We said our final goodbyes to 2020 with a nod to the lessons learned and the grace that flowed. Then we came full circle and concluded the year the same way we started it - with Name of God and prayers to Krishna - that He allows us to keep our minds always on His Feet.
Written by: KrishnaPriya
Here’s to 2020...
Looking back we began the year with the same starry eyes we’d begun each year prior. We had dreams and plans and it was going to be a big and bold and beautiful year and our New Year’s celebrations reflected that. To bring in 2020 we had a thousand people in our ashram to sing midnight arati to Krishna, we offered a display of fireworks to Guruji and the sky, and we prayed. We prayed to Krishna to always allow our minds to rest on His Feet. We started our year as we believe we should start any year - with the Name of God.
It seems that Krishna did answer our prayers to always allow our minds to rest on His Feet by offering a unique opportunity to put in our effort. Although - like most prayers - He did not answer in the way we expected. January and February were quiet - allowing the residents of the ashram some much-needed rest. By March we had a full house again for Shivaratri and we continued on with our big and bold and beautiful plans for the year.
But then something happened. A virus hit and took over the world. Our year of big and bold and beautiful ideas turned into a year of uncertainty. But within this uncertainty, we were given an opportunity. Amidst the fear and confusion and loneliness that came to dominate much of the world, we were given the opportunity to turn inwards, to dive into our relationship with the Divine in a way the world around us had not supported. Guruji became more present to everyone than ever before with Connect with the Divine and online darshans. He gave Himself to us abundantly and freely - ready to accept with open arms and heart anyone who chose to accept the hand He was offering.
With His ever-present grace, He taught us that social distancing didn’t have to mean social isolation - that we could choose to find Him in ourselves through prayer or take solace in the comfort and strength of the sangha. The only difference was now we met online. Devotees would stay up late into the night discussing chapters of the Gita on Zoom rather than in their local centres or favourite cafes. We began to hold Atma Kriya Yoga group practice online - showing us once again the love from our AKY practice can cross distances. In the Ashram, we put our prayers and courses online and sought new means of connecting with our Bhakti Marga family.
While it will never be the same as the warm embrace of the devotees in the same room together, it was enough. It had to be enough. And it was different. We learned to connect with each other in entirely new ways.
Last night we came full circle and we concluded the year the same way we started it - with the Name of God and prayers to Krishna - that He allows us to keep our minds always on His Feet. Except for this time, our ashram remained fairly empty. Only our residents and local community members were physically present but with thousands of people joining us online from all around the world. We still have big and bold and beautiful plans for 2021 and we hope this year did not scare you away from the same.
When I think back on 2020, I will remember it as the year we got to find God in our challenges, the year we learned to be grateful for what we have, the year were reminded the love does not abide by the rules of time and distance. Looking into 2021, I hope that the strength we gained this past year allows us to come ever closer to meeting God in each other and the depths of our hearts.
Here’s to 2021!