The New York Times Style Magazine’s first digital cover story, published on February 14th, features Hare Krishna devotees from ISKCON’s Radha-Krishna Temple chanting on the streets of London: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/02/14/t-magazine/new-british-fashion.html
The image is part of a splashy photo article, entitled “The New British Classics,” which showcases classic British fashion while paying homage to Savile Row.
In the striking photograph eight of the temple’s monks chant Hare Krishna and play instruments on London Bridge. They’re accompanied by model Maisie Dunlop, wearing Salvatore Ferragamo vest and pants and playing kartalas (cymbals).
The devotees are ISKCON London’s head of outreach Dayal Mora Das on harmonium, Bhakta Dan on mridanga, men’s ashram leader Vayu Das carrying Srila Prabhupada’s books, and temple commander Bhakta Mairis; along with Sandipani Muni Krishna Das and Bhaktas Shyam, Benjamin and Csaba.
Holmes Production, a London-based creative production company specialising in stills, film, commercials, shows and events, approached ISKCON-London Communications Secretary Natasha Menon with the concept.
They wanted to shoot a model in a British classic outfit along with an iconic London feature – Hare Krishna monks chanting on the streets of London, which has been a famous daily sight in Central London for the past fifty years.
Adding to the significance was the fact that the photoshoot took place on December 13th2018, the 49th installation anniversary of Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara.
For the shoot, the devotees performed Harinama Sankirtana from Southwark Church up to London Bridge, then walked along the bridge for a short while.
Vayu Das shares: “I took the opportunity to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books to passers-by and people who gathered to see the photoshoot. We felt that this was a very good opportunity for us, the Hare Krishnas, to feature in a famous mainstream magazine. The model, Maisie Dunlop, grabbed the kartals spontaneously and tried to play on beat. She was very favourable and also was given a book and a maha-mantra card. Overall, it was a very positive experience.”
The filming and styling crew were also warm and friendly, and liked the devotees. Almost all of them took a book, some of them Bhagavad-Gita As It Is. Several gave a generous donation.
The New York Times Style Magazine photo is not just a posed image or a nostalgic look back at a past that no longer exists. Residents of the Radha-Krishna temple still go out on Harinama every day from Monday to Friday at 3:30pm. In addition, community members from across the city come together for a bigger Harinama on Saturdays at 7:30, and on festival days.
An average of around fifty devotees participate in Saturday night Harinamas, with that number ballooning to a hundred on festival days and during the Spring - Summer season. The various different Harinama routes cover popular Central London areas including Oxford Circus, Piccadilly, Leicester Square, Marble Arch, Cambridge Circus, Covent Garden, Charing Cross, Trafalgar Square and China Town.
“In London, street chanting is more relevant now than it has ever been before,” says Natasha Menon. “The Hare Krishnas singing and dancing on the streets of London is a daily colourful and lively sight. Our Sankirtana parties have become accepted, embraced and loved by the Londoners as well as by many of the millions of tourists that visit the capital every year. It attracts many to come to the Temple and get a taste of bhakti-yoga, as well as garnering us interest from the press and media. Opportunities such as The New York Times Style Magazine article give us global exposure and generate curiosity among readers to find out more about the Hare Krishnas.”[ chanting ] [ harinama ] [ london ] [ new ] [ times ] [ york ]