Harinama Sankirtana on the streets of Leeds
By Haridasa Thakura dasa
Hare Krishna and obeisances to all,
All glories to SRILA PRABHUPADA!!!
When I joined in the mid 70’s there were two main activities that we concentrated on; one was book distribution and the other was harinama sankirtana (street chanting of Hare Krishna). Of course other activities took place and I don’t wish to minimise them but the above two were what most of us felt were what most pleased Srila Prabhupada. For those of us who are direct disciples we
know that Prabhupada is as much with us now as he was then and the more we please him the more we feel his personal presence. Grand disciples can also have the same appreciation even if they joined after Prabhupada left our external vision. This relationship is cemented by service to his instructions and it is as simple as that.
We must not lose sight of the need to help as many people as possible who reside in every town and village throughout the world. The more we procrastinate (and I am the worst offender) the more people are lost to the opportunity of coming into contact with this movement, which is their only hope. We have to try to understand Prabhupada’s compassion and listen to his words that are as important now as they were when he spoke them. I have written this and documented our street chanting by photographs and video. I am completely unqualified but somehow or other I have been thinking about this street chanting and how little people see of us on the streets.
So I’d like to make a humble request that every devotee gives some thought to expanding this street chanting and thereby give others the opportunity to enter into the spiritual world and avoid the pitfalls of sinful life, Srila Prabhupada will be so happy and so will we!
On 8th November we met in Leeds to perform harinama on the busy, shopping-crazy streets. This was all arranged by Manoharini Radha Devi Dasi who is a dedicated local devotee. Quite a few devotees came down from Newcastle Upon Tyne including Janananda Goswami. So many people were around, there must have been easily 10 thousand minimum who heard the Holy Names that day, and what to think of all the follow on conversations with all the photographs talked about and sent hither and thither. It was one of my best experiences for many years and I know it was the same for many of the others too. My personal favourite was when we chanted and danced through the Victoria Arcade, an upmarket shopping precinct where all the elite gather together, do their shopping and drink their tea and coffee etc, and then on to chant and dance through the Leeds City Market where the working class also shop and drink their tea and coffee at a discounted price of course. Here we came across arow of butchers shops that I knew to be there.
They were so happy to see us, one butcher even danced with Janananda Goswami and that was a wonderfully funny and a completely blissful experience. Actually, Maharaja was an inspiration of jollity and gay abandon, waving to all and dancing nonstop.
Anyway, I just wanted to share the news that the HARE KRISHNAS are very much alive in Leeds, and still around giving people happiness and freedom from material bondage at no cost to themselves.
When I think about it I realise that when I joined over 30 years ago the people we met at that time have had children (many of them) whom we are now seeing, and this is all the more reason to get out there and let our presence be known, to let people see us as we are. If we don’t do it who will? If we all come together in this way, all the present problems that our great ISKCON society faces will disappear just as the mist lifts when the sun appears in the sky.
Imagine a new wave of street chanting taking place all over the world. Imagine the devotees in South Africa, Africa, South America, North America, Canada, Australia, New-Zealand, Russia, China, Japan, Europe, the UK etc, travelling to every town and village with harinama, prasadam and book distribution. So many people in this world don’t know a thing about us, they’ve never even seen us what to speak of hearing the holy name. If it happened all over the world It would be such an ecstatic happening that it would shake the world off its axis!!! Srila Prabhupada and all the past Acharyas would not only be very, very pleased, they’d be dancing with us too!.
I personally want to do this, I dream of this but I’m a little lazy it’s true, I’m a self conscious nobody, and that’s true too, I’m also getting old (I have my bus pass) and I’m attached to my material comforts and my hideaway tendencies, but none the less, I pray for this to happen in my lifetime so that I can die happy. Hare Krishna!!!
Here is what Srila Prabhupada has to say:
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-realisation than chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name of the Lord.
In this Age of Kali, the holy name of the Lord, the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, is the incarnation of Lord Krsna. Simply by chanting the holy name, one associates with the Lord directly. Anyone who does this is certainly delivered.
The use of the word “kevala” [“only”] prohibits all other processes, such as the cultivation of knowledge, practice of mystic yoga, or performance of austerities and fruitive activities.
Our Krsna consciousness movement stresses the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra only, whereas those who do not know the secret of success for this Age of Kali unnecessarily indulge in the cultivation of knowledge, the practice of
mystic yoga or the performance of fruitive activities or useless austerities. They are simply wasting their time and misleading their followers. When we point this out very plainly to an audience, members of opposing groups become angry at us. But according to the injunctions of the shastras, we cannot make compromises with these so-called jnanis, yogis, karmis and tapasvis. When they say they are as good as we are, we must say that only we are good and that they are not good. This is not our obstinacy; it is the injunction of the shastras. We must not deviate from the injunctions of the shastras. This is confirmed in the next verse of the
Adi 17.25 (you can look it up).
Here is a link to my “HARINAMA” Album located on Picasa which will be updated from time to time:
On the 15th November we were in Newcastle Upon Tyne and to view the video of an amazing happening follow this link: http://uk.youtube.com/user/HTdasa
or go to YOU TUBE and type in “HARE KRISHNA PIED PIPER” in the video search box. If you wish you can also subscribe (free) to my video links on the site.
Haridasa Thakura dasa
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