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“Lokanath took us in front of Macy's, which received our onslaught of ecstasy to the fullest extreme. Our group grew to about fifty, and all were dancing and smiling. I had the sense that all of the spectators instantly became devotees just by hearing us. We proceeded through the packed streets of holiday shoppers.”


World Enlightenment Day: Epic Harinam in an Epic City
By Bhakta Jerry

Our Harinam actually began as we were traveling to San Francisco.

Approaching the Bay Bridge in stop-and-go traffic, a car full of college kids noticed us. Rajahamsa Das was driving, and Balaram was in the passenger seat. We exchanged friendly glances, and they asked us what we were doing.

We told them to go to Union Square because we will all be singing, dancing and drumming. They enthusiastically said they would come, and we gave them a card. It was a nice exchange, and a good boost to get us in the Sankirtan spirit.

We arrived at Union Square on a perfect day. The sky was as clear as can be, and it was warm for December. As dusk approached, the Christmas glitter of San Francisco began.

A towering Christmas tree was the centerpiece of the Square, and across the street, Macy's reached the sky like a cosmopolitan temple, bedecked with sparkling wreaths. It was a Christmas wonderland of the finest material opulence. Whenever I am on Harinam, I feel like I am waging war against materialism.

Our mridangas (drums) shoot out cannonballs of ecstasy, our kartals are swords of bliss, slashing through illusion, and the Holy Names of Krishna, being sung from their humble servants, are missiles of Divine Love. The Harinam on World Enlightenment Day was an epic example of how potent Lord Caitanya's Sankirtan Movement is. The Harinam started off a bit small. A special guest Sudhanini Das graced us with his presence, and began the chanting.

The congregation slowly grew, as the names of “Gaura Nitai!” and “Hari Bol” echoed off the towering buildings. Sudhanini concluded his singing by keeping the holiday spirit alive. He sang, “We wish you a Hare Krishna, we wish you a Hare Krishna, we wish you a Hare Krishna and a peaceful New Year.” Spectators smiled.

Lokanath Das was the next leader. I always appreciate his humble mood when he chants. He took us around the square and at this point Sri Gopal Das arrived with our Maha-Mantra banner, which he waved proudly.

Lokanath took us in front of Macy's, which received our onslaught of ecstasy to the fullest extreme. Our group grew to about fifty, and all were dancing and smiling. I had the sense that all of the spectators instantly became devotees just by hearing us. We proceeded through the packed streets of holiday shoppers.

Rajahamsa Das began to lead so beautifully. At this point, I began to distribute books, so I could contribute humbly to one million books distributed worldwide. Most people I approached, even if they did not take a book, appreciated the chanting. One man explained that he was enjoying the chanting, but is actually an atheist. So, though he did not know it, because he was enjoying the Maha-Mantra, his Krishna Consciousness was being awakened.

As I continued to distribute Srila Prabhupada's books, I felt like the Harinam was getting more ecstatic. At this point, Rajahamsa was dancing wildly, and I decided to join in again.

We traveled back to Union Square. Visvwambar began to lead. His youthful, fiery chanting was indeed explosive. Gadhadar Das was accompanying him on the mridanga. They make the perfect team.

As they were chanting, I approached an Indian looking man with a book. He explained that he came from Pakistan and was Muslim. He said that he was very touched by the chanting. I told him Prabhupada explains that it does not matter if one is Hindu, Muslim, Christian, etc. but if he revived his God consciousness, his life would be meaningful. I them explained that Muslims also sing the glories of Allah like we were doing. He gladly took a book, and the ecstasy continued. After ecstatic leading by Mata Shyama, who is always so wonderful at engaging the crowd, we concluded our Harinam.

I was given the opportunity to close by leading Nrsimadeva prayers. Afterwards, I had the sense that we established the real meaning of Christmas, which is spreading love of God. We were not only following in Lord Caintany's footsteps, but also Lord Jesus Christ's.

Only by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada were we all able to give the conditioned souls the most precious and valuable gift of the glories of the Holy Name: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. It is after such a powerful Harinam like this that I feel my faith increase. The ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankritan movement is very tangible.

I could almost reach out and embrace Lord Krishna in the form of His Holy Names.

Harinam Sankirtan Ki Jay!

© CHAKRA 6-January-2000

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