Shri Shri Guru Gaurang Jayate !
In 2015 I was in Puri for the Rathyatra. I was staying in Shri Chaitnya Guadiya Math where Shrila Maharaj ji was also staying in his room no 6. This year it was also Nabkalevar of Lord Jagannath. I had visited there mainly for Vyas puja of Shrila Maharaj ji on Devshayan Ekadashi. There Shrila Maharaj ji used to speak daily Hari Katha in the evening. Just two days before the Rathyatra, Shrila Maharaj ji spoke about the Rathyatra. He started with “ For what we have come to Puri? Is it for attending the Rathyatra, or to pull the ropes of the rath or to see the crowd or to see the sea or to visit the temples nearby. None of these serve our real purpose for attending the Rathyatra. We are followers of Mahaprabhu and we should follow the mood he carried during Rathyatra. Mahaprabhu carried the mood of Shrimati Radharani seeking association of Jagannath in Vrindavan. Mahaprabhu sang and danced in front of rath of Shri Jagannath in ecstasy. This is the mood of Radharani and the Gopies when they met Krishna in Kurukshetra after a long gap. So Radharani and the gopies want to pull his rath to Vrindavan. So all the sincere followers of Mahaprabhu will try to carry this mood on rath yatra day. “
This katha was like an eye opener for me because earlier to this I never knew this real meaning of attending the Rathyatra. Next day in morning I asked shrila Maharaj ji that we had planned to go to Sakshi Gopal and Kheera Chora Gopinath, should we go there or not? Maharaj ji said no need to go anywhere this time, attend the Rathyatra as I told in yesterday’s katha. As per his instructions we dropped the idea and we attended the Rathyatra witnessing its all the stages like Gundicha Marjan, Sankirtan in front of the Shri Jagannath ji’s rath, entry of Baldev, Subhadra and Jagannath in Gundicha temple, then Hera Panchmi, Pulin Bhojan on Naumi tithi in Gundicha temple and return of the raths on Dashmi tithi. On Devshayan Ekadashi this was Shrila Maharaj ji’s appearance day and in the morning we decorated the door of his room with flowers and garlands. Below are the pics of Shrila Maharaj ji proceeding for his Vyas Puja. Then we had Vyas Puja of Shrila Maharaj ji in the morning around 11 am. I found myself very fortunate to be able to attend his Vyas Puja. Later in the evening he asked me to go for Sona Vesh darshan of Jagannath. I followed the same and did darshan of Sona vesh of Lord Jagannath. Next day when I paid him parnam, he asked me did you notice his golden hands and feet and he was smiling saying that. I also felt the joy in my heart remembering the same.
Later in the Kartik month of same year 2015, Shrila Maharaj ji again visited Shri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, Chandigarh. Like every year, this year too we were blessed with his divine katha and his holy darshan. Every year, after the Kartik month, ISKCON Chandigarh organizes a Shri Jagannath Rath Yatra in Chandigarh wherein Vigreh of Baldev, Subhadra and Jagannath are taken on a Rath and so many devotees from Chandigarh and outside take part in the Rathyatra. They pull ropes of the rath and many groups of the devotees take part in the Sankirtan and dance in front of the rath. The Rathyatra starts from somewhere 5 kms away from the ISKCON temple and the rath is taken on various routes and it reaches the ISKCON temple after around 6-7 hours. Sometimes it also passes nearby from the Shri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math. On that days myself along with my family was ready to take part in the rath yatra in the evening. After my office hours around 6 pm I first visited the math for Shrila Maharaj ji’s darshan. When I visited his room he was chanting while resting on his bed. I paid my pranam. He asked me “how have you came early from office today ?” I said “Maharaj ji today Shri Jagannath Rathyatra is being organized by ISKCON Chandigarh and I am going to attend the same with my family. Many mathwasis are also going there.” But Maharaj ji didn’t respond to this. I said “ the rath will pass from just 200 mtrs from the math, should I bring my car if he is ready to attend”. Maharaj ji said “ No I will not attend the Rathyatra as it has no such significance. Even if the Rath passes and stops in front of the math, I will not go out to have its darshan. “ I was surprised to hear this. Seeing my confusion, Shrila Maharaj ji got up and sat on his bed. He continued “ the Rathyatra we attended in Puri is different from this. For me that Rathyatra is significant because there we feed same mood of Mahaprabhu. That is similar to the Rath pulled by Gopies in Kurukshetra where Krishna pretended to be sick just to have enough time with Gopies in isolation. We can feel the mood of Mahaprabhu in front of Rath of Jagannath, but here the three vigreh are placed on a single rath hence the mood of Mahaprabhu can not be felt in presence of Baldev and Subhadra on the same rath.” I said Maharaj ji “ I am attending this ISKCON Rathyatra for the last 15 years, even before the joining of math. And I think I could join math only due to this only. “ Then a sevak of Maharaj ji came and said “ let Maharaj ji rest as later he will be speaking Hari Katha for one hour”. So I paid my pranam and came out of the room. But still I was confused whether to join the ISKCON Rathyatra or not. We had already purchased sweets for bhog of Jagannath. Anyhow we visited the Rathyatra, offered the bhog, paid pranam and came back to math for attending Hari Katha of Shrila Maharaj ji.
Later after a lot of introspection, I realized that Shrila Maharaj ji was right and this was me only who could not understand his point regarding following deep mood of Mahaprabhu . That mood can only be carried by an associate of Mahaprabhu like Shrila Maharaj ji. I further realized that though the local Rathyatras are symbolic one yet these are a great means of parchar. These yatras give a chance to the beginners to have darshan of Baldev, Subhadra and Jagannath. They come to know about this pastime of Radha Krishna at Kurukshetra. And they get sukriti for this and after getting enough such sukrities and sadhu sang when they get elevated to attend the Rathyatra at Puri and only by mercy of an Acharya like Shirla Maharaj ji that then they come to know about the real mood of Mahaprabhu for Jagannath Rathyatra.
🙏Vanchha Kalpatru Bhayevach…