Four hundred devotees crowded into the ornate temple room at ISKCON Brazil’s most prominent rural community, Nova Gokula, this April 3rd for the country’s fourth ever 24 Hour Kirtan Festival.
Gathering in front of the beautiful Deities of Radha-Gokulananda, Sita-Rama-Lakshmana-Hanuman and Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai, with the picturesque Mantiqueira mountain range as their backdrop, they began chanting at 10:00am and didn’t stop until the same time the next morning.
Well-known kirtan singers Uttam Dasa, Amrita Gopal Dasi and Amala Kirtan Dasa took turns leading the chanting for forty-five minutes to an hour at a time. Many devotees, however, opted for the superhuman approach and participated for the entire 24 hours.
“The temple is the center of this community, and with it full of enthusiastically chanting devotees, we were very happy,” says festival volunteer Gopijana Vallabha Dasi.
This was exactly the picture that organizer Vaikuntha Murti Dasa envisioned when he organized Brazil’s first such event in 2008 after being inspired by Aindra Dasa’s famous 24-Hour Kirtan group in Vrindavana, India. “It’s a great way to inspire many people in Krishna consciousness, especially the younger devotees,” Gopijana Vallabha comments.
Now, thrilled by this month’s experience, devotees are already planning the next 24 Hour Kirtan Festival, which will be held on November 31st in the city of Campina Grande and will herald the installation of new Gaura Nitai Deities there.
A sixth festival is also in the works, to be held once again at Nova Gokula, with rumors that inspirational traveling monk and kirtan lover Indradyumna Swami will attend.
“These 24 Hour Kirtans are very important to unite all the devotees of Brazil and the rest of the world,” Gopijana Vallabha says. “When we chant the Holy Names, we create a very auspicious atmosphere of purification, which is especially needed in times like these.”