19830925 Srimad Bhagvatam.3.14.16 Weed Seeds in the Rice Paddy (Slide Show Calcutta Ratha Yatra) @ New York, USA
The following is a lecture given by His Holiness Jayapataka Swami on September 25th, 1983 in New York, New York. The class begins with a reading from the Srimad-Bhagavatam, 3d Canto, Chapter 14, Verse 16.
Jayapataka Swami: iti tāṁ vīra mārīcaḥ
Devotees: iti tāṁ vīra mārīcaḥ
Jayapataka Swami: kṛpaṇāṁ bahu-bhāṣiṇīm
Devotees: kṛpaṇāṁ bahu-bhāṣiṇīm
Jayapataka Swami: pratyāhānunayan vācā
Devotees: pratyāhānunayan vācā
Jayapataka Swami: pravṛddhānaṅga-kaśmalām
O hero [Vidura], Diti, being thus afflicted by the contamination of lust, and therefore poor and talkative, was pacified by the son of Marīci in suitable words.
Translation with repetition: O hero
Devotees: O hero
Jayapataka Swami: [Vidura],
Jayapataka Swami: Diti,
Jayapataka Swami: being thus afflicted
Devotees: being thus afflicted
Jayapataka Swami: by the contamination of lust,
Devotees: by the contamination of lust,
Jayapataka Swami: and therefore poor and talkative,
Devotees: and therefore poor and talkative,
Jayapataka Swami: was pacified by the son of Marīci
Devotees: was pacified by the son of Marīci
Jayapataka Swami: in suitable words.
Devotees: in suitable words.
Jayapataka Swami: Purport by Srila Prabhupada:
When a man or woman is afflicted by the lust of sex desire, it is to be understood as sinful contamination. Kaśyapa was engaged in his spiritual activities, but he did not have sufficient strength to refuse his wife, who was thus afflicted. He could have refused her with strong words expressing impossibility, but he was not as spiritually strong as Vidura. Vidura is addressed here as a hero because no one is stronger in self-control than a devotee of the Lord. It appears that Kaśyapa was already inclined to have sexual enjoyment with his wife, and because he was not a strong man he tried to dissuade her only with pacifying words.
Thus ends the purport by His Divine Grace Srila Abhay Carana Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. From Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 3, Chapter 14, Text 16 in the matter of The Pregnancy of Diti in the Evening.
O hero [Vidura], Diti, being thus afflicted by the contamination of lust, and therefore poor and talkative, was pacified by the son of Marīci in suitable words.
The seeds of desire are lying dormant in the heart, and gradually they come out, become manifest, then they start to sprout and come into uh, complete uh, presence, complete intense manifestation. So, when somebody is inflicted by lust, by very strong desires, that means that the desire seeds have come up to a manifested state. At that time if one is able to tolerate the influence of those sinful contamination, then one can avoid uh, fall down, but normally a person’s austerity or renunciation will be gauged by to what extent they can avoid falling down, or they can tolerate the influence of the senses, but actually even the great yogis, or great pandita or a brahmana like Kasyapa, who also was the father of the personality of Godhead, (inaudible) from the Aditi. The influence of the senses is so strong that like Saubhari Muni was sitting and meditating under water for 10,000 years, but when he saw two fish having uh, sexual intercourse he became agitated and he fell down because he had committed Vaisnava-aparadha against Garudadeva, he fell down to this material contamination. So, even great sages, sometimes uh, they get agitated. On the other hand Haridasa Thakura, other great devotees, they have been able to tolerate, because actually they have developed already a higher taste, and therefore when a material opportunity is... to enjoy present themselves, they are already completely full with the spiritual happiness of Krishna consciousness. Therefore they are protected. If we have a glass filled with water, then you cannot add more, anymore you add it flows over. It’s already full, you can’t add more. So, if we fill ourselves with Krishna consciousness, then there is nothing more to add. That’s the only protection. So it is only Krishna who can actually fill completely our consciousness with transcendental bliss. In the material world, no matter how much sense gratification a person may try to achieve, it will never fill the uh, material cup completely and permanently. And the other processes of yoga, they are also do not give one practical ananda, sac-cid-ananda vigraha. When we actually realize Krishna consciousness then is when we get the ananda of life. Other processes of yoga, jnana, they will give us sad-cit, they will give us knowledge, and they will give us uh, realization of the eternal aspect. In the pastime of uh, Lord Caitanya, His devotees, we find that how Lord Caitanya, He engaged His devotees constantly, in performing the sankirtana-yajna. Actually devotees should take the humble position according to Lord Caitanya.
tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
That being more humble than a blade of glass, and being more tolerant than a tree. But actually in humility, the devotee never feels himself to be so strong he doesn’t need constantly the mercy of Lord Krishna. Therefore, the devotee is always chanting
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
So someone might feel that the devotee is in a very dependent situation, but being dependent upon Krishna, the supreme personality of Godhead is the most secure position. The connection with Krishna cannot be severed by any time, place, circumstance. It cannot be… no material thing can stand in the way of a devotee’s relationship with uh, Him. Therefore, by chanting and remembering Krishna, one is constantly in connection with Krishna, and one is therefore protected and secure. So actually every devotee, they can follow in the footsteps of Prahlada Maharaja, who showed by his constant remembrance of uh, Lord Krishna, that in spite his so many material obstacles, he was always delivered. He never forgot Krishna at any moment. So to practice never forgetting Krishna at any moment, to purify the consciousness, to think about Krishna in the proper devotional attitude we always chant
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Because we are contaminated, so when we try to think about Krishna in the material life, alternatively sometimes the material desires pop up, and therefore by intelligence, the vaidhi-bhakti, in the beginning stages, we remove those thoughts, and again bring the mind back to Krishna. This way we keep our meditation or concentration fixed. That is a form of uh, samadhi or complete absorption in the Absolute Truth. This is the real samadhi.
So one who can keep the mind always fixed in Krishna, Prabhupada gave the example, you keep the heart always flooded with the flood of Krishna consciousness, with the ecstasy of uh, the mercy of Lord Caitanya, this is the greatest protection. We pray to Lord Nityananda, that even with a drop of the nectar of His mercy, we can flood our heart with transcendental ecstasy. So in that flood, then we see that the material lust doesn’t sprout. In India, in Mayapur, we go rice paddies. There the rice field is always kept in two, three inches of water, which has two functions. One function is that it keeps the weeds down, because it always under water so none of the weed seeds will sprout. As soon as the water goes down and it gets dry then other grass starts to come up.
So always have to keep the water in the field. The other is that, if you allow the water to go out, then the field, the mud will dry and crack. When it cracks, if you reflood it again, then the water will seep out through the cracks. Then again you have to go through, and with your hands you will go... now they have got machines to do it. They will take the mud, scrunch it up, make it fluffy again, way the water cannot percolate or go beneath it; it creates a type of a barrier. So by constantly chanting and hearing the holy name of Krishna, the messages of Krishha, then practically speaking the heart becomes very soft. So it can also hold the water… the nectar of Lord Caitanya, but if you allow it to dry up by not chanting Hare Krishna, by not hearing about Krishna, by not serving Krishna, let the heart dry up, you see, then that’s a dangerous position then if you do give some sporadic irrigation, that it may not hold it until you again make the proper consciousness. So we get out of all of the cracks, all of the offences which allows… which allow the uh, mercy to uh, avoid us.
On the other hand we see that uh, for devotees, who are have uh, been very careful in chanting and hearing, the spontaneous attraction to the Lord increases day by day. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when He was staying down Jagannatha Puri, He knew that all the resident of uh, Jagannatha... uh, excuse me, Bengal, they go down every year to meet Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, but they went down led by uh, Sivananda Sena and Vasudeva Datta, and other devotees. They were so eager, walking the 500 kilometers, over the rivers, through the jungles, the highways, backways. They were very enthusiastic, although they were going from the kingdom of the Hussain Shah to the kingdom of Maharaja Prataparudra, they were without passport, even though they were at war with each other. Those days passports you know, the war will be between the soldier. If some Brahmanas came… didn’t have any weapons, that's a side issue. Then they continued down, after passing the border, they continued down and go right to Jagannath Puri, you see, step by step, literally.
