Giriraj Swami: It was a strange sight for New Yorkers. Srila Prabhupada sat under a tree and began singing. Strollers and musicians joined him. He entered their world with the Holy Names, and he entered their hearts. A headline in The New York Times declared, SWAMI’S FLOCK CHANTS IN PARK TO FIND ECSTASY.
Every day, devotees go into streets and parks throughout the world and chant Hare Krishna. Once, when we went to chant in downtown Johannesburg, we came across several musical groups playing in the promenade outside the Market Theatre. We joined in with some of them, and some of them joined in with us. When we joined some Zulus in tribal dress, they danced around their drums and chanted Krishna’s names. Looking into the crowd that had gathered, I perceived a deep sense of appreciation. Here were blacks, whites, coloreds, and Indians, all united in God’s names. And this coming together of peoples is exactly what everyone is hankering to see. After we had chanted with some Rastafarians, one of them exclaimed, "We really liked playing with you. People are surprised: 'How is it that the Hare Krishnas and the Rastafarians are getting together, singing and dancing?' They couldn’t believe it. So I told them, 'God speaks in different languages, but He’s the same God. We chant in our language, and they chant in theirs, but it all goes to the same place. So what’s the difficulty getting together and singing God’s names?'" Another musician suggested we hold big festivals together, with chanting and dancing, speaking about God, and lots of food.
Perhaps nobody really understood what happened that afternoon, why everyone felt so pleased, but it was the presence of Lord Krishna that brought everyone together in such a nice way. Srila Prabhupada explains: "As living spiritual souls, we are all originally Krishna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter from time immemorial, our consciousness is now polluted. The transcendental vibration established by chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is the sublime method for reviving our transcendental consciousness. The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His energy to give protection to the conditioned soul, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this mantra sincerely."
"No other means of spiritual realization is as effective in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy as the chanting of the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare."