The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is today one of the most respected centers for training and retreat in the United States. Since its inception in 1983, countless people have come for short retreats, courses in yoga and ayurveda, and periods of seva and ashram living.

At the end of August, 2011, Radhanath Swami was invited to speak at the center for the first time. His two day lecture series was entitled ‘Bhakti Immersion: Ramayana’, and explored the ancient epic through storytelling and kirtan. There could not have been a more dramatic backdrop to the weekend, as Hurricane Irene whirled into the East coast. Coastal flooding swept through New York City and further up the coast, Vermont and Maine were hit even harder. The thirty attendees who made it safely to the center were in for a special treat – Radhanath Swami often lectures on the Ramayana before thousands of people at a time. Here, everyone was able to share in an intimate retelling, sheltered from the storm. He also spoke on the power of the hurricane of the mind.

Flights were cancelled due to the weather, so Radhanath Swami and some attendees stayed on an extra day at Kripalu, getting a chance to spend time with bhakti scholar, Shyamdas and tour the picturesque grounds of the Shadowbrook estate.