The Spiritual Morning Programme
Everyday since July 20th 1986 (and that's every day without exception) there has been a
spiritual programme in our Hare Krishna temple from before the crack of dawn. Similar events
occurs in all 400 ISKCON temples around the world every morning. The first ceremony is Mangal Arati from
4.30am. A conchshell like the clarion call of a trumpet resounds and the intricately crafted altar gates are
opened to reveal Radha Govinda, the temple Deities.
Amid the ringing of bells and clouds of incense a ceremony involving fire, water, flowers
and other items begins. And then the kirtan starts; the sacred singing of mantras accompanied by drums and
cymbals. After this, monks in the temple chant on prayer beads for almost two hours. The next event gets
under way at 7.00am. This is the Greeting of the Deities. A meditative song accompanied by music
that was composed by George Harrison is played. Then after more kirtan there is a talk / discussion on
Vedic Philosophy from the great Bhagavat Purana, the essence of all Vedic literature.
Guests of Lake Isle Retreats are not
required to attend any of the morning programme. However guests are more
than welcome to attend anything they like. We recommend that popping into the temple, even for 5
minutes, will enrich your experience of the retreat immensely. One can visit the temple-room at any time, and
leave at any time, without causing offence or disturbance at all.
Some retreats have attendance at the morning programme integrated into the retreat schedule, but
many don't. However, as mentioned, anyone on any retreat is welcome to explore the ancient
spiritual culture of India by observing these events, either by attending at 7.00am or at 4.30am. Both
aratis take 30 minutes and are accompanied by sacred chant music or meditation. From June 2012 when
we set up our new retreat centre across from island, guests have frequently been departing from the retreat
house at 6.35am to walk to the quay and get the ferry (5 mins journey on boat) over to the island in
time for the 7.00am ceremony. We tend to do this just on the Saturday, leaving the Sunday morning as
free-time. People who want to attend more of the morning programme are very welcome.