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The Hare Krishnas Bring The Holy Name To The Streets Of San Diego

Wednesday, 02 January 2008 / Published in Events / 3,412 views

By Bhaktin Su

My first New Years Eve living in the temple. I wasn’t sure what to expect on our annual New years Hari Nama, but hey, I was there for the long haul. We started at 8:00pm. We regularly go downtown San Diego every Friday night and stay until 10pm, but tonight was different, we were staying until at least midnight.

Nice Hari Nama, I had a lot of prasadam to give out in the way of flowers that came from the altar vases. Mostly I gave them to the nice ladies that work at the restaurants and smile at me every Friday. They’re especially blessed to see us every week. We did our regular route and at the end, half of our group left to return to the temple.

The rest of us stayed to ring in the New Year chanting the holy names in public. I hope Srila Prabhupada was proud of us, because in my heart, I’m certain this is exactly what he would have wanted us to do. We found a nice, busy corner to stop at and continue our kirtan. Things got kind of slow around 11:00 or so. I was running out of steam, and just took a break sitting on the window ledge singing and playing kartals. I was tired, and getting chilly, and frankly, a small part of me wished I was back in the nice warm and cozy temple. But then I thought about Krishna and Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada used to have the devotees out for eight hours at a time, doing Hari Nama and book distribution. This was no longer about my physical comfort, or lack thereof. I was sacrificing my personal gratification for the holy name.

I was there to share Krishna’s mercy with any person who had the good fortune to be within earshot. Last thing I remember was asking someone what time it was and was told 11:45. Oh good, almost midnight. Then an amazing thing happened. All of a sudden people were stopping and dancing to the beat of the mrdanga. The crowd grew, and grew until the whole sidewalk was filled with people dancing to the sound of the maha-mantra.

I became filled with Krishna’s energy and joined in. We were all caught up in this wave a transcendental bliss, and couldn’t stop. A small group even started chanting “Oi, Oi, Oi” (a punk rock refrain) in between the repetitions of the maha-mantra. It was their way of giving of themselves to the Hari Nama. In this way, they blended themselves with us and we were all joined together by the power of Krishna’s love. I went out to the crowd to invite everyone to join in.

The mercy flow couldn’t be stopped. Most people barely took notice of the countdown that was visible from the bar across the street, we just kept dancing well past the stroke of midnight.

It did continue on for awhile, but all good things must come to an end, it’s just the nature of this material world. I am though eternally convinced that’s there’s no other way than Hari Nama to reach the conditioned souls. The minute I surrendered my personal gratification for the sake of glorifying Krishna, He reached out and extended His energy to include us all, regardless of our commitment to Him. I’m constantly encouraged by the people who, if just for one minute, dance to our mrdanga beat as they pass us on the street. Just for that one moment, Krishna has captured their heart. Hari Nama is certainly the most purposeful thing I could be doing with my time.

harer nama harer nama

harer namaiva kevalam

kalau nasty eva nasty eva

nasty eva gatir anyatha

“In this Age of Kali there is no other means, no other means, no other means for self-realization than chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name of Lord Hari.”

There’s no other way.


  1. 0
    Locanananda dasa ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    A very beautiful description of a young devotee’s realization on Harinam Sankirtana. I hope to read more about Mother Su’s experiences while chanting the Holy Name. Her writing style is outstanding!

    Meanwhile, in New York City, Times Square was blessed on Saturday night by the return of one of New York’s favorite sons, Sunanda Prabhu, who came out to lead the kirtana with his unique heartfelt style of chanting and mrdanga playing. It was the first time we had reunited to perform Sankirtana since 1972 when our party used to go out twelve hours a day to areas like Wall Street, Fifth Avenue and Times Square. I could hardly believe that here we were, thirty-five years later, chanting Hare Krishna to the same tunes and switching off on the mrdanga, just as we used to do as twenty year old kids.

    All glories to Sri Krishna Sankirtana, the prime benediction for the age! And all glories to all of the sankirtana devotees who have made the chanting of the Holy Name their life and soul.

    Your servant,
    Locanananda dasa

  2. 0
    sita-pati ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Great report – thanks for sharing!

    From experience the best formation to use to encourage / facilitate people to participate is a rotating circular formation with everyone mixed together. This will create the “mosh pit of devotion”! :-) (you’ll find that devotee men and women will naturally stick together, and you can protect the ladies more easily by surreptitiously stepping in when someone gets a little too enthusiastic)

    Have a look at this 20 minute highlights video of our New Years Eve Harinam in Brisbane, Australia.

    A static circular formation excludes the public, and a linear formation creates a feeling of “us and them”, which pushes them back and makes participation too much of an identification with the devotees as distinct from the public for most people to get onboard.

    I have an ebook on harinam available for download, which includes a section on dancing in harinam to get people to join in.

  3. 0
    Citraketu dasa ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Jaya! Hari bol! Wish I had been there!

    ys Citraketu dasa


    “The holy name of Krsna is transcendentally blissful. It bestows all spiritual benedictions, for it is Krsna Himself, the reservoir of all pleasure. Krsna’s name is complete, and it is the form of all transcendental mellows. It is not a material name under any condition, and it is no less powerful than Krsna Himself. Since Krsna’s name is not contaminated by the material qualities, there is no question of its being involved with maya. Krsna’s name is always liberated and spiritual; it is never conditioned by the laws of material nature. This is because the name of Krsna and Krsna Himself are identical. -Padma Purana”
    Writings of Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura

  4. 0
    Locanananda dasa ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I just watched the twenty minute highlight video of the New Year’s Eve Harinam party in Brisbane using the link provided by Sita-pati prabhu in comment number one. I was truly impressed by the enthusiasm of the devotees as well as by the willingness of the local people to jump in and join the party.

    This video was condensed from more than four hours of kirtana, but based on what I saw, I would like to suggest that more emphasis be given to chanting Srila Prabhupada’s original tune. I would also slow down the tempo a notch or two to allow the devotees to become more deeply absorbed in hearing the transcendental sound vibration of the Holy Name.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see there were no djembe drums in this kirtana party, only the mrdanga drum, and we could clearly hear its sweet transcendental sound. But with that many devotees participating, I would like to have had one more mrdanga to maintain balance between the strength of the singers and the number of kartalas being played.

    Of course, these suggestions are not at all intended as criticism of the Brisbane Harinam Party. I take the dust from the feet of these glorious vaisnavas, for they are pleasing Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the exalted acaryas of our disciplic succession by embracing the mission to introduce the chanting of the Holy Name from country to country, from city to city, from town to town, and from village to village.

    Your servant,
    Locanananda dasa

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