Our Holy Name Retreat outside Kharkov/Ukraine gave me the perfect entrance to yet another retreat: a writing retreat....
In the evening of the 20th of June I arrived in Kharkov/Ukraine - after more than 24 hours of travels from Toronto. The devotees gave me a sweet and enthusiastic welcome, and I was distributing maha prasadam from Toronto temple - mangal artik sweets from Sri Sri Radha Ksira-Chora Gopinatha's plate. It is always a wonderful loving exchange upon arrival, offering me an opportunity to give a token of attention to each and every person while exchanging affectionate smiles.
On the 13th of June I arrived in Toronto/Canada - it was my second visit to this lively community.....
On my flight from San Diego to Chicago on the 7th of June, looking out the window I could observe how the landscape and climate changes when approaching Chicago. It almost looked like certain places in Europe: more green and flat - without the gigantic mountains of California.
On 1st of June I flew from Vancouver back to California to visit the devotees in San Diego. HH Badrinarayan Maharaja established this temple many years ago, and up to this very day it is his home base. Since he had been encouraging me to come to the United States, I felt I should visit his community and try to offer some humble service to the devotees here.
The only little sight-seeing I engaged in was from the plane - looking out the window. Flying from Los Angeles to Vancouver, I could nicely observe how the climate and landscape is changing as we flew North. The climate of Los Angeles is mild-to-hot and mostly dry, classified as a Mediterranean or dry subtropical climate. As we flew North, I could observe a strip of Californian desert with high mountains, and towards Canada it was getting colder and also greener, with the mountain tops finally covered with snow.
On the 16th of May I arrived in Los Angeles, Srila Prabhupada's headquarters of the early days. It was a great pleasure and honor for me to visit this community - New Dwaraka Dham, with Their beautiful Lordships Sri Sri Rukmini Dwarkadish, Gaur Nitai and Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra.
The temple building used to be a church - what an appropriate palace for Their Lordships! Next to the temple is a very nice Govinda's restaurant with a large and well stocked gift shop for devotional items located upstairs. In the same street are many flats which are owned by the temple and rented to devotees. In this way many devotees have the opportunity to live in walking distance to the temple, and therefore especially mangal artik, but also other parts of the morning program are well attended.
On the 9th of May when departing from Houston to Tucson, the doors of the plane did not close properly. After waiting for around 45 minutes all passengers had to get off the plane again and wait for the next one. Even though it was annoying I nevertheless was glad they noticed it on the ground and not in the air.....
I had never really felt much of a desire to visit the United States until one of my well-wishers, HH Badrinarayan Maharaja had encouraged me to visit his GBC zone in the Western part of the States. I had in the past invited him to visit Bangladesh and on two occasions had had the good fortune of taking him for a tour, introducing him to this very special world within ISKCON. At this opportunity Maharaja got to know me and appreciated my realizations on the topic of Krishna's culture. And at the same time he received impressions of the environment and met the sweet devotees, who had taught me so many things, bringing Prabhupada's teachings and instructions from the Bhagavatam to practical life for me.
I had felt obliged to accept Maharaja's request to visit some of the temples in his GBC zone - after all we can't only accept support and encouragement, without offering some service in return!
We arrived on the 24th of April at Simhachalam in the Eastern part of Germany - one day before most devotees and guests assembled to witness the festivities for Lord Nrsimhadeva's appearance celebration. This event is one of the main festivals in Germany and its neighboring countries, and many devotees come together from far and wide to celebrate the Lord's wonder-ful appearance. In most other communities this event is given only a few hours of attention, but here where the Lord personally resides it goes on for four full days! It certainly is the best place to be for this event.....
Devaki Devi Dasi's Traveling Diary
Devaki Devi Dasi is sharing her realizations and adventures in her Traveling Diary. Welcome to relish this nectar!