I had decided to visit her over the Christian holiday called Pentecost, which fell on the weekend of the 23rd/24th/25th of May.
We spent quality time together, sharing deep and meaningful thoughts and realizations on spiritual topics while sitting on the balcony facing her nice garden. She is now 85 years old, and still so open and inquisitive. What is most difficult for her now in her age is to find people with whom she can have deep exchanges and talks. Most people in her age are either senile, or simply closing themselves off and become intellectually and mentally less flexible and active.
I learnt that Pentecost marks the beginning of the Christian preaching mission - something I hadn't heard before.
On the next day when going for a little walk around the village we had some friendly exchanges with one elderly gentleman from the neigborhood. When sharing how we had been to church, and how the service had been poorly attended he laughed, and pointing at me he said: "Everybody is probably visiting you people now....!" Yes, he was right - the Sunday programs at our temples are certainly better attended.....
As usual one afternoon I went for a walk in the forest and fields and picked a very colorful and big bouquet of wildflowers. Krsna likes those the best....! And my mother happily accepted the gesture - as she had always done when I was a little child....
I was invited to give several SB classes and the Sunday program celebrating the Panihati Festival - one of the most amazing pastimes Lord Nityananda had performed with Ragunath Das. It instructs us how developing a selfless service attitude towards the devotees ultimately attracts Krsna Himself.
We were planning further events at Goloka Dham for this year - a Holy Name Retreat culminating in Radhastami, and several courses on spiritual culture. I also spent time in personal discussion with devotees, trying to give advice, support and inspiration.
I very much like the altar decorations here in Goloka Dham. They only use flowers from the garden and forest - as far as possible no commercially grown flowers are used on the altar. And the vases are arranged in such a way that they give the impression of Vrindavan forest: some narrow vases with only long grass, some other vases with wild-flowers and twigs from the forest, which remind us of bushes and trees. In this way one can feel the natural surroundings of Vrindavan Dham, which creates a very nice mood and meditation. I felt deep inspiration to try and bring this idea to Kharkov/Ukraine for this year's Janmastami Festival......
I stayed with Narottama Prabhu, his wife and two children, and over the next six days we enjoyed each other's association in deep discussions. The devotees had arranged a number of programs for me - we joined the regular kirtan evening on Wednesday, and I was invited to say some words about chanting the holy name and to lead in kirtan. The following afternoon we were invited to a house program in Wittenberg - an historic city where the Christian reformer Martin Luther was born. I had conducted a program here two years ago, and I could sense that the attending devotees had become more serious and regular in their spiritual practice. We were invited for yet another house program in a village nearby Leipzig, which was well attended by regularly practicing devotees. We discussed the purpose of the four ashrams: their purifying duties, and the protection which they offer - an important topic which we are often not so aware of in this part of the world. The devotees asked good questions, and as usual we concluded the program with kirtan and prasadam.
On Saturday I offered a three-hour introductory seminar on the topic of Giving and Accepting Shelter. Once again this topic attracted attention and gave some food-for-thought to the participating devotees. And the Sunday program I dedicated again to the astounding pastime of the Panihati
Festival - the devotees here had not had a chance to discuss this instructive lila yet. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet all the devotees of this community, and I enjoyed reaching out to as many people as possible and connecting with them.
Devotees expressed their gratitude for my visit and requested me to come back again soon.
On the 9th of June I took a train to Berlin and flew off to Kharkov.....
Your servant, Devaki dd