On the 7th of May I landed in Tampa/Florida and was excited to visit the devotees of the community in Alachua. This is one of the most prominent projects within ISKCON, with many well-known disciples of Srila Prabhupada living on the property and in the surrounding townships. It was a great honor for me to get the opportunity to offer humble service to the Vaishnavas here, and I felt greatly inspired to witness so many wonderful aspects of community development being established.
On my arrival at the Baltimore airport on the 1st of May I was welcomed by Nila Madhava Prabhu who serves as the president of the temple. He also works as an anaesthetist in one of the hospitals, and in order to have time to associate he freed himself from his work for half the day. If the leaders are eager to associate, then our efforts as traveling preachers may fall on fertile grounds....
It was my first visit to Phoenix, the capital city of the desert state of Arizona. On my arrival on the 24th of April I was affectionately welcomed and comfortably accommodated in the spacious residency of my godsister Mother Syama Mohini and her good husband, who live in the quiet outskirts of the city. From the window of my room I had a beautiful view onto the mountains and open semi-arid plains.
The vegetation is rather different here - Krishna is offering us such a variety of species of life in which we can take birth on this planet earth! Rather astounding! He never seems to run out of ideas and often displays a good sense of humor.
I was excited to have the opportunity to visit New Vrindavan - one of the most prominent and famous communities within ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada had visited here several times, encouraging the devotees to establish a rural community on the basis of "simple living high thinking". And in order to glorify our beloved Srila Prabhupada, they had built a beautiful Palace of Gold for him, which has now become a very popular tourist attraction.
It was a great honor and pleasure for me to visit Dallas temple - one of the first temples which Srila Prabhupada established in the United States. It used to be a church - now transformed into the palace of Sri Sri Radha Kalachandji, Lord Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra, and Gaur Nitai. The temple room is arranged in royal style, and Their Lordships receive a high standard of worship with opulent dresses and jewelry.
My tour around the United States began in Houston where ISKCON has a very beautiful temple - the abode of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Nilamadhava, Gaur Nitai and Giriraja. I had visited this community also last year, and it was nice to meet all the devotees again. Sri Sri Radha Nilamadhava with Their big round faces and most extraordinarily beautiful outfits are so charming to the heart.....!
On my arrival I could give my body a couple of days' rest in order to adjust to the different climate and time zone.
On my arrival in Cologne on the 28th of March I was invited to speak at a house program in Dhara Mataji's home. She regularly arranges very wonderful programs with excellent prasadam, and she knows the art of bringing in new people from her yoga- and cooking classes. And the atmosphere is always very personal and cozy.
I arrived in Zagreb one day before Gaur Purnima - just in time to tune in for the festival day. In some ways I do prefer to be outside of India for our main Vaishnava festivals - as a preacher we have more opportunities to serve, and also the mood and atmosphere is somewhat sweeter, deeper and more intimate when not so many pilgrims are attending the program.
On my arrival in Cologne/Germany on the 11th of March, I had a couple of days' break to adjust to being back in Europe. Even though both places - India and Europe - are so familiar to me, nevertheless it is always a bit of a culture shock which requires some little adjustment within the mind to overcome the feeling of separation from Mayapur.
The last highlight of my time in Mayapur was the annual program of our Institute for Spiritual Culture, which we conducted on the 3rd of March. This year the overall theme was "The Glories of Our Mothers", bringing attention to the importance of the seven mothers which Krishna has given us. The guest speakers were HH Krishna Kshetra Maharaja, HH Bhakti Vidya Purna Maharaja, HH Bhakti Rasamrita Maharaja, Her Grace Rukmini Devi Dasi and Her Grace Prabhupada-priya Devi Dasi.
Devaki Devi Dasi's Traveling Diary
Devaki Devi Dasi is sharing her realizations and adventures in her Traveling Diary. Welcome to relish this nectar!