Sri Jagannath Rathayatra Festival, Tabanan city, Bali 2013
By Hari Narayana Das
As annual festival and public festival in Bali, The jagannath ratha yatra festival, this year observed in Tabanan regency. Tabanan regency is located in the southwestern part of Bali. This regency is well known of the fertile area. The capital of the regency is bustling, growing town, with a long main street dominated by shops and tiny restaurants. The festival was done for two days from July 12 till July 13, 2013. The festival was divided into two part, night art festival and the ratha yatra festival. The festival was done in Pancakatirta heroes memorial Garden.
The night art festival was done on July 12, 2013. This event was started by bhagavad gita class by H. H. Subhag Swami maharaj. Maharaj, on this occasion gave special class about how ratha yatra be observed in this world. Maharaj told that in Srimad Bhagavatam it is mentioned that there was once eclipse. According to Vedic rules, during the eclipse people will visit tirtha-stana, bathe in holy waters, give charity, and chant Hare Krishna. Therefore, on occasion of the solar eclipse, all the yadavas, including Krishna, Balarama, and Vasudeva went to Kuruksetra. Kuruksetra is dharma-ksetra; it is a holy place. Therefore, all yadavas went there on the occasion of the solar eclipse. By a strange coincidence the damsels of Vrajabumi, all the gopas, the cowherd men, cowherd women from Vrajabumi, especially the gopis met with the Lord of their heart, Krishna, after long period of separation. They asked Krishna to return to Vrajabumi not to Dvaraka. Then the gopis pull the chariots of the Lords to Vrindavan. This story was atrracted many people not only devotess presented at that time but also non devotees who just passed or wanted to see the art performance. This class also reported by Bali Post, a local news paper in Bali. After the class the devotees from all temple round Bali performed their performance. Legong Kraton dance opened the art perpormace. Legong Kraton is a baliness dance created by Tabanan man Known as Mr Mario, that why to open the festival this dance as the opening dance. The children from Sri Sri radha Gopinath temple performed the rasa lila dance. it looked so cute because they some time forget the formation. The the children fron Radha Madava temple give special dance. they performed krishna pastime with pandava in Mahabharata epic. The most attracting from their perfomance was when a boy performed as Arjuna in Kuru Ksetra his bow was bigger than his body. The Gauranga Youth performed Jagannatha astakam in dance it was so wonderfull because they performed it in theaterical. The last performance of that night was closed by Killing Putana baliness dance. this dance performed by devotess from Sri Sri Radha Rasesvara Asram and Sri Sri Radha Kunjavihari Asram. They performed the lila in dinamic movement. Many leaders came to the night art festival, Such as H.H. Kavicadra Swami maharaj, Caitnya candara vanaprasti maharaj, and local autority from Tabanan.
July 13 2013, ratha yatra started at 12.00 AM local time. The V.I.P guests were given seat in front. They were vice regent of Tabanan and Hindu Priests. They all followed arati to the Lord. This gave special experience for them because they knew Lord Jagannath in name only. This moment gave opportunity to the devotees to introduced the real form of Sri Jagannath. After arathi the formal ceremonial took place. Speach given by the commitee to welcome the guests than introduce shortly about the meaning of Ratha yatra. Than the speach given by vice regent of Tabanan Mr. Komang Gede Sanjaya and the President of World Hindu Parisad, Ida Peranda Gede Sebali Tianyar Arimbawa. He really appreciate the ratha yatra because it could give benefit to the public. Then all attandance sing the Jagannatha astakam. After the ceremonial, the Lords were prepared by the pujaries to the chariot. There were three set of Deities and devotees prepared three chariots for the Lords. It seemed like in Puri. Before the The Lord brough to the chariot the devotees make a line toward the cahriot. The stand face to face on the path of where the Lords would pass. The deities than brought to the chariot by the pujaries and the devotees greeted the lord by offering flower and some offer Laksmi (money) to the Lords. After the Lord placed on the chariot the pujaries did arati. Than the Maharaj along with the guest offer coconut diva in front of the Lords then smashed down to the ground until the coconut broke down. The devotees in competition took the smashed coconut and ate them. the conchchell blown to indicate that the chariot was ready to pull. The devotees were enthusiastic pulled the chariot. Sri Balaram’s chariot moved first than folowed by Subadra’s chariot and the last was Sri Jagannath chariot. The chariot pulled in the capital of the regency which was bustling and a long the main street which is dominated by shops and tiny restaurants. The parade is about 500 meters long and followed by three tousand devotees. They sang and danced in front of each chariot. The speacial thing in this ratha yatra was that in every chariot the devotees did kirtan in different tunes. The devotees distributed maha prasadam to the people on the steet who witnessed the ratha yatra parade. Some devotees did book distribution along the way. They offer the book to the people they met there. Some people bought the book. After one and half hours walked the chariot setled for amoment in front of Mario Building. It dued to the request of the king of Tabanan, that the Lord offered bhoga in front of their palace.Thirdthy minutes after then, the chariot returned to the Pancakatirta heroes memorial garden. Then the Lord carried to the altar to offer bhoga and arati. After arati H.H. Kavicandara Swami gave short Bhagavad-gita class. And then dances and drama performance were offered to the lord.
Behind of the main stage the commitee prepared some tends for book distribution, vaisnava parapernelia and prasadam selling. The commitee also served free prasadam for the public. On this festival Bhaktivedanta Institute launced two new books, the Upakyane by Bhaktisidantha sarasvati thakur and God intelegent design and fine tuning written by H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara. Most of devotees bought this new books. H.H. Subhag Swami Maharaj gave speacial signatur to the books that the devotees bought at that time. after long walk, the devotee made small group in the the field of the monument. It looked like a summer picnic ground full of devotees. They enjoyed prasadam and took arest before the arati time.
The commitee and the host of the festival was from Sri Sri Radha Gopinath temple. They had spent times and energy to prepare the ratha yatra. They worked in cooperative with the Tabanan goverment, the policeman and Pecalang ( tradititional baliness security) for the succes of the festival.
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