I arrived in Vrindavan on the 22nd of October - just in time to join the main festivals of the Kartik season: Govardhana Puja and Srila Prabhupada's disappearance.
After visiting the devotees in Nottingham/England I traveled further to Birmingham where I spent the weekend of the 12th/13th of October associating with the devotees in programs. During my visit I was well taken care off by a nice young couple, and I effortlessly distributed the 40 copies of my books to the eager devotees. On Monday evening we had a ladies' sanga, which was well attended in lively discussions on women's empowerment.
This was my second visit to Bhaktivedanta Manor, and I had a wonderful time - one of the highlights of my humble preaching efforts during this year! The devotees eagerly received me, and already two months before my visit they had lined up a wonderful variety of programs, which were well announced and promoted. I was busy with an outreach program for newcomers, a SB class, the Sunday feast lecture, house programs, a session with the brahmacaris, a session with the bhaktins as part of their training, a program with the mentors, and a program with the brahmacarinis and bhaktins. The most effective programs were during the SB slot on Sat and Sun, where I was invited to introduce my two books. Those programs always have the best attendance being on the weekend, with many more devotees watching over Mayapur TV.
This was my first visit to the community of devotees in Leicester. By Krishna's amazing arrangement the devotees had obtained a huge building for a very low price in perfect location: in the middle of the city - opposite the Town hall! The building was originally constructed in 1872-74 as a bank branch and has long been acknowledged as a landmark in Leicester’s Victorian architecture. In former times, the banks used to have an elaborate and almost majestic architecture in order to instill faith in the customers, that their money was in good hands. And now it has become the home of Sri Sri Radha Madhava, who had been residing in Belfast for many years and had then decided to come to Leicester.
Whoever has visited the temple at Soho Street in London can surely relate to my comparison with a transcendental submarine: narrow stairs going up and down, and corridors and tiny little rooms going off to all sides. I couldn't help but remember the song by the Beatles "We all live in the yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine....." And I remembered from my hippie days the little film clip, showing the smiling faces peeking out the windows of the yellow submarine and people waving. So I Krishna-ized the song into "We all live in Krishna's submarine, Krishna's submarine, Krishna's submarine...".
The Bhakti Sangam festival held in mid September in Ukraine was once again one of the highlights of my tour around Europe. About 8000 devotees assembled to absorb themselves in sravanam kirtanam for five full days, while 20 Maharajas and preachers selflessly offered their association - sharing their transcendental secrets in lectures and sublime kirtans.
On my arrival in Germany on the 28th of August I visited my mother for some days in South Germany. We spent nice and harmonious days together in deep discussions and readings on spiritual topics. She expressed how there is nobody else in her life who she can have such deep discussions with, and how much she values and desires such exchanges. I am so happy to be able to serve her in this way - she has been such a great mother to me in my childhood...!
On my arrival in Kharkov/Ukraine on the 18th of August I immediately involved myself in preparing for Janmastami.
I hadn't visited the Odessa temple for three years - the devotees had repeatedly requested me to come and offer a seminar, and now I had found an opportunity to accept their invitation.....
On the 6th of August I joined the Baltic Festival in Lithuania. As last year, it was once again a wonderful opportunity for me to meet up with many devotees who I remember from the early days when establishing the temple in Riga during my married life.
We had the good fortune to be in the uplifting association of HH Niranjana Swami, HH Bhakti Caitanya Swami, HG Gurudas Prabhu and Mother Urmila. I had recently read Gurudas Prabhu's book about his association with Srila Prabhupada, and it was wonderful to meet him now in person. The days were filled with lots of Krishna Katha and kirtan, and connecting with devotees.
Devaki Devi Dasi's Traveling Diary
Devaki Devi Dasi is sharing her realizations and adventures in her Traveling Diary. Welcome to relish this nectar!