All India Spiritual Retreat was held in Vivekanandapuram, Kanyakumari from 8-14 August 2013. This being Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth Anniversary year, this Retreat had a special significance. As Swamiji’s blessing, this Retreat attracted record 225 participants from 11 states of India, namely - Maharashtra, Goa, Tamilnadu, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Kerala and Haryana.
The reporting day was 7th August and most of the participants had arrived and reported during the day. Followed by Bhajan Sandhya and Introductory session, wherein the Participants were given orientation for the camp. On 8th Morning, Retreat was inaugurated by Sri Avinashji, Life-Worker of Vivekananda Kendra.
The 225 Participants were organized into two sections – Hindi and English, Five Groups for brothers named after our Great Seers : Satyakama, Raikwa, Pippalad, and Brigu; and two groups of Sisters : Gargi and Maitrey. Yagnwalkya was combined Group.
The seven day camp had Morning Prayers, Gita-Pathan, Yogabhyas, Shram-Samskar, two Lecture sessions, Manthan, Geet-Abhyas, Omkar Dhyan-Meditation, Bhajan Sandhya, and concluded with Ananda Mela.
The lecture sessions were on the topics of: Concept of Spirituality, Kendra Prarthana, Upanishads, Swami Vivekananda, Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Vivekananda Kendra-Concept and activities and Purposeful life/Ashram Dharma.
During Manthan, Participants read and discussed over the relevant subjects. Every day, Swami Vivekananda’s thought was read before the first Lecture session.
During Anand Mela, Participants unwinded and shared their talents and experiences through songs, Dramas, Dances and poems.
During Shram-Samskar, participants took care of the cleanliness, arrangement and management of the premises, accommodation, class rooms and dining hall displaying team-spirit and selfless service.
During the Camp, Participants visited Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanyakumari Amman Temple, Wandering Monk, Vivekananda Pictorial, Gramodaya and Gangotri exhibition. And also Sunrise and Sunset beached.
The Retreat went on well in a congenial, spiritual atmosphere with moderate discipline and affection.
Many of the participants have expressed their willingness to devout their time and energy for the Service of the society through Vivekananda Kendra. Several enrolled as Patrons thus joining the large family of Vivekananda Kendra.