Today some of us will see on a street in our city a grand procession known as the Jagannatha Ratha Yatra, an annual “chariot festival” of Lord Jagannatha (Krishna) that dates back to centuries, even millennia. In its earlier days, the Jagannatha Ratha Yatra was mostly celebrated by the residents of Odisha, Bengal and some nearby states. But today it is much more – it’s a global cultural phenomenon, celebrated in scores of countries and hundreds of cities
The Ratha-Yatra expands divine love in circles of increasing grace.
Firstly, it expands divine grace from the sacred space of the temple to the rest of the city. The Lord riding atop the majestic chariot offers the blessing of his darshan to one and all – even those who do not come to the temple. The sway of the magnificent chariots; the embellishments with many meaningful motifs; the beauty of the three Deities (Jagannatha with his brother Baladava and sister Subhadra); the symphony of musical eulogies by skilled singers; and the heartfelt cries of “Jaya Jagannatha” by assembled worshipers – all such potent devotional stimuli at the Ratha-Yatra kindle life-transforming spiritual experiences.