Finland Tour

Vrindaranya Dasi - July 17, 2004 1:25 pm

Guru Maharaja’s archipelago retreat in Finland has been sublime; the picturesque islands reminiscent of Navadvipa. He is staying in a cottage situated on the water’s edge, with stunning views complemented by peaceful silence broken only by the sound of birds singing. We are following the Audarya schedule, except that there is an extra class at 5:00 in the evening and the sundara arotika is an hour earlier. In addition to Guru Maharaja’s cottage, there is another larger cottage, in which the programs are held. Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai, Sad-bhuja Mahaprabhu, and five Salagrama silas are presiding over the retreat, with Brighumuni serving as the pujari. Kamalaksa, Krsangi, and Kardamana are amazing us all by cooking spectacular feasts from a small rustic kitchen that has no running water and only a wooden stove. The other permanent retreatants are Jananivas, Jani, Madhumangala, Madhai Jivana, Marko, Mohana, Rami, Tim, and Tumi. Other participants have been coming as their schedules permit.


The talks, on Sriman Mahaprabhu’s Siksastakam, have been nothing less than historic, definitely essential to any relisher of Guru Maharaja’s sweet katha. So much nectar has been churned that Guru Maharaja is considering writing a book on the topic. I kept thinking how the mellifluous words were like the dancing of Krsna: poetic but overflowing with deep meaning.


I am delighted to announce that today three devotees have entered the spiritual family of Guru Maharaja. Their new names are Mathura-natha (Marko), Shyam Gopal (Tim), and Guru Nistha (Tumi). The auspicious ceremony included a fire sacrifice on the beach.


When I get back to Audarya I will post pictures. In the meantime, I know that other devotees want to share their experiences of the retreat, so I’ll end here.

Gaura-sakti Dasa - July 17, 2004 10:32 pm

It is great to hear such wonderful news from Finland. I hope that the lectures of Guru Maharaja will come to everyone shortly. I can not wait until I will be able to hear this nectar too. All Glories to Guru Maharaja! With all of my heart I welcome the new initiated family and I hope that I will one day have the chance to meet all of You personally. :D

Jananivasdas - July 18, 2004 9:21 am

jaysri guru and sri gauranga!!!

dandavats and pranams!


im going to post couple pics from the initiation here and maybe more later on some other site...so i dont take too much of the space here!

i will write something about this amazing week at camp-LEKA(lastname of kamalaksa&krsangi) later...it was one of the most amazing things ever!!!

now to the pictures:


first here is the altar with my dear sri sri gaura-nitai and sri yoga-narasimhadeva,Brighumuni's sri sad-bhuja and salagrams:


Jananivasdas - July 18, 2004 9:27 am

madhumangala(second initiation):

quote from madhu:"this trip has brought so many memories of the trip to india with swami!"-you should have seen the smile on his face,when he said this!!! JAY!!!


Jananivasdas - July 18, 2004 9:28 am

Mathura-natha recieving the beads:


Jananivasdas - July 18, 2004 9:30 am

Shyam Gopal recieving the beads:


Jananivasdas - July 18, 2004 9:32 am

guru nistha recieving the beads:

"he has the faith in guru!"


Nanda-tanuja Dasa - July 18, 2004 10:48 pm

I'm very happy to hear that those fortunate souls are able to surrender at the holy feet of Guru Maharaja because of the grace of Krsha and depth of their sraddha. Narottama Dasa Thakura says, asraya lana bhaje tare krsna nahi tyaje: "If we can get a bona fide guardian, our future in spiritual life is assured."

Rohininandana Dasa - July 19, 2004 3:59 pm
Jananivasdas - July 19, 2004 9:15 pm

couple pics more!!!

jay jay Brighumuni dasa ki-JAY!!!


Jananivasdas - July 19, 2004 9:17 pm

maharaja watching Brighumuni's puja magic ! ! !


Jananivasdas - July 19, 2004 9:20 pm

new initiates trying to figure out how to put on the sheets ? ? ?

they were lucky that their bigbrother madhumangala was there to help 'em!!!


Bhrigu - July 20, 2004 5:14 pm

Here are a couple of more pictures.


Sunrise at Sandholmen


Bhrigu - July 20, 2004 5:18 pm

The rustic wooden stove Vrindaranya already mentioned. Kamalaksa, Krisangi and Kardama really worked wonders on it.


