World Holy Name Week in Mauritius
By Padmavati Dasi and Karunika Dasi
The Mauritian yatra inundated the island with the ecstatic chanting of the holy names during the World Holy Name Week which lasted from the 2nd to the 11th of September.
On different evenings, maha harinam parties, padayatras and hall programmes were organized by the respective nama-hattas of Quatres Bornes, Glen Park and Bambous and New Grove. There were also kirtan festivals at Sri Sri Radha Golokananda Mandir, Hare Krishna Land and the Rose-Belle Preaching Centre. Each event was attended by at least 200 devotees. The maha-harinam in Poste de Flacq (near Sri Sri Krishna Balarama temple at Bon Acceuil) on the 9th of September was attended by at least 600 devotees and guests. It ended in the village playground where devotees spontaneously got onto the big stage at the far end of the field and began an unplanned festival of the holy names of the Lord. People from the village flocked to join in and the dark sky reverberated with the ecstatic chanting of well over 1000 voices. Sukadeva prabhu, one of the organisors, affirmed that 1000 plates of prashadam were distributed that night. (photos of the events may be viewed here.
On Saturday the 5th, the padayatra and Food For Life teams organized a colourful carnival through Quatre-Bornes. Lord Jagannath, in His ratha cart, accompanied the devotees through the busy town. Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai came too, pulled by a stately bull. Children from the Sunday Gurukul were dressed up as spiritual personalities and animal friends of Krishna. A float carried “Radha” and “Krishna” swinging in the Vrindavan groves. Onlookers were captivated and many joined in the chanting.
After the carnival, many devotees went on to join the 24 hour kirtan at Hare Krishna Land, Phoenix, organized by Vaikunthamurti and Kaunteya Prabhus, and attended by devotees from all over the island who came together to experience the potency of chanting of the holy names together. (Photos of the event may be viewed here
On Thursday the 10th, Sundara Lala Prabhu, the creative mind behind the week’s activities, and the ISKCON Youth Forum, organized an interfaith programme at the IVTB auditorium. It was attended by Mr. Rafiq Hatia of the International Sufi School in Mauritius, Reverend James of the Anglican church of Mahebourg and some Buddhist friends. After each representative spoke, members of their congregation sang. The Sufi ladies presented some very soothing Islamic chants and to the delight and appreciation of the devotees, they chanted a Hare Krishna bhajan. The devotees clapped and danced with glee. Mrs. Cale gave an amazing rendition of “Amazing Grace”. Our Chinese friends brought humour to the night with the very expert performance of a dragon dance. Krishna Chandra Prabhu spoke on behalf of ISKCON and to conclude the evening, the devotees sang. Everyone transcended cultural and religious barriers by chanting and dancing together. It was wonderful! (Photos of the event may be viewed here and a video clip here
The week ended with a music concert in Jardin de La Compagnie in the island’s capital, Port-Louis. The Vaikuntha Vibes rocked the day while the Food For Life team distributed free prasadam. Crowds gathered, some joining in the singing, others more interested in prasadam and yet others buying Srila Prabhupada’s books.
After a week of intense chanting, many devotees explained how they felt that the World Holy Name Week had greatly benefited the yatra in terms of its unity and strength. They felt enthused and blissful, wishing that the Holy Name Week would be re-baptized Holy Name Year!
All glories to Lord Gauranga’s victorious Sankirtan movement! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!