By Amrita Gopala dasi
The devotees based in Brazil are taking Lord Krsna‚Äôs instruction to always chant His name‚ÄĒsatata√† k√©rtayanto m√§√†‚ÄĒliterally. This weekend marked the second 24-Hour kirtana festival hosted by Nova Gokula farm community. Cradled by lush mountains capped with rain-filled clouds, Nova Gokula is a wonderful place to chant and dance anytime of the year. But for the 250 devotees in attendance, the constant beat of khol and karatals drowned out the competing sounds of the ferocious thunder accompanying monsoon showers.
This is the second year the festival‚Äôs planner, Vaikuntha Murti dasa, a saintly disciple of HH Indradyumna Swami, has organized 24-hour kirtana. Vaikuntha Murti Prabhu is no stranger to the hard, but exhilarating work required to hold a large-scale Hare Krsna festival. In spite of being the person in charge of over-seeing everything from arranging the facility to wiping the sweaty brows of the kirtaniyas, Vaikuntha Murti Prabhu is never without a smile (real!) and a kind word. It‚Äôs no wonder that the 24-Hour kirtana had a family-friendly atmosphere. Devotees of all ages and generations chanted in great bliss and danced day and night. In fact, local Brazilian devotees‚ÄĒsome seasoned chanters like Krishna Kishore dasa and Paravyoma dasa, two of Srila Prabhupada‚Äôs initiated disciples‚ÄĒdominated the kirtana schedule. It‚Äôs also no surprise that Brazil is home to many lovely and sincere chanters, as the devotees of this country take to kirtana with great enthusiasm. One of the assistant organizers, Bhaktin Aurea, expressed her determination to spend the entire festival chanting the Lord‚Äôs holy name. Late into the night I asked if she had taken prasadam. She simply flashed a blissful grin and replied, ‚ÄúI am only eating the Hare Krsna maha-mantra in these twenty-four hours!‚ÄĚ
The Nova Gokula community was especially pleased to welcome home one of their own gurukula devotees and hero of many in the international kirtana circuit: Amala Kirtana dasa. Amala Kirtana Prabhu, although born and raised in Brazil, captured the hearts of all in attendance with his dynamic Bengali-style melodies. Amala Kirtana Prabhu presently lives in Dallas and is active in chanting Hare Krsna there, much to the devotees‚Äô delight. Uttama Bhakta dasa, born and raised in Mayapur and a member of a much-loved family of devotees still living in Mayapur (his father is Sadhana-siddhi dasa, a mainstay singer of Tulasi puja and a well-known kirtaniya), chanted the sweet Holy Name and took everyone‚Äôs mind to the Dham.
Vaikuntha Murti Prabhu is already busy preparing for next year‚Äôs 24-Hour kirtana festival. On his ‚Äúwish-list‚ÄĚ of chanter is HH Lokanath Swami Maharaja, one of ISKCON‚Äôs most beloved kirtana leaders. With his firm determination, impeccable managerial skills and his brilliant, friendly smile, there is little doubt that Sri Krsna will fulfill Vaikuntha Murti Prabhu‚Äôs magnanimous desire to engage the Brazilian yatra in kirtaniya sada hari year after year.
For more pictures, videos and information about the festival please use the following links: