The entire function took place at a recreational center with a large and beautiful garden near a nice park. The devotees had arranged for a little pandal in the garden, where the yajna had taken place in the presence of small Jagannath Deities. Later I was invited to say some words which would be meaningful and relevant for everyone present - devotees aswell as non-devotee relatives. By Krsna's mercy I seemed to reach everyone's heart, and the devotees were satisfied.
Hrdaya Gauranga Prabhu performed a little one-man drama about married life, which was very witty and at the same time thought-provoking. He even advertised the course "Men in Spiritual Culture", wondering how one can even think of getting married without preparing and qualifying himself by attending Devaki Mataji's course....?!
I stayed for another day in Berlin and gave the Sunday feast lecture. It was the first time that I had an opportunity to visit the new location of the temple: a shop-front, which would be much easier accessible than the previous temple - a flat in a residential area.
Around 50 devotees assembled - some were wedding guests from the previous day's function. I discussed the topic of consciousness - relevant to newcomers as well as long-time devotees.
For five days Goloka Dham became a meeting point for taking part in a spiritual adventure - the course "Women in Spiritual Culture", with devotees coming from Scotland, Netherlands, Germany, Estonia, Lithuania and Swizzerland. Some of them had been practicing Krsna consciousness for many years and some were young bhaktins. Nevertheless, all of them received a significant transformation of the heart, consciousness, worldview, habits and patterns of behaviour.
It was a challenging journey into the inner corners of our self. We realized our auspicious nature coming along with the woman's body, which has irreplaceable value for the entire society if cultivated and used properly. Devotees shared how this course cleared away many misconceptions and brought relief. Many women were so grateful for having attended it and expressed their wish for every soul in a female body to experience this transformation.
Vrnda Mataji, a very senior devotee from Scottland invited me to conduct a Vaisnavi Retreat in England next year....
More and more preaching opportunities are opening up....
I also took the opportunity to visit Visvadeva Prabhu's prasadam factory called Govinda in the nearby town of Birkenfeld. He has a very long and deep experience in Krsna consciousness, having been the temple president in Heidelberg for many years and having observed ISKCON Germany going through various phases of development. Now he is serving the Vaisnava community of Goloka Dham in a very particular way: in 1988 he opened a wonderful sweet factory which is now giving employment to 22 devotees. All these devotees are living around the temple and are thus able to stay close to Sri Sri Radha Madana Mohan and have a source of income. And they are engaged in distributing prasadam!
Visvadeva Prabhu took me for a tour around the factory - I was truly impressed about his professionalism. He is a wonderful and mature devotee - a humble and gentle Vaisnava, with a great sense of humor. He creates a wonderful atmosphere in his factory, and devotees like to work under him. He is supporting the temple in many ways and also gives guidance and visions for the management and development of the community.
We were sitting for a couple of hours in his office sharing realizations. When I asked him how he started this amazing sweet factory, he laughingly remembered: "Well, it all started in Heidelberg when I was the TP there. We used to roll these little sweet balls during the SB class in the morning, and after breakfast devotees went out to distribute them in the streets. This is how it all started....!"
Every great idea has a humble beginning....!
The big painting in his office depicts Radha Krsna with the Gopis. He shared how HH Bhakti Vaibhava Maharaja had started to paint it, and he himself later finished it. He humbly added: "I am actually an artist....", and he pulled out a book showing all his work.
His main source of income is his art, and developing Govinda is his life and soul.... Interestingly enough, he never studied anything - dropped out of school when he was 17, and joined Krsna consciousness one year later....
On the 24th of August I flew off to Lvov/Ukraine for yet another transcendental event: the Bhakti Sangam Festival....
Your servant, Devaki dd