Europe's first Kulimela will be held at Radhadesh castle in the Belgian countryside from Thursday 31st July 2008 until Sunday 3rd August 2008. The event is expected to be the largest ever gathering of European second and third generation Gurukulis, and will include conferences, seminars, networking, feasting, theatre, music, dancing and sports.
"This festival has the power to unite people with different backgrounds, beliefs and experiences from all over the world and to inspire us all with new ideas and opportunities for being successful in our own lives," says lead organizer Bala Keilman.
Kulimela 2008 follows the hugely successful Kulimela 2006 in New Vrindavan, USA, which boasted an attendance of over 700. Local Kulimela themed festivals in Alachua, LA and Moscow cropped up in its wake last summer, and another mega mela is slated for summer 2009 in Los Angeles.
The term "Kuli" originally referred to youth who had attended traditional Gurukula schools, but later grew to include any Hare Krishna youth. What's more, many of the original Gurukula students are no longer youth. This ambiguity reflects the uncertainty many Kulis feel in their relationships with each other and with the spiritual movement behind them. "Kulimela aims to discover who Kulis are and what we stand for," says Bala Keilman.
Kulimela is all about being inclusive, rather than exclusive. This year's event places strong emphasis on including friends, family and others that feel connected to the Kuli community. And everyone in the Kuli family is invited, regardless of their religious affiliation, or lack of it. The event's seminars – Business & Career, Arts & Entertainment, Medicine & Health, and Spiritual & Community development – accommodate people attending for purely material reasons, purely spiritual reasons or a balance of both.
"We hope to find a unified purpose, one that crosses all political, sectarian and religious divisions, and is based on principles of love, service and the search for inner spiritual understanding," Bala says. "We want it to be exemplified in our lives through practical and positive actions which benefit our families, friends, communities and society at large. Our strength and thus our success lies in our ability to work with and serve each other, while respecting our individual choices and paths."
If you'd like to help organize, sponsor, spread the word, or perform entertainment at Kulimela 2008 in Radhadesh, contact the organizers through www.kulimela.com. The website is also the perfect place to find out more information and to register for the event.