In 1966, Srila Prabhupada led his followers in what was probably the first public chanting (kirtana) of Krishna’s names outside India. The three-hour kirtana in New York’s Tompkins Square Park attracted attention, and public kirtanas became a prominent feature of Prabhupada’s movement. For many people today, kirtanas are the face of the Hare Krishna movement. Along with Srila Prabhupada’s books, kirtanas are how people know us – and know what to call us.
When telling his countrymen about his movement’s success in the West, Prabhupada would often happily remark, “We are known there as ‘the Hare Krishna people.’” The public, and not Prabhupada, had come up with the phrase, and it accomplished what Prabhupada had set out to do – get people to chant Krishna’s holy names.
Our cover story is a pictorial on last year’s World Holy Name Week. Satyaraja Dasa’s “Harinama Saṅkirtana: Taking Krishna’s Name to the Streets” continues the theme of public kirtana, as does Caitanya Caraṇa Dasa’s “Rathayatra: When the Lord Comes Out, Let’s Invite Him In.” Though his article is not about kirtana per se, anyone who has attended any ISKCON “Chariot Festival” knows that the chanting of the Lord’s holy names is at the heart of this soul-changing event.
• To help all people discern reality from illusion, spirit from matter, the eternal from the temporary.
• To expose the faults of materialism.
• To offer guidance in the Vedic techniques of spiritual life.
• To preserve and spread the Vedic culture.
• To celebrate the chanting of the holy names of God as taught by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
• To help every living being remember and serve Sri Krishna , the Personality of Godhead.