Vancouver Ratha Yatra
BY: SUN STAFF
Aug 22, USA (SUN) Yesterday's Vancouver Ratha Yatra festival moved forward under sunny blue skies. Gopala the ox pulled the lead cart as the devotees danced, chanted, and beckoned the chariots forward. Their Lordships Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra greeted the world from atop beautifully decorated carts.
The parade crowd seemed smaller than usual this year, likely due to the fact that two additional chariots were added to the parade. This required the devotees to form three separate kirtan parties, and the participants to spread out to pull all three carts. At the festival grounds afterwards, however, one could see the usual long lines of people queuing up for prasadam.
Dozens of Vancouver devotees from the 'early days' were in attendance this year, including many from communities outside the Vancouver area. The Saranagati devotees traveled south immediately after their Balarama festival concluded, extending the very pleasurable mood we enjoyed at Saranagati village.
All of the usual booths were available at the Festival of India after the parade of chariots, including various book distribution and preaching tables. HG Hari Vilasa dasa helped to facilitate the Q&A booth, and many devotees were engaged in preaching to the festival attendees. Partha dasa and Uttama devi shared information about the Grhasta Vision Team's work, which focused on relationship improvement through spiritual education.
Having also been at Saranagati's Balarama festival, Drutakarma dasa talked to visitors about the advanced Vedic understanding of archeology, preaching against Darwinist theories. Assisted by Lavanya mangala devi, he made several of his books available for sale.
Along with the free prasadam tent there was a wonderful sweets booth this year. A few of the Saranagati residents made their goods available, including Bala Krsna dasa and wife Hari Lila who distributed many jars of pure Saranagati honey and preserves, along with Yoginath dasa who sold homemade soaps.
Thanks to the mercy of Sri Sri Radha Madana-Mohana and the tireless service of the Vancouver temple devotees, the year's Ratha Yatra was super-excellent.