|A group of Hare Krishna devotees sing Bhajans at Sarasavathi Hall in Bambalapitiya|
Chanting the mantra ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna…’ brings a sense of calmness to even the most disturbed atmosphere. The holy mantra helps Lord Krishna devotees to tune their senses in order to understand God. Devotional songs, in the name of Lord Krishna, were sung in high-pitched voices in Colombo on October 12 (Sunday) at the Sarasvathi Hall in Bambalapitiya during a singing session, better known as Bhajan.
This period we live in is known as Kaliyuga, a bad time, where people are more interested in quarrels rather than being devoted to God. This is one reason why Hare Krishna Temples organize public programs to spread the importance of singing and praising Lord Krishna. Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Kotahena, which promotes the simple and natural way of living propagated by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), organized the Bhajan session, which was spiced by dances devoted to Lord Krishna.
A team of Hare Krishna devotees from Mayapoor, India led the Bhajans. They gave every indication that they were skilled musicians, and the crowd responded with equal enthusiasm. But it must be mentioned here that Lord Krishna showers blessings equally on the skilled musician and the not so-skilled devotees, who joins in the singing. What counts is that the devotion they show for God, through their singing, is genuine.
Temple President of Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Kotahena, Mahakarta Das, told The Nation that public programs like Bhajans and Ratha Yathra Chariot Festival help create awareness of the Hare Krishna movement. “The idea behind these programs is to create public awareness. Those interested can then be guided further by handing them literature on the subject,” said Swami Das.
Hare Krishna devotees are encouraged to practice the four precepts which are abstaining from; eating meat, consuming substances that intoxicate the mind, having illicit sex and engaging in gambling.
The teachings of the Hare Krishna movement explain that when devotees ‘chant and hear’ the gradual realization of everything (The truth) is possible. The Hare Krishana mantra is a short verse and goes like this: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. The verse when translated into English reads as follows: O ALL ATTRACTIVE ALL PLEASING LORD, O ENERGY OF THE LORD PLEASE ENGAGE ME IN YOUR DEVOTIONAL SERVICE.
The Hare Krishna movement came under the spotlight when founder Acharya (Teacher) of the movement His Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada arrived in America and started spreading Krishna consciousness. He propagated practicing the four vows and chanting the mantra. Devotees are encouraged to perform 16 rounds of chanting, once in the morning and once in the evening. The chanting and the devotion to God help check imbalances of the values in life and achieve peace and unity. Swami Prabhupada passed away in 1977 and his disciples have carried on the movement ever since.
As the chanting intensified at Sarasvathi Hall, a few devotees rose from their seats and broke into a dance to complement the singing. When the singing session reached a climax and devotees joined in the singing, it appeared from the faces of everybody that they were bathed with bliss. The public program also included a dance to honor Lord Krishna which was performed by Veronika Dassanayake and her group.
The comperes of the program, representing the Tamil and Sinhalese communities, thanked the audience for their participation and invited devotees to make financial contributions, so that the construction of the ISKCON Temple in Kotahena could be completed. Swami Mahakarta Das said that 40 percent of the construction work of the temple was over, and the temple welcomes contributions from well-wishers. The temple authorities have organized a scheme where devotees can contribute to the temple construction fund by sponsoring a brick which is priced at Rs 3000 each. Devotees buying a brick will see their name being inscribed on the brick.
Mahakarta Das Swami has an electrifying personality. He is determined to see the temple construction draw to a close. The ISKCON temple in Kotahena, once constructed is sure to be a phenomenon that motivates people to drop the lower and seek the higher in terms of seeking true knowledge of the world. And as Swami Mahakarta Das often reminds devotees, one sure way of achieving spiritual success is by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra daily.