After Janmastami I had a direct flight from Copenhagen/Denmark to Tallinn/Estonia with Air Baltic - the first flight I had dared to book after the Corona crisis had started. And four days before the scheduled journey the flight was canceled due to lack of passengers. I re-booked with Finnair via Helsinki, which fortunately operated. The flight from Helsinki to Tallinn had only six passengers! We were requested to take our seats in the very back - to balance out the luggage, which was in the compartment towards the front of the plane....
After a comfortable 8-hour train journey I arrived in Copenhagen on the afternoon of the 6th of August. This was my first visit to the Copenhagen temple - a nice Danish house in a quiet suburb of Copenhagen.
On the 31st of July I travelled by train from Simhachalam to Bad Oeyenhausen in Germany - around a 7 hour's journey from the South Eastern to the North Western part of the country. A Russian grihastha couple had purchased a hotel - outside of the city, on a hill and surrounded by forest. They have transformed it into a temple, and at the same time they also run it as a hotel business. It offers a great facility for programs and retreats and has become Chaitanya Chandra Charan Prabhu's base in Germany for the Russian preaching. He is a prominent diksa guru in Russia and Ukraine and also has Russian disciples in Germany and other parts of Europe.
After my visit at Goloka Dham I spent three days with my 90-year old mother in her nice village in the South of Germany. Now, during the second half of July, the weather was beautiful and sunny
After returning from our farm in Czech Republic to Simhachalam, I stayed only for two nights and ventured off again - to Goloka Dham in the South-Western part of Germany. It was a long train ride across Germany - from the most Eastern side to the most Western one. To travel by train is very comfortable in Germany - most trains have WiFi and go very smoothly. One can find the time to get a few things done...
After spending three months in Simhachalam/Germany, I am now making cautious first steps to move around a little. The Corona restrictions are easing up in many countries of the EU, and some of our temples can conduct regular programs again - at least for the time being. What a relief...!
While attending a summer festival on our ISKCON farm near Prague/Czech Republic, the sad news of HH Bhakti Charu Maharaja's departure reached us. Immediately on the same day, we scheduled a little memorial ceremony, where Jaya Gurudeva Prabhu - a disciple of Srila Prabhupada - offered some words in Maharaja's glorification, and also Radhika Mataji (Madhava Prabhu's wife) and myself spoke. We concluded with a puspanjali ceremony and kept his picture at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada for the rest of the festival.
When looking back to my time in Mayapur at the beginning of this year, another highlight was our annual program of the Institute for Spiritual Culture. Every year, I am conducting this symposium in order to bring attention to the importance of the topic of spiritual culture. And I enjoy making all the arrangements: getting banners printed to announce the event, and distributing a thousand colorful leaflets to devotees on the Mayapur campus. It is like my annual party, where I can welcome all the Vaishnavas, receive the seniors with a garland, serve them with uplifting katha and food for thought and conclude by offering nice prasadam.
It is now 3 months that I have been at Simhachalam/Germany. The Corona crisis forced me to stay in one place, which has been a great experience. Simhachalam has become one of my favorite places in the Western world! The project has great potential to fulfill Srila Prabhupada's instruction of establishing farm communities. The community is nicely expanding, with regular educational programs taking place, and the atmosphere in the community is very sweet and harmonious. There are around 30 devotees living on the property, with congregational members and Indian guests coming on the weekends. We have a brahmachari- and brahmacharini ashram, traveling Sankirtan parties, regular harinam, strong online preaching, serious agriculture and cow protection, a recently opened garden cafe, a popular guest house, a regular children's summer camp and many other activities taking place.
Our temple president is a second generation devotee who grew up here and is 28 years old. He has made a solid commitment to develop this project further, and his youthful spirit attracts a lot of young people. He is always open for new ideas, is very approachable and takes part in so many activities - even the little kids' ratha yatra which we had yesterday! So it's been a real pleasure for me to become a part of this wonderful spiritual family...
Reflecting back on my time in Mayapur in the beginning of this year, another highlight was the International Education Symposium, which took place immediately after the ILS - the ISKCON Leadership Sanga.
Devaki Devi Dasi's Traveling Diary
Devaki Devi Dasi is sharing her realizations and adventures in her Traveling Diary. Welcome to relish this nectar!