NYC Harinam Praises
by ISKCON Leaders
“The Harinama Ashrama brings relief to all living entities in New York City and the world by pouring into their ears the sweet names of Krishna and by distributing tons of transcendental literatures. The lifestyle of the devotees in this ashrama, that is, full absorption in the primary activities of devotional service, twenty four hours a day, offers a chance for the participants to live fully under the shelter of Krishna’s internal potency. Rama Raya and his team have transported the blissful kirtana from the Krishna Balaram mandir in Vrindavana to the biggest western city in the world; a feat that is certainly dear to the hearts of Lord Caitanya, Srila Prabhupada and all the great Acaryas in our disciplic succession.”
- His Grace Vaisesika Prabhu
I would like to really thank and commend His Grace Rama Raya Prabhu for organizing the daily harinam in New York City - taking the devotees out on the street and chanting Lord Krishna’s holy names.
About a month ago i was in my arabic class in Dubai and one young lady had come over from New York City. She was staying in Dubai for some time and decided to take arabic also. We were discussing Krishna consciousness one day and i invited her to a kirtan. And she said, “You know in New York City i always go to union square and i always chant and dance with the devotees there. Its the most ecstatic thing that makes my life in New York.”
So even on the other side of the world, i have people coming to me and telling me how they have encountered Rama Raya Prabhu’s kirtan party and how wonderful it is. And i’d like to first from my heart to thank Rama Raya for the service that he’s doing and then i’d like to ask the devotees from all over the world to do what you can to help support this program. If you’re ever passing by New York, then join the program - go out with the devotees. Chant Lord Krishna’s holy names and put the seed of bhakti in every conditioned soul’s heart. So once again, Rama Raya Prabhu, thank you very very much.
This is BB Govinda Swami over and out.
The New York City daily harinama ashram, the yuga dharma ashram, is a very important project within Srila Prabhupada’s plan to spread Krishna consciousness. When Srila Prabhupada started his preaching in America and in the west, he could have chosen many ways through which he would reach the public. But he chose mainly to chant the holy name while sitting in tompkins square park. He also brought his books into the shops, but he personally set the example of how Krishna consciousness is best spread by doing harinam. I feel that the harinam ashram in New York is continuing this tradition that Srila Prabhupada introduced and I am therefore convinced that it has his blessings and the blessings of the entire sampradaya to continue to plant the seed of bhakti in as many hearts as possible.
We can see that the holy name has a lot of potency - more potency than any other form of the Lord because it is identical with Krishna. The first introduction between the conditioned soul and Krishna takes place through the holy name. It is so nice that this harinam sankirtan ashram makes chanting the holy name its main goal and i believe that this will inspire many many initiatives around the world where harinam sankirtan is in the forefront of all activities. I am personally very well informed of their activities. I always feel that if i can send devotees to this ashram it will be the best training for their lives so that they will lead a life of being instruments in Srila Prabhupada’s glorious mission.
I would like to encourage and give acknowledgment to the wonderful service of Rama Raya Prabhu in continuing with the Harinam Sankirtan in New York City. New York City is one of the most important cities in the world where Prabhupada chose to go to begin his preaching in the western countries. To carry on his mission there is very important and significant.
The whole world looks at New York City and if we’re there, we’ll definitely stand out. Especially if we’re there in Vaishnava dress and we’re singing Hare Krishna on the streets just as Srila Prabhupada did. This is really following in the footsteps of Srila Prabhupada when we continue with his initial efforts to spread sankirtan through street sankirtan, book distribution, and prasadam distribution on the streets. It should never be given up.
There’s many innovative ways which we can spread the sankirtan movement as time goes on because Prabhupada himself was very innovative himself in spreading Krishna consciousness in the western countries. He encouraged us to think big and to think of novel ways of introducing Krishna consciousness without compromising our tradition. But it should never be at the expense of the original way to introduce Krishna consciousness to the world. And that is through chanting the maha mantra in the association of other like-minded devotees. And that was the means of Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself.
yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ
"In this Age of Kali, people who are endowed with sufficient intelligence will worship the Lord, who is accompanied by His associates, by performance of saṅkīrtana-yajña."
He introduced congregational chanting of the holy names for devotees in the Temples and in the ashrams. Mahaprabhu came specifically with a mission to spread the sankirtan movement. He did it and the acaryas who followed Him did it. And Prabhupada did it. And we should continue with it.
We should devise other means of preaching but that in itself is one of the most important instructions to keep the sankirtan movement going through street sankirtan in our devotional dress with our traditional instruments and the cheering smiling faces of the devotees and the joy that emanates from them.
