We arrived on the 24th of April at Simhachalam in the Eastern part of Germany - one day before most devotees and guests assembled to witness the festivities for Lord Nrsimhadeva's appearance celebration. This event is one of the main festivals in Germany and its neighboring countries, and many devotees come together from far and wide to celebrate the Lord's wonder-ful appearance. In most other communities this event is given only a few hours of attention, but here where the Lord personally resides it goes on for four full days! It certainly is the best place to be for this event.....
On my arrival in Cologne on the 18th of April I had a day to settle in before getting ready to offer the course on "Entering the Grhastha Ashram". Devotees arrived on Friday evening from nearby cities and also from the community of Goloka Dham, eager to receive insights into this topic which was highly relevant to all participants. Most of them were unmarried and considering to enter family life - uncertain how to go about it. Some had had already a painful and disappointing experience and realized now that they needed some help.
On my arrival in Stuttgart airport on the 13th of April I met up with 19-year-old Nadia Mani from Kiev. She had expressed a desire to accompany me on my travels, so I had invited her to join me on my trip around Germany.
Over the Easter Holidays a nice group of serious devotees assembled in Lika/Croatia to embark on a 3-day Holy Name Retreat. I had done weekend retreats here twice before, and Murari Gupta Prabhu and his good wife Sundari Mataji are always wonderful hosts, opening their home with great pleasure to receive the devotees and feed them sumptuously. A great example of Vaishnava hospitality within ideal family life.
On my arrival in Cologne/Germany on the 20th of March it was still cold - when changing planes in Munich I saw the fields covered with snow.....
I relaxed for a day and re-packed my luggage from the "Indian program" to the "European program", and flew off to Ljubljana/Slovenia. I was scheduled to offer the course on Giving and Accepting Shelter - the Foundation to Vaisnava Relationships and Devotee Care. We conducted it over six days as morning- and evening program, and it was well attended by around 35 devotees, with more watching over Mayapur TV.
After our ecstatic Hare Krishna Convention at Rup Sanatan Tirtha had come to an end I traveled to Khulna with a group of devotees to conduct an evening program. I had not visited here for around 10 years - in those early days the devotees had rented an old little building to meet for programs, and meanwhile they had obtained some land and had constructed several buildings for a temple and a brahmacari ashram. I could witness the preaching flourishing!
For the evening program I spoke on Srila Prabhupada being the Founder Acarya, and it was well attended by a good crowd of eager devotees. As usual I concluded by distributing lots of Srila Prabhupada's books and signing them with good wishes.
On my arrival in Dhaka on the 3rd of March I relaxed for a day and then took a domestic flight to Jessore and traveled out to Rup Sanatan Tirtha. Here the devotees were feverishly preparing for the upcoming three-day event of the Hare Krishna Convention which would commence on the evening of the 7th.
This event had been taking place every two years, and we had been hoping that HH Jaya Pataka Swami would be able to participate this year, but unfortunately he could not be amongst us in his physical form, since his bad health had prompted him to decide for a surgery of a liver- and kidney transplantation. I had met Maharaja at the Kolkata airport - I flew to Dhaka and he was on the way to Chennai to prepare for the surgery. I had happily taken advantage of the opportunity to exchange some words with him and also offer him a copy of my book, expressing that we would pray for his quick recovery and protection during the evening kirtans at our Convention at Rup Sanatan Tirtha.
On the 13th of February we conducted the annual program of our Institute for Spiritual culture. As last year, we arranged a special pandal on the property of the Old Gurukula, on the way to the Mayapur goshala. It is a perfect venue for such programs - the green surroundings create a very pleasant and peaceful atmosphere, and there is enough space for the kids to play outside while still being supervised by the parents.
From the 4th of February onwards the ISKCON Leadership Sanga took place for the following eight days. It is an event which is arranged every two years - Gopal Bhatta Prabhu initiated it several years ago. Around 800 leaders and senior devotees had come to Mayapur from all around the world to attend presentations on various topics. It was truly a Mela of presentations, with many topics being offered parallel in different venues. Since they took place several times, one could always find a chance to attend those one had chosen. In the mornings interesting plenary sessions on relevant topics for ISKCON took place - all arranged by Gopal Bhatta Prabhu and his team. Sometimes our prominent leaders such as Radhanath Swami or Bhakti Charu Swami would speak. I noticed that all of a sudden the topic of culture, and even SPIRITUAL CULTURE appeared many times! It almost seemed to be one of the key themes of the entire event.
The weeks during January was a very intense time for me in Mayapur. Not only was I giving five courses over five weeks, but I was also intensely working on the last aspects of publishing my first book entitled "Spiritual Culture - Krishna's Divine System."
Devaki Devi Dasi's Travel Diary
Devaki Devi Dasi is sharing her realizations and adventures in her Traveling Diary.Welcome to relish this nectar!