Back to Godhead July/August 2015

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July/August 2015

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In 1966, Srila Prabhupada led his followers in what was probably the first public chanting (kirtana) of Krishna's names outside India. The three-hour kirtana in New York's Tompkins Square Park attracted attention, and public kirtanas became a prominent feature of Prabhupada's movement. For many people today, kirtanas are the face of the Hare Krishna movement. Along with Srila Prabhupada's books, kirtanas are how people know us – and know what to call us.

When telling his countrymen about his movement's success in the West, Prabhupada would often happily remark, "We are known there as 'the Hare Krishna people.'" The public, and not Prabhupada, had come up with the phrase, and it accomplished what Prabhupada had set out to do – get people to chant Krishna's holy names.

Our cover story is a pictorial on last year's World Holy Name Week. Satyaraja Dasa's "Harinama Sankirtana: Taking Krishna’s Name to the Streets" continues the theme of public kirtana, as does Chaitanya Carana Dasa's "Rathayatra: When the Lord Comes Out, Let’s Invite Him In." Though his article is not about kirtana per se, anyone who has attended any ISKCON "Chariot Festival" knows that the chanting of the Lord's holy names is at the heart of this soul-changing event.

Hare Krishna. – Nagaraja Dasa, Editor

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September 24 - October 4, 2015. To find out how you can take part in this year's World Holy Name week, please visit worldholynameweek.com.

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Its origins lost in antiquity, the Festival of the Chariots was for millennia a regional event. Now Lord Jagannatha, the "Lord of the Universe," rides in His unique chariots in cities throughout India and the world.

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Like many others before him, he moved from India to America to pursue his material dreams, but his meetings with Krishna's devotees convinced him to aspire for something much higher.