By Vamsidhar dasa, President ISKCON Noida
World Holy Name Festival was celebrated at ISKCON centres worldwide on September 10-23. Many different preaching activities were held and the devotees in the Delhi satellite city of Noida decided we would have a one-day padayatra. Padayatra is the best preaching activity – we walk and sankirtan goes on continuously, and as people hear they come out and listen to the maha mantra and enquire: “From where have you all come? What is the mission of the sankirtan party?”
Padayatra started from Sector 34’s Jagannath temple and as we walked towards Noida’s Govinda Dham temple several of the padayatris were engaged distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books. Many congregation devotees and ISKCON Girls’ Forum and ISKCON Youth Forum members were also in the procession. We had Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar on one chariot followed by Krishna and Balaram on another chariot. The Lordships had come to give darshan to the people.
The police had not been informed of our intentions and when they heard the kirtan they came and told us not to walk in a group but to keep a safe distance from each other. We immediately accepted their instructions; the devotees were just grateful to have relief from the Covid-19 situation which had prevented all outdoor preaching activities. The kirtan continued for about three hours as we distributed 2000 small plates of prasadam and our youth distributed 500 small books, endearing the public with their selfless service.
I would like to thank Cakrapani Caitanya dasa for taking care of the oxen for the chariot, Sevananda Pandit for the decoration of the chariot, Bajrangi dasa for cooking delicious prasadam, Radhakunda dasa for his explosive heart-of-the-padayatra kirtan team, Shyam Gopal dasa for prasadam distribution, and Abhimanyu dasa for advance party seva. Without these devotees our padayatra would not have been successful.
I also thank our spiritual master, Lokanath Maharaja, who always keeps us inspired.