After World Holy Name Day was established in 1996 in honor of Srila Prabhupada’s Centennial celebrations, World Holy Name Week followed in 2008 and has been held annually ever since, with public Harinama Sankirtan, 12 and 24 hour kirtans, japathons and Holy Name-themed seminars.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the traditional methods of sharing the Holy Name are severely restricted. Thus the newly dubbed World Holy Name Festival, organized by the ISKCON Kirtan Ministry, has created ways to participate online and in smaller, safer settings.
From September 17th to 23rd, the Ministry is holding daily virtual events on its official Facebook page, as well as on ISKCON Desire Tree’s Hare Krishna TV Youtube channel, which reaches 1.2 million subscribers. Scheduled according to Indian Standard Time, they include a Japa Retreat from 5pm to 6pm every day, talks about Holy Name verses in the Bhagavatam from 6 to 7pm, Global Kirtan Mela from 7 to 8pm, and Glories of the Holy Name talks from 8 to 9pm.
Contributors to the talks and kirtans include Giriraja Swami, Sacinandana Swami, Jayapataka Swami, Mahatma Das, Urmila Devi Dasi, Bhakti Vijnana Goswami, Bhurijana Das, Vaisesika Das, Ravindra Svarupa Das, Bhakti Chaitanya Swami, Narayani Devi Dasi, Indradyumna Swami, Romapada Swami, and Jayadvaita Swami.
Also contributing will be B.B. Govinda Swami, Bhaktimarga Swami, Bada Haridas, Rucira Devi Dasi, Kadamba Kanana Swami, Deena Bandhu Das, Kirtan Minister Lokanath Swami, Kripamoya Das, Anuttama Das, Rukmini Devi Dasi, and Radhanath Swami.
On Sunday September 20th, there will be a Global Kirtan Connect, featuring 24 hours of non-stop kirtan in 24 time zones, with devotees chanting online from their own homes, and garlanding the world with the Holy Name. In areas where local government regulations allow, some devotees may also do street Harinama Sankirtan, utilizing the recommended precautions.
The Grand Finale will be a Global Japathon broadcast on September 23rd, with devotees around the world chanting 64 rounds from their homes for those who lost their lives in the pandemic, health care staff, and those still struggling with their health. An Award Ceremony on September 30th will honor, appreciate and recognize chanters, temples and devotees.
In addition, devotees will be asked to reach out to new people and encourage them to chant, with the theme “Let’s make the world fortunate.” Run in conjunction with the Fortunate People Campaign, which was established during ISKCON’s 50th anniversary in 2016, devotees will ask their friends and relatives to chant the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra once #forLOVEandPEACE, and then upload a video of them doing so using the Fortunate People App.
Meanwhile temples are asked to share World Holy Name Festival and Fortunate People videos and images on their social media channels, participate in the japathon, conduct morning Bhagavatam classes on “The Glories of the Holy Name” or “The Power of the Holy Name,” and organize online webinars about attentive chanting, the importance of the Holy Names, and how Srila Prabhupada spread them around the world.
They can also organize and broadcast daily or non-stop kirtan on their official social media channels for one week, organize online interfaith discussions, press conferences and reading groups on the subject of the Holy Name, and encourage those new to Krishna consciousness to chant japa.
Individual devotees can participate by chanting extra rounds of japa on each day of the festival (which coincides with the sacred Purushottama Month from September 18th to October 16th), and sending their pledges via “ready to download” sadhana cards available on kirtanministry.com.
They can also make videos of themselves doing kirtan at home with family members and tag the official ISKCON Kirtan Ministry Facebook page; share inspirational video clips about the importance and practice of chanting, promote the World Holy Name Festival via their social media profile images, make Fortunate People videos of friends or relatives chanting, and send daily quotes or videos about the Holy Names via WhatsApp groups.
Ultimately, the ISKCON Kirtan Ministry says, “There is no limit to what can be done – use your creativity and see how far you can go.”
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For more information and to download posters and sadhana cards, visit https://www.kirtanministry.com/
Watch and participate in the World Holy Name Festival at https://www.facebook.com/ISKCONKirtanMinistry
Or watch videos at Hare Krishna TV here: https://www.youtube.com/user/iskcondesiretree[ festival ] [ holy ] [ kirtan ] [ mahamantra ] [ name ]