Bhrigu - July 20, 2004 5:22 pm

The main cottage on the island, the one in which the kitchen and the temple room were located. On the porch, Jani, Jananivasa, Madhai Jivana and others happily slaved away washing the dishes under the stern supervision of Kamalaksha.


Bhrigu - July 20, 2004 5:32 pm

And yet another: Rami in a peaceful place for japa. This beach was just opposite the main cottage. The water was quite shallow, but clear and nice. Not too cold, but quite refreshing before mangala-arati!


Jananivasdas - July 20, 2004 8:11 pm


the water was so refreshing that everyday we had a different mantra when we went there: "ONLY ONE MORE DAY!" etc. heh!!! :D more pics please.....

Jananivasdas - July 20, 2004 8:22 pm

proper dandavats!


Vamsidhari Dasa - July 20, 2004 8:45 pm


Jaya om visnu pada paramahamsa parivrajakacarja astotarasata sri srimad Bhakti Vedanta Tripurari Swami Guru Maharaja ki jaya!


Vamsidhari dasa

Guru-nistha Das - July 21, 2004 8:52 am

Dandavats to everybody,



Guru Maharaj asked us all to write our experiences in here, so here´s my feelings:


well, i guess it´s pretty obvious that the whole time was pretty overwhelming. the first day i felt a bit weird, i guess my attachments were struggling with my taste for spiritual life but just like the last time Guru Maharaj was in Finland, i melted again after a while and i again witnessed how powerful Swami´s presence is. everything started to fall to its place and it felt better and better all the time.


i really liked the whole mood on the island. we had lots to do, so there was no time to "space out" or get bored. we chopped wood, carried water, helped in cooking, rowed on another island to get the mail and whatnot, and i had the priviledge to warm the smoke sauna for Swami almost every day. also, waking up at 4 am and going straight to the cold water turned out to be in fact nice although at first it felt unbearable. we just shouted and splashed the water because it was the only way to feel even bit more warm.

and then there was of course the aratiks and lectures and they were something i´ll never forget (and this is not exaggeration, because if Finns say something, they mean it :D). Guru Maharaj spoke from the Chaitanya Caritamrta and of course it was all nice. after one lecture i spoke with Mathura Natha and we both agreed that it feels like trying to catch water to your little flask from Niagara to try to understand Swami´s lectures with our capacity. but we´ll work on it.


The initiation day was very special to me. the day before i had been panicing because i thought about how profound and important and big thing it is to get initiated. and how heavy it is to give lifelong promises. and i started to think wether i´m ready and if i can keep my promises because that would be the worst, to fail Swami´s trust. others were soothing be and saying that maybe harinama initiation is not that severe thing.

then on the day of initiation i felt assured and calm. i knew i was heading for the biggest turn of my life (or of my existence) and i felt great. Guru Maharaj held a wonderful speech and i forced myself to sit in a lotus posture the whole time so that i´d seem more serious (hah!). there was a rather embarassing moment when Maharaj asked from us what is the third offense against the Holy Name and none of us knew. i felt so unqualified, but at least it sure taught some humility!

Swami also said that we have to be very cautious with not committing offenses because if a disciple makes offenses, the guru may fall. then he said that"you came here and thought that you´ll leave your spiritual lives in my hands, but in fact i´m leaving my spirtual life in your hands" and then i certainly understood that my panicing about the seriousness of initiation was not exaggeration.


finally i received the neck beads and the japa mala. Vrndaranya later referred to the moment as victory and that it was in deed. now i know that i have someone very special giving me instructions and backing me up. it´s a victory in every sense of the word. i honeslty feel that i´m forever indebted to Guru Maharaj and i pray that i won´t let him down.


i´m feeling very fortunate to be able to join a family of such nice and advanced vaishnavas. i feel pretty small, like when i was a kid and i used to skateboard next to my home and sometimes few older guys who were known throughout the finnish skateboard scene came to skate on our ramps. and what is skateboarding compared to spiritual life? :D


so i end my sentimental ranting now and wish nothing but well to Guru Maharaj and all of you. i hope i´ll meet you soon.


