I stayed with these ladies for 10 days and had a wonderful time, giving class every morning and on the weekends offering various programs in the nearby temple and Indian congregation.
I was truly impressed by the solid training these brahmacarinis receive by running their own show in such a disciplined way. They get practical experience in almost all spheres of devotional life: cooking, cleanliness, sankirtan, leading kirtans, offering classes and presentations, coordinating and managing things, planning and budgeting, all the while cultivating a good standard of chastity and dress code, and above all: regulated and strict sadhana.
I also came to know that Maharaja has established a good mentorship program and a matchmaking committee with a rather strict courting system - something which not every community has! The rules during the period of association are solid: The candidates never meet alone but always in the presence of a third person, and there is no question of staying overnight together at another devotees' or parents' home, or living already together before marriage. It was refreshing for me to witness such good care and training while setting clear boundaries to maintain our Vaishnava culture and principles - in a Western country such as New Zealand...!
When the time came to bid farewell, the girls offered me a huge farewell card with cartoon-like drawings depicting each and every ashram-girl, with sweet words of gratitude and appreciation. Our hearts had been moved...!
On the 28th of July I flew on to Sydney...
Your servant, Devaki dd