Ratha Yatra 2004

Dayal Govinda Dasa - August 9, 2004 6:20 pm

Dear Devotees

We at Audarya are just commencing the clean up from the most incredible festival to date, the 2004 Ratha yatra celebrations.

It is now an annual event at Audarya to observe the Ratha Yatra in San Francisco by holding a three day retreat at Sri Audarya Dhama prior to the Festival.

This year's was a particular peak for all involved.


We were taken held spell-bound by Guru maharaja's sweet Katha twice daily (four times if you count the Cc readings after the Mangala and Sundara aratis), and found Audarya tranformed into Srivasa angan by the Kirtana lead as only Agnideva can.

I am left wondering if next year can possibly improve?…but I know that by Guru maharaja's grace, anything is possible.


I have much to tell about this event but I think it would be nice to hear recollections by those that we hosted as the guests of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai.


Any photos, I'm sure, would be greatly received by all.


In service

Dayal Govinda dasa brahmacari

Dayal Govinda Dasa - August 9, 2004 6:26 pm

One to get you started:

Srivasa angan


Dayal Govinda Dasa - August 9, 2004 6:29 pm

OK, maybe two:

Krsna sakti vine nahi…


Caitanya-daya Dd - August 9, 2004 8:25 pm

Again this year Guru Maharaja freely gave his mercy to the assembled Vaisnavas. I am forever indebted to him and to all the devotees who serve him.


I unfortunately had a mediocre phone camera and managed to only get one decent picture of Guru Maharaja; this is him in front of Lady Subhadra's cart.

Caitanya-daya Dd - August 9, 2004 8:26 pm

how do i add a picture? :-\

Caitanya-daya Dd - August 9, 2004 8:28 pm



Nanda-tanuja Dasa - August 9, 2004 11:05 pm

Lighthouse of Shraddha


It's very difficult to write about something so overwhelming. But I must. I must let others know about my experience, because they are not as fortunate as me, living so close to Sri Audarya Dhama and they never have been there.


Audarya means magnanimous -- loftiness of spirit enabling one to bear trouble calmly, to disdain meanness and pettiness, and to display a noble generosity. What a beautiful and fitting name!


The goal of my visit was to meat with Guru Maharaja and find enough courage in my heart to jump the bottomless chasm and ask him for harinam incitation. The horror of being rejected was getting worse and worse while I was getting closer and closer to Audarya. The mind was drawing bad experiences, disappointments and disillusions of the past. I knew one thing -- I remember his voice, I remember his words, he cannot lie, he is the one, I want him. This thought kept me going.


First people I saw were Kalpavrksa and Citta Hari dasa, their open smiles and kind words melted my fears away. I knew I was welcome. Everybody I've meat and talked with was kind, smart, gentle and loving. I've felt like home.


Location of the monastery is simply breathtaking -- old redwood groves, blue sky, sounds of nature are very refreshing, especially if you usually get your suntan from the radiation of computer monitor. The buildings are very functional and the interior design has a distinctive touch of Japanese influence -- simplicity and elegance. Monastery is being pretty self-sufficient community, with solar power, water well, vegetable garden, etc., it's completely "Off the Grid". Living accommodations are very comfortable and located on several levels of the hill, so to get around you need to go up and down a lot, which provides much needed exercise; bathhouse has hot water, computers are widely used and internet is delivered via satellite connection. Monks have several miniature zebu cows, they are very happy and healthy and give much happiness and joy. The temple which is located in one of the rooms of the main building is very nice and has beautiful deities.


The Ratha Yatra talks given by Guru Maharaja were incredible as usual -- practical, full of love and spirit -- clean your heart, remember the meaning of the festival, look deep. I've felt quite badly for Vrindaranya because she missed all lectures cooking all the time. Prasadam was exquisite by the way!


