Our First Japa Ashraya Program
A group of about 17 devotees gathered within the confines of the temple during the mystical, brahma-muhurta, pre-dawn hours to inaugurate the first Japa Ashraya program. The intention to take full shelter of the holy name was taken seriously by all who attended and that mood was felt by everyone who entered into that sacred space. It was an honor and a point of pride to see how so many devotees left their distractions aside and really came to the temple room in order to fully engage themselves in the chanting of the Holy Name of Krishna.
Like the sun cresting, gently, over the horizon, the bendicting rays of the Holy Name began to seep into every heart and as the numbers swelled during the day to upwards of 50 devotees, the chanting became intense and packed with affection and emotion. Tulasi Devi offered constant protection, blessings, and guidance to all the chanters present and each dedicated individual gained support and encouragement from seeing others who sat, hour after hour in the association of the Holy Name.
Some of the stalwart community leaders of New Vrindaban like Jaya Krsna Das, one of our directors, stayed for the entire nine and a half hours, taking the opportunity to dive as deeply into the ocean of the Holy Name as possible, and showing, by their example, their commitment to serving the community through the bonding effects that chanting together can have.
After a nama-yajna like the Japa Ashraya program, it was especially nice to share realizations with all those who attended. About 20 devotees stayed through to the end of the program to share their thoughts with one another, and to gain clarity from the hours spent in prayerful contemplation and meditation. The key point felt by all who attended was that this chanting, and these types of programs have the power to seal a community with an unbreakable bond. No matter what struggles or obstacles are being faced, either past or present, when devotees come and sit with each other and chant together for four, five, six, seven, or even eight hours, something magical begins to happen. The Holy Name has such purifying, healing powers that all differences begin to fade away, and the Holy Name creates an atmosphere of love and devotion which is able to fix, solve, or overcome anything.