Published on Nov 6, 2014 Today the Mayapur harinam party goes out chanting. It’s been doing so for 3 to 4 hours everyday since March 2006; every week, and every month of every year.
Besides singing from village to village in the greater Navadwip area, once a week or so it also carries by cycle-rikshaw, and occasionally by boat, enormous pots of hot kitchuri, after it has been religiously offered to Lord Krishna. This prasad, as it is called, coupled with the sweet singing of God’s name, will certainly please the hearts, tongues, and stomachs, of today’s scheduled villagers.
A handful of western converts to India’s devotional path have kept afloat this program on both sides of the Ganges river like a God-given mission.
The jolly boatload alights some twenty minutes downstream to the greetings and excitement of their hosts who, paradoxically will be the ones treated to dinner tonight. Kitchuri is India’s staple food – a mixture of rice, dal, vegetables, not to forget the hot chillis, lots of them.
Around Mayapur all beings no matter how low or poor are describes in holy scripture as special beings; serving them is said to be very pleasing to God.
This is the place where the now worldwide Food For Life charity started in answer to the urgent call of ISKCON’s founder Srila Prabhupada: ‘’No one should go hungry within ten miles of Mayapur.’’While realizing that the sound of God’s holy name is more easily appreciated on a full stomach, ISKCON officially created the Nagar Sankirtan Department in 2007, which currently engages half-a-dozen full-time volunteers. A plate of kitchuri costs ten Indian rupees, so a program like this, which feeds between 100 and 150 villagers, costs about Rs1,000 to 1,500, roughly 25 US dollars.
Brimming with jubilation, it’s time to go home, though not without a feeling of sadness. An afternoon is long enough to form bonds, especially between the youths. For some villagers and volunteers alike, today was also NOT their first meeting. As they say in these parts, “Pore dekha hobe, Mahaprabhur ashirbade” “See you next time, by God’s grace. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, believed to be the 16th Century avatar of Krishna, revived the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra we’ve been hearing today. The Kali-santarana Upanishad mentions that the chanting of these 16 combined names is most effective in this modern age. 10min video