So they usually would arrive before the ratha yatra festival, some days. So, about couple of weeks or so, a few weeks before the ratha yatra festival, there is a… a ceremony where Lord Jagannatha is take on the Narendra Sarovara, Narendra Lake, there on a boat He is given a special ride, on the lake. So, the devotees were approaching. Even today if you approach from a certain angle, through... from Bhubaneshwar to Puri, you have to go by the Narendra Sarovara and the… that’s just... that's the route . So they were going and suddenly, in front of them, on the boat, they saw… they heard a kitan party, all the devotees from Bengal, you see. Hundred or more devotees, hundreds of them, they are all going, hundreds of devotees, without… so many devotees, they are coming on one, just after days and days and days and weeks of walking. Now finally they are coming to Jagannatha Puri, their aspirations to see Lord Caitanya at the peak. Just at that moment, they hear kirtan.
They hear a kirtan party, then they see procession. Lord Caitanya of Lord Jagannath and his attendants with chamars and gongs, fans and everything, taking Lord Jagannath uh, vijaya murti on a uh, taking a form of Jagannatha on the procession with palanquin, and then...
Huh? The palanquin. Palanquin.
...and Lord Caitanya and His associates, they were chanting in kirtan, just along falling behind the procession. So then, all of a sudden, all the devotees when they saw Lord Caitanya, immediately, they became filled with ecstatic symptoms, and they fell down just like sticks on the ground, and Lord Caitanya when He saw that, "Oh, here are the devotees from Bengal, they have come!" then He stood there to receive them and He rushed towards them, then they were getting up, rushing towards Lord Caitanya, and then Lord Caitanya accordingly some He would embrace, others He would bless. And all those are devotees coming, they are paying their obeisances to Lord Caitanya, to the other associates, Svarupa Damodara, Ramananda Raya, Baninatha, Bhavananda Roy and others .
The wives of the associates would also come down in the procession. They were standing beside, and when Lord Caitanya was embracing their husbands, the different devotees, and paying obeisances uh, even Lord Caitanya paid His obeisance’s to some of them, as Vaisnavas, then the woman in the back, they were watching, and tears were pouring from their eyes. In their hearts they were embracing Lord Caitanya, offering Him obeisances in pure devotion. Their... everyone was completely overwhelmed, crying in a big kirtan, and soon, and uh, all of the devotees as many accompanied Lord Jagannatha down to the Narendra Sarovara. And uh, after Lord Jagannatha was uh, appropriately worshiped, there in the Narendra Sarovara, then suddenly Lord Caitanya, after many hours of kirtana, and He told all the associates that, "Let's take a bath." Suddenly He jumped in the Narendra Sarovara and they are all in there, and so many nice pastimes. One significant thing about how spontaneous the different associates, immediately upon seeing Lord Caitanya, how immediately their consciousness was... the spontaneous attraction is a addiction which a devotee gets from the special favor of the Supreme Lord.
So, in the Krishna conscious movement we try to keep the heart flooded, keep the seed of desire flooded, and when that seed of desire, which will cause us to be spontaneously attracted to sense gratification, has been flooded long enough, it will perish. It will just rot. Rice field after they are flooded for a long enough time, the rice… the weeds die, and that’s why rice fields... now gen… normally, you don’t find many weeds there. If you grow another crop, after very easily, no weeds, weeds are a big problem. All those weeds die, and instead of being spontaneously attracted to sense gratification, you become spontaneously attracted to Krishna.
