By Damodarlila dasa, Maharashtra Padayatra leader
ISKCON established the World Holy Name Day to commemorate the anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s arrival in the West, later extending the annual celebration to last for a week. On this occasion padayatris perform more vigorously the spreading of the holy name. Normally we do sankirtan in the morning as we enter or leave a place, but through this year’s World Holy Name Week we had sankirtan thrice daily. When the patient is seriously ill the doctor has to increase the dose, so with this in mind we increased the dose of our medicine, the holy name, keeping going even in the rain.
WHNW starts in association of Rupa Raghunath Maharaja
For World Holy Name Week padayatra was in the Sangli area, when we were fortunate to have darshan and the association of Rupa Raghunath Maharaja who spent the day with us on September 17. Maharaja was glad to see the Maharashtra padayatris and encouraged us by saying, “It’s a good start. Keep going.” He honoured prasadam with us and wished us good luck for our future journey. He also gave class on the glories of the holy name and said he would visit again soon as he likes to be in padayatra. This was an auspicious start to our commemorative week.
Children experience WHNW
As a part of the celebrations we visited every school we encountered on our path. With our advance party having made the arrangements, we would stop at a school and encourage the children to chant the holy name with us. We also inspired them to write the maha mantra 108 times – some wrote it 216 times – and dance with us in sankirtan. It’s a wonderful experience being with the children for they easily absorb whatever is told to them, which in turn increases our enthusiasm. We also gifted them CDs of the “Lost Village” documentary of our spiritual master, Lokanath Maharaja. We presented about twenty-five school programmes throughout World Holy Name Week, ensuring the youngsters learnt of the maha mantra and the value of Srila Prabhupada making it available worldwide.
Maha mantra stickers and prasadam distributed
Wherever we went, after sankirtan we had a small class about the holy name and distributed maha mantra stickers so that everyone would chant with us and take home the mantra for their family. People would readily come forward to collect the stickers and we eventually distributed 3000 of them. It is said that a programme is incomplete without prasadam, so after every sankirtan we distributed prasadam to the assembled villagers.
The Book Score for the week was Maha Big Books 266, Big Books 9, Small Books 845. A total of 1120 books were distributed during World Holy Name Week.