AFTER PERFORMING kirtana, the congregational chanting of the Lord's holy names, devotees customarily bow their heads to the floor to offer obeisances to the Lord and His representative, the spiritual master. And before reciting the mantras to Srila Prabhupada or their own initiating spiritual master devotees usually add the prayers known as Prema-dhvani "words of love." One devotee calls out "all glories" to a list of holy persons and places, and after each name the assembled devotees respond with "Jaya!" which means "All glories!"
The following are the main Prema-dhvani prayers recited throughout ISKCON:
Jaya om visnu-pada paramahamsa parivrajakacarya astottara-sata Sri Srimad A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja Prabhupada ki jaya!
"All glories to the acarya Om Visnupada 108 Tridandi Goswami A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who travels across the earth preaching the glories of Hari and who is situated on the highest platform ofsannyasa, the renounced order of life." The number 108 is considered auspicious, especially because Lord Krsna has 108 principal gopis, or cowherd girlfriends. Tridandi is a title for a sannyasi. A similar prayer glorifies Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Srila Prabhupada's spiritual master. Then:
Ananta koti vaisnava-vrnda ki jaya!
"All glories to the unlimited millions of devotees of Lord Krsna."
Namacarya Srila Haridasa Thakura ki jaya!
"All glories to the Nama-acarya, Srila Haridasa Thakura." Nama-acarya means "the teacher for chanting the names of the Lord." Haridasa Thakura was one of the main associates of Lord Caitanya and was empowered by the Lord to preach the glories of chanting Hare Krsna.
Premse kaho Sri Krsna Caitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara, Srivasadi Gaura-bhakta-vrnda ki jaya!
"Call out with love the names of Sri Krsna Caitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara, and all the devotees of Lord Caitanya, headed by Srivasa Thakura." These are the names of the Panca-tattva: Lord Caitanya and His four principal associates. They represent five features of the Absolute Truth.
Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, Gopa-Gopinatha, Syama-kunda, Radha-kunda, Giri-Govardhana ki jaya!
"All glories to Radha and Krsna, the cowherd boys of Vrndavana, Krsna as the master of the cowherd girls, Krsna's and Radha's bathing ponds (Syama-kunda and Radha-kunda), and the sacred Govardhana Hill."
Vrndavana-dhama ki jaya!
"All glories to the holy land of Vrndavana, the place of Lord Krsna's pastimes."
Navadvipa-dhama ki jaya!
"All glories to the holy land of Navadvipa, the place of Lord Caitanya's pastimes."
Yamuna-mayi ki jaya!
"All glories to the Yamuna River."
Ganga-mayi ki jaya!
"All glories to the Ganges River."
Tulasi-devi ki jaya!
"All glories to the sacred tulasi plant."
Bhakti-devi ki jaya!
"All glories to Bhakti-devi, the goddess of devotion."
"Chant the names of the Lord in the ecstasy of love for Lord Caitanya."
Samaveta bhakta-vrnda ki jaya!
"All glories to the assembled devotees."
Finally, the devotee leading the Prema-dhvani calls out three times, "All glories to the assembled devotees!" And each time the devotees respond with "Hare Krsna!"
Rohininandana Dasa lives in southern England with his wife and their three children. Write to him in care of BTG.