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.
For the past two months, I have been staying at Simhachalam in Germany. Time has been flying - much faster than when I am constantly traveling. When traveling from one place to another, life is action-packed and eventful, meeting so many people and visiting so many places and countries. In this way, one month is filled with many impressions and experiences and thus feels like 3 or 4 months.
Staying in one place, however, each week goes by rather swiftly - one after another...
Despite the Corona crisis and lock-down, the devotees in Simhachalam/Germany celebrated a very extraordinary Nrsimha Caturdasi festival this year. It almost appeared to be the Lord's personal and special arrangement in reciprocation to fulfill the desires of His faithful servants! It may have very well been the only true festival on this occasion this year in ISKCON world-wide...!
Reflecting back on my stay in Mayapur during the month of January and February, it was a very eventful, action-packed and blissful time. Over five weeks we offered the usual five courses of "Sheltering Relationships", "The Vanaprastha Ashram", "Being in Harmony With the Other Gender", "Family Life as an Ashram" and "Our Children Are our Future". All courses were well attended, and we had stimulating discussions. On Fridays we established the tradition of distributing some little maha prasadam in the break, which created a personal atmosphere and completed the loving exchanges. I also had an opportunity to distribute my two books.
People eagerly reciprocated by showing their appreciation and gratitude in various ways for the knowledge and insights they received. Some devotees attended all courses, and I could sense that they found some shelter in the personal association of the group. So it was well worthwhile and satisfying to my heart.
I have fallen far behind in writing my traveling diary. The last two months were action-packed and eventful, and then the Corona crisis hit....
On our arrival in Mayapur on the 8th of December it took us a few days to settle into our nice ashram at the goshala and get into a regular daily routine. My two assistants had never been to India before, so I spent some time showing them around Mayapur so they could orientate themselves. Mayapur has become a big township by now....
On my last visit to Bangladesh in mid of November, the local devotees had arranged a three-week tour for me, mainly visiting the very North of the country. Here people are more simple and poor, and even more devotionally inclined. There are so many devotees in this area - simply amazing!
Devaki Devi Dasi's Traveling Diary
Devaki Devi Dasi is sharing her realizations and adventures in her Traveling Diary. Welcome to relish this nectar!