The world is replete with so many calamities – an unstoppable pandemic, political unrest, riots and even an escalating war between countries. Against all of this adversity, Kirtan World is a one stop newsletter carrying only inspiration and bliss from all over the world.
Chanting Hare Krishna always plays a prominent role during any ISKCON function because it forms the core of the devotees’ spiritual practice. So, it was no surprise that Latin America and the Carribean countries in the West and Malaysia in the East held festivals celebrating the holy names of the Lord. Latin America’s first ever impressive online kirtan event incorporated all the countries in that region that eagerly awaited their turn to participate in this 12-hour event. Malaysia on the other hand had youth in the age group 15 - 30 awakening their natural love for Krishna on the auspicious day of Narasimha Caturdasi. Graced by HH Lokanath Swami, the overwhelming viewership and responses noted that this was one of the most extraordinary celebrations in their lives.
This edition is an extra special read because one gets a sense of internationality of Krishna consciousness drawing from the East, West and one of the southern most countries of the world, South Africa.
2021 marks the 125th Birth Anniversary of Srila Prabhupada, Founder-acarya of ISKCON and this is a year-long celebration. There are so many innovative ways in which this anniversary can be celebrated and for the very first time, ISKCON Cape Town is on the Kirtan World map. The devotees of ISKCON Cape Town offered Srila Prabhupada a 125 kilometre walk around one of the most popular and scenic tourist destinations in South Africa. Srila Prabhupada had created a path for all of us to walk back home, back to Krishna! Devotees from ISKCON Cape Town felt that the perfect way to show Srila Prabhupada their appreciation was to walk through various towns singing the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
ISKCON Kirtan Ministry’s Ekadasi Sravana-kirtana Festival continues to reach new heights and it is a significant reminder to fill this day of Hari by participating in this festival and getting closer to the Lord. The sublime pastimes, melodious kirtan, eloquent talks, Vaisnava bhajans, inspirational retreats and Sanskrit learning sessions arouses the soul on these special days.
India has been really hard hit by the current pandemic and while online kirtan and classes have increased considerably, our Padayatras have been adversely affected. Delve into the miraculous arrangement by the Lord who came to the rescue of Uttar Pradesh Padayatra by providing them a roof over their heads when all movement was restricted.
Do join the Fortunate People Campaign - Prayers for humanity. Film yourself and of course others as well chanting the maha-mantra just once. Go to the official Fortunate People website, upload your video and your prayer becomes a Prayer for humanity. It is that simple.
In this bulletin, I take this opportunity to remember a most wonderful and inspirational devotee who has gone back to Krishna - Padmavati Devi Dasi. She became the Hare Krishna face on the streets throughout Holland. Without fail, irrespective of rain or shine, she would make videos of people chanting the maha-mantra on the streets. Attracted by her purity and gentleness many people cooperated with her. She shared such videos daily and was as source of inspiration to us all. We will miss you, Dear Padmavati Devi!
Our regular features - upcoming events, inspirational moments, japa affirmation, and interesting facts promises to keep you inspired. We invite and encourage you to participate in the different ongoing activities co-ordinated by the ISKCON Kirtan Ministry team, especially the Ekadasi Sravana-Kirtana Festival. Kirtan World hopes to enthuse, encourage, educate and address aspects of your spiritual growth in every issue.
I will leave you with some nectarean nourishment in the form of the meanings of the first four words of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra:
“Hare! O Hari, steal my mind and deliver me from bondage to this material world.
Krishna! O Krishna, attract my mind.
Hare! O Hari! Capture my mind with the sweetness of Your name, form and pastimes.
Krishna! O Krishna! Send me the association of Your devotees who will purify my mind through instructions about Your devotional service.” (Gopal Guru Goswami)
~ Srimad Bhagavatam 5.19.24
"Ksraum", or "Narasimha lullaby" is a contemporary devotional single by Sanskrit Strings, featuring the beautiful South Indian poem Narasimha astakam, sung with melodious accompaniment of grand piano and electric guitar.
Every verse of the poem unveils before us Lord Narasimha, in most exquisite, sweet- sounding, and alluring Sanskrit poetry format. The intense devotional fervor of its author, Paramahamsa Yati Jiyar, can be felt in every word, every phrase of the prayer.
In one verse Hiranyakasipu's blood on Narasimha's chest is compared to kunkum powder decorating it, in another the words extol the Lord as a forest fire that burns the sins of His devotees to ashes, and in another captivating verse, there is a compelling call for Narasimha to appear in the last moment of the author's life, riding on Garuda along with His consort Rama.
