World Holy Name Week (WHNW), first established in 2008, is increasing in popularity with forty-three ISKCON Centers worldwide in 2013 and over fifty last year putting on events designed to share, spread and become absorbed in the Holy Name of God.
This year organizers expect that number to skyrocket as many more join in a special extended WHNW in honor of the 50th anniversary of ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada’s arrival in the USA.
“We’re working closely with the ISKCON 50 Global Team to glorify Srila Prabhupada and the Holy Names,” says WHNW communications secretary Divyanam Das.
World Holy Name Week is running from Parsva Ekadasi on September 24th to the Vedic Calendar date – October 4th -- of Prabhupada’s arrival in Boston on the steamship Jaladuta. (Which differs from the September 17th Western calendar date)
Other holy days during WHNW include the appearance days of Lord Vamanadeva and Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura; the disappearance of the most famed chanter of Krishna’s names Haridas Thakura; and the occasion of Srila Prabhupada’s accepting sannyasa, the renounced order of life.
During the week temples and individuals are invited to participate in a myriad of different ways. They can hold 6-hour, 12-hour, and 24-hour kirtans or multiple-day Kirtan Melas. They can increase public Harinama Sankirtan on the streets, and chanting on beads in temples or at home. They can hold morning Bhagavatam classes emphasizing the importance of the Holy Names. And they can hold interfaith events on the topic of God’s Names, organize public kirtan programs, or set up japa booths encouraging new visitors to take up chanting the Holy Names.
Devotees are invited to get creative. In previous years, ISKCON members in Kiev, Ukraine took part in a Holy Name Retreat to counteract the effects of the war there. In Boston, USA, they chanted at a marijuana rally, wearing “Stay High Forever” t-shirts and encouraging people to find happiness through chanting rather than herbs. ISKCON Toronto in Canada held Harinamas in an open-topped double decker bus around the city. ISKCON Bali in Indonesia held beach Harinamas and offered musical workshops on kirtan instruments.
Meanwhile at ISKCON Pune in India, youth held a “biker Harinam,” traveling to different locations to chant on motorcycles equipped with Holy Name flags and banners. At ISKCON Chowpatty, around 52 congregational devotees chanted an unbelievable 192 rounds of japa on Haridas Thakur’s appearance day – chanting nonstop from 2am until 11pm. And Bhaktivedanta Manor in the UK topped the usual 12 or 24 hours and held a nonstop forty-hour kirtan.
This year, many temples across the world have already committed to daily street kirtans, Holy Name walks called padayatras, japathons of 64 rounds or more, Holy Name seminars, and public kirtan programs.
India, which saw twenty-seven centers participate last year, is heading the charge. But WHNW organizers hope that temples and individuals around the world will rise to the challenge and give India some transcendental competition.
“If the surface of the globe is over-flooded with the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, the people of the world will be very, very happy,” writes Srila Prabhupada in his purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.24.11.
“The purpose of World Holy Name Week is to establish Srila Prabhupada as an ambassador of the Holy Names,” says Divyanam Das. “He brought them to the western world not just for a group of people, but for anyone and everyone, regardless of race, nationality or religion. And sharing and spreading the Holy Names is an expression of our gratitude to Srila Prabhupada, as that is what he wanted from all his followers.”
All temples and individual devotees are encouraged to compile text and photo reports of their efforts during World Holy Name Week and to send them to the WHNW team, who will present them in a report to ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission. Please send your reports to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.[ hare-krishna ] [ holy-name ] [ maha-mantra ] [ world-holy-name-week ]