-Gurunistha das

Bhrigu - July 21, 2004 9:21 am

Dear devotees,


I also enjoyed the days out on the island immensely. Just like Gurunistha Prabhu said, there was little or no time for nonsense. I was the pujari, and since there were three aratis daily, food offerings and since I also had my own Sila-puja to do, I felt more engaged in seva than I have for quite some time. But -- and I think I'm speaking for everyone here -- it never felt like a burden, but pleasant in every respect. Krisangi and Kamalaksha are excellent hosts, and they took care of everything in an efficient way. They really deserve all credit for making it such a pleasant experience. Taking into consideration the rustic conditions, cityslickers cutting wood with big, sharp axes, slippery rocks and small boats, I also feel that we had some higher protection.


I also felt that in connection with the initiation: when we began, it was overcast and not too hot to sit and listen to Guru Maharaja's lecture, but just before the fire sacrifice, the sun came out. Shortly after the sacrifice was over, there was thunder, lightning and rain. We joked about the demigods celebrating the event by playing their celestial mridangas, but I like to think that those really were auspicious signs.


However that was, I am sure that Guru Maharaja made it all auspicious by his presence. His classes were, as always, sweet and full of scriptural wisdom and realisation. From what I heard, he was satisfied and happy with the arrangements, and what more can we desire? He told me that he is committed to preaching in Finland now also, and for us, that is extremely auspicious.


Your servant,




Another picture: Kamalaksha Prabhu ferrying over Madhumangala, Jananivasa and Kardamatmaja Prabhus -- as well as Kardama's bike!


Jani - July 21, 2004 12:51 pm

It was nice to see so many enthusiastic devotees and I am happy because Guru-Nistha and other boys got initiation.

Krsangi Dasi - July 21, 2004 3:43 pm

Dear devotees


I'm so happy to hear that everyone enjoyed the retreat. I must admit I was quite nervous at first, imagining everyone getting mosquito-bitten to death (sorry about not warning you in advance, Shyama Gopala!), having to eat burned kichri and getting a cold from washing themselves in the sea. Kamalaksha was sure everything would work out fine and that the surroundings would be perfect for a spiritual retreat; I was afraid of leaving our house and its hot water taps.


I should have trusted Kamalaksha from the beginning: we had a wonderful week in the archipelago. Guru Maharaja's talks were very high and I often felt very unlearned listening to them, but I believe I understood one thing: our most important form of practise is chanting the holy names of Krishna. We should relish the name, and trust it: if we become perfect in chanting our lives will be perfect. I feel so ashamed for having so little taste for the name, Krishna's dancing in my mouth and I'm thinking of mundane things!


But I also feel safe, because I know I have the best guide imaginable on my spiritual path. I feel that I've found my real family now after living with strangers for a long time. I have so many sisters and brothers who will help me on the path and even more importantly a father who sees right into my heart and still has accepted me as his servant.


Once again it feels difficult for me to pick up my life where I left it before the retreat and to continue with my work and studies. But we have an inspiring new project that we're working on: a Krishna conscious yoga magazine in Finnish, the first of its kind. I hope that through this new magazine we'll be able to spread Guru Maharaja's teachings to a larger audience and that next year we'll have another retreat with an even bigger audience of enthusiastic devotees!


Thank you all so much for coming,


Shyam Gopal Das - July 21, 2004 5:38 pm

Reading all the previous entries made me really happy and thinking about all the Finnish devotees also brings joy to my heart. It has been such an incredible week from the preparations to the days Guru Maharaj lectured on Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's teachings. I can't wait to study the lectures in more detail. The whole setting and the austerity involved made one really looked inward. The fact that there were hardly no distractions and a lot of service to do made the stay comfortable and made concentrating on the holy names easier.


My initiation has also brought me more strenght and determination to follow the path of bhakti yoga. I remember Gurunistha Prabhu coming back from his darshan with Guru Maharaj and told me he would be initiated on saturday. Mathuranatha Prabhu had already been accepted as GM's disciple, and therefore it was no suprise that he would be initiated too. But for me it was still a question mark. Then, everybody started asking me whether I would be initiated too. The whole thing made me quite nervous and I told them if Guru Maharaj would ask there'd be no doubts anymore.


The next day I had my darshan and when Guru Maharaj asked me whether I wanted to be initiated, my heart suddenly started to speak and my mouth automatically said yes. There were no doubts in my heart. Of course my mind would test me and come up with all sorts of doubts. But I now know really well that there is something in my heart that needs to be watered and will be watered.


