The following are some anecdotes from my attending the labor-day retreat in Gita Nagari.
Maharaja was swiftly walking to the Vyasasan to begin his lecture, when a devotee fell flat on his path and offered his obeisances for what appeared to be a relatively long duration. Maharaja stopped and patiently stood, and smiled at the devotee when he eventually got up, and exchanged pleasantries. Maharaja is very personal and values each and every devotee and his relationships with them.
During Tulasi-arati, Maharaja noticed that the devotee, who was the lead singer, was playing with unwieldy karatalas (cymbals). He handed his smaller karatalas to the devotee to enhance the sweetnees of the kirtan for the pleasure of Tulasi Devi.
23 Sep'09 Wednesday
Our minds were full with the wonderful experiences from the recent Japa retreat at Gita Nagari; our hearts were brimming with the loving exchanges we had with the devotees at the retreat and our focus had not yet shifted from the Holy Names. In short, this visit by Srila Romapada Swami Maharaja was awaited with great enthusiasm and eagerness by the handful of devotees here.
September 3 2009
Devotees from all over the country trickled into the temple room, one-by-one, to attend the japa retreat. Some were locals from Gita Nagari, some from D.C., others from Boston, Pennsylvania, St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago, and other various places, and even two devotees from Vrindavana Dham! Everyone was super excited—despite the exhaustion from the long hours of travel—to attend the retreat, to improve the quality of their japa, to be in the association of devotees, and to strengthen their relationship with Srila Romapada Swami Maharaja through the process of hearing.