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ISKCON Celebrated Its Annual Magnificent Lord Jagannatha Ratha Yatra

Geetha Patil

The ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Temple of Boston celebrated its Annual Magnificent Lord Jagannatha Ratha Yatra (‘Festival of Chariots' Parade) program on Saturday, Aug 19, 2018 with more than four thousand devotees with their families, friends, and many young children from New England region. Male devotees who dressed in white dhoti and kurtas and female devotees who dressed in bright colored saris, lehenga skirts, and chudidar dresses with Gopi Chanda on their faces lined up before the tall yellow chariot wagon, garlanded with flowers, that resembled a temple on wheels.

  After all the Vedic rituals, the crowd of devotees dragged on the long ropes to pull the wagon with small statues representing Jagannatha, “Master of the Universe who is also known as Krishna” his older brother Baladeva and younger sister Subhadra along with the statue of Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977), who brought the Hare Krishna movement to New York in 1965, which then spread across Western countries. The Ratha Yatra processed down the Boylston street with the music of drums, cymbals, tambourines and shell-horns and started growing bigger and bigger as they went toward Boston Common. Devotees took turns with a broom and swept the path before the wagon, because “the lord of the universe was coming.” Devotees sang the traditional “Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna” songs that described the glories of the lord, chanted his holy names and danced “a free-flow devotional dance with swami steps” throughout the procession and were given water and fruits. It is believed that whoever sweeps the street for the chariot procession and pulls the rope of chariot, sings Bhajans and eats Prasadam will get a spiritual credit and their miseries and anxieties will be reduced.

At the Boston Commons park, Chatamayi Mata Ji, Bhadra Prabhu, Padmagopika Mataji, Ujval Mataji, Karuna Mataji, Eklavya Prabhu, Bhima Prabhu, Paramrupa Prabhu, and Jyotirmaya Mataji sang very beautiful Kirtans, and Shuchita Rao and her daughter Radha sang a melodious Bhajan. Ms. Karuna performed stunning Odissi dance. HG Pyari Mohan Prabhu presented a brilliant Magic Show. All devotes enjoyed thought-provoking talks by HH Chandrasekhar Swami and HH Chandramauli swami. Temple President, Vanamali Pandit Dasa felicitated Mr. Anil Saigal, Smt. Ranjani Saigal and Sanjay Kaul for their commendable community work.

Bus full of devotees came from the ISKCON temples of New York and Maine. Park was filled with thousands of devotees, booths of books, clothes, snacks, Yoga, Henna, gift shops, information along with main program and deities pendals.  Delicious vegetarian Maha Prasadam was served to all the devotees by the dedicated temple kitchen committees members and volunteers. Temple President, Vanamali Pandit Dasa thanked profusely all the devotees for their active participation, sponsors for their support and help in organizing this grand event. He also appreciated volunteers who spent many hours with full dedication in making this event a grand success. He acknowledged with his full heart the efforts of the priests and food committee members and chariot decorators for their beautiful and sincere work.

One of the devotees said to the reporter, “the atmosphere of Ratha Yatra becomes surcharged with religious fervor. Devotees’ singing, dancing with full devotion in front of lord Jagannath sitting in the Ratha makes me to dance with them. the ambience of people and their emotions cannot be missed. I love to come and participate with full of energy.”

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