The Hare Krishna Festivals program, started by the late Tribhuvanatha Dasa on the instruction of his guru Srila Prabhupada, has organized festivals in halls all over the UK to share Krishna consciousness, attracting many to spiritual life.
Continued by Giridhari Das after Tribhuvanatha’s passing in 2001, the program has put on festivals for 34 consecutive years starting in 1986. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, 2020 was the program’s first year without festivals.
The Hare Krishna Festivals team has been doing what they can to continue their mission in creative ways. They’ve showed videos of past years’ festivals on their Facebook page, published a book of Tribhuvanatha’s introductory talks on Krishna consciousness, chanted live online for Glastonbury music festival’s virtual edition GlastHomeBury, and had a socially-distanced, masked kirtan on a boat down the Paddington Basin through Wembley.
With 2021 unfortunately again looking unlikely to allow festivals in the old model, the team has now decided to start a weekly video podcast, “Hare Krishna Festivals UK Tour,” which will “travel” virtually around the UK. Host Narada Das aims to chat with unsung heroes and highlight smaller, lesser-known Hare Krishna communities and projects beyond London. The Festival team will also launch a support program for (now virtual) Namahatta groups and sangas around the UK, offering them resources like online kirtans and talks.
Like the Hare Krishna Festival program, the podcast will be designed to reach not only ISKCON devotees but also the general public, using an accessible approach and language. It will be pre-recorded and available to watch on Fridays from 7pm GMT on the Hare Krishna Festivals UK Facebook and Youtube pages. Episodes will run from 30 mins to an hour.
“We have 20,000 followers on Facebook, and 8,000 subscribers on our Youtube channel,” Narada says. “So if at least 500 watch the podcast every week, that’s equivalent to a big festival.”
The first episode, which will be posted on Friday February 12th, features James, a newcomer to the Hare Krishna Movement from Warrington, a town located between Liverpool and Manchester. James, 28, will talk about what attracted him to Krishna consciousness, and what it’s like developing one’s spiritual life in the midst of a pandemic, when in-person association isn’t possible.
Other future podcasts will virtually “visit” devotees such as Namahatta or sanga leaders in Canterbury, Brighton, Reading, Preston, the Cotswolds, and Loughborough near Leicester.
The podcast will also showcase their efforts during the pandemic such as online kirtans and food relief.
“For instance Hare Krishna Canterbury has been doing a lot of prasadam distribution, and ISKCON Reading has been distributing mantra meditation packs free of charge,” Narada says. “The devotees in Cardiff have teamed up with the local Swami Narayan temple and are distributing about 1,000 meals every week to people. And ISKCON Birmingham is doing a two-hour online family sanga every Sunday with something for children and adults.”
Narada will also be speaking to devotees such as Srila Prabhupada disciple Srikama Dasi, a member of the Hare Krishna Festival team, and Padmalochana Das, an immunologist, about being part of the Hare Krishna Movement for many years.
Conversations will be down-to-earth and relatable – James, for instance, chats about how he suffered from depression, and how chanting helps him.
“I hope the podcast will show the public that these Hare Krishna people are normal people,” Narada says. “I also hope it will bring to devotees a sense of awareness of what’s happening around the UK – that the UK yatra is big, diverse, and active.”
With October 2021 set to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Tribhuvanatha Dasa’s passing, Narada sees the podcast as a way to help keep the Hare Krishna Festival brand he started alive.
“It’s a great opportunity to serve Srila Prabhupada,” he says.
Watch the Hare Krishna Festivals UK Tour podcast on Fridays on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harekrishnafestivalsuk
Or on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/HareKrsnaFestivalsUK[ hare krishna festivals ] [ podcast ] [ tribhuvanath ] [ tribhuvanatha ] [ uk ]