What an incredible event the 2019 Holi Sadhana Shivir was! The JKYog ashram in Banara, Odisha, was filled with the joyous energy of nearly 1,000 devotees from India and the US. The festivities, from February 28th to March 3rd, marked a momentous occasion that people will remember for years.
The Sadhana hall was filled for all sessions, and everyone experienced showers of divine grace during the various events that unfolded over these four days. People eagerly soaked in the kirtans on the first day as they left behind the worries of daily life and settled down for four days of sadhana. This shivir was a life-changing experience for people attending the event for the first time.
On the second day, a beautiful life-size deity of Maharajji was unveiled. Devotees were speechless and spellbound as everyone felt Maharajji had arrived to bless them. They quickly recovered from the initial shock and welcomed him with hearts overflowing with love. Some could not stop themselves and applied a chandan (sandalwood) tikka on Maharajji's forehead to celebrate the occasion. In the evening, everyone had the opportunity to carry him on the palki (palanquin) during the parikrama (evening walk) around the campus. The presence of Maharajji left the devotees mesmerized and captivated throughout the day. Words cannot adequately capture the gratitude, joy, and love that overflowed for this once-in-a-lifetime event.
Fun and frolic continued the next day as devotees celebrated the joyous festival of Holi. It started with playing with colours and applying a gulal tikka (tilak of red powder) to Maharajji and Swamiji. Soon, Swamiji was drenched in red powder. In the evening, devotees were on the receiving end as Swamiji hosed everyone with rose water! Attendees enjoyed the shower of grace, hoping the day would not end.
The festivities ended on Sunday, March 3rd, with a chappan bhog (56 dishes) offered to Maharajji. Devotees stayed late at night or woke up early to prepare the dishes. A variety of fruits, sweets, and cooked dishes were offered on behalf of all the devotees from outside the state of Odisha and from the US. After offering bhog to Maharajji, devotees ate lunch and packed up. They were sorry to see the festivities come to a close, as the four days felt like four hours. It was a bittersweet separation as their hearts were filled with pain, love, joy, and gratitude.