More and more devotees are coming here to join this community - grhasthas as well as brahmacaris. It is one of the few temples in Germany which has a lively brahmacari ashram with a strong Sankirtan spirit: the boys are always out on traveling Sankirtan.
For the last couple of years Gour Mohan Prabhu has been serving as the temple president - he was born in Krishna consciousness and is only 27 years old. He was a brahmacari for seven years in this community and is now preparing to enter married life. A wonderful example of allowing the young generation to take over and bring a youthful and lively spirit into a community.
It was very well attended by more than 35 devotees, and it was a big eye opener for everyone who participated. Senior devotees realized that they need to establish a marriage committee in order to help devotees change ashrams.
Our next destination was Tuebingen, where we visited my mother for two days.
The three of us spent a nice and harmonious time with her - with walks in autumn colored nature, excursions around the old part of the village, nice prasadam and meaningful talks. She is 88 years old now - every visit could be the last one......
On the 11th of October we took the train back to Cologne. My two companions from Ukraine received many interesting insights and impressions on their little tour. Once while sitting in the train and looking out the window Julia asked, why in Germany the grass in the fields is always cut so nicely. I explained that as a rule the land in Germany is used and cultivated - not like in Ukraine, where one sees so much uncultivated land. And the farmers cut the grass to feed the cows or make hay for the winter. She laughingly exclaimed: "Oh, I thought they cut it to make it look nice - like a big park....!" Yes, in comparison to other parts of the world, Germany could almost be viewed like one big park.....
Especially South Germany where my mother lives is rather beautiful.
Back in Cologne I offered the seminar "Secrets of Success in the Grhastha Ashram" as a weekend course. As part of the seminar, we did an interesting exercise: we collected all possible traps, challenges and difficulties which this ashram can offer - starting from financial difficulties, attachment to sense enjoyment, arguments between husband and wife, challenges in child raising, and so forth. Then we discussed in detail the foremost secrets of success for this ashram:
1) Regular sravanam kirtanam being the watering process of the bhakti lata. 2) Regular association with devotees and having a mentor who can guide us.
3) Keeping our life simple.
And we discovered that these main secrets of success indeed offer the solution to all possible traps and problems! It was an eye-opening revelation......! But the challenge of the application remains.....!
However, this is what it means to mold our family life into an ashram: that we put these secrets of success as main priorities into our life.
On the 15th of October I flew off to India, while Julia and Polina returned to Ukraine. They had realized that Germany certainly offers more comfort and sense gratification, while Ukraine offers a more eager spirit amongst the devotees.....! And thus they happily returned to Kharkov......
Your servant, Devaki dd