So, immerse yourself in this nectarean meditation on Lord Narasimha with this lyrical video (with meaning in captions) where on the piano you can savour an amazing form of Lord Yoga Narasimha, who self-manifested in Mulbagal, Karnataka, to Aksobhya Tirtha, a sannyasi of the Madhva sampradaya.
Jaya Sri Nasimhadeva, Jaya Prahlada Maharaja, Jaya Srila Prabhupada!
~ Nityananda Dasa (Latvia / Gujarat)
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No words can express how grateful we are to HH Lokanath Maharaja for joining our small gathering of kirtaniyas online from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.
At the end of the 7-day Kirtan Fest, from the 18 to 24 May, we had reached over 11,000 people with the kirtans. On 25th May alone, the Zoom session with Lokanath Maharaja had reached over 1,000 people.
We received many responses from devotees on how this was the best Nrsimha Caturdasi day they have ever celebrated because we were all blessed. The class Lokanath that Maharaja gave us on Sankirtana Yajna was especially motivational to all the committees and especially the kirtaniyas.
The majority of our kirtaniyas are between the young adult age 15 to 30 years and were deeply inspired by the lecture. We will take up any excuse to perform Kirtan. We hope to overcome the constriction of individualism and to unite souls all over the planet through Krishna Consciousness.
Since the most successful online session on the 25 May, we have started to plan ahead for a mega-kirtan for Janmastami as well. This time we are planning for a whole Southeast Asia Sankirtana Yajna ensemble, which promises to be grand in every respect,
In the meantime, we will be continuing with our kirtan activities, by performing Kirtan Lounges every Saturday. We are also planning to perform kirtans on every Ekadasi with our Malaysian Kirtaniyas.
~ The Kirtan Johor Committee, Devapriya Devi Dasi, Tulasi Maharani Devi Dasi, Bhaktas Vignishvar, Tejaashvini, Nivashnie Nair, Roshinie Naaidu, and Phuspitaa Naaidu
Varuthini Ekadasi began with a talk by Lokanath Swami, narrating a sublime pastime of the meeting, and dialogue between Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya, who is Visakha Sakhi as per the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition. Towards the end of his talk Maharaja sang a moving Vaisnava bhajan “je anilo prema dhana” in Pankajanghri Prabhu’s blessed memory. This was followed by 30 minutes of melodious Hare Krsna kirtan sung by Rai Radhika Mataji from Delhi in truly ecstatic tunes.
Bhakti Vinod Swami next shared his heartfelt personal realisations on the glories of the holy names, and encouraged us to allow the holy name to permeate our existence, in sharing powerful references from sastraa. The last talk for the day was given by Mahadevi Mataji, who spoke eloquently on the glories of Ekadasi, the do’s and don’ts, and the enormous spiritual benefits as instructed by Lord Krsna to Maharaja Yudhistira.
The second 3-hour session started the next day with Sri Vallabha Prabhu rekindling the mood and mission of Srila Prabhupada, by singing and explaining a special 1965 Vaisnava bhajan composed by Srila Prabhupada aboard the Jaladuta. Prana Govinda Prabhu’s second session on Harinama-Tattva, exemplified the importance of chanting Hare Krsna, which must also be accompanied by hearing the glories of the holy name and Hari-Katha. This is to ensure a complete and perfect outcome, as mentioned by our previous Acaryas. The session closed with melodious Gaudiya Vaisnava bhajans by Agnideva Prabhu in traditional Bengali style.
On 23rd May, Mohini Ekadasi coincided with Dvadasi and Trayodasi, known as Trsprsa Vyanjula Mahadvadasi. This constitutes a rare and special combination, which when properly observed by fasting, bestows the result of keeping a thousand Ekadasis.
Sharing realisations from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s life, found in his books, the Harinama Cintamani and Bhakti Rahasya, the first day’s session of the Ekadasi Sravan and Kirtan Festival started with Amogha Lila Prabhu’s elaborate talk on the different stages of chanting the holy names that ultimately grant one Krsna-Prema. This was followed by Prana Govinda Prabhu’s third invaluable session on the topic of Nama Tattva expounding on Lord Caitanya’s teachings from Caitanya Caritamrta, on how the holy names are complete and non-different from Krishna. The next speaker was Bhakti Dhira Damodar Swami, whose impressive exposition on the glories of the Holy Name enlightened us on its effects when chanted. Maharaja performed beautiful kirtan enticing devotees to dance in absolute ecstasy.
