Over a hundred men attended the second annual MAN-tra retreat at New Vrindaban, hosted by ISKCON’s Communications Ministry, the Grihasta Vision Team, and the Youth Ministry. With a vision to inspire men in their important roles amid the challenges of modern-day life, the retreat facilitators organized this year’s retreat under the theme of “Being a Krishna conscious guy in the 21st century.” It was an ideal opportunity for participants to relax, rejuvenate, and enjoy stimulating company without the distractions of everyday life.
Bhuta Bhavana Das, a disciple of His Holiness Bhakti Tirtha Swami and a leadership consultant in England, together with other professional facilitators such as Partha Das and Anuttama Das, led thought-provoking and motivating seminars called “Three Modes of Masculinity,” “Balancing Matter and Spirit,” and “Core Masculinity—Endeavor with Confidence/Openness/Resilience/Enthusiasm.” Together with learning how to balance their responsibilities and spiritual practices, participants learned how to use their masculinity in the most rewarding way that would benefit their families and society. They were also able to absorb themselves in devotional practices with Bhakti Marg Swami’s “Super-Morning Programs” and blissful kirtans led by renowned kirtaneers Kripamoya Das, Gaura Vani, and Amala Harinama Das. Some of the exciting activities and events included team-building exercises, sports, enlivening discussions at the evening bonfires, stand-up comedy by Ekendra Das, dramas by Bhakti Marg Swami, torch-lit kirtans, and much more. They also enjoyed the delicious feasts prepared by Apurva Das.
As there is a growing need for camaraderie among men and opportunities for spiritual engagements in a fun and vibrant atmosphere, the MAN-tra retreat fulfills all these needs and more. We hope that next year’s retreat will attract more men from all temples and communities worldwide.