with the local devotees and giving a couple of morning and evening classes.
The Berlin city authorities had declared Saturday the 1st of September as the
"Night of Religions". It had been advertised widely all around Berlin, and people
were encouraged to visit various religious organisations with open hearts and
explore their missions and believes.
program and feast for the Berlin yatra. I was invited to give the main lecture
in the afternoon, and many new people had come to explore the life style and
mission of the Hare Krishna's. They were asking good questions and were
attentive and eager to hear. I felt obliged to appologize to the audience for the lack
of my ability to express myself in the German language, since I have never read
Srila Prabhupada's books in German and am thus not so familiar with the spiritual
vocabulary. One of the German devotees had kindly agreed to sit close to me and
help me find the suitable words in the German language, sometimes simply
translating my English phrases, and the audience was somewhat amused to see
how a German person can also be in need of a translater....
In the evening Sacinandana Swami attended the program leading a sweet and
meditative Kirtan, and people were drifting along the sound vibration into deep
absorption in the holy name.
Maharaja was kind enough to give me his personal association in discussion,
calling me to his room. When his servant was bringing me my evening milk I felt
embarrassed to take it in his presence. Maharaja laughed in his child-like innocence
stating: "We are on the battlefield of preaching here! Let us forget all these
formalities for now, so please drink your hot milk....!"
The highlight of my visit to Germany was the ecstatic Kirtan Mela which took place
in a rented Holiday Camp near Chemnitz in the Eastern part of Germany.
On the 2nd of September around 400 devotees from all around Europe assembled
for five days in order to spend twelve hours every day in chanting the holy name in Kirtan.
The Sportshall was turned into a wonderful Bhajan Kutir, with tasteful decorations
and partitions made with a variety of colored and painted cloth. It created a wonderful
and most conducive atmosphere for meeting the Lord in the form of His holy name.
Many wonderful kirtanias had assembled - every one of them chanting with their
personal mood and thus adding a special flavor to the entire arrangement. It reminded
me of a variety of wonderful flowers arranged in a most beautiful bouquet.....
I mainly attended the kirtans of HH Lokanath Swami, BB Govinda Swami, Sacinandana
Swami, Yadubara Prabhu and Madhava Prabhu. Some days I also managed to attend
Krsna Ksetra Prabhu' Kirtans.
The Holy Name Retreat which we had just conducted in Kiev was a perfect introduction,
and this Kirtan Mela was simply a continuation of the same meditation - deepening
our relationship with the holy name.....
The event gave me an opportunity to connect with many devotees. I was invited to take
prasadam with the VIP's which is always a wonderful chance to get the association
of senior devotees and Srila Prabhupada's disciples from around the world.
Some matajis requested me to have a meeting with the ladies which was well attended.
I introduced the topic of "Exploring the roots of spiritual culture" and some ladies immediately
decided to register for our course in Mayapur. The interest in the topic is surprisingly keen.
Especially the young generation is hankering for something deeper and realizes that we
are missing the culture.
I also spent a couple of hours in discussion with Krsna Ksetra Prabhu, a wonderful sadhu.
He showed interest to attend our Swedish Festival next summer, and to visit Bangladesh
again - he had been there once in the beginning of the 1980's. Since then so much has changed.....!
On the 8th of September we took the holy name into the streets of Leipzig in a Ratha
Yatra Parade - a wonderful way to conclude the Kirtan Mela. Lokanath Swami's powerful
chanting was shaking all the people of Leipzig out of their ignorance, and devotees were
blissfully pulling the cart through the beautiful old part of the city. The parade ended on
the Market Square, and devotees were distributing prasadam to the public and conducting
a program on a little stage, with a lecture, Kirtan, Indian dancing and other cultural performances.
It was a joyful event, and thereafter devotees departed into all directions of Europe.
I spent one more week in Berlin and managed to get a student visa for India. Janmastami
Prabhu from Mayapur and his good wife were also there, and we enjoyed each other's
company in the morning classes discussing Srila Prabhupada's purports in Srimad Bhagavatam.
A young grhastha couple was kind enough to accomodate me in their home just around
the corner from the temple, and we spent a nice time revealing our minds in confidence.
On the 16th of September I flew to Simferopol in Ukraine for yet another wonderful event -
the Bhakti Sangam Festival.....
Your servant, Devaki dd