ISKCON Brazil celebrates 40 years with Kirtan Fest
By Sri Krishna Murti Dasa
The Nova Gokula farm, largest ISKCON’s rural community in Latin America, receives, by the sixth consecutive year, a huge festival of kirtan and sadhu – sanga. After 24h, 36h, 48h and 72h, Kirtan Fest 2013 will feature over 108 hours of kirtan, distributed between 11th and 17th November, as well as seminars and celebrations for the 40th anniversary of ISKCON in Brazil.
Officially, ISKCON was established in Brazil in late 1974, with the arrival of devotees like HH Hrdayananda dasa Goswami and HG Mahavira Prabhu, sent by Srila Prabhupada, but in 1973 , the first devotees, in a non-official visit, came and performed programs, pioneered spreading the message of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. At this starting point they went to a famous TV show at that time, coming in a stage mounted on elephants and, later, singing Hare Krishna maha-mantra!
From 1975, however, ISKCON has expanded throughout the vast country, and became a major potency in books distribution in the 1970s and 1980s. By the way today the distribution in the country again rank as one of the largest in the world .
At Nova Gokula, many wonderful stories of the early years will be remembered by those who lived and live the Krishna consciousness in all these years. Many of the pioneers of the movement in the country will be there, as well as several kirtanyas from all over the world.
The kirtan festivals, by the way, has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for devotees of all ages, especially young people. Promoted by Vaikuntha Murti Prabhu, Secretary of Youth of ISKCON Brazil, and his team, the festivals have captivated everyone, including many foreigners, always saying how special it is to do kirtanas in Brazil. “If you really want to enjoy the kirtan, please come to Brazil. Here is the heart of kirtan. I ‘ve been to many places to sing in all parts of the world. But nothing like Brazil” – Ajamil prabhu, born in Mayapur and one of the world’s great kirtanyas
“Brazilians love kirtana and are always giving their best. Their heart, energy. They are inspiring all those who come here too. We are always bringing people to inspire devotees here but they are doing this”, says Amala Kirtana, the only that came for all the kirtan festivals in Brazil.
According to Amala Harinam dasa, “I’ve never been in a place where every devotee participating in the kirtan with such enthusiasm, singing with all the heart and answering in the loudest volume that I’ve ever heard.” Vishvambhar Sheth prabhu summarized: “I never saw something like this in the world. For you who never experienced a kirtan in Brazil, especially in New Gokula, please come”.
Nova Gokula, traditional place of major festivals, is working for this festival with great dedication. The program called Viva Nova Gokula is completing the restoration works of the temple of Sri Sri Radha-Gokulananda, which also has beautiful deities of Sri Sri Sita-Rama, Sri Lakshmana and Sri Hanumanji, and Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, and the Puspa Samadhi of Srila Prabhupada.