When that attraction is so intense that just by thinking about the lotus feet of the Lord, you start to cry, or that once we are not able to serve, we become intensely eager, enthusiastic to fulfill the desire of the Lord, even forgetting about our own sense gratification, forgetting about material considerations and crying intensely to fulfill the desire of the Lord, that is uh, very good sign of progress. It’s a different standard altogether, when we are doing service to Krishna and you become very impatient because we are not able to eat at the proper time, we're impatient because we are not able to get the sleep at the proper time, we're impatient because of the other material reasons. This is sign that our standard is on the material world, not that we have to neg… we can't neglect or even a devotee will rest just so he can do the service better or eat just so that they can do the service better, but basically when there is some intense service, the desire would be to fulfill the service, that’s where the concentration is, that’s where the spontaneous attraction is.
So, that happens when a person becomes a devotee of Krishna. That’s why we don’t really consider ourselves to be devotees in the purest sense. Out of humility we always consider ourselves to be aspiring devotees. To be a real devotee, that means to have Krishna-prema, meant to be a completely a pure devotee, that is such an exalted position. There is nothing to do with this material world. Therefore, this material lust, material desire do not affect. Even someone who is on the stage of bhava, which is considered to be preliminary liberation. Already maybe liberated due to karmas, but sill 1% uh, tinge is there. We find from the prayers of Yamunacarya. He prays that “Whenever I think about uh, sex life, my face becomes bitter and I spit.”
Prabhupada... there's two points, one is the spontaneous uh, detachment, otherwise…other is that even though he was such an exalted acarya, on the level of bhava, still the thought came and he admitted it came in his mind. Now that uh, thought, whenever they come in the mind, it might come, Krishna Prema, means that the connection with the material mind and body is cut, just indirect link is there. Just… basically at that time, (inaudible) That time... of course there is no danger at all of the senses, but even at the stage of bhava, where one is not attracted to all the sense gratification, one is completely attracted to Krishna just because till the material… there is a mind which has the connection with the body. Sometimes when they come up with some off the wall proposal, which is immediately disgusting... just... even the thought is rejected. So su…such devotees, who don’t awe with the material desires, so since the thought is there one has to be careful, you see.
Not to think that, “Oh now I am a devotee, even if I think about such things, it’s alright.” No. Right from the very thought, we cut off. We don’t meditate on the objects of the senses. Rather we meditate on Krishna’s service, we meditate on His holy name, meditate on the uh, instructions of the spiritual master, and thus eh.. we keep the heart flooded. Keep the heart flooded with ecstasy.
Just like yesterday, so many hours we were chanting, and then the uh, Jaganath Rath yatra procession. How wonderful! For everyone it was pretty easy to be absorbed, and preparation was such a huge uh, extravaganza festival for the Lord, while participating in that. You see, still sometimes the mind may wander off: 5th Avenue, Madison Avenue, they are trying to make your mind wander. But with the sound of Hare Krishna, so many devotees, it’s very easy to bring them like that. That’s why it is recommended we should have the association of devotees. Constantly we should maintain the association of devotees, you see. It’s very easy to bring the mind back, even if it happens to wander off.
Nowadays we are making this Walkman tape recorders, so that people, they can constantly listen to via, but even this can be dovetailed, then we constantly listen to the uh, one devotee told me that do sankirtana on the street lights. It says it’s really bliss. You just put the Walkman in your pocket and whole day you are listening to lectures, and you go out to people, meet them up at the... preach to them in their cars. Said you can hear three, four lectures in a day; it's great. Because it’s a very quick stop light, you meet as many people as possible. But everything, somehow or other you can dovetail it in Krishna consciousness. Just I got a phone call from uh, Thailand, that uh, some life members saw a devotees taking beautiful pictures, uh, during the functions and said that, "If you take a picture of a business function, I will give you 2000 in donation." This is how much professional photography costs. So then, I didn’t got the donation, so gave out, started keeping up, distributing our books, subsidising at the Bangkok university. And just outside, and never tried this before, subsidising it, just you see that they didn’t try the students, still all the students came and they were flocking around, really appreciating the books that they were published in Thai language, Siamese language. So, sometimes... that person who photographed it, he dovetailed it, used it for book distribution. Whatever he got, I don't... he used it for book distribution. So in Krishna consciousness we can use so many different things. There's no limit. I don’t have to tell the American devotees, they know how many things can be dovetailed in Krishna consciousness.
