The Silence Retreat organized by Acharya Vivekji was held in Pittsburgh, from March 30th through April 3rd, 2016. Eighteen Sadhakas from three countries attended this Retreat of 100 hours of observing Mounam. The agenda of the Retreat was not shared with the Sadhakas, as Vivekji did not want to condition the Sadhakas’ experience prior to the commencement of the Retreat! All Vivekji had shared was “you will come, live and go as a monk”. Instructions were given to dress simply, leave all their reading, writing materials that they had brought along, electronics including laptops, phones, cameras, etc., as well as their car keys with Vivekji for the entire duration of the Retreat!
The daily agenda included the following: Four 90-minute sessions of Nidhidhyasanam: intense contemplation; three 90-minute sessions of Mananam: intense reflection; and three 90-minute mealtimes, in Mounam.
In order to ‘keep up’ with the extroverted world, one constantly engages in the act of doing, led by continuous flow of thoughts, leaving very little or no time for turning the mind introverted to achieve the Real purpose of life. In order to turn oneself inward and experience the true Self, one has to transcend the Pancha-kosha. To facilitate this inward journey for the Sadhakas, before every Nidhidhyasanam session, Vivekji gave a brief guidance on what to contemplate upon: starting with the Annamaya-Kosha in the first 3 sessions and ending with the Aanandamaya-kosha in the last 3 sessions. The Sadhakas were guided to carry the Nidhidhyasanam sessions into their Mananam as well as mealtime sessions.
The stillness and simplicity of the Retreat served as a haven – creating new levels of awareness for an experienced Sadhaka to delve deeper within, as well as a beginner Sadhaka who is seeking to uncover their inner potential.