The second day’s session began with lively kirtan by Bhakti Purushottama Swami who spoke on the mercy of the holy name, which can be chanted wherever, whenever and by whoever, with no qualifications required. He shared that the Hare Krsna Mahamantra has the special potency to give us the topmost perfection - Love of Krsna. With such power packed talks saturated with the glories and potency of the holy name, we next heard Mahaprabhu Caitanya Prabhu’s beautiful Hare Krsna bhajans for about 30 minutes. Nityananda Prabhu made a special performance explaining in detail the meanings of Nrsimha Astakam, playing a traditional Indian musical instrument called ‘ektara’ or ‘tumbi’ and sang Hare Krsna using a harmonium, concluding his session for the day.
Lastly, Mahadevi Mataji’s read about the immeasurable merits of Mohini Ekadasi, citing from Sastra, on how just by hearing and observing this Ekadasi, the once-sinful Dhrstabuddhi, the prodigal son of the merchant Dhanapala, became sinless, ultimately achieving a beautiful transcendental form, flying upon Garuda, the carrier of Vishnu, to the Lord's supreme abode.
Such amazing lessons and kirtan must surely inspire us to follow Ekadasi impeccably, to please the Lord and perfect our lives.The Ekadasi Sravana- Kirtana Festival is purposefully customised for our utmost spiritual benefit, packed with inspirational messages of Hari-Katha and chanting of the holy names to help fulfil the real purpose of Ekadasi.
~ Gauranga Dasa (UK)
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On May 22, an entire congregation of devotees gathered online to participate in the first event of online kirtan. This event attracted devotees from all over Latin America and Caribbean countries. The festivities began with a short talk by ISKCON GBC member for some Latin American and Caribbean countries, His Holiness Guru Prasad Maharaja who emphasized the importance of chanting the holy names of the Lord. He implored the devotees to enter into the spiritual, joyful mood of the kirtan.
The organization team consisted of an assorted group from different countries that were represented by Ananda Cinmayi Devi Dasi of El Salvador, Prestha Dasa of Mexico City, Hari Kirtan Dasa of Guyana, Jagannatha Ananda Das of Peru, Nicholas prabhu of Panama and Radha Govinda devi dasi of Panama. They worked for months coordinating the effort and took guidance from many devotees especially from the members of the Festival of the Holy Names of Alachua to make the program an impactful one.
The line up of 12 hour kirtan was an impressive, representing almost all the countries where ISKCON is existent, and each country eagerly awaited their turn to unite to chant the Hare Krishna maha mantra. The first kirtan was started with much energy by ISKCON Guyana which rendered the organizers to tears especially seeing their dream turn into reality and their many hours of services take this enchanting form. Strongly perceivable efforts were made by each country who outdid themselves in putting together their best setting for chanting, and whether it was a small family chanting or a whole group chanting the undeniable presence of sincerity was felt by everyone. Each kirtan was so dynamic that it inspired everyone to dance and sing.
Throughout the day, devotees streamed in online giving their positive feedback. Even when we experienced occasional connectivity glitches or poor video quality, this event received was an astounding amount of support. The Hare Krishna mantra continued to vibrate on the tongues of the devotees online creating a true feeling of connectivity, cooperation, and love among the devotees. Srila Prabhupada would have been proud to see the cooperative spirit that made this event so successful.
The Nama Sankirtan team feels energized to continue organizing future events that connect devotees of this part of the world forming a loving bond of devotees who might otherwise be grappling with maintaining Krishna consciousness given the struggling circumstances here. Many countries lack resources and are ridden with political or poverty issues, but by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada devotees continue to maintain the centers/temples with great wholeheartedness and love for His Divine Grace.
~ Radha Govinda Devi Dasi (Panama)
Nama Sankirtan in ISKCON Panama
Nama Sankirtan in ISKCON Peru
Nama Sankirtan in ISKCON Bolivia
Nama Sankirtan in ISKCON Caracas Venezuela
The pandemic has taught us how vital oxygen is to sustain life. It is time we realise the universal power of prayer which is the vital oxygen for the soul. We stand together as a united front, as brothers and sisters in humanity, as spirit-souls to effectively brace this challenge brought on by the pandemic.
In these difficult times an uplifted consciousness will help us wade our way through this intensly difficult period. As we move through the pandemic, we learn vital lessons, individually and collectively. We learn that success in this effort can only be achieved by invoking the love of God and compassion for the suffering.
Kindly continue doing all that is possible to help those who are suffering. You can join us in our collective prayer initiative alongside 200 thousand people who are already participating in this drive.
Simply offer your maha-mantra chant video to heal and uplift humanity at large.
How can you participate?
1) Film yourself chanting the maha mantra just once 2) Go to http://fortunate-people.com and add your video! Feeling enthusiastic to share? Upload your video on social media page with hashtags #prayersforhumanity #mahamantraprayer #lovepeaceworld Share this message out to your groups and circles on Messengers.
