His Holiness Vishwaguru Maheshwaranandaji spent the last two weeks of 2016 in Mahaprabhudeep Ashram in Strilky, Czech Republic. Many practitioners and followers of Yoga in Daily Life happily joined the unplanned opportunity and spent Christmas or New Year with Vishwaguruji.
The almost two-week long program was a specially-designed retreat for regeneration, after the everyday life and work of the whole year. The clear weather made it possible to have daily walks and karma yoga, selfless work to beautify the garden.
Every day is indeed a holy day when you are with Gurudev, and so was New Years Eve. A huge fire was prepared in the lower garden of Strilky Ashram, so that despite the cold, it was a warm experience to sing bhajans (spiritual songs) outside. The evening was spent by letting all negative thoughts, emotions and actions burn in the fire and by sending colorful flying lanterns into the sky, accompanied by good wishes, prayers and spiritual songs.
His Holiness spoke about cultures that had their own ways to celebrate the New Year, although different cultures may also have their own way of counting time. But beyond time and space there is Atma - the 'one without second' - as it is explained in the bhajan, 'Shivoham'.
Speakers shared their thoughts about time as past, present and future, and agreed that when our attention is focused in the present moment, it is the only chance we have to shape our future and change our destiny into the positive. Swami Shanti Puri, Swami Umapuri, and others, expressed their good wishes while sharing their experiences.