Buckland Hall, Wales, in the early morning mist
The hills of Wales were the location for a large gathering of devotees this mid-October as the “Weekend of Blessings” was held for the seventh year running in the stunning Brecon Beacons National Park. Surrounded on three sides by steep hills of heather and pine, and with a deep river valley on the fourth, Buckland Hall proved an attractive location for the annual spiritual retreat. Sixty-five adults and ten children came for a 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.
Ranchor, who sang and read extracts from his new book ‘When the Sun Shines’
One of the earliest English devotees, Ranchor Das, read extracts from his new book When the Sun Shines: Srila Prabhupada in England, bringing his listeners closer to Srila Prabhupada through understanding how he taught and lived with his young English followers. Ranchor also spoke on ‘Qualities of a Spiritual Person’ from the twelfth chapter of the Bhagavad-gita.
Another early student of Srila Prabhupada, Tribhangananda Das, explained ‘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 the famous songs of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya while displaying the words to the songs on a large screen.
Tribhangananda Das in fine form, on another weekend
No stranger to getting an audience to sing along, Jayadeva Das led all the 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.
Jayadeva Das, also in fine (Celtic) form
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. Weekends such as this form an integral part of the support system for ISKCON UK’s members.
Below: A few members of the Reading and Guildford ISKCON groups