The only difference is the standard of life: Austria being much more wealthy and organised, whereas this part of the world looks like Austria eighty years ago....
In winter this area serves as the only skiing resort of Ukraine, where one can find high enough mountains for engaging in this popular winter sport.
The devotees had rented a simple holiday center which perfectly served our needs: enough accomodation for more than one hundered devotees, a big kitchen and prasadam area, and a suitable room serving us as our bhajan kutir to hold the seminars.
In the surrounding nature we could find many wild flowers to make beautiful
vases to decorate our altar and Srila Prabhupada's Vyasasana.
And thus we embarked on our usual journey of following Sacinandana Swami's perfect formula of the Kirtan ARROW, preparing the consciousness and opening the heart in order to receive Sri Harinam Prabhu on deeper levels.
So in this little exercise I appeal to the devotees not to become subjected by this urge of trying to be special, but to simply pick some flowers and leaves with devotion and affection for the Lord - as loving exchange between us and Him.....
Once I heard Badrinarayan Prabhu tell how Prabhupada was asked about the meaning of the maha mantra. After pausing for a few seconds Prabhupada responded: "The chanting of Hare Krishna means 'I need some help'!"
Helplessly crying out to Krsna......
Once again we observed one day of complete Mauna Vrata, to relieve our subtle body of the toxic effect of speaking too many unnecessary things. As the gross body gets overburdened with toxins from overeating, in the same way the subtle body suffers the same results from the uncontrolled urges of the tongue.
We all enjoyed the peace and quietness during this Vrata, and some devotees kept the vow of silence for the following days aswell.
Around four or five years had passed since my last visit to this yatra, and I was happy to have an opportunity to associate with the devotees once again.
We held an evening program continuing the discussions on chanting the holy name, and on the 21st we attended the little festival for Lord Balarama's appearance. I was invited to give the main lecture in the afternoon, and a joyful kirtan and a feast concluded the auspicious occasion.
And all the while we could perceive the echo of the Holy Name Retreat still resounding within our hearts and minds....
In the morning of the 22nd of August we took the train to the other side of Ukraine and arrived in Kharkov on the following morning.
And it felt good to return to one of my homes - after more than one month's absence......
Your servant, Devaki dd