It is exactly 6pm IST and all their computers begin notifying an incoming Skype Conference Call. The team in-charge of the World Holy Name Week(WHNW) this year gets together and begins discussing their strategies. From coordinating with temple presidents of ISKCON temples around the world to contacting representatives in various centres, this year the team is making sure to carry out a series of unique events to propagate the Holy Name.
“This year’s theme is: ‘Srila Prabhupada’s gift to the world’,” says HG Ekalavya Das, coordinator of the WHNW programs. “This time we are planning to do things a bit differently and we are focusing on re-branding the entire event, making it easier for devotees and the public to connect with.”
Started in 1996, the WHNW, initially called World Holy Name Day, was an initiative taken by the Governing Body commission (GBC) of ISKCON to commemorate the arrival of Srila Prabhupada into New York with a motive to preach the message of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the west, and to celebrate his 100th Birth Anniversary – The Srila Prabhupada Centennial. Following the success of the day, in 2008, GBC decided to dedicate an entire week to the glorious historic event, thus renaming it to World Holy Name Week.
The entire week dedicated to increased congregational chanting of the Holy Name or Harinam Sankirtan has been celebrated with great pomp and splendour till now. This year, however, the event shall be seen in new light, new form and with a new reach.
The team in-charge of the event are planning three main type of events – Harinam Sankirtan, Japa workshops and educational seminars. Harinam Sankirtan would include organising more kirtan programs during the week dedicated to Srila Prabhupada’s efforts in propagating the Holy Name including Padayatras, 24 hour kirtan events and Kirtan Melas. Various Japa seminars and workshops would be held across the globe focusing on increasing the quantity and quality of chanting. The third leg of the agenda is that of educating masses about the importance of chanting the Holy Name by educating them in interesting ways.
For this, the team has begun contacting representatives and Temple Presidents from different parts of the world to coordinate and plan their set of activities. To facilitate the process, the team is inviting volunteers from temples and centres across the world to come forward and become ‘Ambassadors’ of the event. The Ambassadors would be the team’s official point of contact and in-charge of all the activities relating to the WHNW celebration in their town/city.
His Grace Mahatma Das has also joined the Advisory Panel of the WHNW event. The team is also taking upon unique ways of promotions through various social media channels to engage the youth in the same.
“We are trying to assign promotional tasks to a representative from a city/country who will be in-charge of promoting events taking place in their areas,” says Bhaktin Diksha. “We will be running special Social Media training seminars for those representatives once a week taking them through creation of videos, images and infographics that can be shared throughout social media, thereby engaging even those who cannot be approached in person, in chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra.”
Marking a change, this year the event will be following the solar calendar instead of the lunar calendar. This is a strategic decision taken after carefully understanding the requirements of the WHNW like regularity and reducing confusion.
Under the supervision of HH Lokanath Swami Mahraj and HH Jananand Swami Mahraj, the event is set to take place between the 9th – 17th September 2017.
The WHNW team is welcoming volunteers from all centres and temples across the world willing to take up different services, thus offering a hand in Srila Prabhupada’s movement to spread the glories of the Holy Name in every town and village.
“We are one family and Srila Prabhupada is our eternal Spiritual Master,” says HG Ekalavya Das. “The gift of the Holy Name that he gave us, and continues to give us, is precious and therefore we all should unite as a family and make this event a huge success, for him, for us and for Lord Krishna.”