Sri Jagannath Ratha Yatra
Diary 4-10 July 2005 by Malini Devi Dasi

Such awe and honour and good fortune's appreciation fill me up! Didi remarks how these Pastimes are eternal and therefore Mahaprabhu and all His associates must therefore also be there.... Ooohhh!

bhakta-gana anubhave, nahi jane ana
sri-bhagavata-sastra tahate pramana

"Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's dancing before the Ratha-yatra car could be perceived only by pure devotees. Others could not understand. Descriptions of Lord Krsna's uncommon dancing can be found in the revealed scripture Srimad-Bhagavatam."
(Madhya 13.67)

So on this last spur, He practically catches up with the other two cars belonging to Baladev and Subhadra. We stand on the side of the road, and now with all the light gone from the sky, a truck accompanies Jagannath's car, shining bright light on to the car, and ahead to show the way. He is near us very shortly, and also stops for a while. We are very fortunate that all three cars pause beside us for some time.

The devotees dance energetically in circles between Jagannath's and Subhadra's cars, and then rest for a while.

Then He is off. Watching, some silently relishing the moment while others are still chanting, we let Him overtake us. At this time it is understood that we will start our way back to our temple, and follow Sripad Acharyya Maharaj and Sripad Tirtha Maharaj leading the way in the opposite direction from the cars, towards the Jagannath Temple.

By this time my energy has dissipated and it appears that most of the others feel the same way, and devotees affectionately support one another whilst walking back, hoping for an unoccupied rickshaw to show up and take us to the temple. We are fortunate to find a couple of free auto-rickshaws available, and the devotees pile in. It is a long way to the temple, and our legs and the rest of our bodies are very relieved to have some of the pressure taken off!

Back at our temple the programme has been going on as usual, led by Sripad Visnu Maharaj.

Back at our temple a seated kirttan is under way. The Deities of Sri Sri Nitai-Chaitanyadev look stunning in Their outfits, and everyone is standing around having a tale to tell before going to take bath and honour Prasadam. It has been an amazing day!

We are relieved to find that everybody has returned safely. Most of the devotees have suffered some minor injury to the feet and legs in the form of cuts, knocks and scratches. Some say that karma leaves you through your feet on such occasions. But nobody is severely hurt, even the devotees that have been knocked over and slightly trampled on are smiling!

It is already 8:00pm when we return, so most of the devotees have quite a late night by the time everything is complete. The bus is leaving Puri the next morning at 7:30am and I am feeling very reluctant to join in another 30 hour bus journey so soon after such an ordeal on my body, especially as an alternative is offered to me by some devotees catching a train. Most of the Western devotees are not returning by bus, so I decide to leave it until morning to decide, according to how I feel, grateful that Mahananda Prabhu in Nabadwip, whom I call to report on the day's activities, agrees that there is no pressure. Now all I can think about is a good night's sleep!

9th July 2005 - Departure from Puri Dham

Morning comes and I awake to little Pabittra Prabhu, the Math's youngest brahmachari, calling at the door. I am still half asleep and mutter that I will not join the bus trip, but because of his insistence I must stir and walk out of the door to talk to him so as not to disturb the other devotees that I am sharing the room with. I am still reluctant, but one Prabhu appears, telling me of what we shall visit on the way, urging me on. I decide it is not like me to chicken out, and I can do a better service to the devotees telling the complete 'bus-story.' I feel much better physically too, so I have 30 minutes to get showered, packed and ready!

The Westerners that are coming (many found the road too gruelling and were choosing alternatives) are going to travel in a Tata Sumo but that idea thrills me even less than the bus.

Quite shortly we arrive at Konarak Sun Temple. We have a quick breakfast Prasadam of muri (puffed rice), banana and pakora, before walking to the temple.

The devotees visit Konarak Sun Temple on the way back from Puri to Nabadwip.

Here I am shocked at the huge difference in price for foreigners as opposed to Indian nationals: Rs250/- as opposed to Rs10/-!! I joke about how if the government blatantly charges twenty-five times the price, no wonder rickshaw wallahs feel they have to charge the "White skin tax" as the Indians called it, to my amusement! I do not have the money to pay this, even if I had felt impelled to do so, but it seems quite unnecessary. I walk around the border wall, looking into the gardens and the temple in the middle and feel quite satisfied.

Our next stop is in Bhubaneshwar. Here we visit Ananta Vasudev, a very old temple, and from here a short walk to the Lingaraj Temple of Lord Siva. First we put water from the holy kund just outside the Ananta Vasudev Temple on our head, and purified in this way, we proceed inside the temple.

Bhubaneshwar - Ananta Vasudev Temple and the kund outside it.

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip
| Main Centres | What's New?