The “World Holy Name Festival” under the aegis of the Harinam Sankirtan Ministry that is announced by the Governing Body (GBC) of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) was inaugurated at the hands of chairman of GBC. H.H. Ramai Swami Maharaj who is born in Egypt and is now residing at Melbourne, Australia. H. J. Pancharatna Prabhu from Toronto, Canada was Master of Ceremony and beautifully compered the program. First of all Swaroop Damodar Das from Dubai, who is an artist and a teacher, performed the Adhiwas Kirtan to the Mangalacharan. “Bodo Kripa Koile Krishna Adhmer Prati ….” this hymn was written by Prabhupada himself in the ship Jaldoot during his journey to America. Pancharatna Prabhu translated the hymn it into English as the Bhajan was in Bengali.
World Head and Minister of ISKCON Harinam Sankirtan Ministry, Srila Loknath Swami Maharaj said in the preface that Srila Prabhupada stepped on the soil of America for the first time on this day, hence this day is celebrated as “World Holy Name Festival” by ISKCON for the past 24 years. Only after this, Prabhupada gave the whole world the gift of Harinam.
Ramai Swami Maharaj said in his address that Shukdev Goswami said to King Parikshit “kaler doṣa-nidhe rājann asti hy eko mahān guṇaḥ kīrtanād eva KRSNASYA mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet।। O king, although the Kali Yuga is the ocean of faults, yet in this age there is a good thing, only by performing Kirtan of Hare Krishna Mantra, one gets rid of human bondage and attains divine abode. That is why we should always chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.
The chief guest of the event was H.H. Bhaktichaitanya Swami Maharaj, from Auckland (New Zealand) who is also the Vice President of ISKCON Governing Body. He welcomed all the virtual devotees present and told that once Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was having a philosophical debate with his Guru Ishwarpuri and he said ” harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam, kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā” which means that in this Kali Yuga, only Harnaam, Harinam and Harinam can save us. There is no other way, no other way, no other way of salvation in Kaliyuga other than Harinam!. That is why interest towards Harinam must be increased.
After this, a video was shown in which senior ISKCON devotees and monks are chanting “World Holi Name Festival ki Jay” in their respective countries. Finally, Secretary of ISKCON Harinam Sankirtan Ministry H.G. Eklavya Das from New York, America thanked all the guests and even urged to those people who are not connected with ISKCON to participate in this program. He said that all you have to do is take a selfie video in which Your name, city name, state and country has to be told and you have say that ‘I dedicate this Hare Krishna Mahamantra for love and world peace Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.” Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Hare Hare… this completes your video. This video can be sent through authorities of your nereby ISKCON centre or through email firstname.lastname@example.org. Your presence will be recorded by uploading this video on a centralized website.
While giving detailed information, the spokesman of ISKCON Harinam Sankirtan Ministry Dr. Shyamsundar Sharma said that in this whole festival two programs are very important. The first is Global Kirtan Connect and the second is on the last day of this festival i.e. Japathon. Both programs will take place from 12 noon to 1 pm according to Time Zone of each country. The program was earlier scheduled to begin in London and end in Paris. But due to some unavoidable reasons it has now been changed. Now this program will start from New Zealand and then will continue to Japan, Singapore, China, Russia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Iran, Italy, Salvador New York, Toronto Chicago, Los Angeles, etc. Kirtan and chanting will be performed during this time. In this way, the whole earth will be garlanded with the Hari Nam. Daily programs of World Holy Name Festival from 5 pm to 9 pm can be seen live on Hare Krishna TV channel or Hare Krishna TV on YouTube.