Already ISKCON communities in Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Alachua, Maine and New York are mobilizing large contingents of devotees to attend what promises to be an historic event this October 8th – Chant 4 Change.
Kirtan chanter and organizer Gaura Vani is imploring all devotees from throughout the U.S. and beyond to come en masse and make a powerful statement on a public stage.
That statement is that there’s only one way to heal the racism, sexism and terrorism that is currently plaguing the globe – and that is chanting God’s names.
“As a society, we keep looking to a social solution, or a political solution,” Gaura Vani says. “But those solutions are temporary band-aids at best. What it really comes down to is each individual commiting to a personal spiritual transformation – which can be found through chanting the Holy Names. And then together we can uplift the consciousness of the nation.”
By “together” Gaura doesn’t just mean ISKCON devotees. Thousands of people from all the major faiths will attend Chant 4 Change, all participating in call-and-response chanting of God’s many names.
By gathering at a highly visible spot – on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., where Martin Luther King Jr. spoke his famous “I have a dream” speech – just one month before the U.S. presidential election, their message is sure to draw attention.
“While the whole world is talking about the negativity of the U.S. presidential contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, we’ll be singing God’s names to transform the consciousness,” says Gaura Vani.
The free event will run from 12pm to 10pm, with a whole host of powerful chanters singing God’s names in their own traditions, as the audience responds.
From ISKCON, there will be The Juggernauts featuring Gaura Vani and Vismbhar Sheth. From the yoga community, there will be kirtan artists Jai Uttal, MC Yogi, and David Newman. Then there will be Jewish chanters Mikey Pauker and Andrew Hahn the Kirtan Rabbi; American Sufi group Fanna-Fi-Allah; Grammy-winning gospel group Sweet Honey in the Rock; Cherokee spiritual teacher Yona French Hawk, and more.
Radhanath Swami will also speak live at the event, while the Dalai Llama will send a message of good faith, and a video message is expected from Jayapataka Swami.
With early Srila Prabhupada disciple Shyamasundara Das – who connected the Beatles to Krishna consciousness in the 1960s – as an executive producer, Chant for Change is aiming to make a big splash in the way that Prabhupada and his disciples did in the early days of ISKCON.
“We had a lot of attention in the early years, but that energy has waned somewhat since,” says Gaura Vani. “We’re trying to bring it back by showing that we have a unique perspective on the current problems of the world, and something special to offer. By gathering as peers with other people of faith in this way, we can make a very powerful statement at a key time in history.”
It’s a unique effort inspired by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura’s words in his book “Sri Chaitanya, His Life and Precepts: “The Church of Kirtan invites all classes of people, without distinction to engage in the highest cultivation of the spirit. This church, it appears, will extend all over the world, and take the place of all sectarian institutions which exclude “outsiders” from the precincts of the mosque, church or temple.”
Gaura Vani hopes that at least one thousand ISKCON devotees will participate, to show strong numbers from the Bhakti tradition. To pledge your attendance, visit www.chant4change.com
Devotees can also help by sponsoring Chant 4 Change here: https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/chant4change–2
Jan 22, 2022
Sunanda Das, tovp.org