During July 5 and July 6, the annual New Jagannatha Puri Ratha Yatra in Phoenix, Durban was held. We had the good fortune again this year of having Kadamba Kanana Maharaja, who has become a major part of this festival, as well as other international senior devotees. Here are a few pics and highlights of the events.
Day one: Procession in Phoenix, Durban
“And we are here in the middle of this Ratha Yatra festival; we have relished the whole pastimes of Lord Jagannatha, Who can take so much service. Lord Jagannatha somehow or other knows how to make us work hard and go beyond our limits. So we did go beyond our limits again- I did at least – and I think most of us, but that is the satisfying part. Because gradually we learn that the taste in Krsna consciousness is in making a sacrifice for Krsna. “
For more pics go to http://www.kkswami.com/gallery/gallery.php
On day two, an added first ever Ratha Yatra procession, was held in Kwa Mashu, an African township in Durban.
Q & A sessions with KKS:
…The Krsna consciousness movement immediately, immediately appealed to me, I must say, because there is so much life, there is so much taste. And we are here in the middle of this Ratha Yatra festival; we have relished the whole pastimes of Lord Jagannatha, Who can take so much service. Lord Jagannatha somehow or other knows how to make us work hard and go beyond our limits. So we did go beyond our limits again- I did at least – and I think most of us, but that is the satisfying part. Because gradually we learn that the taste in Krsna consciousness is in making a sacrifice for Krsna. Even in this world it is like that; if you do something for someone else- completely voluntarily and you just really do something nice and you help somebody who needs it, you feel good that you did something good. So in Krsna consciousness, when we are serving Krsna, then everything is for the pleasure and for the glory of Krsna. And that in itself is our reward! There is no reward from the service; we do the service and we don’t get anything. We don’t get any special benefits. “What if you do this yajna? What are you getting Swamiji?” No special benefit. “But there must be something…” No, no, no, what you’re getting is the yajna itself! The yajna was the benefit. “The yajna was the benefit? We thought the yajna was the work and then it starts raining golden coins from the sky or something like that! We find jewels in the garden or whatever may happen…or a beautiful marriage! Whatever…” no, no temporary results. The result is the service itself! But within that there is all the taste and the happiness and that is most wonderful. So in the beginning, like in everything, we take a few hesitant steps… “Well…I’ll try it…” like a toddler trying to walk but very soon we start to dance, because we begin to relish how nice it is to serve Krsna. And with time, you just can’t say no anymore…one cannot say no, ‘No’ is not there in the book of bhakti. When service is asked it is, “Yes!” how? I don’t know! Can you give a donation? “Yes!” pockets emptied! “I don’t know how, but yes, yes, yes, I will give” and then if we have this spirit, Krsna will arrange, Krsna will send, Krsna will send us everything!
Madhavi devi dasi (Bhn. Mary), a young devotee from Soweto, received initiation from Maharaja during Ratha Yatra.
Initiation in one sense is a beginning. It is the beginning of making a very serious commitment because at the time of initiation we are committing ourselves to try and become a pure devotee of Krsna…Let us then take advantage and take it in our heart that we take initiation to make a real change in our life; that from this day on we will not be the same persons. We will be walking out of this ceremony like a different person and we are in this spirit going to try to go this path of pure devotional service. It’s not an easy path; it’s not easy at all because it’s not cheap. What we are getting is the topmost. The path is not easy, but all along the path we are helped, helped by the devotees and by our spiritual master. He is there, even if doesn’t answer our e-mails he’s still there. Because we should understand, he is our well wisher. He cannot always sit behind the computer and all day answer e-mails but he is always thinking about our well being and hoping that everything is just going well, and he will be there when we need him. He will be there and take us along the path, take us forward and we are not alone, together we are going forward on this path of pure devotional service…we see that you don’t have to be famous for going back to Godhead but faithful, just faithful in following our vows and in devotional service, and then perfection will be there. So it’s very feasible to go back to Godhead and that is the purpose of this ceremony of avoiding the offences and so on. Let us all go back to Godhead! So let us all take initiation. Those who have not taken initiation should come forward because we need all the blessings that we can get and the blessings that we get from the initiation is very great. Then let us carry on, on the path back to Godhead!