August 5, 1999 VNN4437 Comment on this storyAbout the AuthorOther Stories by this Author
LA Rathayatra Report
BY GAURIDASA PANDITA DASA
USA, Aug 5 (VNN) Lord Jaganath's bright carts looked spectacular as they contrasted blue skies and palm trees as they weaved Their way along the the breezy beach path. The carts were decorated very nicely with huge marigold and carnation garlands draped all across the carts. The site of the carts coming so nicely decorated with expert kirtan and the devotees dancing like peacocks was enlivening to everyone who was fortunate enough to behold the ecstatic event. Devotees took turn leading in three kirtan groups. I enjoyed the kirtan lead by Puspadanta Prabhu and Makesvara Pandita in front of Lady Subhadra's cart the most.
When the carts arrived at the festival site they were parked perfectly around the main stage and Lord Balarama and Lady Subhadra joined Lord Jaganath on His Cart for the duration of the festival. This was also a nice improvement which kept them in the center of the festival in a very beautiful setting. Hundreds of people were taking thousands of pictures.
MTV also reported and filmed some of the transcendental activities! When the carts arrived at the site the first western Krsna band to play was Vedic. Bir Nrsringha Prabhu is the lead singer of that group. Although I don't normally care for 'heavy metal' music, I was moved and very impressed by this performance. The lead guitar player jumped off the stage and went around the crowd playing his guitar which made them happy.
The prasadam was also rated the best in years. I asked everybody I saw with the free feast how it was and they all said, "Great". The curd steaks were extra good, moist and large, and the Tomatoe sauce with the bed of rice was first class. The cookies and mango and strawberry lassi's were also real nectar as was all of the Lord's prasadam.
The children's booth was also very impressive and the kids were mezmerized by all of the transcendental entertainment and activities.
Before the festival on Friday it was Youth day and the Gurukuli's lead the kirtans etc. for the day. The men and women alternated offering flowers to Srila Prabhupada at Gurupuja and the offerings continued by hundreds of devotees into the english recitation of the prayers. It was very inspiring to see so many devotees worshipping together. The kirtans were also cooking! The Gurupuja kirtan even this monday morning also caught on fire and went overtime despite attempts to snuff it out to start class. Makrsvara Pandita ignored the calls to end it and kept the ecstasy rolling. I was soaked by the time it ended which was too soon for me. ! Srila Prabhupada always said that kirtan was the medicine and prasadam the diet and we got a good dose during this great festival. It's a shame it only happens once a year! This is the way to enliven everyone and make new devotees. With Visnujana Swami we tasted the nectar of nice kirtan regularly and these festival kirtans are the closest things now to that for which we are always anxious. Hari Nama Sankirtan Ki Jai!
I was amazed at how the festival was so popular even to the locals at Venice beach. I had been setting up my book table at the beach walk when I overheard the people talking about the upcoming festival. It was great to hear. I had a poster displayed every day for weeks and so many people commented on how they were looking forward to the Rathayatra festival.
All devotees from all camps became united in the worship of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Jaganath. The influence of the festival showed that the mercy of Sri Guru and Gouranga were/are still present. Who else but Srila Prabhupada and the Lord Himself could inspire the devotees to cooperate so nicely to put on such a nice festival?!
My batteries were charged up pretty well as I'm sure were of so many others. These festivals are the best public relations we can do. Next week, San Francisco Rathayatra, hope to see you there!
Best wishes and all glories to the Lord of the universe and the guru of the universe!
Gauridasa Pandita Dasa
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