By Manohara Syama das
Photos by Bhakta Andrei
Dear devotees of Lord Gauranga, please accept my humble obeisance at your lotus feet. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!
I am really happy writing this article, because the events I am going to write about are really glorious and, without any doubt, due to the mercy of our beloved spiritual grandfather, Srila Prabhupada.
On 31th of December last year all devotees of our congregation (about 30) plus the resodemts of the temple in Madrid, Spain, assembled to receive the new year of the Christian calendar.
We had some kirtan and a little talk led by HG Mahajana das, and some extraordinary prasadam, prepared by members of the congregation, led by HG Jiva Goswami das.
When the clock struck twelve and after 'having the grapes' (a funny tradition in Spain), we prepared to go out for a harinama - by the way, for the very first time in Spain at those hours, thanks to the insistence of Mahajana Prabhu.
About eight to ten devotees left the temple and we started walking as usual on our Sunday-harinams, towards the city's central point, “Puerta del Sol”. As we were advancing towards Gran Vía, many people started joining us, some of them dancing, some chanting the holy names, and some of them just walking with us as they were feeling that there was some hidden nectar behind this transcendental vibration.
The number of people increased, many of them young, and after about one quarter of our way there were already 100 of us! They were joining without pause while we were approaching “Puerta del Sol”, where thousands of people were celebrating the new year.
Reaching “Puerta del Sol” we found it difficult to advance, as the sidewalk was getting narrow because of the number of people. Our group of harinama had grown to 200 by this time. For most of the devotees this really was a sacrifice, because they are used to sleep during these hours.
Many people were drunk, pouring beer and champagne everywhere. At that moment we felt that we had made a mistake in going there, as the people were becoming agitated. But His Grace Mahajan das, who was expertly leading the harinama, shouted: “Tapasyaaaaaa!!!!!”, and in our hearts grew the feeling that we were making a real sacrifice to please Guru and Gauranga in delivering the falling souls of Kali Yuga.
Then something incredible happened: the people who had been joining us started to pacify the agitated masses and made a road for us to pass. As we left “Puerta del Sol”, the sidewalk was clear again and the harinama continued much more powerful than before.
At this time our party had grown to more than 300 devotees, dancing and many of them chanting (or at least trying).
All the devotees were in ecstasy, dancing and chanting with the crowd, when we found a place where we stopped to chant and dance for some time.
It was incredible to see how people jumped over cars to join us, imitating the dance, and in some way experiencing the nectar of Lord Caitanya's sankirtan movement. We all felt that Sri Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s prophecy being fulfilled and we were, thanks to the mercy of Srila Prabhupada, part of it.
When we reach “Fuencarral” (on the way back to the temple), again we stopped for a time in a square and again the harinama intensified. His Grace Mahajan das adjusted the karatals and mrdangas and started to dance with the crowd. At this point there were more than 500, an ocean of people, trying to reach the origin of the kirtan.
Half an hour later we started walking towards the temple again, thinking that the crowd would remain at the square - but to our surprise they kept following. Two blocks before reaching the temple Mahajan prabhu finished the harinama while the people, really intoxicated with the holy name now, wanted to continue dancing until dawn.
We pray to the merciful Lord Gauranga that those people will join us as devotees very soon, and will keep experimenting with this type of harinama, bringing the Nectar of the sankirtan movement to the masses.
After writing this article I was thinking: what does this story have to do with the Congregational Youth Ministry? Then I realized that this pastime has to be seen in connection with my earlier article, "Not Ashamed Youth", because this incredible harinama we had proved that indeed we were very proud to be Krishna conscious, and proud to be followers of our beloved Srila Prabhupada, and in some way people could feel that deep in their hearts.
Another point is that much of the people participating in the harinama were between 17 and 25, all of them looking for a party to enjoy, for 'nectar' to drink, for songs to sing and dance to, for a friend to love.
Deep in their hearts they are searching for something new, something fun, some kind of intoxication beyond any drug. They were waiting for us because we are the medicine they need to be really and eternally happy. And no one is better than you: young devotes, to give them what they are looking for. How? By feeling really proud to be participating in this incredible miracle of Lord Caitanya, believing in the power of the maha-mantra, and understanding that there must be victory in this endeavor, as it is the will of the Lord who is kindly letting us participate.
Please preach by giving this example to your friends, let them know how wonderful this movement is, fill the streets with the nectar of the holy name, distribute prasadam in your schools and universities, and give them the transcendental parties they are looking for.
Please forgive me if I commit any offence in this article as I am full of enthusiasm and good intentions. I think that we really have to take advantage of the festive mood young people are in, developing an environment for them to grow in Krishna consciousness.
Your insignificant servant,
Manohara Syama das