Around eight hundred enthusiastic devotees gathered from all over Bangladesh on March 8th for the second annual Hare Krishna convention, held in the beautiful and peaceful rural setting of Rupa Sanatan Smrithi Tirtha, a holy place in the district of Jessore.
Dubbed “The Festival of Humility,” this year’s event was designed to help devotees cultivate the most beautiful jewel-like decoration of a Vaishnava—the quality of humility.
ISKCON guru Bhakti Purusottama Swami hosted the event, while other special guests included sannyasis (renunciants) Bhakti Bringha Govinda Swami, Bhakti Vinoda Swami and Devamrita Dasa, who accepted the renounced order two weeks after the convention, on March 24th.
Devotees inaugurated the event by reading quotes from the scriptures that set its theme, including Srila Prabhupada’s definition of humility given in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is: “Humility means that one should not be anxious to have the satisfaction of being honoured by others.”
Also meditated upon was Prabhupada’s statement in the Nectar of Devotion: “Anyone who has any desire or aspiration for satisfying his senses by becoming more and more important, either in the material sense or in the spiritual sense, cannot actually relish the really sweet taste of devotional service.”
From March 9th through 11th, devotees absorbed themselves in hearing spiritual topics, attending various seminars throughout the day connected to the theme of humility. Meanwhile, evenings saw B.B. Govinda Swami and his band lead participants in melodious kirtans, deepening their meditation on Krishna’s holy name through slow and repeated chanting of the same sweet melodies. A variety of instruments, including saxophone, added to the experience, while Various Bengali musicians also joined the kirtan with their instruments. Charmed, devotees danced and chanted happily, blissful smiles upon their faces.
March 12th, the fourth day of the festival, was dedicated to congregational outreach programs such as Bhakti Vrksa and Nama Hatta, with Bhakti Purusottama Swami and various other senior devotees from ISKCON’s headquarters in Mayapur, West Bengal inspiring the devotees in their outreach activities.
During the final two days of the convention, members of ISKCON Youth Forum (IYF) held the first annual Youth Festival, with two hundred students who have started to practice Krsna consciousness regularly coming together to hear spiritual topics throughout the day and relish B.B. Govinda Swami’s kirtan in the evening.
The festival had a very bonding and uplifting effect on the students, who found that the joyful transcendental experiences strengthened their determination for spiritual practice.
All in all 2010’s Hare Krishna Convention proved to be an unforgettable experience, deepening devotees’ taste and attachment for chanting the holy names and hearing about Krishna in the association of wonderful friends and peers.
Plans are already underway for next year’s event.
(Devaki Dasi contributed towards this article)