But this way we keep our mind fixed at the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya, Nityananda, then just like those residents of Bengal, when they saw Lord Caitanya, their mind was spontaneously attracted. That is the proof. When we find that when we come before the deity of Radha-Govinda, Jagannatha, Subhadra, Balarama that our mind is spontaneously attracted to the lotus feet. When we come in the Bhagavatam class, that our mind is spontaneously attracted. That’s a very good sign. Not that a person is sitting in class and we start to doze off. We shouldn’t give up the ship, we shouldn’t give up hope. Prabhupada said in Mayapur, if your sleeping during class, you should go out and plough the field. That time there was one sannyasi, in spite of that he slept. He said, “Now you go out and plough.” Made the sannyasi plough for five days. Then afterward said, "Alright." You see. If they can’t stay awake in the class, then they should do some work for Krishna at least.
So, there's hope anyway. Whether we work for Krishna, then eventually you will… will be spontaneously attracted to hearing about Krishna. That is considered to be a perfection.
dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
notpādayed yadi ratiṁ
śrama eva hi kevalam
The reverse way, is putting it that that is the actual goal, that we should be spontaneously attracted to hearing about Krishna. So, when that happens then when the sense enjoyment proposals come up you will be spontaneously un attracted to that. In the preliminary perfectional stage, and then ultimately we of course, we will feel no uh, attraction at all, when we will achieve Krishna-prema, because we won’t be connected in our material body in that way. But even in our conditional state we can be spontaneously detached, by becoming spontaneously attached to hearing about and serving the lotus feet of the Lord.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
There is a remote control on microphone so if the chair could be reversed in the opposite way it is now, then I may have a clear shot of the remote control.
Any question? No question?
The thing that's taped there on the left (inaudible) Take it off by sliding it back one 1 inch, lifting it up. (inaudible) I mean, this light here is right on the screen. It will. So this is a slide screen... slideshow of our ratha yatra festival in Calcutta, which was started about twelve years ago I believe by Srila Visnupada Bhavananda Goswami. Of course, it was really started by Prabhupda, in 1901. When he… so we celebrated 100th… or practically… the 80th anniversary… 82nd, when he took as a five year old uh… when he took his little ratha yatra in the streets of Calcutta, and uh, with a little kirtana party, and little festival. Even today, you still see many children doing that in North Calcutta, in the area where Srila Prabhupada used to live as a child.
So Prabhupada requested Visnupada and other devotees, that we should make uh, the calcutta ratha yatra, the biggest in the world. The original ratha yatra, in Puri is just 500 miles away. So it maybe a competition, we always follow it on the same day. (everyone laughs)
So, this is Jagannath, Subhadra, Balarama; They don’t need any introduction.
Outside the uh, Calcutta temple, the uh, fifty foot ratha is uh, set up and Jagannatha, Subhadra, Balarama are taken to their cart procession.
You can see the steering wheel of the cart is put on the top, because you have to have a vantage point on the 8 foot wheels. Because you go on steering through the sometimes narrow streets of Calcutta. You have to be able to see, because sometimes little old ladies and young men, in all kinds of shapes of people, running towards the wheels of Jagannath, slip. And so one has to be constantly aware if there is anybody under the wheel, so to speak, or just before that.
So there is not only a airbreak system, but there is also a… this is (inaudible) Prabhu on the right. He is the temple president of Calcutta, and left is Bhakti Ananda Swarup Swami, starting the (inaudible) In the back of the ratha yatra, there are also big uh, railway brakes taken from the Indian railways, done by… manually. So, before had of course, last year the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Calcutta, he swept the road before Lord Jagannath. This year also he agreed to do the same, but suddenly he felt, “Well, I’ll have to cancel.” All his court attendence, and so the local dignitaries swept the road in front of Lord Jagannath using the golden broom.
Jagannath Puri, we saw the king of… the descendent of the King of uh,Orissa. The present King, of course he has no other kingdom, per se, he still goes in procession with bands on his elephant and he performs this function, sweeping the roads. Originally, according to the Pandas of uh, in the uh… of Orissa, that Indradumnya Maharaja, I believe was the original King, he was supposed to marry another uh, neighboring uh, princess, but one day saw that he swept the road in front of Lord Jagannath, the person, wearing these…
That’s a special dignitary also came to sweep.
