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"Untimely" Ratha Yatras

Post Author: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2007-12-24 14:14:18
BHUBANESWAR: After servitors cried foul over the indiscriminate' and
'untimely' rath yatras conducted by Iskcon (International Society for
Krishna Consciousness) in India and overseas, the Jagannath Temple
Administration (JTA) today jumped on the bandwagon.

The administration of Sri Jagannath Temple, Puri said it will firmly
take up the issue with Iskcon authorities as temple principles do not
allow multiple rath yatras across the year.

'If they don't refrain, we would move the court of law,' Chief
Administrator Suresh Chandra Mohapatra told mediapersons.

The world famous rath yatra of the trinity - Lord Jagannath,
Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra - is held during the Hindu month of

JTA has, lately, been planning to integrate all Jagannath temples by
way of a uniform 'niti' which is followed at Puri, and Iskcon's
practices have not gone down well either with the administration or
the servitors.

In fact, the servitors of the famous temple had taken out a procession
on Friday slamming the Iskcon authorities for conducting 'untimely'
rath yatras.

They were also critical of 'soft-pedalling' the issue of the entry of
non-Hindus as well as Hindus of foreign origin and converts.

Reacting to this, Mohapatra said, JTA has no authority over this issue
but a committee comprising Shankaracharya of Puri, temple's Mukti
Mandap as well as sevayats will discuss the matter and prepare

My opinion:

Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! I don't consider there is any rasabhasa or improper spiritual conduct in holding Lord Jagannatha's Ratha Yatra on any other time of the year at other places outside of Puri Dhaam as the JTA is thinking above. In fact I think that should be recommended process for the following reasons:

(1) If the Rathayatras elsewhere are held on the same day as the original Puri Ratha Yatra, people will not be able to visit Puri Dhaam or view the Yatra on TV because the local devotees in their home cities or towns or villages will insist that they remain and offer their services for the local Yatras. Thus the importance and attendance of main Puri Ratha Yatra will be compromised.

(2) Ratha Yatra is pulling of the chariot of Shri Shri Shri Krishna Baladeva and Subhadra by the Gopies to Vraja within their hearts and minds. Thus this Pastime can always be conducted and remembered at any day in the year. Lord Jagannatha would even appreciate if some devotees want to take Him to Vraja more than once a year. :)

(3) June-July time is the rainy season in India. In Puri Dhaam, there is not so much rain during this time but in Western and Southern India, participation and enthusiasm in the Ratha Yatra will be greatly dampened and decreased due to the heavy rains during this time if the Ratha Yatras there are also help during June-July. This is my personal experience.

(4) The whole purpose why Lord Jagannatha comes out on the streets giving His darshana to one and all is so that everyone can take advantage. But if both the Puri and local Ratha Yatras coincide on one day, the devotees would be able to take advantage of the darshana or attendance of only one Yatra which would defeat the purpose of the original Puri Ratha Yatra as well as the local Ratha Yatras.

(5) Local Ratha Yatra organization would be easier to do when there is some time gap between them.

(6) There may be devotees who may want to move around and take the benefit of all the different Ratha Yatras. If they are all held on the same day, that would not be possible.

I also suggest that our Gaudiya devotees either place the big Deities of Lords Nityananda Gauranga on the left of the three Deities or place Lord Nityananda's Deity to our left of Lord Baladeva's Deity and Lord Gauranga's Deity to the right of Lord Jagannatha's Deity on the Shri Ratha. Then it will also be called Nityananda Gauranga Ratha Yatra and all the Lords will become famous in this world.

Daaso'smi, Swami Gaurangapada.

Post Author: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2007-12-24 14:49:43
I have added my opinion in six points by editing the above post. Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!

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