~ Shaktyavesha Avatara Dasa
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The Cape Peninsula is a mountain range that extends into the Atlantic ocean at the most south-western point of the African continent. With a handful of small towns decorating its coastline, the scene was set for a 125 kilometres of Harinama Sankirtan around the enchanting peninsula and the goal was to undertake this event within seven days..
Srila Prabhupada created path for all of us to walk. Walk where? Well, back home, back to Krishna, of course! In organizing this event, I felt that this was the perfect way to show Srila Prabhupada our appreciation for him in celebrating his 125th Birth Anniversary.
We set a date to begin the walk and shared our intentions with our humble community of devotees. There was an enthusiastic response from everyone and eventually when the day of departure arrived, for some reason I still ignorantly thought that I would be sent off to perform this yajna on my own. I thought that nobody would be brave enough to come with. Was I wrong! Up to 10 devotees, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, adorned with their comfortable running shoes were waiting outside the temple door, eager to start the first 20 kilometre stretch. At the start of this breathtaking event, I felt a deep sense of appreciation in my heart.
His Grace Medhavi Prabhu, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, started us off by singing Nrsimahadev prayers to invoke auspiciousness, and lead a sweet kirtan for the first kilometre before sending us off on our way. We finished our first day with broad smiles and tender feet.
The days that followed were far beyond all my expectations. At the end of each day I was left alone to appreciate the day's activities and the next morning I was met by rosy cheeked, cheerful devotees, ready to perform another full day of blissful singing of the Lord's sweet names with sincerity and zest. This created a wonderful mood through every town that we entered, some of which had not yet experienced the Happy Hare Krishnas.
On the final day, with 10 kilometres left to go, up to 25 devotees were fired up to complete the last leg. The energy among the devotees was unbelievable.
It is my fervent prayer that if Srila Prabhupada is pleased with our humble endeavours, he may empower us to perform many more kilometres of Harinama Sankirtan around South Africa.
~ Bhakta Jade (Cape Town, South Africa)
The maha-mantra for the birds and trees also
Admiring the scenic view from Chapmans Peak
The holy name in every town
Jade, Prema Lila Devi Dasi leading the happy Hare Krishna devotees
On April 29 we were in Aligarh where we performed nagar sankirtana in different areas of the city. The next day the advance party went searching for a “new home” for the coming days. We had heard some people discussing a pending lockdown in the district. This caused great concern and so many questions flooded our minds. Will it be like last year? Will the lockdown be for a week, a month or many months? Then there will be no sankirtana, no book distribution and no house programs. Padayatra will come to a standstill. The key question was also who will give us shelter for so many months?
With these troubling questions we again moved ahead. I saw a board ‘Hare Krishna college’ and was amazed to see a college with such a name. It was as if the Lord had heard our dilemma and was giving us the answers and solutions. The college is in Bhartrim a village in Lodha Tehsil inthe Aligarh District in Uttar Pradesh. As we moved inside, we met Mr K.S. Chavan, a retired police officer. His wife and son both are disciples of His Grace Kratu Prabhu. They are affiliated to Aligarh ISKCON centre. Mr. Chavan welcomed us. We enquired from him if we could possibly stay there during the pending lockdown period. He happily welcomed us. In fact, he was so helpful when he said, “You can stay here as long as you want.”
On May 1, we reached the college and we have been staying there since then. It is a big college. We parked the ratha in the courtyard of the college along with the trolley and tractor. Mr. Chavan brings vegetables for Their Lordships daily. Kanpur temple also provided us with some groceries. Last year during the lockdown we faced many problems, but this time the Lord was very merciful.
We regularly have our morning programs, japa session and Srimad Bhagavatam class. After that we complete our daily services, andafter honouring prasada we undertake self-study. In the evenings we perform Gaura arati. It is very discouraging to stay at one place. Even our oxen are restless. It becomes difficult for them to walk after a long stay at one place. We all like to keep moving ahead and spreading the glories of the holy name to every town and village. It is our daily prayer to Sri Sri Nitai Gaurasundara that this pandemic abates soon and so that we may resume our padayatra with normalcy.
~ Ritudvipa Gaurachandra Dasa (Padayatra leader)
Top Eight Rankers of June 2021
As this year marks the 125th Birth Anniversary of Our Founder-acarya HDG AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. ISKCON NVCC Pune would like to offer 125 hrs of 'Kirtan & Katha' for the pleasure of His Divine Grace starting 1st June'21. We request each and every one of you to be a part of this *Grand Offering* by either leading Kirtan &/or Katha OR by watching it Live. TIMINGS : Daily 7pm-9pm http://bit.ly/ISKCONPuneHarinaamSankirtan
~ HG Mahatma Dasa