Street Harinama in Leeds, U.K.
Posted December 3, 2008
We must not lose sight of the need to help as many people as possible who reside in every town and village throughout the world. The more we procrastinate (and I am the worst offender), the more people are lost to the opportunity of coming into contact with this movement. We have to try to understand Prabhupada's compassion and listen to his words, which are as important now as when he spoke them.
I have been thinking about street chanting, and about how little people see of us on the streets. I'd like to make a humble request that every devotee give some thought to expanding the street chanting and thereby giving others the opportunity to enter into the spiritual world and avoid the pitfalls of sinful life, Srila Prabhupada will be so happy, and so will we.
It was one of my best experiences for many years, and I know it was the same for many of the others too. My personal favourite was when we chanted and danced through the Victoria Arcade — an up-market shopping precinct where all the elite gather together, do their shopping and drink their tea and coffee etc., — and then on to chant and dance through the Leeds City Market, where the working class also shop and drink their tea and coffee, at a discounted price, of course.
Here we came across a row of butcher shops that I knew to be there. They were so happy to see us. One butcher even danced with Janananda Goswami, and that was a wonderfully funny and a completely blissful experience. Actually, Maharaja was an inspiration of jollity and gay abandon, waving to all and dancing nonstop.
Anyway, I just wanted to share the news that the Hare Krishnas are very much alive in Leeds, and still around giving people happiness and freedom from material bondage at no cost to themselves.
When I think about it, I realise that when I joined over 30 years ago the people we met at that time have had children (many of them) whom we are now seeing, and this is all the more reason to get out there and let our presence be known, to let people see us as we are. If we don't do it, who will? If we all come together in this way, all the present problems that our great ISKCON society faces will disappear, just as the mist lifts when the sun appears in the sky.
Imagine a new wave of street chanting taking place all over the world. Imagine the devotees in Africa, South America, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, China, Japan, Europe, etc., travelling to every town and village with harinama, prasadam and book distribution. So many people in this world don't know a thing about us. They've never even seen us, what to speak of hearing the holy name. If it happened all over the world, it would be such an ecstatic happening that it would shake the world off its axis. Not only would Srila Prabhupada and all the past Acharyas be very, very pleased, but they'd be dancing with us too.
I personally want to do this. I dream of this, but I'm a little lazy. I'm self-conscious, I'm getting old (I have my bus pass) and I'm attached to my material comforts, but nonetheless I pray for this to happen in my lifetime.
Here is what Srila Prabhupada has to say: "Our Krsna consciousness movement stresses the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra only, whereas those who do not know the secret of success for this Age of Kali unnecessarily indulge in the cultivation of knowledge, the practice of mystic yoga or the performance of fruitive activities or useless austerities. They are simply wasting their time and misleading their followers. When we point this out very plainly to an audience, members of opposing groups become angry at us. But according to the injunctions of the shastras, we cannot make compromises with these so-called jnanis, yogis, karmis and tapasvis."
My "Harinama" photo album is located on Picasa. That site will be updated from time to time.