Devotees from Sri Mayapur temple on a chanting procession in the streets of Krishnanagara, West Bengal, India
Mayapur ISKCON devotees took their seventy-strong devotional chanting party, complete with sacred food to distribute, to Krishnanagar this April 26. The town is the administrative head quarters of Nadia District in West Bengal, and is famous as the place where Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura worked as a magistrate while re-discovering Navadvipa’s holy places.
As ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupada directed his disciples to distribute food to everyone in a 10-mile radius of his Mayapur center, the devotees brought over 5,000 sweets to hand out to the people of Krishnanagar.
The Nagar Sankirtana chanting party, led by Mayapur department head Shastra Dasa, also tested out their new state-of-the-art PA system in public for the first time. The $2,000 piece of equipment was donated by Malaysian devotee Madhuri Madhumba dasi, who had been inspired by Srimati dasi’s popular seminar “Let’s Make Friends With the Holy Name.”
“I was praying that I would be able to help your chanting party get first class equipment to bring out its sound in the best possible quality,” Srimati told Shastra Dasa. “When the chanting and quality of the sound is sweet, it’ll be appreciated by all, but if not, people may criticize the bad quality sound and inadvertently put down the sacred chanting.” Srimati’s prayers were answered when she met Madhuri Madhumba, who happily agreed to sponsor the new mixers, echo machine, imported 500-watts speakers and high-end amplification.
The Nagar Sankirtana chanting party was an energetic affair, with Shastra’s youngest son Krishna dasa Kaviraja dasa spinning around with his accordion, and singing the popular tunes of ISKCON vocalist Sri Prahlad in his own style.
Shastra’s second son Hari-Narayana dasa upped the ante with his multiple front flips and other acrobatic displays at the front of the procession. Other devotees distributed food and wielded colorful signs and standards featuring sacred symbols, while everyone jumped and danced for all they were worth, holding Krishnanagar spellbound for three hours.
A local power failure forced store owners out of their stiflingly hot shops onto the street, where they breathed fresh air and watched the chanting, spellbound.
A well-dressed businessman pushed through the crowd to tell Shastra dasa, “If you keep this program running, your religion will take over Krishnanagar in a few months. I am a born Christian but I love and appreciate this aspect of Hinduism.”
The Mayapur devotees have every intention of keeping up their Nagar Sankirtana. Now at a solid thirty-two members, the chanting party continues to regularly visit many local villages by foot, boat, and bus distributing sacred food, pamphlets, and the holy name of God.