A Sankirtan Street Festival, followed by a Sanga


Yesterday was a special day to celebrate the spiritual contributions of Srila Prabhupada’s guru, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. He was pleased when a young member of the ashram went out to sell magazines – even if he only sold one. So I thought I might be in with a small chance of pleasing someone yesterday when I headed out to the north-west London suburb of Ealing Broadway for a spot of book distribution.

It was another ‘Weekend Warrior’ day organised by young Sachin Kotak, who just seems to love preaching the word of Krishna. When I arrived the book and prasadam table was already in place, attracting passers-by, a kirtan was going on, and a number of distributers were already dotted along both sides of the street engaging pedestrians. A veritable sankirtan festival.

I tried my best for around two hours, just taking long enough to break my morning fast at midday. (Only on special occasions do I do this, otherwise I love breakfast – at breakfast time!) I am happy to report that I sold slightly more than one magazine, so perhaps Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur was pleased with me.

Next up I was asked to lead a spot of energetic harinam sankirtan up and down the streets. Its always pleasant to see just how many people like the sound of kirtan and join in. But it was a Saturday in London, so a group of boys felt they had to provoke a reaction by throwing rubbish at us. Some things never change. When we broke for some prasadam later, I told the devotees of the first time I was asked to lead a kirtan along a street. It was London’s Portobello Road market in December 1974. I got about seven minutes into the kirtan, and was feeling quite proud of myself, when a chicken’s head, trailing bloody giblets, sailed through the air and hit me square in the face. The stall holder thought it was a great joke, as did his friends.

Later that day I drove to Maidenhead, a town some 40 miles away, to speak to the fortnightly sanga there. Its a growing group and they’ve had a mini-Rathayatra through the streets of Windsor – where the Queen has her castle – and also Maidenhead of course.

Such groups are proof that through a steady programme of book distribution coupled with a personal and considerate follow-up of interested new readers, newcomers can have their questions answered, their doubts adddressed, and gradually take to the basic daily practises of Krishna consciousness.

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2 Comments

Filed under Journal, Preaching

2 responses to “A Sankirtan Street Festival, followed by a Sanga

  1. Channah

    Hare Krishna,
    Please accept my most humble obeisances. All Glories to his Divine Grace Srila Prabhupad.

    I am a devotee from Maidenhead, working in Reading who attends Radhe Londonisvara on a regular basis.

    The spark of Krishna conciousness was first lit in me more than 5 years ago by devotees distributing books in Reading town center where I work still although it was only just over a year ago that I finally came to Krishna.

    I’m in touch with the devotees you speak of in Maidenhead. Although not blessed with the talent of preaching, I am quite musical and have been talking with some devotees from London Isvara about holding some outdoor Kirtan / harinam / music sessions in Reading during the summer months.

    Just opposite where I work in Reading there is a park which is always busy in the summer and which is a popular spot for students from Reading University and nearby office workers to spend their lunchtimes.

    I was thinking how nice it would be if we could hold some kind of event there in the summer and give all of those many people the chance to hear the Holy Name as I once did from devotees so many years ago.

    If you have any ideas as to how we could go about doing this, or know of any one in the area who would be interested in joining in, please contact me.

    My email address is lakhotabutterfly@yahoo.co.uk

    Your humble Servant,

    Channah.

    • Thank you Channah. Its always great to hear from someone who is keen to share their spiritual inspiration with others.

      There are actually groups of devotees in your area, including Reading. They would only be too pleased to hear from you. You can get directions to the weekly Reading meetings here:

      http://www.iskcon.org.uk/reading/directions.html

      and Dave Edwards, who helps to co-ordinate the group, can be contacted here:

      0118-9882858 – Home
      07799 – 681396 – Mobile

      And the devotees who will come to support you (they often do the street singing around the district) can be found through this Guildford Krishna group website:

      http://www.krishnacalling.co.uk/

      Please let me know how you get on

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