The devotees happily welcomed me and allowed me to relax for a couple of days in order to adjust - it's always a bit of a culture shock to arrive back in Europe....
I was invited to conduct the Japa Workshop on Sunday morning and give the Sunday Feast lecture, which was well attended by eager devotees.
I consider Cologne temple to be the most lively yatra within Germany, and I had decided to give it a little more attention by visiting several times a year and thus establishing it as a bit of a base within Europe, where I would arrive when coming from India.
All these years I had always been for Gaur Purnima either in India or Bangladesh - it must have been during my brahmacarini days in Australia thirty years ago that I was last for Gaur Purnima in a Western country....!
At 5pm the devotees assembled for the abhishek, which was conducted on the altar by the senior devotees and accompanied by a deep and prayerful kirtan. The big Deities were nicely dressed in Their new outfit, and the altar was decorated with beautiful flower arrangements. I was invited to give the main festival lecture. The Deities were offered many delicious preparations, and we concluded the celebration with more kirtan and a sumptious feast. It had been a sweet little festival in deep introspection, and at the same time it had given me an opportunity to connect with the devotees and get to know them, since this was only my second visit to this part of the world.
I gave the course "Men and Women in Spiritual Culture" in a tight schedule over the two and half days of the Easter holidays. Everybody participated very eagerly, including our only brahmacari who had also come to attend. I think it must have been the first course where we had so many senior men participating with such keen interest. Although many of the devotees had been already very familiar with various principles of spiritual culture, nevertheless they shared how the course had set everything into the right perspective and had given them a clear overall picture, adjusting things within their minds in a balanced way.
The devotees put the most funny and hilarious role plays together - the audience was almost rolling on the ground in laughter! Somebody had filmed the laughing crowd, and when I watched it afterwards I could hardly believe that it was us during the course! It looked like some had indeed gone mad! The children also participated in the role plays, and they were happy to be part of the fun.
Devotees also came with personal questions, and I tried my very best to serve them. I always feel especially honored when I have an opportunity to serve senior devotees in such a way. Witnessing the wonderful realizations and transformations devotees received during those three days gave me once again great inspiration to continue with my humble preaching efforts, knowing it to be all worthwhile.
On the 30th of March I took the train to New Vraja Dham in Hungary.....
Your servant, Devaki dd