CSK Retreat in Durham, NC
By Lavanya Rao
On President’s Day weekend (Feb 15th -17th, 2019), 67 Chinmaya Setukaris (CSKs) and 33 children participated in a Retreat titled “Led by Love, Lead by Love” conducted by Vivekji, Shankarji and Sumanji. Sumanji and Shankarji graduated from the 2016–2018 Vedanta Course in Trinidad under Swami Prakashananda. The retreat was hosted by Chinmaya Mission-Raleigh Durham and the CSK National Team.
CSKs are the bridge builders between the Yuva Kendra(young adult) and matured. Vivekji expressed the importance of CSKs embracing responsibilities. Through this retreat, attendees came together to learn how to invoke and live this vision. The theme of the retreat suggests that if we bring more love into our life, we will become more loving individuals. This was reflected through studying the Vibishana Gita, written by Sage Tulasidas with commentary by Swami Tejomayananda.
The scene of the Vibishana Gita is set during the Lanka Kanda in the Ramayana. After Ravana’s entire army and relatives are crushed, Bhagawan Rama and Ravana prepare for the final battle. Ravana arrives fully armed with sophisticated weaponry and his special war chariot, the Yuddha-ratha. While Bhagawan Rama arrives with just His quiver, a few bows and arrows and bare feet! Upon seeing this, Ravana’s brother, Vibhishana, is paralyzed with fear. Vibhishana then questions Bhagawan Rama about how He can defeat the physically-strong, well-equipped Ravana.
Bhagawan Rama lovingly imparts the Knowledge of His Dharma-ratha, Chariot of Dharma, to Vibishana. The Dharma-ratha includes all values which allows one to overcome the inner enemies and eventually leads to the true victory of fearlessness and love…
In order to make this knowledge most practical, Vivekji described the components of the Dharma-ratha, what value they represent and a simple take-away sadhana to remember:
In addition to Discourse, Discussion and Dialogue, retreat attendees also participated in skits, activities and athletics which helped them better understand how to incorporate the Vibishana Gita into their lives. One highlight was the “Food Creations Activity.” Participants were tasked with following simple recipes while engaging in an additional challenge (such as blindfolding, using only their dominant hand or chanting Mantras). Then, they discussed the importance of sattvic cooking and the promotion of a simple Indian cookbook facilitated by the CSKs coming out soon.
Overall, attendees learned that by practicing the values of the Vibishana Gita and embracing responsibilities, we can transform from Bishana (fearful) to Vibeshana (fearless) and learn to love what we are doing so we can love who we are becoming…