Written by Nandan
Morning Class: Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 13.9
Another bright and cool morning. Kadamba Kanana Swami arrived at the Manor during Guru Puja. Instead of taking the front route to the temple, Maharaj, Nimai and Krsna Kirtan Prabhu took the back route, past the kitchen where there were a great number of devotees, moving around hither and thither, engaged in an immense amount of cooking in massive cauldrons, barrels, woks and colossal pots; all in aid of the big day ahead! Whilst observing the hive of activity, Maharaj came across Sruti Dharma Prabhu, the Manor’s Temple President. After greeting each other, both went to see Parashuram Prabhu in the kitchen who was the mastermind behind all the prasadam preparations. Both Maharaj and Sruti Prabhu glorified Parashuram Prabhu for the incredible work he does every year for Ratha Yatra as well as the numerous projects he works tirelessly for throughout the year.
Soon Maharaj was in the temple room seated on the vyasasana ready to commence the Ratha Yatra class. The class was brilliant, Maharaj spoke on how before Caitanya Mahaprabhu, no one had seen someone jump so high in the Ratha Yatra kirtans, absolutely no one!!! And Lord Nityananda took up the service of catching Mahaprabhu when he was coming down.
Maharaj then reflected on Lord Jagannath; stating that wherever there is Krsna, there is all opulence and victory. So Ratha Yatra is the victory of the Supreme Lord claiming what is his. His chariot is enormous but still it is too small to capture his glories. Ratha Yatra is in the mood of separation. The separation of Caitanya Mahaprabhu for Lord Jagannath and his eagerness to see him. Lord Caitanya was bringing the Lord back to Vrindavan and everyone was in ecstasy. In the Skanda Purana, it is said that Ratha Yatra is going on yuga after yuga but when Caitanya Mahaprabhu took part in it 500 years ago, it took on a whole new dimension. Devotees were chanting prema sankirtan from Bengal to Jagannath Puri in Orissa in ecstatic love. No one ever saw anything like it before… that kind of kirtan! It just did not exist before. So many people get so much mercy in Ratha Yatra even just by touching the ropes.
Maharaj then brought the whole ecstatic scene down to the modern day saying that when we are in London, we should remember 1973 and how the newspapers said the chariots rivalled Nelson’s column. We should remember Srila Prabhupada – his mood was to simply flood London with mercy and see all the people touched by Lord Jagannath’s ecstasy.
Even though Srila Prabhupada said that London is hell, by the mercy of Lord Jagannath it can be Vaikuntha in an instant. Whether we have material desires or not, we can all act in pure devotional service. And the love of God is available to us all for we are living in an age of grace and causeless mercy. Of course we still have to give it our level best. In Kali yuga it is said that Lord Jagannath is most merciful because he can accept unlimited offerings.
Ratha Yatra 2016
Midday, the sun was at its zenith and once again we were in Hyde Park, Central London. Finally, Ratha Yatra 2016 was here! The deities of Lord Jagannath, Baladev and Subadhra, the weather, the devotees, the ambience; everything was just perfect and Maharaj’s morning class really inculcated the mood for the devotees. Once the parade commenced, it was truly one of the greatest experiences one could have in their Krsna consciousness. The grand, elegant empire-era buildings of Central London really helped to accentuate Lord Jagannath’s majesty and complimented the whole procession as it sauntered through the major avenues and boulevards of London such as Green Park, Picadilly, Leicester Square eventually stopping at the historical Trafalgar Square, a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace. The stalls, marquees and gazebos all in place ready for the throngs of visitors, tourists and local Londoners alike.
And what to speak of the kirtans! With a line-up that included Kadamba Kanana Maharaj, Maha Vishnu Maharaj, Adi Karta Prabhu, Parividha Prabhu and Sakshi Gopal Prabhu, it was only ever going to be nothing short of brilliant. A symphony for the soul, the mind and the ears. In fact the kirtans were so absorbing, that after 2 hours the whole parade felt too short. Let us pray that this parade can go on for longer in the future. But what good will come out of describing the kirtans to your dear reader!? Better you get the recordings and listen to your heart’s delight…
Ratha Yatra 2016 ki Jai! HH Kadamba Kanana Swami Maharaj ki Jai!
Visit Flickr to see all the photos.