History of Nama-hatta
Just over 500 years ago, Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in the Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata, gave the following order to His pioneering preachers Shri Nityananda Prabhu and Shri Haridas Thakura:
suno suno Nityananda, suno Haridasa,
sarvatra amara ajna koroha prakasa,
prati ghare ghare giya koro ei bhiksa,
bolo Krishna, bhaja Krishna, koro Krishna siksa
“O hear Me, hear Me Nityananda! Hear Me Haridasa! Simply disseminate My order everywhere. Go from house to house and beg [the residents as follows]: ‘Speak about Krsna, worship Krsna and teach [others] about Krsna.’”
[Caitanya-bhagavata Madhya-Lila 13.8-9]
Over 100 years ago, the great Acharya Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, in the line Gaudiya Vaishnavasim, again took up the preaching mission of the Lord Caitanya and recorded the following words in reference to the Nama-hatta preaching work:
boro sukher khabor gai
surabhi-kunjete namer hat khule’che / khoda nita
“I am singing news of the greatest happiness! At the place known as Surabhi Kunja in Shri Navadvipa, the Marketplace of the Holy Name has now been opened-and Lord Nityananda Himself is the Proprietor.” [Vaisnava-Siddhanta-Mala]
Bhaktivinoda Thakura – the Innovator of the Marketplace
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura personally travelled to so many places and established over 500 Nama-hatta sanghas. He organised roles for running the Nama-hatta smoothly. Each Nama-hatta was headed by a commander who took care of the members of the Nama-hatta. He designated the travelling preachers who went from door to door as salesmen. Finally, he considered himself simply as the sweeper whose purpose was to help maintain purity by speaking Harikatha and singing kirtans at the houses he visited.
Nama-hatta in ISKCON
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s modern-day Nama-hatta mission continued with Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), His disciples including HH Jayapataka Swami (Minister for Congregational Preaching), HH Bhakti Raghava Maharaja, HH Bhakti Purushottama Swami, and HH Gauranga Prem Swami have expanded these Nama-hatta by the thousands throughout West Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. This enthusiasm has rippled out and initiated thousands of more Nama-hattas all over the world.
What do Nama-hattas accomplish?
- Provide regular opportunities to associate with devotees even if they live far from temples
- Support advancement in spiritual life for householders, even as they are busy with work and family
- Serve as expansions of temples to reach out and include all
- Connect aspirants to Harinam initiations
- Avail welcoming places for those who have received Srila Prabhupada’s books and other various newcomers
- Preaching facilities without taking funds from temple collection
- Facilitate practice for preachers, including young people and women
The above is taken from https://iskconcongregation.com/programs/creating-markets-of-the-holy-name
Nama-hatta at ISKCON Vrindavan
Preaching is the Essence; Purity is the Force.
Utility is the principle; Books are the Basis.
In order to fulfil the desire of Srila Prabhupada and the dream of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, Nama-hatta department, at ISKCON Krishna Balaram Mandir, facilitates numerous preaching programmes as below:
- Congregation Development (Bhakti Vriksha) – main focus is to cultivate, through various interactive methods, those who are interested in bringing spirituality in their lives thus achieving a perfect balance between the material and the spiritual.
- House Programmes – are conducted in the homes of interested individuals where the focus of discussion are on how to lead a peaceful and balanced life by which the spiritual aims of life can easily be achieved.
- Hari Naam Sankirtan – regular kirtans are held on the sacred streets of Vrindavan, Mathura and other areas of Braj, which adds to the already surcharged spiritual atmosphere of the land of Krishna.
- Jail Preaching – special attention is given to educate the inmates of local jails so they can also spiritually benefit by which they can spend their time peacefully and at the same time learn how to be an ideal citizen
- Funeral Services – this important service is especially provided to ISKCON devotees whose final rites are performed at the banks of the sacred Jamuna River.
- Mathura Rath Yatra – this popular annual festival through the ancient streets of the sacred city of Mathura attracts tens of thousands of participants.
- ISKCON Disciple Course – this course, conducted at regular intervals in Hindi & in English, is essential for those who would like to take formal spiritual initiation within ISKCON.
- Braj Sevanam Project – this developing and important project supports the development of the Braj Mandal in many areas e.g. medical camps, prasadam distribution, cow protection, restoration of sacred spaces, education, etc.
- Srila Prabhupada’s Book Distribution – this being essential activity within ISKCON is enthusiastically promoted.
- Village Preaching – there are over 1,500 villages in the land of Braj. Regular cultural programmes are being held in some of the villages.
- Braj Darshan – regular pilgrimages to the sacred land of Braj where Lord Krishna performed His pastimes are organised to cater for the need of the individual as well for the need of groups.
- Youth Training – young men and women are educated, through various college programmes, on the ancient yet currently relevant thinking processes of India in which God or Krishna is the centre of one’s life.
For more details on the above activities and how to participate in them please contact:
Bimal Krishna Das: +91 9893304561
Rakhal Raja Das: +91 9760475547