ISKCON devotees in Jalandhar, Punjab made the news on Sunday June 28 when they announced plans to hold a 12-hour chanting marathon in hopes that Lord Krishna would be pleased and send rain.
India is currently dealing with a rain deficit 85 per cent below normal, with monsoons being delayed as much as one month. This means no livelihood for the roughly 600 million Indians supporting themselves off of the land, especially since irrigation is a luxury for most farmers. On top of all this, power cuts are increasing in length, reaching almost fifteen hours a day in Northern India.
The Jalandhar ISKCON temple has been hit just as hard as anywhere, with the drought depriving devotees of fruits and vegetables, and the power cuts making it difficult for them to sustain their high level of worship. Naturally, they turned to Krishna for help.
Their kirtan chant began at Sunday's regular 7am morning service and ran until 7pm, drawing 2,000 chanters throughout the day and two to three hundred at any given time.
Hindi newspapers Danik Jagran, Punjab Kesri, Danik Bhaskar, and Amar Ujala covered the event, as well as TV stations Aajtak, ZeeNews, New24, IBN7, and PTC News. Media coverage was extremely positive—after the riots outside electrical companies’ offices, reporters said, some people were finally dealing with the drought in the right way—by pleasing God through kirtan.
However, it is unlikely that they expected what happened next.
On the evening of Monday June 29, it began to rain. Amazed, TV reporters again contacted Jalandhar devotees, who explained with disarming simplicity that the founder of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Shri Chaitanya, had prescribed the chanting of Hare Krishna as the medicine for the ills of this age.
TV stations aired the interviews along with clips of the 12-hour kirtan. Chanting Hare Krishna, they advised the public, was obviously the best way to end the drought.