Fortunate People, a project started in the UK by Russian devotee Shaktyavesha Avatar Das, began in 2016 as an offering to Srila Prabhupada for ISKCON’s 50thAnniversary. Participating devotees distribute books and then film the recipients chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra for the first time.
During the recent Prabhupada Marathon of December 2017, the project reached a milestone, collecting 10,375 videos of people chanting around the world.
The project is inspired by Srila Prabhupada’s statement in multiple different purports and lectures that if just one per cent of the population becomes Krishna conscious, “then the whole world will be peaceful.”
Meanwhile when asked for the definition of a Vaishnava, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Whoever chants the Holy Name of Krishna just once is worshipable and is the topmost human being.”
Thus the Fortunate People project dreams that one day at least one percent of the world will have chanted the Maha-Mantra at least once. It might be a distant goal, but the project is gradually building momentum towards becoming a juggernaut of much-needed change in the world.
Next year’s goal is 50,000 chants, and beyond that the sky’s the limit. Already people have been filmed chanting the Maha-Mantra for the first time in every continent apart from Antarctica, and in 25 countries, from the U.S. to South Korea, New Zealand to Belarus, and Peru to Iran.
Each video is unique and heartwarming. In Scotland, a policewoman plays a mridanga and sings along with devotees. In London, England, a man dressed as Santa Claus bellows out the Holy Name with Gusto. In Johannesburg, South Africa, hundreds of school children joyously dance and chant with an ecstatic brahmachari. And there are thousands more.
African schoolchildren joyously chant the Holy Name: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=13&v=KnPiqCBvU0s
One of the methods Fortunate People uses to expand its scope endlessly is to enlist “ambassadors” all around the world. Anyone can be an ambassador. One simply downloads the Fortunate People app, available for free on the App Store for iPhone or Play Store for Android, films people chanting Hare Krishna in their local area, and then uploads it with one click via the app to http://fortunate-people.com, where it’s added to the collection and increases the overall number of chants.
“We just got new ambassadors in Minneapolis, US; in Auckland, New Zealand; in Tijuana, Mexico; in Berkshire, UK; and in Tenerife, Spain,” Shaktyavesha Avatar says. “It’s amazing!”
A policewoman in Scotland, UK plays mridanga and sings with the devotees: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUX93C69_aQ
Shaktyavesha is excited by the idea that so far only book distribution Sankirtana has been countable; “But now,” he says, “We’re trying to make the idea of spreading the Holy Name also countable. So I hope it will be easier to set Harinama Sankirtana goals for temples or communities worldwide.”
When approaching the public, Fortunate People proponents ask them to chant “for love and peace.” While this might “sound a bit cheesy,” Shaktyavesha Avatar says, it’s an easy non-sectarian way to explain why we chant, and results in most people feeling favorable about the idea – many see the need for a positive shift in consciousness in today’s world.
Santa Claus delivers the Maha-Mantra with great gusto: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPABQAul5n4
Once Fortunate People reaches the next goal of 50,000 chants, Shaktyavesha Avatar hopes it will start to generate the kind of viral interest of something like 2014’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and be picked up by media channels like the BBC and The New York Times.
“There are many inspirational and motivational initiatives in the world right now where people are trying to shift the global consciousness towards goodness, towards just being a nice person,” he says. “So we are presenting our idea in a similar way – where people of all different faiths and backgrounds, from all different countries are chanting the mantra without any specific religious or political agenda. It’s just about trying to spread this good vibe, and sending the words of prayer, or mantra, to uplift the consciousness of the world.”
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For more info and to see the latest videos, visit http://fortunate-people.com/
To download the app and upload your own videos, visit http://fortunate-people.com/app/