The ISKCON Harinam Sankirtan Ministry was appointed this year by the GBC. The minister is Lokanath Swami. In one of its first initiatives, the Ministry began Kirtan Fest Global, a global brand to promote Kirtan Festivals throughout the world. What better place to start than Mother India?
Kirtan Fest Global organized the Kirtan Fest India Online for ISKCON India from 10th May – 17th May, 2020 from 9 am-9 pm, which was live streamed on Facebook. The event was so popular that the organizers extended from 7 days to 8 days for a total of 96 hours of Kirtan Fest India Online.
The purposes of the event were:
a) To provide an opportunity to ISKCON India’s devotees to stay connected with each other even under this lockdown period through participating in non-stop 12 hour kirtans everyday.
b) To foster their connection and service to the holy names of the Lord.
c) To express our gratitude and appreciation to tens of thousands of doctors, nurses, police, government officers and all others who unselfishly put aside their own safety to protect those in need.
d) To pray for the welfare of all living entities during this Corona pandemic crisis in India and other countries by satisfying Krishna through Harinam Sankirtan.
e) To promote the Yuga Dharma: Congregational Chanting of Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
This event was inspired by the wonderful success of the Festival of the Holy Name organised by the devotees in the Alachua Community. Pancharatna Das (ACBSP), in conjunction with ISKCON Communications India, offered the service to the ISKCON Harinam Sankirtan Ministry.
An online group on Facebook was created by the name Kirtan Fest India Online. https://bit.ly/KirtanFestIndiaOnline
The slots for kirtans and the schedule was made available here: www.signupgenius.com/go/kirtanfestindiaonline
All slots for the entire event were filled up by Day 2.
Lokanath Swami, the Global Minister of ISKCON Harinam Sankirtan Ministry
Outreach: Over 25,000 people have commented or reacted to the sessions with over 3,263 members joining the Kirtan Fest India Online group. The event was promoted only one day in advance through Dandavats and Whatsapp Network of devotees. There were one hundred and ninety two kirtan slots of thirty minutes each. One hundred and twenty-two of the kirtans were performed by ISKCON Youth and ISKCON 2nd and 3rd Generation devotees.
Planning and Execution: Initially, a group of 7 devotees planned and executed this online event. The team grew to 15 members as the event started, working round the clock – moderating, promoting, scheduling, following-up, dealing with ad hocs if Kirtaniyas did not show up, inviting senior Kirtaniyas and other related tasks. For many organizers and participating devotees this was their first real hand experience in organizing an online event. The event served to increase their own horizon and bring to their awareness the vast potential and opportunity that the internet offers for outreach preaching. His Grace Jagannatha Kirtananada Prabhu (JPS) served as the project manager.
Participation: Devotees from different nations with different cultures, different genders, different age groups, different ashrams, different levels were seen coming together in Harinam Sankirtan. One devotee remarked in a message: “A beautiful and inspiring endeavor. The best part is seeing all these devotees whom one has never seen, or heard before. Truly reaching every home in every town and village. Heartfelt congrats to the ISKCON Harinam Sankirtan Ministry and the organizers.”
What’s Next?: The event was part of the Kirtan Fest Global initiative which is promoting the chanting of holy names in different Nations. The next step is to begin organizing Kirtan Fest Online initiatives in different countries. Tentative plans are being made for Russia, and the UK. Gradually more countries may be introduced. The current facebook group will be rebranded with the name of the next country, while retaining all the present members. In this way, the group will continue to grow. If the local laws allow public gatherings in the future, live festivals and kirtan concerts may be organized under the banner of Kirtan Fest. Devotees in Bangladesh have approached Kirtan Fest Global. Kirtan Fest Bangladesh Online is currently in progress. It is scheduled from 10 am to 10 pm Bangladesh Time GMT (+6) from June 1 – 6, 2020.
You can join the initiative here: https://bit.ly/KirtanFestBangladesh
Vote of Thanks: We are so grateful to all the devotees who came forward to participate and reciprocated with our efforts to serve, to the organizing team who worked tirelessly for making this happen and to Srila Prabhupada for giving us the most valuable gift of the holy names.
We consider being engaged in the service of holy names our most cherished treasure.
“The holy name of Krishna is transcendentally blissful. It bestows all spiritual benedictions, for it is Krishna Himself, the reservoir of all pleasure.” (Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya Lila 17.133
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All festival videos can be accessed at the following link. https://bit.ly/KirtanFestIndiaOnline
ISKCON Harinam Sankirtan Ministry Website: www.KirtanMinistry.com
Jan 23, 2022
Anandini Tikunov (8th-grade student)
Jan 22, 2022
Sunanda Das, tovp.org