About 140 devotees from Spain, Portugal, Holland, the UK and Russia bonded in calling out to Lord Krishna during the third annual Holy Name Festival in Spain this summer.
The festival ran from August 11th 14th in Srila Prabhupada’s Gardens at the New Vrajamandala farm.
Devotees arrived on Thursday to a welcoming address and an evening kirtan in an elegant white tent in the Gardens, as the newly renovated elephant fountain trickled pleasantly in the background.
Tarana Caitanya Das leads an energetic kirtan
With Srila Prabhupada’s murti and a framed photo of the late champion of the Holy Names Aindra Das at one end, the tent was decorated with flower and leaf festoons, and handmade ISKCON 50th anniversary signs.
On Friday, devotees immersed themselves in a 12-hour kirtan from 11:00am until 11:00pm.
“Well, actually it went on until two in the morning,” admits organizer Deva Sekharah Das, laughing.
Chanters included Kadamba Kanana Swami, Agnideva Das, and many younger devotees who travel to different events around Europe doing kirtan.
Kadamba Kanana Swami
Among these were Ojasvi Das from Croatia, Tarana Chaitanya Das from Slovenia, Hari Kirtan Kaufmann from Germany, Ananda and Yogindra from Canada, and Ravi Pattni, Jaggi Suta Das, and Madhva Anderson from the UK.
Local second generation Spanish kirtaniyas like Sundari Riccio and Nitai Das also led the chanting, which was accompanied by both traditional Indian instruments and acoustic guitar.
“There was a very nice balance between meditative kirtans and ‘crazy’ or intense ones,” Deva Sekharah says. “Kadamba Kanana Swami is well know for his energetic kirtans, and Ojasvi Prabhu for his sweet melodies and traditional Indian style. Agnideva Prabhu, meanwhile, chanted classic Vaisnava bhajans with explanations between songs.”
Finally, on Saturday August 13th, there was a special ISKCON 50 celebration in the morning, followed by a Maha Harinama in Madrid, another core feature of the festival.
Young devotees dance with joy
An impressive 130 devotees turned passerby’s heads as they poured through the streets with their mridangas, flags, colorful clothes and energetic dancing. Dancer Mahima Sandoval even burst into a Bharatanatyam performance in full traditional garb during the kirtan, as onlookers crowded around.
Throughout the festival, devotees were thoughtfully cared for, with a French family of chefs – Sankirtan, his sister Gopi, and their mother Kishori – whipping up delicious gourmet prasadam meals.
Mahima Sandoval performs Bharatanyatam during the Harinama
“We still have a lot to improve, but devotees were very happy with this event,” Deva Sekharah says. “They felt it had a very sweet, intimate and bonding atmosphere. There was wonderful association, with many devotees connecting again for the first time in many years. And that along with the tasty prasadam and uplifting kirtans brought the spiritual world right there into New Vrajamandala.”
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