My humble request is the devotees keep it going because personal contact with the people is the most effective. When you personally come in contact with the people and they see the purification, light and happiness in your eyes and in your face, that’s what attracts them to Krishna conscousness.
Internet and other new ways are great but in all aspects of life, not only Krishna consciousness, but in general, personal touch is most important. So that personal touch is really there when devotees go on the street in Harinam parties and show the joy of Krishna consciousness. Nothing convinces people more than to see the genuine true happiness of devotees in their practice of Krishna consciousness.
So please, Rama Raya Prabhu, continue that. It’s not an easy thing to do. Going on the streets of Kali Yuga is never easy, but as Prabhupada wrote my Godbrother, “You are undergoing so many austerities traveling across England and sometimes its cold and there’s snow and you don’t get enough to eat and you don’t know where you’re going to stay, but you consider it like childsplay that austerity because you’re so much enjoying serving Lord Caitanya’s sankirtan movement. So that param drstva nivartate, that higher taste comes from chanting
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
We experience that joy and we’re duty bound as followers of Srila Prabhupada to share our good fortune with others and what better way than take it to the streets because that’s where the people and the personal touch with them are. It will affect their lives. Even if they are just passing by, the mantra enters into their ears. They’ll remember it. They’ll think of it in their dreams and who knows - we planted the seeds in tens or hundreds of thousands of people just by one Harinam party. And those seeds will fructify in the course of time. Hare Krishna.
To simply be absorbed in chanting the holy name, to bring that holy name to conditioned souls. That is glorious service.
Rama Raya has started a wonderful program and it is great that you have joined
When we chant in Vrindavan in front of the Deities, we attract the
attention of Krsna. I could see that with Aindra, when he got his Indian citizenship. It was an acknowledgment of the Deities, who said we like your kirtan, you can stay!
But also besides attracting the attention of Krsna we also attract the attention of people around the world by chanting in Vrindavan.
By chanting in New York, you are following in Srila Prabhupada's
footsteps. It will be noted by people around the world and the kirtan will inspire more kirtan in other places, Prabhupada will be pleased and you will attract the mercy of Lord Caitanya.To simply be absorbed in chanting the holy name, to bring that holy name to
conditioned souls. That is glorious service.
Kadamba Kanana Swami
This is Satsvarupa Maharaj. I think Rama Raya’s sankirtan party in New York City is the best Harinama party in the world.
Most Temples go out on Harinama once a week, but his party goes out every day of the week and chants for 6 hours - rain or shine. Their main place is Union Square but if the weather is unfavorable, they go to various subways of New York City. It is not an easy thing to chant for New York City audiences for 6 hours in a row. The other day a drunken man threw beer on the party, but they were undaunted.
Rama Raya used to be a part of the 24 hour sankirtan party in Krishna Balarama Mandir in Vrindavana. He was very close
to Aindra Prabhu, who was the leader of that party. When Aindra Prabhu passed away, Rama Raya Prabhu was grief-stricken. But he was inspired to leave Vrindavana and come to America and do Harinama in New York City, the first city where Prabhupada presented Krishna consciousness in the west. It is maybe the greatest city in the world and to chant there is most effective.
Prabhupada and Aindra Prabhu have both stated in their books that the congregational chanting of Hare Krishna is the first
service in Krishna consciousness. Unfortunately, it is neglected in ISKCON and not considered a priority. But it is a priority for the party in Union Square. Everyday they meet people who hear the holy name and thus according to scriptures they have planted
in these people’s hearts the seeds of bhakti. These seeds will eventually fructify and they will become devotees of the Lord. Such is the power of the maha mantra.
Rama Raya has been going out steadily in Union Square for 5 years day in and day out. People should support his program,
and they should join the Harinama party and make donations. This is really the first line of preaching in Krishna consciousness and everyone should appreciate it. Hare Krishna.
As far as performing Harinam, It has a tremendous effect. NYC is blessed by having a Harinam party, it is certainly auspicious. We hope this yajya will continue as Lord Chaitanya predicted and Prabhupada started.
HH Jayapataka Swami
This is what we do.
Kirtaniyah sada hari
The Sankirtan movement
Otherwise we can be a hindu temple society if that’s what we want. But I do not think that is what Prabhupada had in mind. He wanted us to go out and spread the glories of Krishna. And the best way to do that is through distribution of the holy name and transcendental literature and prasadam, all of which is going on in Union Square. In summary, it’s wonderful.