I'd liked to thank:

Kamalaksa en Krshangi for the more than perfect hospitality

Kardama for his neverending joy and the smile he had after visiting Guru Maharaj

Bhrigu for the fire sacrifice, his pujas and intensive knowledge

Madhumangala for being the tilak, dhoti and chaddar guru

Mathuranath and Gurunistha for the great talks

Jananivas for his good humour, and bringing his Gaura-Nitai deites

Jani for being the amazing smileful yogi

Mohan for showing me how to eat a lot

Madhai for our rowing boat trips and your sincerity

Dayal Govinda and Vrindaranya for the kindness, helpfulness and instructions

And of course Guru Maharaj for showing the way with his torchlight of knowledge. I've come to see there is a long road ahead, but at least I know there is one and that my friends and I have a superexcellent guide.


Shyam Gopal das,

reporting from the land of cows.

Mathura-natha Das - July 21, 2004 6:25 pm

What a blisfull week that was!!!! My words come very short when i try to capture the whole mood and my feelings during the week. When i sat on the boat on may way to the island, on the day when i arrived, i knew that this would be the most important week in my whole life. I´m so honored to have the godbrothers and godsisters i now have. I think that Shyam Gopals thank-you-list sums up my gratitude for everybody, and the previous entries reveals my heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!


vancha-kalpatarubhyas ca krpa-sindhubhya eva ca

patitanam pavanebhyo vaisnavebhyo namo namah


Your servant

Mathuranatha Das


p.s. by any means necessary; get Guru Maharajs lectures from this week, steal them if you have to :D

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - July 21, 2004 8:28 pm

I'm looking forward to getting Mp3 disc with entire series of talks! I hope Dayal Govinda dasa will produce one very soon. More nectar please! :D

Jananivasdas - July 21, 2004 10:34 pm

jay jay!!!

i was also thinking about writing a loooong story here...but i will cut it short cause the others have said allmost everything allready!!! :)

the mood at the island was so amazing!everybody helped eachother in everything!

i seemed to hate the island life but now i miss it like anything!!!

i miss the prasadam.

i miss the nice talks.

i miss the joking around.

especially i miss the srila sridhar maharajas dissappearance day...that day became one of the most important days in my life! the lecture maharaja gave was sooo sweet! but nothing can beat the arati after it! the kirtan was the sweetest ever...i honestly had hard time trying to keep tears in my eyes...if i could travel back in time,that would be it!!! i would live it again and again!!!

thank you maharaja!!! thank you.


i miss you all...



servant of the servants jananivas das



one pic more! svaha:


Bhrigu - July 22, 2004 2:31 pm

A couple of more pictures, this time of two of the cooks. First Krishangi:


Bhrigu - July 22, 2004 2:33 pm

And then Kardama (unfortunately I have no picture of Kamalaksa in the kitchen). The table looks a little bit chaotic just now, but that is illusory. At the time of the offering, everything would be clean and tidy.


Jananivasdas - June 26, 2005 8:22 am

not so many days left and we will back on the island....again...hopefully the water will lot warmer this year!!!! :D

see ya there!

Mikko - June 26, 2005 8:26 pm
not so many days left and we will back on the island....again...hopefully the water will lot warmer this year!!!! :D

see ya there!



Yeah!! 9 days to go..! Can´t wait to meet Swami, Guru-nistha, Syama Gopal and all the old friends..


I´ve been a bit quiet here on the forum - been touring Europe, working on new practice space + office, got married (with a little help from Bhrgu the Burner, thanks!) etc etc - but one thing I wouldn´t miss for anything is the legandary Saaristoloma. So see you all there.



Jananivasdas - July 5, 2005 2:39 pm

tomorrow first patch of us islanders will go there...awesome!!!

Shyam Gopal Das - July 5, 2005 3:28 pm

I'll see you tomorrow. I'm leaving tonight.

Mathura-natha Das - July 5, 2005 5:31 pm

Yes, tomorrow is a nice day! See you in the evening!

Jananivasdas - October 20, 2013 5:22 pm

Seems that this happened just last weekend...i was reading lots of these old posts about the island of bhakti retreats and i just got a great great feeling of happiness and tears into my eyes...i miss island of bhakti...

Braja-sundari Dasi - October 20, 2013 6:13 pm

Thank you for reminanding this topic! I was initiated in Finland few years later. Such a sweet memory! :)