During festival days we had a visit from Sripada Bhakti Bibudha Bodhayan Maharaja which was very auspicious. He is president-acharya of Sri Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha successor of Srila Puri Goswami Maharaja. He blessed us with his talk on the subject of the festival and pastimes of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. I felt he was quite happy with his stay in Audarya. Later he joined our kirtan in front of Sri Baladeva cart in San Francisco as well. Highlight of the festival I thought was Guru Maharaja carrying Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's murty for the installation on the chariot, which was very symbolic and gave me great satisfaction.


The most special moments for me in Audarya was going up the hill in total darkness of early morning for mangal arati and seeing light in Guru Maharaja's room on the second floor just above the temple. It reminded me of a lighthouse burning at night -- giving us hope and strengths, guiding us, showing us the way to get home. Thank you. Thank you all.


P.S. I'm getting my harinam incitation during Sri Krsna Janmashtami celebration in September. Guru Maharaja Ki Jay!

Dhiralalita - August 10, 2004 3:46 am

Congratulations Yuri!

I just spent the best days of my life so far attending this Ratha Yatra festival at Audarya.

I think everybody is very thankful for the care Sripad Tripurari Swami took of all the details for this special retreat. I am especially very appreciating of all the Audarya full time residents, who served everybody hand and foot without fail. It is a lesson in humility and devotion to guru and Krishna, when disciples can demonstrate such a group spirit of service and dedication.

Sripad Tripurari Swami's talks were very enlightening on the significance of Ratha yatra and more than that, they were allowing one to dive deep in the spirit of Ratha Yatra. ;)

Dayal Govinda Dasa - August 10, 2004 4:11 pm

I couldn't wait any longer, I have to relate the Ratha yatra pastimes to you all. Please bear with me, the post may get lengthy : )


In previous years, Agnideva prabhu has led the Kirtana for Jagannatha deva's cart, but unfortunately part of the way through the parade the mic is taken from him and handed to someone less than expert at leading.

This year we heard that Agnideva would be asked to lead in front of Subhadra devi's cart, something we had mixed feelings about. On the one hand we felt that they didn't want us at the front of the parade, being non-ISKCON, and so had put us where we would be less conspicuous. On the other hand we felt that it may be a good place, being in the middle of the procession, it would be special since it is the cart that Srila Prabhupada rides on, and maybe they wouldn't take the mic away from him.

We didn't have to worry about any of that though...

Agnideva received a phone call one day asking him if he would lead the Kirtana for Baladeva's cart! Now we really felt that they were trying to hide us at the back of the procession.

Luckily we are under the guidance of Guru maharaja for he put it all in perspective for us. He mentioned that this was his first reaction to the news, that we were being hidden, but after some time of thinking deeply he had an impression enter his heart that this was actually Baladeva's mercy on us.

How so?

Guru maharaja mentioned that we had spent all of our time speaking about Mahaprabhu, his Lila, and the significance of the Ratha yatra in relation to him, that we had now got the attention of Sri Nityananda Rama, nitayer karuna habe, braje radha krsna pabe. He was calling us to perfrom Sankirtana for him. You can imagine how we felt hearing this explanation, I couldn't wait to get to the parade!


We arrived at the parade route to a typically foggy San Francisco. At least it wasn't as hot as Audarya had been recently. We observed Sri Jagganatha deva mount his chariot, followed by Srimati Subhadra devi. Whilst waiting for Srila Prabhupada to arrive one of the pujaris approached Guru maharaja, "I'm breaking protocol this year" he said "I would like to ask you to carry Prabhupada to the chariot. I just need one other sannyasi" Sripad BB Bodhayana maharaja, who had just visited Audarya during the festival, was standing with us so Guru maharaja suggested him, "oh I don't know about that" the pujari replied but Guru maharaja again suggested and the Pujari aggreed.

When Bodhayana maharaj was asked if he would Carry Prabhupada his eyes became wide and he replied "I would consider it a great honour".

Guru maharaja and Bodhayana maharaja carried Prabhupada to the Chariot (pics to follow), where Bodhayana maharaja shrugged off the pujari's help to carry him onto the chariot saying "I have him, I can take him". Guru maharaja was clearly very pleased to see Prabhupada being served with such care and attention by one who served his Gurudeva in this way many many times.


