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Record Numbers Gathered for Dallas Sadhu Sanga

ISKCON News

(iskconnews.org) – Record Numbers Gathered for Dallas Sadhu Sanga – Photo by Vrindavan Priya.  All other photos are courtesy of Indradyumna Swami.

May 26-29, 2023, was the 10th anniversary of the Sadhu Sanga Kirtan Retreat held this year at the Marriott Dallas Allen Hotel and Convention Center in Texas. The sold-out gathering welcomed 3,000 devotees from 42 US states and 14 countries, including places as diverse as Iceland and Qatar. The event hosted over 24 hours of joyful kirtans expertly by the MC Sacinandana Swami. It featured Acyuta Gopi, Badahari Das, Gauravani Das, Indradyumna Swami, Madhava Das, Mahatma Das, Mayuri Gandharvika, Mukunda Datta Das, Radhanath Swami, Sacinandana Swami, Sri Prahlada Das, and Vaisesika Das. Each day began with a full morning program, including Srimad Bhagavatam classes from Radhanath Swami, Jayapataka Swami, and Giriraja Swami. Devotees relished the association of so many devotees, including senior leaders such as Jayadvaita Swami, Candramauli Swami, Kratu Das, Sesa Das, and Malati Dasi. A massive team of volunteers served over 30,000 plates of prasadam, including a 14-item salad bar for lunch and dinner. 

Why Dallas in 2023?

Back in 2011, the disciples and well-wishers of His Holiness Indradyumna Swami celebrated his birthday as Sri Vyasa Puja in Dallas with lots of kirtans, classes, and prasad. The Texas city was chosen because of its central location for devotees nationwide. Many local Dallas devotees also attended those programs. Upon seeing their enthusiasm for kirtans, Indradyumna Maharaja instructed his disciples to organize it as a kirtan retreat the next year and gave it the name “Sadhu Sanga.” So it was befitting that on the 10th anniversary, it would return to its place of origin. Importantly, this year also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Sri Sri Radha-Kalachandji, “The Deity of Dallas,” as Srila Prabhupada called Them.

In ten years, the event has grown from 300 attendees to 3,000.  

Behind the scenes

Govinda Charan Das and his wife Rasika Siromani Dasi, both disciples of Indradyumna Swami, plan for the retreat year-round with the help of a small core group of about 15 devotees. 

“Rasarani Dasi, our Chief Kitchen Officer who lives only 10 minutes away, actually discovered the venue for us,” said Rasika Siromani. “Daruka Das and his wife Swetha Manjari Dasi, both disciples of His Holiness Tamal Krsna Goswami, are the master chefs of Sadhu Sanga. They are experts in making specialty items in huge quantities, which is very difficult to do.” Rasavilas Das from Salt Lake City and Sanatan Priya Das from Denver also assisted the cooks. Lakshmipriya Dasi from Dallas did all the baking with her team.

Dvijavara Das and his team did an incredible job of setting up the stage with A/V and lights,   in a space that was not “acoustic-friendly.” 

Krishna Murari Das and his team decorated the kirtan hall with a waxing moon theme, culminating in the full moon hand painting of Radha Kalachandji on a maha mantra background.

Priyacarana Dasi and Vrajapati Das from Chicago and Radhakrsna Seva Das from Atlanta develop all the software for registration and organization. Amrita Sundari Dasi from Utah and Jagannatha Priya Dasi from Sacramento handle the thousands of emails sent by devotees. Vamsidhari Gopal Das from Charlotte was the purchase manager, and Sacindra Krsna Das was the inventory manager. Vrajendra Suta Das and Sridam Das from Dallas lead the prasadam serving team. Sacisuta Das and Rasarani Dasi from Detroit organized all the volunteers for vegetable cut-ups. Raghavacarya Das and Deepali Mittal from San Francisco ensured kitchen and dining areas were spotless and clean after each meal. Devadarsana Das serves as the stage manager.  Tadiya Seva Das from California managed the entire shuttle schedule for transporting devotees between hotels and the retreat venue. Nritya Kishori Dasi from Dallas arranged to transport all the kirtaneers, and several local devotees hosted them before and after the event.

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