A large gathering of devotees met in the stunning Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales this mid-October as the “Weekend of Blessings” was held for the seventh year running. The Park’s Buckland Hall, surrounded on three sides by steep hills of heather and pine, proved an attractive location for the annual spiritual retreat.
Sixty-five adults and ten children attended the lively and uplifting weekend of kirtan and seminars from senior speakers on a variety of subjects. The relaxed family atmosphere helped to restore old friendships and create new ones.
One of ISKCON’s earliest English devotees, Ranchor Das, read extracts from his new book When the Sun Shines: Srila Prabhupada in England. The memoirs brought listeners closer to Prabhupada through understanding how he taught and lived with his young English followers. Ranchor concluded with a talk on ‘Qualities of a Spiritual Person’ from the twelfth chapter of the Bhagavad-gita.
Another early student of Srila Prabhupada, Tribhangananda Das, presented ‘Studying Srila Prabhupada’s books Made Easy’ and offered his audience secrets of studying from his many years as a disciple. On the disappearance day of Narottama Das Thakura he sang and explained famous songs by the Vaishnava saint while displaying the words on a large screen.
No stranger to audience participation, former Rubettes vocalist Jayadeva Das led devotees in songs from his new album From Here to Eternity, and also presented a seminar on real-life reincarnation experiences.
Kripamoya Das presented several sessions focusing on Daily Vaishnava Practice – Without the Fuss, How to Preach Krishna Consciousness Without Annoying People, and Big Movements come from Small Groups.
The entire congregational event was organised by Gail Staveacre who is also secretary to the Congregational Council, a body that helps to coordinate the activities and development of the many groups affiliated to Bhaktivedanta Manor. Many of those groups are beyond London and therefore need extra support from ISKCON, which is concentrated in the greater London area. Such Blessed Weekends form an integral part of the support system for ISKCON UK’s members.