In the beginning of December I visited Indore, with the 1st of December being my birthday. I was contemplating not even mentioning anything about it, but then I thought it would rather be a sad day then. I usually like to use this occasion to feed the devotees and engage in loving exchanges, which always creates a very joyful atmosphere. So I told my hosts that I would like to sponsor a more fancy dinner prasadam after the evening program on that day. And of course, they immediately understood the reason behind it. So the word got out, and the devotees made several carob cakes and joyfully expressed their good wishes, with the mood being joyful and filled with loving exchanges.
I have been in Mayapur for the last one month. Nevertheless, I want to share some thoughts about my visit to Hyderabad at the end of November.
From an external point of view, Mysore in South India is maybe one of the most pleasant cities in India. With a population of less than one and half million people, it is not so congested and thus known for good air quality. Many parks make it into a very green and relaxed city, and being located at an altitude of 770 meters above sea level brings along a pleasant climate.
On the 8th of November I arrived in Vishakapatnam/South India - my first visit to this temple. Samba Prabhu and his good wife Nitaisevini Mataji (JPS) are heading up a huge project under construction - a big temple complex directly on the beach front. She has a PHD in education and has also established a nice school - the Divine Touch School, where children learn academics combined with devotional subjects and skills.
I was invited to give a couple of programs in the temple and the congregation, and Nitaisevini Mataji requested me to visit the school and answer some questions of the students. And they had a lot of good and meaningful questions - much to my surprise....!
This was my first visit to Noida - the Radha Govind Dev Mandir, a spiritual oasis in the polluted area of Delhi.....
Being the home base of HH Lokanath Maharaja, the temple shows a beautiful blend of contemporary and traditional architectural styles - it took 8 years to establish it and was opened to the public around 10 years ago.
For the month of Kartik, the devotees had created a nice diorama of mother Yashoda's courtyard and naughty Damodar in the temple room, with the grinding mortar, cows and other animals, a well and a tulasi mandap. Very creative and sweet, engaging our minds in remembering the famous pastime for one entire month...!
The mangal artiks were especially well attended during the month of kartik, and so was the singing of Damodarastakam in the evenings - everybody was eager to get the beautiful darshan of Their Lordships and offer a lamp with love and devotion.
Since the Kartik month was rather late this year, I decided to come to Vrindavan already ten days before the beginning of this auspicious month and offer a 4-session seminar on the False Ego in the Balaram Hall. Many devotees had already arrived - at Mangal Artik it was almost as packed as during Kartik...! For the first time I was requested to offer an evening class on the BG which I gratefully accepted - for my own purification.
Even though I am not such a friend of huge crowds, nevertheless, it was a wonderful opportunity to meet and connect with devotees and distribute my books. I also enjoyed inviting devotees for lunch in the MVT restaurant while sharing thoughts and realisations.
My visit to Radha Gopinath Mandir in Chowpatty/Mumbai was truly a highlight on my preaching tour around India....
It was the first time that I visited this community as a preacher - I was always desiring to get the association of these wonderful devotees, but somehow it never happened. Finally the opportunity came about, and I was well taken care of, with my visit being exceptionally well coordinated.
I reached India on the 29th of September. My first destination was Bangalore which is located on a plateau in South India - 900 meters above sea level; thus it has a very nice climate and is moderate even during the hot time of the year, with around 30 degrees during the day, always a fresh breeze blowing and cool at night.
When I hope to retire in Mayapur one day, I may come here during the hot season and spend time preaching in the different devotee communities. No need for me to leave India to go to a cooler place...!
I chose to spend Radhastami in Zurich/Switzerland - one of the most dynamic communities in Western Europe. On Sundays they have two programs - for the Indian community in the late morning, and for the locals in the afternoon. In this way, the local people don't feel intimidated by big Indian crowds, and the Tamil community members hear the lecture in their language and happily enjoy their spicy Tamil prasadam thereafter....! A win-win situation!
I had decided to spend this year's Janmastami and Srila Prabhupada's appearance on Krisnuv Dvur - the Czech farm outside Prague - and offer some programs in the city itself on the weekends before and after these Vaishnava festival days.
Devaki Devi Dasi's Traveling Diary
Devaki Devi Dasi is sharing her realizations and adventures in her Traveling Diary. Welcome to relish this nectar!