Already a few days before my mother passed away, I meditated on arranging a special and unique funeral celebration in her honor - as an expression of my gratitude and love for her, and also for preaching purposes. Funerals are always excellent opportunities to preach; in this moment, people are more sober and a little introspective, sometimes contemplating life and its higher purpose, and what happens after death.
I was winding up my tour around Australia and New Zealand spending the last two weeks in Brisbane, offering a few more lively programs in devotees' homes and getting ready for yet a new chapter to unfold...
On the 12th of September I returned from Perth to Sydney to offer a Holy Name Retreat at New Gokula over the following weekend. Friday evening was the time of arrival, and Sunday after lunch devotees departed to their respective homes. Just over 50 devotees attended the event - a good turn-out, considering that Madhava Prabhu was in Sydney on that weekend, and it was also Bhakti Charu Maharaja's Vyasapuja which many devotees attended.
A 5-hour flight took me on the 2nd of September from Sydney to Perth - right across the whole continent of Australia...!
As soon as I had decided to spend some time in Australia and New Zealand, it was clear to me where I would celebrate Janmastami - at New Gokula, at Radha Gokulananda's lotus feet...
At the end of July/beginning of August I spent three weeks in the Sydney region - one weekend in the devotee community of Western Sydney, and two weeks at the main temple of North Sydney.
It was 15 years ago that I last visited the Bhakti Lounge in Wellington/New Zealand. It is an upbeat and unique outreach program run by around 14 enthusiastic brahmacarinis from all corners of the world, sharing a spacious flat as their ashram. Every morning they have a morning program, and in the afternoons and evenings they run different outreach programs in the nearby Bhakti Lounge: Yoga classes, presentations on various contemporary topics, kirtan evenings and a Soul Feast on Sundays. All programs conclude with nice prasadam at the end while personally connecting with the visitors. Participants pay a reasonable fee to attend the program and take prasadam - as much as they can eat. In this way, they manage to pay the rent and other expenses of the Bhakti Lounge Centre and the ashram.
On the 14th of July I arrived in New Varsana, the farm outside of Auckland - situated on the Northern island of New Zealand. Their beautiful Lordships Sri Sri Radha Giridhari, along with Jagannath, Baladeva, Subhadra and Gaur Nitai reside in Their splendid palace in the midst of this Vaishnava community.
Devaki Devi Dasi's Traveling Diary
Devaki Devi Dasi is sharing her realizations and adventures in her Traveling Diary. Welcome to relish this nectar!