World Holy Name Week celebrated the 50th anniversary of ISKCON this year in style, running for closer to two-and-a-half weeks, from July 28th to August 14th.
The celebration, organized by Lokanath Swami, Janananda Goswami, and Ekalavya Das, included several key sacred days throughout its run, including the disappearance days of Sri Raghunandana Thakura and Sri Vamsidasa Babaji.
Most notably it included the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of ISKCON in New York on July 28th, and the 50th anniversary of the first public Harinam Sankirtan in the Western World, on August 14th.
Forty-four World Holy Name Week events were reported from around the world for the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada, with the majority in India, where the celebration has really taken hold.
Everywhere, devotees performed public harinamas and 12- and 24-hour kirtans, held japathons and special Holy Name-themed classes and seminars, and distributed Prabhupada’s books and prasadam. Some held fifty hours of kirtan in celebration of ISKCON’s 50th anniversary.
Chanting with school children in Beed, Maharashtra
Many centers in India came up with unique ways of celebrating the Holy Name. In Beed, Maharashtra, devotees conducted multiple school programs with up to 500 children at a time, doing Harinama Sankirtan and Bhagavad-gita discussion sessions. They also held a week-long Mahamantra “Japathon” during which around 800 extra rounds were chanted.
In Noida, Uttar Pradesh, teams of devotees encouraged park-goers across the city to chant one round of the Hare Krishna mantra on beads. In Solapur, they organized a Harinama Hundi, or charity, and planted fifty trees on the temple premises. In Nagpur, a Harinama was held in a city center mall, and in Geeta Colony, Delhi mantra meditation sessions were conducted at a local park.
Meanwhile in Rohini, Delhi, Mayapur Gurukula students conducted a fire yajna and organized 64-round japa sessions. In Aravade, the top three chanters for the week were given a special gift on Janmastami day. In Pune, devotees held programs at five of the city’s major schools, with kirtan, classical dances and dramas, short classes and Prasad. They also designed rangolis in their temple illustrating Srila Prabhupada’s life and achievements.
In Belgaum, the congregation launched a 365-village preaching program for ISKCON 50 at the beginning of 2016, and had covered over 250 targeted villages by World Holy Name Week. In Surat, kirtan programs were held at devotees’ and community members’ workplaces. And in Vrindavan, Krishna Balarama Mandir temple president Panchagauda Das led a Hare Krishna Mantra rock band, accompanied by his mini-orchestra and other Vaishnavas.
Devotees (set up at left) hold Harinama Sankirtan at a mall in Nagpur, while shoppers dance
Outside India, in Mauritius devotees held five days of ten-hour kirtans at the Sri Sri Krishna Balarama Mandir in Bon Accueil, and celebrated Rathayatra at Goodlands and a three-day Padayatra in the South of the Island.
In Singapore, the congregation dedicated their evenings after work for ten days to chanting the Holy Name. They also held three days of 12-hour public Harinamas, bringing the total to over fifty hours of chanting.
In New Zealand, teams of devotees went out on Harinama all over the country. And in Perth, Australia, the public were introduced to techniques of Mantra Meditation at a local community center. There was also a kirtan to celebrate ISKCON’s incorporation on July 28th, and a film screening about the life and contributions of Srila Prabhupada. Finally on August 14th, a special Harinama was held in the Perth Central Business District to commemorate the first ever Harinama Sankirtan in the West.
The World Holy Name Week team also helped support the global Internet outreach effort of Fortunate People (http://fortunate-people.com/), where devotees submit videos of people chanting Hare Krishna on the street. So far 9,735 “chants” have been gathered. The campaign continues to reach 50,000 chants.
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For more individual reports on World Holy Name Week, please visit: http://worldholyname.org/
World Holy Name Week 2017 will be held from September 1st to 12th. So now’s the time to start coming up with creative plans for your temple or community!
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