The 2007 Festival of Inspiration-A Photo Essay (Kirtan)

Posted by Bhakta-Chris

Continuing with our photographic journey through the 2007 Festival of Inspiration, today we gaze upon the kirtaniyahs who rocked, soothed, and lifted our souls with their sacred sounds that saturated the New Vrindaban atmosphere with pure devotion.



It’s no stretch of the imagination to say that some of the best kirtaniyahs in the world were assembled here for the 2007 Festival. Nearly 24/7 the usually quiet spaces under the gazebo and on our spacious green parking-lot island were instead pulsating the Holy Names. We were graced with the presence of Bali (on harmonium) and Visvambhar (on mrdanga) from Alachua, as well as Akinca Krishna (clapping in white, playing harmonium below), demigods descended to make your eardrums offer full dandavats.



For all those who saw him inventing new dance steps by the second, our dear Mauricio, from Athens, Ohio and the Vegan Cooking Workshop, made a very convincing case that dancing to kirtan, rather than low-grade rap music or plastic people pop junk, should be the main activity of the youth of the world. Some want to be a revolutionary and follow Che Guevara or Brad Pitt. I follow Mauricio instead.


Hear is more of Maurcio living large, with Arjuna (from my hometown mandir of Detroit) about to use his massive, massive arms to resound the transcendental sounds. ISKCON Devotee of the Year His Grace Sgt. Partha Sartha Das leads smoothly. All surrounding experience bliss that can never be described as mundane.


On Saturday afternoon in our massive FOI Tent Structure, Bhakta-Joe Walsh and Raga (Tommy) assembled a true band of gypsies to honor the offerings of His Grace Sriman George Harrison Prabhu, responsible with his song “My Sweet Lord” for making sure the maha-mantra gets heard everyday by every American who turns through the radio dials of this fair land. Their rendition of “Something” was sublime, and their excellent performance was well appreciated by a groovy crowd of over 200 prasadam-and-rock-and-roll loving patrons.


The previous night, all the night-owls were treated to an all-star bhajan throwdown, led by His Grace Bada Haridas on harmonium, with NYC’s Ananta Sesa, The World’s Most Powerful Mrdanga Wizard (at least in this author’s humble opinion), and our very own Chaitanya Bhagavat on kartals. CB and Bada Haridas were old chaps from ISKCON Laguna Beach reunited after many years, and the appreciation and vibrations coming from the stage were something never to be forgotten (if one drinks enough pure cow’s milk).


Sometimes I press too many buttons on my camera, and things come out blurry, or artistically interesting, as in this shot of Saturday night’s main musical entertainment, the Fews, headed by everyone’s favorite, His Grace Gauravani Prabhu. Their modern rock renditions of everyday devotional themes threatens to breakthrough to the mass consciousness, and everyone up front dancing in glee can certainly agree. Check out more about the Fews at Gauravani’s MySpace page and more about the awesome scene of sacred sounds occurring right now in Potomac and DC at

More coming on Sunday! Haribol!

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