DS Germany tour 2 day 1: Schloss
Devamrita Swami spent the night at my old home in Germany. He suggested I should take a course in lawyer's rhetoric for making a presentation and arguing. I need to learn negotiation and cynicism: to size up the opposition and get what you want (this was right after having been chewed up and spat out at yet another PhD interview).
Another idea: sales training. Salesmen need to anticipate possible objections, never say something one could answer 'no" to.
While at my parents' house he saw a picture of my playing the cello. He said:
"I didn't know you played the cello, you should play it in kirtan. Use all skills in Krishna's service."
He then also saw a picture of my sailin a boat:
"I didn't know you sailed, when was that?"
In the morning he visited expert physiotherapist who had been practicing for 27 years to treat his whiplashed neck. "There is a definite difference between a good physiotherapist and an ordiany masseure", the physiotherapist explained. "The physio has much more knowledge of how the body works". This guy loved his job and spent 30 minutes loosening the Gurus stiff neck.
DS continued to ask lots of questions about the event from various pictures of me my parents have all over the house. My graduation, sailing, my playing musical instrument, etc.
He appreciated the quiet area/house. I served Gurudeva an all-organic breakfast: apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries, millet with raw sugar and maple syrup. I found German food to be very high quality, much more so than in the UK. Or, maybe it's just what my body is used to from growing up there.
We went to briefly visit Schloss Rettershof. It is now a hotel, but 20 years ago it was a huge Hare Krishna centre. The devotees used to have 17 Mercedes sankirtan mini-vans with which travelling sankirtan parties used to fan out over the surrounding area every week. Everyone gathered back at the Schloss (castle) on Sunday for the Sunday Feast.
During this time GM was using Schloss Rettershof as a base to travel into Eastern Europe, communist Russia, and so on. Thus he wanted to see his old home once again.
Once when Srila Prabhupada visited Germany the devotees made a huge advertizing campaign to publicize his arrival. They had the idea to print and put up posters everywhere, announcing: "der F? 1/4 hrer kommt!" (the leader is coming), with a picture of Prabhupada under the writing. Of course, the word F? 1/4 hrer was commonly used to refer to Hitler. As one might imagine, the campaign caused quite a commotion and outcry. However, as a result thousands of curious people came to observe Prabhupada. The streets leading up to the temple were lined wall-to-wall for miles with curious people eager to catch a glimpse of the strange Indian "F? 1/4 hrer".
Gurudeva mentioned that my flat was very nice as a transfer location when switching continents (when jetlagged to the max). He said (mercifully) that my cooking skills were increasing. He especially liked my pasta salad. There is also quite a lot to be said for good facilities, large external computer monitor, high-speed wireless Internet, rebounder, quiet location, good prasadam.
Dina Sharana met and accompanied us on our trip to Weimar. She is the new Euro GBC for Germany. She talked a lot about the revival of ISKCON Germany. An endless task that she is working very hard to accomplish. Devamrita Swami jokingly calls her the Kaiserin (Empress).