World Holy Name Festival

World Holy Name Festival

The World Holy Name Festival is an annual event celebrated by followers of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and devotees of Lord Krishna worldwide. This year, devotees worldwide will celebrate the “World Holy Name Festival” from September 17 to September 23, 2023, to honor the arrival of Srila Prabhupada in America on September 17, 1965.The main purpose of the World Holy Name Festival is to promote the chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra and the glorification of Lord Krishna.
It carries several key significances and glories:

Chanting the Holy Name

The primary focus of World Holy Name Festival is the chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra: “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu emphasized that the chanting of the holy name is not limited by caste, creed, or social status. It is a practice that can be followed by people from all walks of life, making it inclusive and accessible to everyone.

Devotional Community

World Holy Name Festival brings together devotees from all over the world to engage in collective chanting and devotional activities. It strengthens the sense of community among devotees and allows them to share their love and devotion for Lord Krishna.

Outreach and Education

During this festival, ISKCON communities often engage in outreach activities, distributing literature about the philosophy and teachings of Lord Krishna and conducting educational seminars and lectures. It’s a time when people who may be unfamiliar with Krishna consciousness can learn about its principles and practices.

Spiritual Renewal

For existing devotees, World Holy Name Festival serves as a time of spiritual renewal and deepening of their relationship with Lord Krishna. It’s an opportunity to recommit to their spiritual practices and intensify their devotion.

Public Awareness

The festival helps raise public awareness about the ISKCON and its teachings. Through street chanting, book distribution, and prasadam (sanctified food) distribution, ISKCON communities share their spiritual culture with the public and promote a lifestyle of devotion and compassion.

Unity and Peace

Chanting the holy name is have the power to bring about inner and outer peace. Devotees pray for world peace during World Holy Name Week, emphasizing the idea that by connecting with the Supreme Lord through the holy name, conflicts and disturbances in the world can be mitigated.

Personal Transformation

Devotees often testify to the transformative power of the holy name in their own lives. They share stories of how regular chanting has brought them inner joy, improved relationships, and a sense of purpose.

Legacy of Srila Prabhupada

World Holy Name Festival also honors the legacy of Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, who played a pivotal role in spreading the teachings of Lord Krishna and the chanting of the holy name worldwide.

In essence, World Holy Name Week is a celebration of the profound spiritual and devotional significance of chanting the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra. It serves as a time for devotees to come together in unity, reach out to the broader community, and deepen their commitment to the practice of bhakti yoga and devotion to Lord Krishna. Through this festival, the glories of the Holy name are celebrated and shared with the world.

“harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā [Adi 17.21]”

“In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.”

Your Smallest act of Charity can make a difference and bring smiles to Needy Faces.

Vasant Panchami

Vasant Panchami

Hare Krishna, 

Vasant Panchami is a spring season festival as per the English calendar, celebrated throughout India. Therefore, worshipping mother Saraswati, the goddess of education, creativity, and music, is of great significance. It is also quoted that on the day of Vasant Panchami, Brahma created the goddess Saraswati. That’s why worshipping mother Saraswati on this particular day is unique.  

As per Vedic literature, Lord Krishna blessed goddess Saraswati that on Vasant Panchami, she would be worshipped everywhere. Even today, we can see that people offer their obeisance and worship goddess Saraswati on every Vasant Panchami. In Rigveda, mother Saraswati has been glorified as below –

“Prano Devi Saraswathi, Vajhebhir vajinavathi, Dhinam avithri avathu”

It means – Supreme consciousness in the form of goddess Saraswati protects our intelligence, mind, and psychology. Whatever character and intellect we got are because of mother Saraswati who has unique opulence in terms of prosperity and form. Here supreme consciousness means the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, the original cause of all causes. 

In Bhagavad Gita, Lord says – 

mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya 
mayi sarvam idam protam sutre mani-gana iva

“O conqueror of wealth [Arjuna], there is no Truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.”

The supreme personality of Godhead has given different services to His devotees to govern the material world. For example, Brahma Ji is responsible for the creation, Lord Shiva for annihilation, goddess Laxmi for wealth, and goddess Durga for protecting this material world compared to a prison. Similarly, goddess Saraswati is given a department of knowledge, creativity, and music which she is governing very skillfully. Goddess Saraswati bestows these qualities upon those who worship her and please her with their rituals. However, goddess Saraswati never forgets that the supreme personality of Godhead is her master and all demigods-demigoddess are being engaged in His service. This can be illustrated by the below example – 

As per Ramayana, when Kumbhakaran, brother of Ravana, performed severe austerities to please Brahma, all demigods-demigoddesses became afraid of him. Thus they approached goddess Saraswati and requested her to sit on the tongue of Kumbhakaran when he asked for benedictions from Brahma. Goddess Saraswati assured the demigods and agreed to sit on the tongue of Kumbhakaran. Kumbhakaran wanted Indraasan, the kingdom of Indra, as a benediction, but under the influence of goddess Saraswati, he ended up asking for Nindraasan, oversleeping. In that way, goddess Saraswati assisted demigods to protect the Lord’s creation. 

One more illustration can be seen from Sripad Ramanujacharya’s life. Sripad Ramanujacharya’s spiritual master instructed him to write a Vaishnav-style commentary on Srila Vyasdeva’s Vedanta Sutra. He went to Kashmir-based Sharda peetha to get the original text. When residents of Sharda peetha denied him the original texts, goddess Saraswati personally came and provided him with the original texts. When Sripad Ramanujacharya finished the commentary, mother Saraswati became very much pleased. She presented to Sripad Ramanujacharya her personal deity of `Hayagriva`, a plenary expansion of Lord Shri Hari, and awarded him the title “scholar”.

We can see one more incident where goddess Saraswati showed her allegiance and devotion to the supreme personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. This particular example is from Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s life who Himself is non-different from Krishna. Keshav Kashmiri, a great scholar and a great devotee of mother Saraswati, came to Navdwip for debate based on scriptures. He had already visited all the learning centers of India and was unconquered in all of them. 

Once Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who was popularly known as Nimai pandit at that time was on the bank of river Ganga. There He met Keshav Kashmiri and asked him to create a verse to praise the river Ganga. Keshav Kashmiri, being a learned scholar, created 100 verses in a few minutes. Keshav proudly spoke all 100 verses to Nimai. Nimai not only learned all the 100 verses instantly but also quoted various grammatical errors in the 64th verse. Nimai also quoted errors in a few more verses. Keshav Kashmiri was amazed and stunned at that. 

Keshav Kashmiri was puzzled at how a small boy of Sanskrit grammar school was finding errors in his compositions. At last, goddess Saraswati came in his dreams, as he was a great devotee of goddess Saraswati. She ordered Keshav Kashmiri to take shelter at the lotus feet of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. She also informed him that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is no other than Lord Shri Krishna. In this way, Keshav Kashmiri became a devotee of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. 

All the above incidences show that goddess Saraswati is a unique devotee of Lord Shri Krishna. She is using her post and designation to assist devotees of the Lord. Let us pray to mother Saraswati on this auspicious occasion of Vasant Panchami that we all dedicatedly devote ourselves to the selfless service of the Lord and his devotees; that we should develop a service attitude and make this human form of life worthy.

Your Smallest act of Charity can make a difference and bring smiles to Needy Faces.