When he uh, saw that this Maharaj Indradyumna was uh, sweeping the road, then he felt very uh, insulted that, “My daughter is going to marry a street sweeper. No King will sweep.” So, they took this to be a great offence against Lord Jagannath. Then there are a few other things said also, which made it more offensive, so, Indradyumna declared war against him, and the Maharaja went out to uh, attack the kingdom.
On the way, according to the uh,history handed down by those local priests, that uh, there was one lady selling yogurt, who was carrying a… a package of yogurt on her head and uh, when she saw… uh, these two generals came up to her, one on a white horse and one on a black horse, and said, “Give us some yogurt, we are very hungry.” So she said, “Well, you have to pay me.”
“We don’t have any payment. You get it from the King behind us, you give this ring to him.” And well, the…the general on the white horse gave a ring, saw it was a very valuable golden ring, so she took it and gave the yogurt, which they drank and uh, when the King came, then this uh, old uh, village lady came up and said that “Please pay me for the yogurt.”
After great trouble, the king would… finally she got to the King and said, “Oh, your two generals took my yogurt, and they didn’t pay. You are supposed to pay me.”
He said, “What two generals?” He said, “My generals are all here.”
“No, there was one on a white horse, one on a black horse.”
“What did they look like?”
“One was black colored, and one was uh, uh, white, and uh, they gave me this ring to give you.” And look it was the ring of Jagannatha from the description! Krishna and Balarama, Themselves had come up and taken the yogurt from her, so then he gave her a whole village, made her a… made her a countess (Laughter) and he knew that now his uh, campaign would be victorious.
Here we are taking the ratha yatra out of that narrow road, in front of uh, the Calcutta temple and now going into the main streets. Calcutta, Prabhupada said used to be the… the jewel of the British Kingdom. Of course now it’s… now it’s run down a little bit, but this ratha yatra was advertised by billboards all over the town and also by radio, three times a day in the national radio, which uh, they even heard in the neighboring countries like Tibet, Bangladesh, Nepal, so many people come out, it’s… the whole day, it’s a holiday. And the people coming out on this day, coming specifically to attend the ratha yatra ceremony. Otherwise it’s a holiday, specially this year it was a double holiday.
Because it was also a Mohammedan holiday. So, nobody was on the street, no trafic, anything. The people were coming simply to attend the ratha yatra ceremony. As Bhakti Prabhav maharaj, he is announcing there on the mic.
“Chant Hare Krishna, stay away from the wheels. Chant hare krishna.” You know, “Move onto the side.” Because we have lot of, so many people, that it’s a constant thing to keep them away from the wheel, and it’s also direct. There is a whole squadron, fleet commander, toll commander, rope… rope rotator, then we have the rear toll commander, then we have the brake uh, sergants, we have the whole whatever, we have the whole fleet there, then we have the... infront we have the Nitai Gaura deities, they have… then we have various things in the procession, that go a mile long. [aside]
Change the slides there. You see?
We cordoned around the whole cart, so that nobody can get within eight feet . And inside the people would uh, who are people trying to break the cordon, to get in to attach to the cart, we push them out
That’s where most of the fights come, if someone wants to come in, wants to get a flower off in cart, or touch it, and then the people in the cordon are keeping them out.
This is when the cart is uh, stopped, we have an opportunity to do a little kirtan. At one point there were 200 students who all uh, just started uh, dancing in kirtan, had their own huge kirtan. This is from the side of the cart, as you’re going down the road.
You can see that on the side they are, their function is to see off the wheels are clear, and uh, to also collect donations. Sometimes people come in the neighbourhood, with all things fruits, flowers, with arati. This is out of place.
In one point on the return ratha, it started pouring rain… It’s not completely in order, you can see that little dam. It started pouring rain, and in spite of getting completely soaking wet, still the uh, the people just continued on.
