It was a relief to come to a cooler climate. Kathmandu is 1800 meters above sea level, and during this time of the year the days are sunny and mild, and the nights are refreshingly cool.
A pleasant change to the heat in Bangladesh.
On Saturday I was invited to give the lecture at the preaching center in the city. Many young people had assembled for the regular Saturday Feast program, and I chose to speak on the topic of "Our Search For True Love" - a relevant topic for one and all, newcomers and practicing devotees alike.
One afternoon we had a matajis' program, which was well attended by many nice and sincere ladies. I invited them to come to Mayapur to attend our three-week course "Exploring the Roots Of Spiritual Culture" in January. Even in this part of the world the topic of spiritual culture is of the greatest importance, since especially the youth is looking towards the Western world and is caught by the illusion that the materialistic way of life brings success and happiness.....
We had rented a nice Conference Center in the mountains around two hours' drive away from Kathmandu. The facilities were very comfortable - almost a little too fancy!
Every room had a balcony with a marvelous view onto the Himalaya Mountains, and beautiful gardens and forests surrounded us.
A seminar hall decked out with a nice carpet was transformed into a cosey temple room and served as a perfect venue to host around one hundred practicing student boys for the three day festival of sravanam kirtanam.
HH Bhakti Purusottama Swami and HH Bhakti Vinoda Swami were the chief speakers, and additionally we welcomed HG Ganga Narayana Prabhu, the temple president of Ujjain, and our kirtaniyas Jagatguru and Shubo Nitai Prabhus from Bangladesh.
We all served our youthful, energetic and eager audience by giving deeper insights into the practice of devotional life, and in the evenings we had wonderful kirtans.
I gave a two session seminar on Guru Tattva - a most important topic equally relevant to new aswell as senior devotees. Very often we have a rather shallow understanding of this most essential Tattva of devotional life, and newcomers are lacking guidance and deeper understanding of the secrets of accepting Guru.
I also gave a five minute introduction into chanting the holy name before every evening kirtan session, which immensely helps to focus the mind and cultivate a deeper level of chanting.
Wonderful prasadam was served on casually arranged tables underneath a Pandal Tent outside, and the young students had the opportunity to associate with their peers aswell as youth preachers in order to build trusting relationships.
Thus the atmosphere was surcharged with a joyful spirit of service in hearing and chanting.
Compared to the last year's program the atmosphere on this festival was definately much more serious and focussed. Within this one year they had already tangibly matured in their devotional life.
During the closing ceremony some students shared their realizations, which
once again confirmed how powerful and important such events are. We can strengthen the yet fragile faith of these young devotees, leaving deep impressions on their hearts and minds, which increase their determination to move forward on the path of devotional life.
The students of today are the leaders of tomorrow - also within ISKCON.
Investing into the youth is the best investment - it builds the future.
And we do need a new generation of energetic, intelligent, sincere and pure hearted devotees in order to move Mahaprabhu's Sankirtan mission forward....
On the 21st of April I flew off to Delhi and on to Stuttgart/Germany....
Your servant, Devaki dd