Finally Sri Baladeva mounted his chariot and the Kirtana began.


We were watching the pujari's struggling with Baladeva's club and plow which they were trying to attach to him, they just wouldn't stay in place, when Guru maharaj turned to me and said

"Do you see what's happening? Balarama keeps throwing off his weapons but they keep trying to give him them back, they just don't get it" This seemed to amuse and perturb Guru maharaja in equal measure. He grabbed a pen and paper and scribbled a note to the pujari:


"The reason baladeva's weapons will not stay on is that in this Lila he is being brought from Dwaraka to Vrindavana by the force of the Vrajavasis love. He carries no weapons in Vrindavana, let them fall."


The pujari looked at Guru maharaja as if to say "oh come on, this doesn't happen" but as Guru maharaja looked back baladeva again shed his club, at which the pujari looked back to Guru maharaja with a look that said "Ok, lets go with it". He promptly removed the weapons and arranged the other decorations accordingly.

I cannot describe how it felt witnessing such an exchange, but I know this: many people are of the opinion that the pastimes of the previous acaryas are one thing, but that those kinds of Lila's between the Lord and his devotee do not happen today, hopefully at least now we can all see differently.


During the parade, Agnideva lead a most memorable Kirtana. He truly captured the mood we had all been cultivating at Aduarya for the last 3 days and manifested it before baladeva, at no time more than when he lead us in the refrain "Navadvipacandra amar prabhu Jagannatha, jaya Jagannatha jaya Jagannatha, Vrindavanacandra amar prabhu Jagannatha jaya, Jagannatha jaya Jagannatha" I get shivers down my spine just thinking about it.


Unfortunately Agnideva was cut short again. About halfway through the parade the mic was taken from him and passed on to another devotee...it wasn't the same after that.

I am proud, in a humble way, to say that we had the largest Kirtana party of all even though we were situated at the end of the proscession. At one point we consisted of at least 6 mrdangas and numerous Karatalas and whompers (there must be a better name for these)!!!


Well this has been quite long, and there is probably more to say but I think I will end here and just add a sincere dandavat pranam to all who attended the festival at Audarya and allowed it to be what it was. Without you how could we fulfill our position as servants of the Vaisnavas?


In service

Dayal Govinda dasa brahmacari

Dayal Govinda Dasa - August 10, 2004 4:14 pm

During the Jagannathastakam which we would sing before each class.


Dayal Govinda Dasa - August 10, 2004 4:16 pm

Guru maharaja and Sripad B.B Bodhayana maharaja carrying Srila Prabhupada to the chariot.


Sridama Dasa - August 10, 2004 7:32 pm

This was such a great weekend for me. I was nervous flying out on Wednesday. I've let myself become very distracted from my spiritual life lately, and I was concerned that I wouldn't fit in well. But, upon arrival, I felt just like I was at home. Actually, it felt better than home. Vamsidhari took me into his home Wednesday night and bent over backwards to make sure I (a total stranger) had everything that I needed. He was a PERFECT host, and was so friendly. The next day, Gopakumar went several hours out his way to pick me up in SF (Vamsi's car was full) and took me to Audarya, and he did so without a second thought and with a smile on his face. I can only hope that I imbibed some of the devotees' kindness and willingness to serve, because they were awesome.


As we got close to Audarya, it became apparent that if we were going to make it in time for the 6 pm arotik, we were just BARELY going to make it. Gopa started driving so fast; he was honking his horn at everyone in front of us and tearing around the winding mountain roads. Man, I thought, I wish I had his enthusiasm. We got there on time!


I would be remiss if I didn't mention Vrndaranya, Citta Hari, Dayal Govinda, Kalpavrksa and Taruna Krsna. After arotik, their smiles and hugs told me that I was welcome, even if I truly didn't deserve their association. They were all exemplary for the entire festival, just as they are every day.


