By Gokula Ranjan Das
Nashville Tennessee Rathayatra
For the past 24 years Nitai Gaurasundar Prabhu and his good wife Matsya Prabhu on the instruction of their Guru Maharaj, His Divine Grace Satsvarupa Das Goswami Maharaj, have been sponsoring a namahatta program every Friday night at their home in Murfreesboro, TN, just outside of Nashville. From this program a very inspired group of devotees has developed who are always eager to serve and spread Srila Prabhupadaâ€™s movement.
Now through these Murfreesboro devoteesâ€™ efforts, Rathayatra has become an annual event in downtown Nashville at the Centennial Park during an International Cultural Festival. The presiding Jaganatha deities of the Southeaster U.S. came from New Panihati (Atlanta, GA) and majestically on a Rathayatra cart from New Ramenreti (Alachua, FL). Srila Prabhupada arrived from Murari Several (Lynchburg, TN) to bless everyone with his darshan. The Murfreesboro devotees organized the whole event.
European Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans, Latin Americans, and good old boys from Tennessee all stopped to pose for pictures in front of large six-foot stature of Lord Jaganatha. The song of God sang out sweetly in Music City as the devotees chanted continuously while the older generation in the crowd looked at devotees like they were seeing old friends they missed dearly. The younger generations seeing us for the first time were enchanted. The cart was more beautifully decorated than ever with an explosion of color. Everyone in the park from all walks of life were drawn to witness the Jaganatha procession. Coincidentally, by Krishnaâ€™s arrangement, the group from Burma had beautifully decorated an elephant float to lead the procession.
On the main stage the crowd was deeply moved by the delicate and intricate precision of the bharatnatyam dancers from Alachua. Adi Dev and his good wife had their new diorama exhibits with â€śDr. Frogâ€ť and â€śBird into Cageâ€ť. You can see why Srila Prabhupada wanted this powerful preaching tool.
Once again we can see the power of cooperation to please Srila Prabhupada. The results are always successful and sublime. New flowers will blossom in the ISKCON branch of Lord Caitanyaâ€™s movement.
All glories to the assembled devotees! All glories to Srila Prabhupadaâ€™s ever-increasing movement! All glories to Lord Jaganatha, Lord Balarama and Lord Subhadra!
Gokula Ranjan Das
October 4th, 2011