatha, you could do this, you know the language... :blush: ), but the headlines read as follows:


First page:


Guru leads meditation in the archipelago


and the caption


Spiritual leader. Guru Swambi (their misstake, not mine) B.V. Tribuana (again, but at least they got the name correct in the next pages!) shares words of wisdom, and everyone is touched.


Second and third page:


Meditation as a lifestyle


and the sub caption is a quote from our own Gurunistha


It was like all pieces of the puzzle went in place when I found my belief in Krishna. Questions I never received any answers to, and a part of me that always searched for something found peace.


and the captions


The organisers Kaisa and Christoffer Leka have invited active members of Sri Caitanya Sangha for the retreat.


Participants light candles before the meditation.


The peacefulness of the island offers a perfect place for meditation.


The god Krishna is the center of attention for those who take part in the meditation.


The guru Swambi B.V. Tripurari from the United States also paid a visit to the Finnish archipelago to meditate and pray.




Syama Gopala Dasa - July 15, 2007 7:58 pm

Thanks for scanning the article! Good luck on your bike journey (great rabobank shirt). Looking at your blog made me laugh btw, because you guys made it in the newspaper twice in a week! Anyone in need of a marketing guy? head over to Finland!

Syamasundara - July 16, 2007 6:52 am

All glories to Srila Swambi Tribuana!

Bhrigu - July 22, 2007 3:54 pm

Doesn't anyone else wish to add anything? Tadiya? Mathuranatha? Ramapriya?

Rama-Govinda Dasa - July 22, 2007 8:03 pm
Doesn't anyone else wish to add anything? Tadiya? Mathuranatha? Ramapriya?


I would like to add a little bit.It was amazing time for me and other polish devotes.

Me and Patryc arrived one they before retreat.We slept in Miko's Hourse.Very nice house.There was very sunny day.Next day we get the bus to porvo and there we took the bout.First hour on the island and Kamalaksa to us.

Ready to hard work. Hmm it was quite serious so We did not know what is going on.:Big Grin: Ok when we unpacked our staff we went to Kamalaksa to ask what help did he need.

It was not so bed.We carried wood from one place to another.I really enjoyed.:)Ok after this Job we went to look at the place and see the water.

The place is really nice.In the evening we were expecting rest of the polish group.They came in very late evening.:Applause: We helped them to set the tends and showed the place. Everybody was hungry so I showed them where is left prasad .

Next they everybody was engage in hard work:)When Guru Maharaj came Everybody was happy.All lectures were for me amazing.Many subjects Guru Maharaj has been speaking.I love one bhajan gave by Guru Maharaj and Guru-Nistha.

What can I say everything was told already.Thanks everyone for nice time spend together.

Mathura-natha Das - July 23, 2007 7:58 pm

Thank you Bhrigu for capturing my attention. So here are my ramblings about Finland:


Every time I come to Finland I feel at home. I feel that this is my family to whom I belong to. The first thing that pops up is the scene when Guru Maharaj takes his first steps on the island and greets Bhrigu with a hug. I saw my chance there and stood as in line as if I should be the next. And well, it worked! He embraced me! I remember that I kinda wanted to steal a hug from GM in Vrindavan when he landed, but at that time it just passed by. But guess who's the lucky one now! I could stop here, but since this post would be kinda short, I'll continue. The whole arrangement was nicely organized as always by K&K. I got the assignment to be the first toilet manager at the retreat. That includes to pick a fellow of the top notch to help out with the dirty stuff. So a round of applause to Ludwig, Prema (Poland) and Shyamgopal for helping me out! :Big Grin:


I have grown very fond of the people that have now been coming for the retreat. Instead of become too sentimental here I would now take my opportunity to thank you all for being the way you are, and for letting me be the way I am. In no specific order:


Guru-nistha: You are my dear brother monk warrior. I'm amazed by your service attitude towards GM. You inspire me a lot to become more determined in my Krishna Conscious life.


Shyamgopal: My second brother (a monk to be?): I can clearly see that the time you have spent in Audarya has boosted your soul towards home. And by seeing that brings me enormous amount of joy.


Bhrigu: You are the brain that I lack. I really like those small conversations in Swedish about this and that. It feels like we share something in confidence during those moments.


K&K: I just want to give a big hug to both of you. but I'm a bit shy to do that. So take this as a little love note from me.


Swami: You are the beating heart of this beautiful sanga, the poetry written in the minds of the devotees. Your plans of this group are unknown to me but I love the way it's unfolding. And I'm the most fortunate to be a part of this.


Mikko: My music loving friend. just one thing to say: Hang in there bro, you have not missed the train!


All of those whose name I don't have mentioned here does not mean that I don't think about you. But for the moment I just wanted to open my heart to those who I wanted to highlight.


Endnote: At the end of the retreat, Me, Mikko and Gurunistha made our way to Helsinki by car. And in that car something beautiful happened in the sadness of the topic. I wont go into details but: there and then egos where gone and all of our weakness where bloated to one and each other. And from there something new arose. A glimpse of hope. And a lesson learned: don't be afraid to share your own self.


Thank you.

Prema-bhakti - July 23, 2007 10:38 pm
A glimpse of hope. And a lesson learned: don't be afraid to share your own self.


Thank you so much for sharing your sentiments here. They were so honest and moving. I particularly appreciated your statement quoted above which happens to be very relevant to my life right now.

Syamasundara - July 24, 2007 6:17 am

Yes, that attitude is what I like in Gurunistha the most: no desire to conceal his bad side to appear better.

