Our Scandinavian Bhakti Sangam Festival was especially wonderful this year.
A couple of years ago we had decided to abolish the festival- and prasadam fees and thus invite the spirit of voluntarily contributing, which had changed the entire atmosphere of our festival by allowing the spirit of selfless service to enter. Nevertheless, devotees always need a little affectionate reminder and encouraging words to gradually throw overboard the conditioning of materialistic culture, which is a culture of endeavoring to get something for oneself by giving as little as possible, for a discount or best even by giving nothing at all.
Gradually the word had gotton around, that this festival has a very personal mood and offers a wonderful summer holiday for children. The Almvik community itself consists of thirty grown-ups and another thirty children up to the age of thirteen. And every year our Almvik devotees offer a very nice children's program, so that our little Vaisnavas also feel part of the event and have their Krsna conscious fun.
Of course, all the assembled devotees were greatly amused about such an unusual gift, and since most recipients had never heard of these ear candles I briefly had to describe how to use them, since all the instructions on the packet were in Russian and the Baltic languages. Of course my explanations added to further amusement and laughter. But this was not all they received. After offering these devices for the menial cleaning service we also wanted to keep those freshly cleaned ears nice and warm. We offered a hand-knitted woolen hat for each of our honorable guests, with individual designs and colors, matching to the mood and personality of the recipient. And these hats were knitted by devotees - with so much love and devotion, which would not only warm the ears but also the heart. It was great fun to let the assembled devotees guess which hat would go to which person, and the children had the honor to hand over the little bags with the gifts, which included a packet of the most delicious carob confections as maha prasadam from our Sri Sri Pancha Tattva.
On the 22nd of July I flew back to Kharkov/Ukraine.....
Your servant, Devaki dd