On the 10th of February, two days after our return from Ekachakra to Mayapur was Vasanta Pancami - the beginning of spring. It is always such a beautiful day, when Radha Madhava and the Astha Sakhis are dressed in yellow, with profuse flower decorations - all in yellow.
On the 3rd of February, a couple of days after our five courses concluded, we conducted another Holy Name Retreat at Ekachakra - this time for the student boys and girls of the Mayapur International School. Ramanipati Prabhu, one of the leaders of the school had requested me to spend some quality time with their pupils aged 11 to 18. We had decided to first welcome the boys with a group of teachers for two days to Nityananda's abode, and then a bus-load of girls and their teachers. What a wonderful excursion!
I had contemplated this idea for several years, and finally it was now coming true. Our children are so special, and they start chanting in japa and kirtan already at a very young age. If we can inspire them to develop good chanting habits from the very beginning of their life, it will give them a wonderful start to their way back home, back to Godhead.
The month of January was a very intense but blissful time for me in Mayapur. Over five weeks I was offering five courses - each course for five days, 3 hours in the afternoon. We started with "Sheltering Relationships - the Foundation to Devotee Care", followed by "The Vanaprastha Ashram - Meeting Death With Joy". Then we moved on to "Being in Harmony with the Other Gender", which formed the foundation to "Family Life as an Ashram", concluding with "Our Children are our Future".
On my arrival in Kolkata airport on the 11th of December I met my two assistants coming straight from Ukraine - Goloka Vasini Mataji and Lisa. Since it was already afternoon, we decided to spend one night in a hotel near the airport, and we traveled out to Mayapur early next morning.
I had visited the Coimbatore temple once before in 2014, and now I had found an opportunity for another visit. On my arrival I was comfortably accommodated in the home of Hema Mataji and her husband, who is the sister of well-known Radhesyama Prabhu from Punee. So I was in good company.....
On my way to Bangalore on the 26th of November I had scheduled a two-day stop-over in Mumbai in order to do a medical routine check-up at Bhaktivedanta Hospital. I stayed with Vaishnavaseva Prabhu and his good wife Kalindi Mataji, who live just around the corner from the hospital, and who had performed my two cancer surgeries in the past. It had been more than eighteen months since my last surgery, so I decided it was time for another check-up, hoping I would not end up again on the operating table.....
On my arrival in Chittagong on the 19th of November I spent a couple of days in the city conducting programs in the Nandan Kanan temple: a SB class in the morning, and an evening class dedicated to inspire the temple devotees to observe the upcoming Prabhupada book-marathon with full endeavor. Since it was still Kartik time, the devotees had also arranged a Damodara-program in a nama hatta temple, where I could distribute Srila Prabhupada's books to newcomers after the program.
On my arrival in Sylhet/Bangladesh on the 14th of November I settled into a room of the newly constructed Guest House. It had been 18 months since my last visit, and the devotees were happy to receive me.
Recently, the leaders discovered an opportunity to apply for big grants from India, and they received large amounts of funds for the construction of a guest house and student hostel on the Sylhet temple property. In this way, the facilities for the large numbers of devotees are gradually increasing.
The highlights of my visit to Dhaka/Bangladesh were the two main festivals of the Kartik season: Govardhana Puja and Srila Prabhupada's disappearance.
In this part of the world, Krishna lifting Govardhana Hill is commemorated in a very traditional way - exactly as the lila goes. The devotees arrange for a big mountain of rice - the annakuta, which Krishna had requested as an offering to worship Govardhana Hill instead of Lord Indra. And then He appeared in an unprecedented and gigantic form on top of this hill of rice in order to accept the offerings. And little Krishna exclaimed: "Just see! Your Indra never comes to accept the offering, but Govardhana Hill appears to accept whatever you have offered to Him!" And Krishna pays obeisances to His own gigantic form. This is remembered by creating a big face of Krishna on top of the annakuta, made from all kinds of eatables. And there were around eight hundred clay pots with a variety of preparations offered to Govardhana Hill, to sumptuously feed the brahmanas and all devotees. It is a very joyful event, and several thousand devotees and guests are coming throughout the day to take prasadam.
I arrived in Chandigarh on the 1st of November to offer the course on sheltering relationships over four extended evening programs over the weekend.
Since the devotees had already started to implement a mentoring system, the seminar came just at the right time and offered further ideas how to fine-tune the present structure for their community. The Temple leaders, senior devotees and key players participated in the course, which is always a promising sign for further development.
Devaki Devi Dasi's Traveling Diary
Devaki Devi Dasi is sharing her realizations and adventures in her Traveling Diary. Welcome to relish this nectar!