Selected singers and songs from the New Vrindavan 24 Hour Kirtan Festival 2008
Rhythmic recitation of Sanskrit prayers and the ceremonial smashing of camphor-laden coconuts ﾖ a ritualistic metaphor for the chasing away of negative energy ﾖ inaugurated a festival dedicated to the congregational chanting of Hare Krishna at New Vrindaban, ISKCONﾒs rural community and retreat center in West Virginia, on Saturday, August 16. The festival, billed as New Vrindabanﾒs First Annual 24-hour Kirtan Festival, was organized by Gopal Dasa, a second-generation devotee and veteran of the famous Krishna Balarama Kirtan Mandali in Vrindavana, India. Hundreds of devotees and guests poured in to New Vrindavan from all over the United States, and in a few instances from around the world, to be part of the historic gathering.
The Saturday evening kirtan, led by Madhava and supported by a host of mridanga drummers, flute players, and even an electric bass, saw the most participants; the expansive temple room was packed with more than two hundred devotees and weekend guests. The kirtan continued out of the temple building and on procession out to the nearby man-made lake, where a swan boat took deities of Radha Krishna for a moonlit outing.
ﾓBy the end of the weekend, people I didnﾒt really know when we started out had become like old friends to me,ﾔ Amul said. ﾓIt was like we were all united for one goal: to try our hardest to purely chant the holy names.ﾔ