Colorful Iskcon Rath Yatra in Boston

Ratha Yatra in Boston

BOSTON, MA: Boston International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple of Greater Boston, MA, celebrated a renowned Rath Yatra (chariot procession) festival of Lord Jagannath on Saturday, July 8 from 2 pm to 6 pm with Chariot procession followed by devotional and cultural programs.

Hundreds of Krishna devotees including Indians, Americans, Nepalese, Russians, Mexicans, African Americans and many others and even onlookers witnessed Rath Yatra with immense enthusiasm and zeal at Boston. It is an annual summer event that is celebrated on the ‘Dwitiya’ (2nd day) of ‘Shukla Paksha’ (the waxing phase of moon) in the Ashadha month of the Hindu calendar that usually comes in the month of June or July.

Rath Yatra festival began with invoking the deities with special prayers and rituals and was known as ‘Rath Prathistha.’ The Rath Yatra parade marched from 1 Cambria St (intersection of Boylston St and Mass Ave.) to Boston Common Park between 12:00-2:00 pm.

Lord Jagannath accompanied by his elder brother Balabhadra and Sister Devi Subhadra were brought out in a colorfully decorated Chariot and Boston was colored in the most vibrant hues of sheer joy and enjoyment and was flocked with devotees who wished to pay their honor to the deities and seek their blessings.

A Chariot resembling temple structure was pulled through the streets by all the devotees with an earnest desire of getting blessings of Lord Krishna and swept the road with a broom in front of the chariot as it was considered very pious service to the Lord. For devotees this Rath Yatra symbolically means, “Our body to be the chariot” and “the soul of the deity to be instilled inside it” to lead a meaningful life.

The hidden message is to let your wisdom be the charioteer so that it can control the mind and its thoughts. It is believed that people who attend the festival can find their way to heaven and obtain salvation.

The colorful procession moved forward with the sound of devotional songs played on harmonium and Indian drums. The streets of Boston were crowded with devotees who come to get a glimpse of their Lords. The procession finally reached the Boston Commons where the temple management arranged various devotional and cultural programs. Deities were placed in a special temple for Darshan.

The devotees and visitors enjoyed the melodious kirtans by Jyotirmayi Devi, Paramrupa Prabhu, Ujjwal Mataji, Suchita Rao, Jayashree, Jaya Madhava Prabhu,Trishakti Mataji, Karuna and Jyotirmayi Devi Dasi. Delightful Indian classical dance performances by Karuna Randolph and Mellisa Huser, students of Triveni School of Dance and ISKCON Sunday School children exhibited devotional bhava and were a feast for the eyes.

A group of children with Atulya Devi Dasi performed a wonderful Puppet show narrating the story of killing of Aghasura by Krishna. ISKCON temple recognized the support of various organizations and felicitated special guests of the event – Shri Ram and Jayashree Vorungati, IAGB President, 2017; Gauri Chandna, CEO and Director of Foundations TV; Hari Khanal, Board Member of Bhutanese Society of Western Massachusetts, Board Member-Hindu Sankaraman Sewa; Samantha, Assistant Refugee Health Coordinator at Caring Health Center. Sankirtana Dasi performed her Master of Ceremony task very meticulously and thoroughly.

Closing words and vote of thanks were proposed by Vanamali Pandit Ji. He thanked profusely the City of Boston; Kavin Gary, Kay Systems Sound Company, and Reggie – Park Ranger. He also expressed feelings of gratitude to NiskinchanNitai Dasa and his team for their dedicated volunteer work, Jaya Radhe for coordinating all the meetings and Chaitanya Bhagavat for obtaining City permits.

He thanked immensely the ISKCON temple of Hartford, CT for lending them the Chariot and Priest Indulekha Devi Dasi for her incredible dedicated work. Fund Raising Coordinator Lakshmi Narayana Das, Procession Coordinator Paramaeshwar Prabhu were also recognized by Vanamali Pandit Ji for their untiring work. He also appreciated videographer Gangambupada and Emergency Service Team lead by Charan Renu Prabhu. Devotees and visitors relished the sumptuous Prasadam of the temple. Many vendors also sold delicious food, books and clothes to the devotees.

Geetha Patil

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