|Midwest Retreat Cincinnati, OH|
The Centenary Midwest Retreat, 2006
“Finding Joy, Peace and Balance in Life” was the theme of the Centenary Midwest Retreat held on June 1 to 4, 2006, under the brilliant blue sky at Kentucky State Park. Ninety-one kriyavans from all over the world attended the inspiring retreat organized by Cincinnati Kriya Yoga Center. The kriyavans came to be in the serene surroundings, leaving their regular city life, job, and family to enhance their Kriya meditation.
Every morning started with a silent walk at 5:30 am to 6:00 am and then a two-hour meditation.
The world teacher and legend Paramahamsa Prajnanananda led the retreat with inspiring discourses on how to find joy, peace, and balance in every day life. The highlight of the retreat was his discourses which focused on the life and teachings of Gurudev Paramahamsa Hariharananda. All were struck by the beauty of Gurudev’s teachings and how much they gained spiritually from hearing about his life. Each talk was spiritually rewarding.
Swami Samarpanananda Giri enlightened everyone with his experience of the construction and completion of Gurudev’s samadhi shrine, Shri Guru Mandir and the five-day inaugural centenary program at Hariharananda Gurukulam in Balighai, India.
He talked about how hard everybody worked and the trials and difficulties they faced during its preparation, but everything went well by the grace of God and masters.
Yogacharya Durga Ma also shared her experiences with Gurudev. Throughout the retreat, Yogacharyas Bhadrayu Pandya and Durga Chunduri guided meditation classes and taught other classes for the benefit of participants. The videos and the slideshow about Gurudev and his temple in Balighai were also presented. The retreat concluded on Sunday at noon with guided meditation.
Birth Centenary Celebration at Cincinnati Kriya Yoga Center
As a part of the 100 worldwide birth centenary celebrations of our beloved Gurudev, Cincinnati Kriya Yoga Center was privileged to organize the first celebration in the West on June 4, 2006. The celebration, presided over by Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, was held in the evening at the Livingston Lodge on the banks of Little Miami River.
It was a great honor for all the kriyavans to welcome Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, Swami Samarpanananda Giri, Yogacharya Durga Chunduri, and Yogacharya Bhadrayu Pandya. A breath taking welcome with showers of wishes from Mother Divine started the program with four little “angels” decorating the aisle with flowers for Guruji Paramahamsa Prajananananda and a devotional song sung to Lord Ganesha to remove all the obstacles from the path of the mahayogi during his centenary journey. Kriyavans and other guests each welcomed the launching of the centenary celebration by holding lit candles and then placing them at the holy feet of Gurudev. The candles beautifully decorated the stage with the om symbol in the center.
The first performance was a prayer dance held in honor of Gurudev, who had conducted numerous fire ceremonies throughout his life. In remembering Gurudev perform the fire ceremony at the age of 95, a few months before his mahasamdhi, the prayer dance mulmantra was presented to him. The dance opened with Gurudev (rishi) building homa in a yagnakunda. Other swamis joined in by chanting prayers and slokas. Kriyavans participated by bringing auspicious items like garlands, flowers, sandalwood, and more, for the yagna. Remembering Lord Krishna’s various names, the fire ceremony was performed in this musical presentation.
The dance was followed by singing melodious devotional songs. Everyone joined in singing Yoganandaji’s song. Some devotees talked about their experiences with Gurudev and then the classical ragadrupad was sung.
After a short break to view the documentary on Gurudev’s life, the cultural program resumed. The long-awaited presidential speech by Paramahamsa Prajnanananda was a divine discourse on the life and teachings of our beloved Gurudev. He spoke about Mother Kali, the Universal Mother Power, in the light of Gurudev’s perception of God and Goddesses and the divine mysteries.
A new spirituality atmosphere was created this night for the people of Cincinnati and the kriyavans present. They were able to enjoy the photo exhibition beautifully displayed on the walls and the video presentation of Gurudev, which added a delightful tone to the evening program along with the devotional songs and dance.
The program ended with prayers, which was then followed by dinner on the banks of Little Miami River. As the sun was setting and the sounds of the bouncing river flowing with joy and satisfaction with the holy presence of Paramahamsaji, all 130 participants present relished the delicious dinner that was prepared with love.