By Acarya Dasa
Srila Prabhupada’s greatest desire is to propagate the chanting of the Holy Names all over the world. During Srila Prabhupada’s Centennial held in the year 1996, the Governing Body Commission (GBC) of ISKCON established ‘World Holy Names Day’ to commemorate Srila Prabhupada’s arrival anniversary in the West. The ‘World Holy Names Week’ celebrations enthuses and inspires devotees all over the world. Just as one boils milk continuously to make it thick and tasty, devotees chant on a regular basis a fixed number of rounds. But during World Holy Name Week, we chant extra rounds to please the Lord and Srila Prabhupada. This year we celebrated from the 9th to the 17th of September.
The power of saṅkīrtana
The Caitanya Bhagavat Adi-khanda Chapter 16 text 281 says:
japile shri-krishna-nama apane se tare
ucca-sankirtane para upakara kare
“If one silently chants the names of Krishna, then he is delivered; but if one loudly chants, then he delivers others also.”
Saṅkīrtana delivers every person who hears the Holy Names. As pāda-yātris that’s the only thing we do every day; our day starts and ends with saṅkīrtana.
Chapter16 text 274 also states:
uccaih shata-gunam bhavet
“If one loudly chants the Holy Names of the Lord, he obtains one hundred times more benefit than by chanting softly or remembering the Holy Names.”
Whether we walk in towns, villages or on the streets wherever we go we chant the Holy Names loudly, spreading the mercy of Lord Caitanya. Every day is a Holy Names celebration and it is coupled with book distribution. So, we chant and we distribute books which explain the importance of chanting.
Celebrations in Kasaragod
We were in the district of Kasaragod, Kerala during World Holy Names week. On pāda-yātrā we wake up at 2am to chant our rounds, afterward we have a morning program with mangala ārati followed by saṅkīrtana. That week we focused on the glories of the Holy Names for the morning classes and preaching programs and we performed saṅkīrtana for 2 hours daily. Bhakti Vinod Maharaj walked with us for two days. He distributed books and inspired us to chant more and distribute more books; his presence gave us strength. We also held shoba yatra in all the cities and towns we visited.
We joined the Janmastami celebrations in Bovikanam with many people dancing with us in saṅkīrtana and chanting. We inspired them to chant the Holy Names for world peace.
In Vadakara, the problems we faced with the local police disappeared when they heard the Holy Names and honored prasādam with us. They became so favorable towards pāda-yātrā they accompanied us through dangerous areas of the town to have saṅkīrtana. They purchased books from us and we gave japa mala to whoever attended the mangala arati and they vowed to continue chanting.
By the mercy of Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev we distributed more than 2,500 books during that auspicious week.
Srila Prabhupada said:
“Any person who is chanting the Holy Names of Krishna in course of time feels transcendental pleasure and very quickly becomes purified of all material contamination.”
We did our best during Holy Names week to encourage people to chant. Whatever we accomplished was due to the causeless mercy of Guru and Gauranga. Nothing is possible without their mercy, we were only their instruments.
All glories to the Holy Names!
All glories to the World Holy Names Week Celebrations!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!