While some ISKCON temples chose to ring in an auspicious new year with spiritual midnight “parties” this New Year’s Eve, the Boise Hare Krishna temple focused its attention on New Year’s Day, with its thirteenth annual “Japathon.”
Setting a new record, temple devotees and congregation members chanted over 2.5 million names of God, far exceeding their 1.5 million goal.
Over eighty children and adults participated, collectively chanting more than 1,500 rounds (one round is 108 repetitions of the Hare Krishna mantra) between 10:00 AM and 6: 30 PM. By the evening, participants were describing the atmosphere as “totally ecstatic” and said it felt like they were “levitating.”
Two cousins from Nepal lead the children and men’s category, with 11-year-old Madhava chanting sixty rounds and his elder cousin Ramachandra chanting 75. In the women’s category, Amrita Walsh reached an astonishing 112 rounds; rising at 2 AM and chanting throughout the day, she set a new Japathon record of maximum number of rounds chanted by one person.
Upon completion, participants were rewarded with a grand feast prepared by Bipasha and Aditya Ghosh, who have sponsored and cooked the Japathon feast for the past ten years.
The New Year Japathon festival was launched in 1998 by ISKCON Boise for the spiritual benefit of citizens in the community. At first, devotees set a goal to chant as many Holy Names as there were citizens in Boise, but gradually increased the number to one Holy Name per resident of the State of Idaho.
In recent years other ISKCON temples, including those in Spanish Fork, Utah and Potomac, Maryland, have started their own Japathons.
If every ISKCON center held a Japathon for the benefit of the citizens in its area, says Boise temple management, the program could cover all 7 billion people in the world.
[ boise ]