And, wow, Guru Maharaja's talks. I don't even know what words to use. As soon as he began speaking, I kicked myself for ever worrying about my trip. What had I been thinking? This was EXACTLY where I wanted to be. Even though I knew the more advanced devotees were feeling something this weekend that I probably wasn't, by the end of the second day even I couldn't wipe the smile off my face when he spoke. He had touched my cold heart. It's like you can literally feel it as it happens. All worries disappear and the soul is transformed.


This was also the first time I felt like I really got a taste of what Ratha Yatra is about. I usually fall into the trap that Guru Maharaja mentioned of socializing with friends about anything but Krsna. I can't say I entirely avoided that trap this time, but it was inspiring and exciting to be around such pure-hearted devotees at this Ratha Yatra. It helped me control my mind and focus on our chanting at least a little, which is an improvement. This really was a special festival and I can't wait to get back to Audarya. I met so many great devotees and want to thank them all for their association. Dandavat pranams to Guru Maharaja and everyone at Audarya for hosting us and enlightening us so kindly. I hope to be back soon!

Vrindaranya Dasi - August 11, 2004 2:44 am

This festival was the next best thing to entering the spiritual world. Between Guru Maharaja's talks, Agnideva's kirtanas, and the association of such enthusiastic devotees, even a stone heart could melt.


Guru Maharaja took us from practical points about anartha-nivritti (cleansing Gundica) all the way up to an ecstatic description of the bhava of the residents of Vrindavana, who mount their humble bullock carts loaded with milk products to meet princely Krsna.


Explaining the inner significance of Ratha-yatra, Guru Maharaja encouraged us to aspire to join the devotees hailing from Bengal, who Mahaprabhu himself has said are the group of Svarupa Damodara, tomara ‘gaudiya’ kare eteka phaijati. Jaya!


Vrindaranya Dasi - August 11, 2004 2:46 am

Sripad Bodhayana Maharaja's lecture.


Vrindaranya Dasi - August 11, 2004 2:47 am

Guru Maharaja talking to Hridayananda Maharaja.


Vrindaranya Dasi - August 11, 2004 2:50 am

Guru Maharaja speaking to Jaya Adwaita Maharaja.


Gopakumardas - August 11, 2004 5:01 am

Dear friends and siblings,


I have not tried to make a statement about my weekend. But I have put together a photo journey for all to see. You can view this at:


Kirtana.net Ratha Yatra Pictures


Please enjoy these.


with affection,


Babhru Das - August 12, 2004 12:17 am

I thank all the devotees who have shared their Rathayatra experiences with the rest of us. I had originally hoped to come to Audarya for the festival, but I couldn't swing it. These posts soothe my soul a little.


I did get to participate in the annual Rathayatra here in Hilo. We do it as part of a Festival of the Pacific parade each August. Except the high school marching band that leads the parade and a very colorful mobile Shinto shrine borne on the shoulders of loincloth-clad monks (maybe not monks), the parade is pretty boring. Nevertheless, many local folks, perhaps thousands, line Kilauea and Kamehameha Avenues in downtown Hilo. Our cart was at the end of the parade. The cart, kirtan, dancing devotees, and of course Lord Jagannath and his siblings, are always a big hit. Folks are always happy to see us, and many respond by waving and dancing on the curb.


The devotees here do what we can to help each other progress, but more visits from saintly preachers would be appreciated by all. Sripad B.V. Narayan Maharaja has been visiting the last couple of winters, and that gets his followers very charged up. Sripad Bodhayan Maharaja comes once or twice a year, and some of our newer members have responded to his saintly character by submitting themselves to him for initiation. I hope that some day we can induce Swami to come back for a couple of visits to envigorate our congregation.


In the meantime, we have (fortunately) Vidagdha Madhava prabhu and me to try to keep things moving.


I especially look forward to hearing from Yuri next month.

Babhru Das - August 14, 2004 6:06 pm

A postscritpt to the Hilo rathayatra: we won two prizes. We came in second in the float category (I guess the shintos came in first), and we came in first in the marching category (well, yeah--a kirtan party!). It's nice that the parade organizers recognized the devotees and even nicer that we got enough money to pay most of what the effort cost.