I was busy with some errands - getting a few things done which can only be done and bought in Vrindavan. And I spent time with devotees who I hadn't seen for a long time.....
I requested him to convey Maharaja my obeisances, and he agreed to do so. I regretted that I had no gift to send
along with him. Strangely enough, the thought had entered my mind in Vrindavan to take along some maha prasadam for him, but since I knew that he would not be in Juhu I didn't. Little did I know that I would have the opportunity to send something to him after all...
It was my very first visit to Pune Radhesyam Prabhu, the temple president had invited me to visit in order to give some classes to the ladies of the congregation. Even though he personally was absent, nevertheless everything was nicely arranged and taken care of.I stayed with Jahnava Mataji in her spacious flat. She is a senior disciple of HH Radhanath Swami - a very experienced devotee and preacher. We had a nice time together and connected well, sharing visions, realizations and thoughts on spiritual life and preaching.
the day. Not as hot, humid and sticky as Mumbai.
Relationships And Devotee Care". The topic was well received, and I had a nice opportunity to connect with the ladies and get to know them. Some days I was invited for prasadam to devotees' homes, and I also met with Indulekha Mataji from Ukraine who lives now with her husband and daughter in Pune.
By Krsna's mercy I was able to reach some devotees' hearts. The idea came up to arrange for a ladies' retreat in the
future. There seems to be a dire need to give attention to the ladies in order to nourish their spiritual life - also in this part of the world.And they were pleasantly surprised and charmed to meet a German woman who understands and
preaches spiritual culture - something which even in this part of the world is deteriorating more and more due to the Western influences. And they felt understood, accepted and supported.
They were affectionately requesting me to come back again soon....
On the 14th morning I took a car together with Bhanu Swami to Juhu to attend the GBC meetings.
It was nice to be at the beautiful Juhu temple, attend the full morning program every day and offer the ghee lamp while singing the Damodarastaka.
And once again I had the opportunity to meet so many senior devotees and leaders of our ISKCON society and connect with some of them on a personal level.As every year I was sharing the room with Dina Sharana Mataji who is serving as the GBC of Germany, and we found time to share visions and plans in regards to developing our ladies' forum.In our Committee For Devotee Care we finalized the Manual for Care For Leaders And Care Givers, and I presented it to the entire group of Committee members, who were pleased with the outcome of our endeavors.
spiritual culture, since it seems to solve so many problems within our society. It is an undeniable fact that spiritual culture promotes selfless service and care towards all the sections of society, whereas materialistic culture promotes envy, neglect and competition. It is a culture of abandoning each other: wives abandoning husbands, husbands abandoning wives, parents abandoning children, and children abandoning their parents and grand-parents. It is a culture of abandoning each other for the sake of sense enjoyment.I am firmly convinced that true Devotee Care is all about establishing spiritual culture. Spiritual culture is Krsna's culture. It promotes care on all levels. In Krsna's culture there is even no need for a Devotee Care Committee.However, if we neglect this aspect of culture, then we simply end up like some Swedish welfare state - we are simply giving guidelines,
recommendations and certifications of a caring temple - all very organisational and system orientated, without emphasizing the very basis to it all: spiritual culture. It will become mundane, and the spiritual content will
I was trying to find ways to introduce this thought into our Devotee Care Committee, and even into the Strategic Planning. Once again I spoke to Gopal Bhatta Prabhu and his team, but time was short, and there were so many other important issues, so it didn't seem as urgent and important to them as it is to me.....
I felt the time had come to establish an Institute For Spiritual Culture, in order to give my courses more weight and support. Some senior devotees had given me this idea already last year. The fact that the course is so well received in a Western country like Germany is a major break-through, and certainly an indication how universal the
underlying principles of spiritual culture are indeed. I needed this experience to feel confident to move forward and take up the next step of establishing an Institute.I shared those thoughts with several senior devotees and received
all the encouragement and confirmation I needed....
I stayed for another three days in Juhu temple and gave the same seminar "Giving And Accepting Shelter" to the
ladies here. A nice crowd of intelligent ladies gathered and committed to attending the entire seminar. We connected well, and they received deep insights into various aspects of shelter - something which easily can become an external formality unless we come to deeper levels of understanding. Also here the ladies expressed their joy to meet a German person who valuesspiritual culture. And this gave them encouragement to preserve what they have received by taking birth in this part of the world, rather than immitating the West.And I realized what a fertile preaching ground India is - something I had never really considered before....
Srila Prabhupada didn't want us to adopt Western or American ways of life. After a Bhagavad-gita lecture Srila
Prabhupada was asked if he was in this world.He replied, "Just like I am in America. It is very easy to understand. I am not adopting any ways of life as the Americans. So I am not in America. Not only myself, all my disciples who are following me, they are also no Americans. They're different from American behavior, American ways of life.
In that sense I'm not in America. I am in Vrndavana because wherever I go in my apartment or in my temple, I live with Krsna and Krsna consciousness.I don't accept any consciousness of America. And I teach my disciples also to take to that consciousness. So one who takes to that consciousness, he is also not in America, not in this world."
(Lecture, Los Angeles, 12/16/68)
As usual Prabhupada's words make everything very clear - he wants us to transform our Western or American
consciousness and ways of life into a Krsna conscious way of life, which is out of this world......
On the 21st I went over to Bhaktivedanta Hospital for a thorough health check-up - something I had not done for two years. I stayed for one night with Vaisnavaseva Prabhu and his good wife, and we did some recordings of presentations on various topics for their website Iskcondesiretree.com
(To be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM68HUedz5o
All the medical check-up's turned out perfect - my vehicle had passed the inspection for the next couple of
On the 22nd of October I flew back to Delhi and traveled out to Vrindavan again....
Your servant, Devaki dd