While it may not have been possible to travel and visit temples because of the ongoing pandemic amid further lockdowns, I have consistently urged that we should transform our homes into temples. Although the usual festivities of a blissful Gaur Purnima was not possible, I am certain that you were able to engage in wonderful devotional service to Gauranga Mahaprabhu within your own homes.
This is an exceptional issue in many ways. First, I am extremely pleased to report that the ISKCON Kirtan Ministry worked in conjunction with the Mayapur Festival Team to host the very first onground and online Mayapur Kirtana Mela. The onground mela showcased kirtaniyas who were resident in Mayapur, and the online version which was held daily from 10 pm IST to 10 am IST, gave access to all the international kirtaniyas to participate in their favourite Kirtan Mela from the comfort of their own homes.
The second significant moment captured in this edition is that 2021 marks the golden anniversary of the historic Hare Krishna Festival at Cross Maidan in Bombay in 1971. Fifty years on, the rapid expansion of ISKCON continues and the vision of Srila Prabhupada at the Cross Maidan festival, his relentless appeal to the citizens of Bombay to rekindle their love of Krishna, now closer to fulfilment, with India having 150 temples which is the highest density of ISKCON centres in the world!
Thirdly, the vision of the ISKCON Kirtan Ministry is to present a holistic approach to chanting the holy names of the Lord. With this in mind our Ekadasi Sravana Kirtana Festival extended its vision to delve deeper into the meaning of Vaisnava bhajans, and to provide creative techniques to enhance our chanting endeavours. Please do take full advantage of the most instructive japa retreat session with Mahatma Prabhu.
In this edition, there is coverage of the Vrindavan Kumbha mela with Uttar Pradesh Padayatra. Immerse yourself in the reporting of this spectacular festival on the banks of the glorious Yamuna River.
Finally, the review by the International Kirtan Band “The Mayapur Vasis” is sure to overwhelm you with their impressive tour of Gujarat. This group has been touring all around India for almost seven years. Read further how the outstanding three day Kirtan Mela organised by Govardhan Bhakti Centre in Bangladesh on the auspicious occasion of Gaura Purnima had audiences completely inspired to sing and dance like never before.
All of humanity has a basic duty to become responsible citizens. This essentially means to evolve into pure devotees of the Lord, which is the ultimate duty of each one of us. It is hoped that the impact of this personal devotion will have a ripple effect on your family, friends and the community. This devotion can only be achieved by continuous prayer of the maha-mantra. This is the only way.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
ISKCON Kirtan Minister
~ Purport on Srimad Bhagavatam 4.24.7
The period 25 March – 4 April 1971 marked the golden jubilee of Srila Prabhupada’s historic and undoubtedly most memorable Hare Krishna Festival at Cross Maidan in Bombay. In an endeavour to mark this watershed event in ISKCON’s history, ISKCON Kirtan Ministry organised several activities to relive the event.
Each day was a concerted effort to reconstruct the festival mood. The exact lectures given by Srila Prabhupada went viral across the globe. Dramatic readings of excerpts from books yet again captured the ambience of this festival through rich descriptions. Archival material was unearthed to relive the exactness and details of the milieu of this festival, Srila Prabhupada’s strong, forceful bhajans, voice overs and commentaries on virtual tours and photographs, were daily inspirations that rekindled fond remembrances of this momentous event at Cross Maidan, from crowd reactions to the dancing and kirtan on stage, the marriage and initiation ceremonies, to Srila Prabhupada’s instructive and insightful lectures.
The grand finale, and the culmination of the program on 4 April 2021 included, Giriraj Swami, Radhanath Swami, Lokanath Swami, Shyamasundara Dasa, Gurudas Dasa, Vegavan Dasa, Yadubara Dasa, Kshudi Dasa and Visakha Dasi, who glorified Srila Prabhupada and recalled with much love Srila Prabhupada’s pioneering initiatives to launch the movement in India and to rekindle love of Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
~ Radha Prema Devi Dasi
The International Kirtan Band “The Mayapurvasis” had been touring all around India for almost 7 years, and now it was time for them to finally bring the ecstatic wave of kirtan from its birthplace in Sridham Mayapur to the feet of Their Lordships Sri Sri Rukmini Dwarkadish, in Their kingdom, Gujarat!
Singing for the Lord, dancing and feasting is what the tours are usually all about, and in so doing bringing the message of peace and love to every town and village. But in Gujarat, there were many exceptional places of pilgrimage and so many holy places such as; Prabhas Kshetra, Somnath, Porbandar and the Golden city, Dwarka.
Performing Harinam Sankirtan together with so many devotees was ecstatic after one whole year of pandemic isolation. The band travelled along the coastline to the different cities performing Harinam Sankirtan. Porbandar, the home of Sudama Brahmana, the intimate friend of Lord Krishna was the next stop. This is also one of the most important tirthas of Lord Shiva, the magnificent Somnath on the shores of the Arabian Sea. Moving out we visited the city of Bhavnagar with their enthusiastic congregation and took darshan of the most wonderful Jagannath, Baladev, Subhadra Deities.
At last the Mayapurvasis made their way back to Ahmedabad after a long journey, just in time for the Gaura Purnima festival at the ISKCON Goshala farm in Kathwada, a small village on the outskirts of the city.
~ Ladali Radhika Devi Dasi
The three day Kirtan Mela started from 25 March and on 28 March there was a celebration of Gauranga Mahaprabhu Abhishek on the auspicious day of Gaura Purnima Festival.
