Ratha Yatra held in ISKCON Phoenix, Arizona
By Radha MadhavaHari Das
Phoenix, May 17
On a beautiful afternoon on Sunday, Their Lordships Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhadra rode a small tastefully decorated chariot pulled by ropes which passed through Hare Krishna Drive ( Weber Drive) near Red Roof Inn- in viscinity of Mandir, located in Chandler
The story of Chariot Festival is very interesting and ancient- it happened about 5,000 (five thousand) years ago.On the occasion of an eclipse day-a year after great episode war of MahaBharata when Lord Krishna, Balaram and Subhadra visited Kurukshetra- about 150 miles northwest of New Delhi, India- They were visited by foster parents mother Yashoda and Nanda Maharaja, and eternal devotees like Radha Rani and cowherd girls (gopies).
It shocked the visitors, as they had known Krishna and Balaram in childhood as cowboys, dressing simply- and wearing crown and pomp royal garments. Now came the wish list: Krishna, can You visit us like a cowherd boy/villager as You were when you resided in Vrindavan!
Obliged Krishna, Balaram and Subhadra- and They all walked to the camps of Yashoda and Nanda Maharaja and Radha Rani and gopies by breaking away from queens, servants and royalities, official protocols and walking on bare foot. Ratha Yatra is thus an emotional celebration, and re-enactment of bringining Krishna back to Vrindavan in pristine natural open settings of Vrindavana, thus enjoying transcendental pasttimes between Krishna and Radha Rani and Gopies.
The current festival of Ratha Yatra originated in Jagannath Puri in Orissa, many thousands of years ago.Three deities carved from wooden logs are carried out from the Temple of Lord of the Universe Jagannath, and carried on chariots to another nearby city Gundica, which is about 15 kilometers distance. The ropes, cart and procession are joined by millions of devotees, televised live in three languages: Hindi, English and Oriya. The word Juggernaut meaning massive inoxarable force or object that crushes whatever is in its path originated from Jagannath! Idea is that if untouchables can’t visit the Lord in Temple, let Lord come out of Temple and be visible to every one.
The Jagannnath Rath / Cart was beautifully assembled by Devadeva das, who also directed Jagannth drama with the participation of children from Youth Group. During the celebrations, bhajans were sung by Bhakta Raja das and visiting Governing Body Commissioner for Arizona HariVilas das Prabhu who danced on Barsana devotional songs and made entire congregation to join ecstatic dancing. More than 20 kidz were presented Certificates of Recognition honoring their participation in Krishna Consciousness activities.
The festival culiminated with delicious prasadam being served to all. For photos, please click the link below:-
A documentary movie “Daru Brahma ” directed by Sudheer Gupta of New Delhi has won several awards, and is a must to be viewed.
Your humble servant,
Radha MadhavaHari Das