On New Year’s Eve 2013, seventy ISKCON devotees hit the streets of London to engage revellers in joyfully dancing and chanting the Holy Names of Krishna.
“On New Year's Eve central London becomes one big party,” says organizer Parasuram Das, who serves prasadam meals to one thousand needy people daily as director of the Food For All charity. “Millions of people take to the streets, and no cars are allowed. The ground is set for the biggest Harinam ever.”
Devotees, led by singers Giridhari Das, Govinda Das and Vidyapati Das, began chanting at 9pm, starting at the Radha Krishna Temple on Soho Street and making their way into central London.
“The crowds were waiting for the midnight fireworks, and everyone was at a loose end,” Parasuram says. “So when our Harinam arrived, bingo!”
It was hard for revelers not to get caught up in the chanting. The Holy Names resounded from a large sound system carried on a pedal rickshaw accompanying the devotees. Sitting on the rickshaw, Jayadeva Das, former drummer of the 1970s group The Rubettes, and gurukuli Janaki Dasi pounded out beats on a drum kit.
Devotees also played a host of other amplified instruments including bass guitar, accordion, and Parasuram’s ubiquitous ukulele, as well as of course traditional instruments such as mridanga and kartals.
All the while, devotees also waved banners imprinted with the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, the sacred tilak symbol, and pictures of the Pancha Tattva and ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupada. And they actively invited people to chant and dance with them.
“The public went crazy for the kirtan,” says Parasuram. “There is a fine art to this Harinam, as we don’t want to get squashed in the crowds, but we also want to be in the crowd.”
To give people more information about the chanting, devotees also distributed about 1,500 copies of an “On Chanting Hare Krishna” booklet made up of three lectures by Srila Prabhupada, as well as some copies of “Sri Isopanisad” and “Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita.”
“His Divine Grace wanted us to be happy,” Parasuram says. “Happiness is one of the symptoms of devotional service, and chanting the Hare Krishna mantra brings one to the eternally happy platform of the soul.”[ harinama ] [ london ] [ new ] [ uk ]