HH Jayadvaita Swami
Sri Rama Raya and his hari-nama-sankirtana party are faithfully executing Srila Prabhupada’s mission as explained in his letter to authorities in America in 1969: “Our basic mission is to propagate the sankirtana movement (chanting of the holy names of God) all around the world as was recommended by the Lord, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. People in this age are reluctant very much to understand about God consciousness on account of their unfortunate condition of life. They are working hard day and night simply for sense gratification. But this transcendental vibration of sankirtana will knock at the door of their hearts for spiritual awakening. Therefore, they should be given the chance for this opportunity.
“It is not recommended that a Krishna conscious devotee go into seclusion for chanting by himself and thereby gaining salvation for himself alone. Our duty and religious obligation is to go out into the streets where the people in general can hear the chanting and see the dancing. We have already seen practically how by this process many, many boys and girls of America and Europe have been saved from the immoral practices of this age and have now dedicated their lives for the service of Krishna.”
To taste and share the nectar of God’s holy names, the devotees of the New York City hari-nama party brave all kinds of weather and surroundings and responses from people; they live in austere conditions and eat the most simple prasada.
They are worthy of our full support. If possible, we should join them for chanting, and we can also help by cooking and providing other services, and by helping them financially.
These devotees are fulfilling the words of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Lord Chaitanya’s intimate associate, in Susloka-satakam, 62:
yad avadhi hari nama pradur asit prithivyam
tad avadhi khalu loka vaisnavah sarvatas te
tilaka vimala mala nama yuktah pavitrah
hari hari kali madhye evam evam babahuva
“From the moment that the holy names of Krishna became manifest on the earth, Vaishnavas began appearing everywhere. Wearing tilaka and neck beads and equipped with the maha-mantra, they are present in the very midst of the darkest of ages, purifying the atmosphere by chanting ‘Hari! Hari!’ ”
Yours in service,
In his purport to SB 1.17.33, Srila Prabhupada writes:
“In this age of Kali, the greatest common formula of sacrifice is the
sankirtana-yajna. That is the opinion of the experts who know how to propagate the process of yajna. Lord Caitanya preached this method of yajna, and it is understood from this verse that the sacrificial method of sankirtana-yajna may be performed anywhere and everywhere in order to drive away the personality of Kali and save human society from falling prey to the influence of the age.”
Following the instructions of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya, the New York Harinama devotees headed by Rama Raya Prabhu have boldly declared war on the personality of Kali with their three-pronged attack of book distribution, prasadam distribution and distribution of the holy name.
Their glorious effort to bring about real peace and happiness in this dark age would surely bestow all good fortune upon themselves and countless other souls. May Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krsna bless these devotees to continue this sankirtana-yagna incessantly for the benefit of all living entities.
Hari-guru-vaisnava dasa, Bhakti Vikasa Swami.
Four different ages have four different ways of achieving spiritual perfection. In the age of Satyayuga it was meditation; in Treta Yuga - fire sacrifice; in Dvapara Yuga - worshiping the Lord in the temple; in Kaliyuga - congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord. Kaliyuga is the most degraded of all the ages. In the Vedic scriptures it has been described as the age that is submerged in the ocean of sinful activities. However, this age has one great advantage -- just by chanting the holy name of the Lord one can become completely free from all sinful reactions and achieve highest spiritual perfection, that enables one to develop the most intimate loving relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In order to bestow this mercy upon the most degraded living entities the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna came as Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and inaugurated the congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord -- the Sankirtan movement. Although He distributed His most magnanimous mercy throughout the holy land of India He predicted that this movement would spread all over the world in every town and village. In order to fulfill that prediction, He sent one of his most intimate associates -- His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to this world. It is due to his mercy that this Krishna Consciousness movement has miraculously spread all over the world within the short span of 10 years and it is continuing to spread all over the world.
One such loyal follower of Srila Prabhupada, Rama Raya Das Brahmachari has dedicated himself continue Srila Prabhupada's legacy in the city of New York where Srila Prabhupada started the Sankirtan Movement about 51 years ago. New York city has gone through various turmoils due to the onslaught of Kali, but Rama Raya Prabhu was completely determined to push this Krishna consciousness movement in this city. For many years he single-handedly continued to perform this most sacred spiritual activity which known as Sankirtan Yagya. I am so happy to see that now Lord is awarding him so nicely by sending so many sincere devotees to support him to execute his mission and he is being appreciated worldwide by the sincere followers of Srila Prabhupada. As one of his sincere admirers, I wish him all the best in his very sincere endeavors to create the most wonderful good fortune for the people of the city of New York.
Bhakti Caru Swami