The following are a few highlights of this most successful event:
This event turned out to be a wonderful spontaneous offering, as it was planned only ten days prior to the event. Our heartfelt gratitude to all the Kirtan Facilitators and chanters who joined in this special offering to celebrate the auspicious day of Gaura Purnima. Special thanks goes to HG Brajaraj Krishna Dasa, Director of Govardhan Bhakti Centre, who was the main initiator of this event.
~ Rasika Govardhan Dasa
Altars of Govardhan Bhakti Center
Radha Madan Gopal Namhatta, Badda, Dhaka
Radha Krishna Jiu Temple, Hajoganj, Chandpur
Bhakta Shadan Paul & team Kaliakoir, Gazipur
Damodar Gopal Namhatta, Kuril
HG Charu Chandra Das Brahmachari, General Secretary, ISKCON Bangladesh
Victory was ours! Vijaya Ekadasi fulfilled the aim of ISKCON Kirtan Ministry’s Ekadasi Sravan Kirtan Festival - making it a household event and the number of live views surpassed all other Ekadasi festivals. Following our normal format, the program on both the Ekadasis was split into two 3-hour sessions, 12 hours apart.
We had an amazing group of participants. Nanda Kumar Dasa from Dubai, who is known for his classical based absorbing kirtans. Vibhava Krishna Prabhu very kindly set the mood by reading from Sri Namamrta and guided the devotees in chanting of the holy names. Swarupa Damodar Prabhu, for his melodious kirtans and his powerful session on the importance of the holy names and Acyuta Gopi Devi Dasi for her prayers and meditations need no introduction. They are both internationally renowned and regulars on ISKCON Kirtan Ministry events. Bhakti Anugraha Janardana Swami joined us from Vancouver and of course, last but not least, our very own Kirtan Minister, Lokanath Swami Maharaja whose japa talk and kirtan should never be missed.
Amongst our normal line-up, there were two major highlights on Amalaki Vrata Ekadasi on 25 March. There was the one hour exclusive japa retreat with Mahatma Prabhu and the exclusive sessions on Vaisnava bhajans with Amarendra Prabhu. The session with Mahatma Prabhu delved deep into the wandering mind during chanting. A highly appreciated interactive class which ended way too soon. Amarendra Prabhu on the other hand shed light on the meaning of Radhe jaye jaye madhav dayite and four more Vaisnava bhajans.
~ Dinanukampa Devi Dasi
For the first time ever, ISKCON Kirtan Ministry collaborated with Kirtan Mela Mayapur Team to present 108hrs of Non-stop Onground and Online kirtan. With the vision and conceptualization of HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaja and HH Lokanath Swami Maharaja, this was, by far, one of the most beautiful offerings for the pleasure of HDG AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada on his 125th Birth Anniversary.
~ Govind Charan Dasa
The Slokarship team invited ISKCON's Kirtan Ministry Minister Lokanath Swami to join the Level 4 group on March 8th. During a blissful session, Maharaja expressed his enthusiasm for the Slokarship Unlimited program telling the group of over twenty participants that they are all affiliated members of the Kirtan Ministry.
He said Sanskrti means culture and described the Sanskrit language as, "Sarvah bhasanam janani" or the mother of all languages. It is spoken in the spiritual sky and at one time everyone spoke Sanskrit bhasanam.
Lokanath Swami also gave instructions on the five focal points of Sanskrit pronunciation, i.e. kanthya, talavaya, murdhanya, dantya and osthya. He kindly listened to everyone recite a sloka and was pleased with the excellent pronunciation within the shloka group.
~ Sakhyarasa Prema Dasa
In February, as the Uttar Pradesh Padayatra was passing through villages around Lucknow, we were invited to Vrindavan for the Kumbha-mela by retired All-India Padayatra leader, Sanak Sanatana Dasa.
The Uttar Pradesh Government had also made very satisfactory arrangements for those attending the Kumbha-mela festival, which began with a flag hoisting ceremony. Many tents were pitched along the banks of the Yamuna, one of them being the large ISKCON tent. An attractive gate was constructed at the entrance to the tent with photographs of Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar welcoming the devotees. Our chariot was parked right outside the gate with our oxen in the shade, so that whoever visited the tent or walked nearby could have darshan of Their Lordships and our majestic oxen.
During sankirtan we distributed Lokanath Maharaja’s book, Kumbha- The Festival of Immortality, that captures the celebration of the Kumbha-mela at Prayag, Nasik, Haridwar and Ujjain.
Gopal Krishna Maharaja joined sankirtan, sang and on request drove the cart. When Bhakta Raghunath took over, Maharaja patted his back saying, “You are a very nice driver.” Raghunath was delighted by Maharaja’s blessings.
Book Distribution Scores:
500 Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 2 sets of Srimad-Bhagavatam, 3 sets of Prabhupada-Lilamrta, 1700 Kumbha, The Festival of Immortality and 600 small books.
~ Ritudvipa Gaurachandra Dasa
~ Madhavi Gauri Devi Dasi
Top Ten Rankers of Mar 2021
Top Four Rankers of Mar 2021
Ram Lila Devi Dasi
Shitalangi Radha Devi Dasi
Vaikuntesvar Das Siromani Gopika Devi Dasi
Rakhi Ganesh Kumar
Kamada Ekadasi Sravana-Kirtana Festival
~ Mahatma Dasa