“This Zoom conference is a revolution in chanting japa in ISKCON” – This is what Lokanath Swami Maharaja announced to a group of participants at ISKCON Pune on 6 February 2019.
It all began in South Africa after Maharaja’s visit to the United States where HH Hanumant Prekshak Swami was using a conferencing facility to chant with his disciples. On 10 December 2018, at a disciples retreat at the Sri Krishna Goshala, Maharaja sat with a team of devotees and brainstormed the possibility of a similar application. It was here, on this sacred land that the idea of Zoom “Chant Japa with Lokanath Swami emerged.
Lokanath Swami Maharaja was so completely enthused with the idea that this facility became operational within two days and the “Chant Japa with Lokanath Swami” sessions commenced. When Maharaja landed in Mauritius, “Chant Japa with Lokanath Swami” was fully functional. By mid-January 2019 United States, Australia, Middle East, South Africa, Reunion Island, Mauritius, Mexico, Ukraine, Russia, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Hungary, Canada, France, and participants from various countries were chanting with Lokanath Swami Maharaja via Zoom.
To date, more than 1000 devotees have joined this project. The “Chant Japa with Lokanath Swami ” with Maharaja has enlivened devotees about chanting. It has made them more conscious of each chant through breathing techniques(pranayama) and ideas of how to remember and chant, how to sit, how to chant in a state of emergency, how to invoke the intelligence to manage the mind and how not to listen to the mind while chanting.
Maharaja’s talks at the end of each session are extraordinarily special as it calls on each individual to attentive chanting. The final section of the chanting allows us to reflect deeply into the act of chanting where Gurudev engages us through spiritual injunctions and quotations.
Many devotees are now listening to Lokanath Swami chanting while driving to work, cooking, fulfilling their Deity worship, during their lunch or tea breaks at work. A transcription of the talk is also made available in English, Hindi and Russian. In many ways Gurudev’s chanting has become omnipresent – present all over the place, all pervasive and worldwide.