To meditate on his good qualities makes me feel fortunate and hopeful for my obscure future.

Jananivasdas - July 26, 2007 9:09 am


this year i was there only for oneday cause of work and other stuff.

i came to the island with jayanta,sulochana,nanda & priti.

before i met the family i had to runaway from really angry drug-dude. :wacko:


next the stuff that happened in the island of doom or alcatraz of krsna conciouness: :Big Grin:


on the island for me best thing for me was to meet the devotees.gnu,syamaG,my dear mathuranatha and all the others too. :wub:


deepfried food was still the thing in the island...how do peoples body's work with it for a week?!? :Confused:


lots of rock throwing in the rain with the kids!


nice questions and answers with swami.


lots of stupid jokes.


lots of sausages(jobs/services from K&K).


thank you my dear devotee friends for letting me be part of this years retreat too! :)


couple pics:

nanda and priti at the beach


the fuzzy pic of the altar and the moshpit



i end this with a nice bhajan by VASUDEVA GOSH




gaurāńga tumi more dayā nā chāḍiha

āpana kariyā rāńgā caraṇe rākhiha



tomāra caraṇa lāgi saba teyāginu

śītala caraṇa pāyā śaraṇa lainu



e kule o kule mui dilu tilāñjali

rākhiho caraṇe more āpanāra bali’



vāsudeva ghoṣe bale caraṇe dhariyā

kṛpā kari rākha more pada-chāyā diyā



1) Oh Lord Gauranga! Please do not neglect to show me Your mercy! Making me Your own very property, kindly keep me situated at the reddish soles of Your feet.


2) With the intention of attaining Your feet, I have utterly renounced everything. Now I have taken full shelter of Your soothing lotus feet.


3) Whether I am related to this family lineage or that family lineage – I have completely abandoned them all. I beg You to mercifully keep me by Your feet, calling me Your own.


4) Vasudeva Ghosh says, “Since I have tightly grasped hold of Your feet, please keep me here by always bestowing their soothing shade.”

Syamasundara - July 26, 2007 2:49 pm
on the island for me best thing for me was to meet the devotees.gnu,syamaG,my dear mathuranatha and all the others too. :wacko:


deepfried food was still the thing in the island...how do peoples body's work with it for a week?!? :)



Hehe Gnu, that's so cute, it reminds me of the caritamrta and all those devotees with nicknames. SyamaG is also great, because it can be taken as Syamaji, which is proper, and at the same time, it distinguishes him from me, who am usually syam or syamu. I kind of prefer syamu, but here in San Diego there is a big orca at Seaworld called Shamoo... :Big Grin: :Confused:


As far as deep frying, man, I never realized how much I used to deep fry since I met the devotees. I know people who don't fry at all, ever, and me, well now I am spending 12-13 hours out of home, but even when I was unemployed, just the thought of using all that oil, the smell, the calories... Still, it's great, especially if ghi is used.

Bhrigu - July 26, 2007 3:56 pm

Food fried in ghee... :) Actually, there wasn't that much of it this year, Jananivas just happened to come on a more festive day and he loves to complain about the food! :Confused:

Syama Gopala Dasa - July 26, 2007 5:17 pm

Note: he loves to complain about the food and eat it :)

Jananivasdas - July 27, 2007 11:30 am

yeah i love to eat,complain and feel sick after overeating it!!! :)

but still deepfried food is evil.


and this is just crazy deepfryed ice cream?!? :Confused:


Almond Fried Ice Cream







Scoop the ice cream in advance; return to freezer until extremely

hard. Heat the cooking oil in a deep-fryer. Roll each ice-cream ball

in the tangerine sauce then in the sliced almonds, coating

thoroughly. Deep-fry for a few seconds only. Serve immediately.

Rama-priya - July 29, 2007 10:17 am

The meeting was for me so wonderfull experience. Our dear Finns are so open to accept everyone and in each quantity. We all are very grateful for this. This time when we (polish devotees) met in the bus sadhu sanga has started for us. We were talking about Guru Maharaja along the way. I use to chant and read while i travel, but this time was place for discussion and possibility to inspire one another. I uderstood how more charming is to travel in good association. Thanks this retreat was for us a little longer and separation from Guru Maharaja and not so painful.


During meeting Guru Maharaja was talking about Siksamrta. Few years ago I used to go everywhere with Prabhupada's Nectar of Instruction and read it whenever I could find any opportunity for this. But now after hearing how Guru Maharaja was explaining verses of this book i was charmed by his depth of understanding and how he showed so many things that I've never seen before or not so deep. It is for me an evidence that hearing from one who realized what is written in the book is more important than mere reading, because speaker easier reach our heart and make us we make decision I want to change my life.


I'd like to thank all of you for posssibility to help you in service to Guru Maharaja. I'm very grateful for this.




Ramapriya dasi

Syama Gopala Dasa - August 8, 2007 8:06 am

Look what I found:



Syamasundara - August 8, 2007 11:37 am

Finally some faces!... Who's who though?

Madhavendra Puri Dasa - August 8, 2007 12:22 pm
Finally some faces!... Who's who though?

It says on the photo itself :)

Rama-priya - August 14, 2007 1:14 pm
Syamasundara - August 15, 2007 5:37 am

Wow... I was transfixed towards the end. I don't know, everybody looked so normal, maybe too normal, and yet it was so supernatural, not of this world, like transcendental CIA agents in disguise. Just the fact that someone could even think of trying to give up material nature for the sake of my guru and my Lord, it's so endearing. I don't even know you guys and I am so indebted already.