ISKCON Ludhiana Rath Yatra 2012 – An Ocean of devotees
By Lakshman Das
Please see the link for photos ….
On the 16th December 2012, more than one hundred thousand devotees took part in the Jaganatha Ratha Yatra festival International Society for Krishna Consciousness ( ISKCON), Ludhiana.
Prominent attendees :
HH Gopal Krishna Goswami, HH Vedavyasa Priya Swami, HH Prabodhananda Saraswati Swami and HG Mahaman Prabhu.
Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sri Sukhbir Singh Badal graced the occasion with his presence. Around 200 foreign devotees also participated on this occasion.
About six kilometers parade was covered in about nine hours. Started from Sri Durga Mata Mandir, near Jagraon Bridge at 2PM and after passing through Fountain chowk,Ghumar mandi, Aarti chowk rested at Nav Durga Mandir, Sarabha Nagar around midnight. On 17th December, 2012 there was Hare Krishna Utsav.
These contrasting colours of the Ludhiana Jagannath Rat hYatra (chariot procession) were witnessed during the 16th Rath Yatra, a three-day event organised by International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).Chants of ‘Hare Krishna Mahamantra’ set the city’s festive spirit rolling as devotees participated in the Jagannath Rath Yatra on Sunday. Thousands of faithful pulled ropes of the chariot on which icons of Lord Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra were placed, immersing Ludhiana’s streets with religious enthusiasm. A part from those belonging to the Jagannath Puri, many Ludhianvis participated in the Rath Yatra. Hands folded and stretching their neck to get a glimpse of the Lord.Devotees wait for the Rath Yatra all through the year and when Lord Jagannath comes out of His temple to give
blessings to the devotees, the moment turns into pure bliss.
Lord Jagannath on a decorated chariot followed by a ocean of devotees. Community kitchens, stalls and Prasadam Counters on every nook and corner of the city for the poor on the one hand and special dinner for just a handful of elite families in one of the costliest resort of the city on the other.Three elephants were leading the procession and more than 200 devotees were cleaning the path with decorated brooms.
1) ISKCON distributed more than 5,000 copies of the Bhagvad Gita translated into Punjabi.
2) Offered for Lord Jagannath special thaalis ranging from 56 unique kind of sweets (chappan bhog).
3) The broom made of gold is used every year to clean the roads in front of the chariot.
4) 3 big cranes were used to offer a huge garland , 56 Bhoga and to offer Aarti to their Lordship.
5) On both side of procession each and every residents or shopkeepers were welcoming the Lordship distributing the prasadam and offering Aarits and flowers from their own pandel.
The Narada Purana (uttara kanda 52.12) describes the conversation between Lord Narayana and Lakshmi devi about Purushottama kshetra (Jagannath Puri),
pratimamtatra tam drstva svayam devena nirmitam
anayasena vai yanti bhavanam me tatonarau
“A person who sees the Deities there built by the Lord Himself will easily find the path to reach My abode.”
Anyone who sees the Deities of Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra during their Rathayatra procession will be quickly rid of his miseries and is bound to reach Vaikuntha-loka, the eternal, spiritual world where anxiety does not exist.
Rathe ca vamanam drstva punar janma na vidyate.
“Simply by seeing the Lord on the chariot, one makes advancement for stopping the repetition of birth and death.”
“Similarly, Krishna and Balarama and Their sister Subhadra, They also came in royal fashion, with so many soldiers, and so many?, just like king. So these residents of Vrindavana, they met Krishna, and especially the gopis, they saw Krishna, and they lamented that “Krishna, You are here, we are also here, but the place is different. We are not in Vrindavana.” So there is a long story how they lamented and how Krishna pacified them. This is a feeling of separation, how the inhabitants of Vrindavana felt separation from Krishna. So this? When Krishna came on chariot, that is called Ratha yatra. This is the history of Ratha-yatra. So any pastimes made by Krishna,
that is observed in ceremonial form by the devotees. So that is Ratha yatra.” (Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Seattle, October 18th 1968)
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