SF Ratha Yatra 05

Syamasundara - August 23, 2005 3:54 pm

All right everybody, I've started the thread, can the real witnesses please start reporting? :o

Gauravani Dasa - August 23, 2005 10:51 pm

What I most remember most about the actual Ratha procession was watching Guru Maharaja become absorbed during Agnideva's kirtana.


Hearing GM speak on the topic of Mahaprabhu during the Ratha-yatra gave me an idea of what he was thinking about during the procession. Seeing him garlanded mutiple times while surrounded by disciples, Godbrothers and well-wishers immersered in Agnideva's kirtana overlooked by Lord Balarama is an experience I hope to relish year after year.

Babhru Das - August 23, 2005 11:02 pm

Got pictures? We want pictures!

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - August 23, 2005 11:33 pm

We didn't have a camera with us, but Madhavendra Dasa (who is friend with Dvjamani Dasa who is Guru Maharaja's desciple) was taking pictures during the festival in San Francisco. I've asked him take some pictures of Guru Maharaja and send them to me. As soon as I will get them I will post them here.

Audarya-lila Dasa - August 23, 2005 11:49 pm

As usual with the Ratha yatra festival in S.F., the procession started late. This year was particularly late. The schedule said it would start at 11 a.m. and it didn't start until well after noon.


Maharaja had explained to us that in Puri Baladeva leads the procession, followed by Subadra and then Jagganatha. When asked why the Ratha yatra's here in the west don't follow the tradition in Puri, Maharaja said that Jagganatha is more eager here. You can all hear about why the procession of the chariots is in the order it is traditionally when you listen to the lectures from the festival.


At first I thought that our party would assemble in front of Lord Jagganatha but eventually we found ourselves in front of Lord Balarama as we had the previous year. Agnideva began his kirtan about 20 minutes or so before the procession of the chariots began. Many enthusiastic kirtaneers joined the group. There was a very large contingent of drummers in the group with Citta-Hari and Prahlada manifesting the mood and rthym of Audarya dhama.


Agnideva expertly led the kirtan keeping time with his gong and bringing the kirtan up and down in waves of continued ecstasy. You could tell that Balarama wanted to be as close to the kirtan party as possible. The external symptom of this was the constant call to keep the party moving from the devotee with the microphone thinking he was directing the show. But Lord Balarama had a different idea and he kept the pary close at hand. Whenevery the party got too far away Lady Subadra helped her brother out by stopping so that Lord Balarama could catch up.


At one point in the procession I came back to external consciousness and I thought to myself 'where are my kids?'. I ducked out of the procession and went ahead to find them. In the process I entered the other kirtans for a few moments. It became very clear to me that while Balarama was in the back in terms of location, he was definitely leading the procession. The kirtan in front of Lord Balarama was so ecstatic that it drew the largest crowd by far and had everyone dancing and smiling throughout. Lady Subadra may have had another motive when she stopped those few times during the procession and the kirtan in front of Balarama crept up right behind her!


When the cart finally arrived in Vrndavana (or Sundaracala) the kirtan got especially ecstatic. Balarama started showering the crowd with Prasada and all the devotees felt the bliss of having brought the Lord home.


I followed Agnideva and Guru Maharaja as they moved from the cart to the festival site. The day was especially cold and overcast but everyone's heart was shining brightly.


As a short diversion I want to share one wonderful experience I had at the festival with all of you. Shortly after the procession started a gentleman came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder and gave me a hug. At first I didn't recognize him, having only me him once before at Ratha yatra two years ago. He had come to Ratha yatra with his friend Leena who I had been corresponding with in my role of Audarya sevaite which Brahma dasa had elevated me to (he has asked me on a number of occasions to answer questions and serve as a mentor to some sanga questioners). At any rate, the gentleman's name is Ernie and he was a Sai Baba devotee. I had a lengthy discussion with him two years ago and started to answer questions he had on the internet as well. At the festival site I ran into Ernie again. He told me that he had been so inspired by my answers that he had taken initiation from Narayana Maharaja and is now known as Nanda Gopala dasa! He is a very good hearted person and I was very happy for him and glad that through Guru Maharaja I was able to help someone just a little bit.

Bijaya Kumara Das - August 26, 2005 5:59 am
Got pictures? We want pictures!


here are some


Bijaya Kumara Das - August 26, 2005 6:01 am
here are some



Bijaya Kumara Das - August 26, 2005 6:08 am



Bijaya Kumara Das - August 26, 2005 6:13 am
Bijaya Kumara Das - August 26, 2005 6:16 am


Bijaya Kumara Das - August 26, 2005 6:22 am



Nanda-tanuja Dasa - August 27, 2005 10:32 pm

More pictures courtesy of Madhavendra Dasa


Nanda-tanuja Dasa - August 27, 2005 10:33 pm



Nanda-tanuja Dasa - August 27, 2005 10:33 pm



Nanda-tanuja Dasa - August 27, 2005 10:34 pm



Nanda-tanuja Dasa - August 27, 2005 10:36 pm



Babhru Das - August 28, 2005 2:42 am

These are great, Nanda-tanuja! Along with Swami and Agni, I see other familiar faces: Bharat das, Radhanath (from Narayana Maharaja's group), and my old, old friend Harivallabha (and it looks as though Cittahari is trying to keep up with him). When Hari is in relatively good shape spiritually, he's on my top ten list of kirtaniyas, along with Premarnava. (I hope it goes without saying that Agni is at the top of that list, as he is always spiritually fit and keeps good company.) Mahalo, prabhu.

Syamasundara - August 28, 2005 8:29 am

Thank you!


I am glad I waited one day before kicking and screaming for more reports.

At the same time, who was there besides the SF ISkcon devotees? I could only recognize the Audaryavasis, Audaryalila, Brahma, Agni, and I know Vijaya Kumara and Nandatanuja were there.

Was there a seminar at Audarya before the Ratha Yatra this year?

Caitanya-daya Dd - August 29, 2005 12:41 am

Oh, seeing the photos makes my heart ache. I cannot believe i missed this year's Ratha-yatra. It is a yearly staple for me! But of course, I can't stay away from Audarya-dhama, the Audarya-vasis, beautiful Gaura-Nitai, and of course Guru Maharaja's vapuh, so I will be there in flesh for Radhastami. I look forward to seeing those who can make it for that most auspicious day. :blink:

Bhrigu - September 1, 2005 5:25 pm
who was there besides the SF ISkcon devotees?


Laura and I were were there!

Swami - September 1, 2005 9:28 pm
Was there a seminar at Audarya before the Ratha Yatra this year?



Yes, indeed there was. It was attended by 30 devotees. We discussed Hera Pancami and the spiritual history Jagannatha Swami. It lasted 2.5 days, although at least a dozen pilgrims came as early as three days prior to the actual festivities. Try to come next year (everyone). I must say that we do put on quite a good festival here.