Here you can see part of uh, Lord Caitanya big Deities. There are little Nitai Gaura deities from the Jolly Boat, the Nitai Pada Kamala, they’ve come for this function. The ratha cart was constructed by a devotee called Mayesvara. I think he is originally from New York. We like to have uh, two more carts, by next year’s festival.
This uh… the government provided this special uh, truck to lift up some of the low lying wires, that sank down below the limit that was supposed to.
We didn’t miss anything that we didn’t take a picture of there.
This is the cart when it is down. People the periodically they like it if the cart goes up and down. But when it stays down, then they wanna go back up again. They thought the cart looks a lot nicer when it’s up. But uh, in the newspapers they covered that the Calcutta Rath has become the uh, complete attraction for the whole city. That’s all people talk about. When we come in the airport, they ask, they ask… the American ambassdor came to Calcutta, and he called up to our temple and he asked, “What is the meaning of ratha yatra.” We said why, then he said, “Well, every time I go on to the airport, as I am coming in, they all ask me if I have come for the Ratha yatra ?” (Everyone laughs) “So I wanted… to the Krishna ratha yatra, so I wanted to know, what it… what it was.” (Laughter) In other words , everybody that comes in, everyone asks if he has come for the ratha yatra. (Laughter) We tell him that people are coming from all over the world.
Even the cows are also very attracted. Doing a double take of Lord Jagannath. About 5,000 bananas were thrown off the cart. This year we tried bananas on the recommendation of one of our acaryas. See the kirtan party infront of the cart. We would like to have four kirtan parties, Prabhupada said one on each side, we just don’t know how to fit it on the side. Here the roads are a little wider, but normally the roads in Calcutta are difficult.
One place, the person parked a car in the middle of the road, and could find a driver. So, he came up to the car, here is the Nitai Gaura. They came up to the car, and police could find a driver and told the crowd to move it. (Laughter) So he just took up the car, about 200 people, picked it up or threw it over a fence. (Laughter) Don’t know how the person ever got the car. (Laughter) You can see how enthusiastic they are. Here we got too close to the Deities, suddenly they put up the green flag, “Jaya Jagannatha!”
(inaudible) also otherwise, they just pull, you can see it, they just like they hang off the rope, there is not enough room, to get… to touch the rope. If you can touch the rope it’s a major accomplishment. If you can touch it. And practically they fight to hang on, if somebody pulls the spot off the rope, then you have a little fight there, on the side. So whenever the cart stops, then we… we tell.. let all the ladies come up and touch the rope.
Behind you can see. They call it, in Cal… one of the more cynical papers, this is the annual 8 hour traffic jam. This is a 10 mile route. Takes anything around 6-8 hours depending on things beyond our control. And this day, of course it was a complete holiday, previous year it was half a holiday, you see, though there is some traffic, but uh, it gets so crowded that… this is the main road there. So just that means it’s like… there is only three main roads in Calcutta. This is the main one. You can see where the ropes starts, where the concentration of black heads. (inaudible) We stop at the main inner section. Sometimes we would do arati for… Apparently the photographer was amazed that how the cow was completely absorbed in Lord Jagannath, so regarding the progress of our competition with our neighbour. Last year they published in the newspaper that… that uh, the uh, uh,the trains… they have special trains that they put on, five special trains to Jagannath Puri. That the special trains went 30% full, first time in 20 years, which the only reason is because so many people coming to uh, the Calcutta Ratha yatra. In fact now, the railway put special trains both ways. Some people from Orissa are coming up to Calcutta and they see the rath yatra festival. So recently the Jagannath Puri temple in Puri, they published this special booklet, and in that they had the picture of Dinanath, and Bhanu and must be old pictures from 71 when we went there. They described a picture showing some of the ISKCON devotees, saying that uh, “Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra attended by devotees from all over the world.” They are trying to, we can be reminded that, Prabhupada said that we should construct another Jagannath Puri temple, which is uh, the same size as the uh, the existing one, or even a little bigger, and then do kirtan infront of the Lord Chaita… Jagannath temple, and then Lord Jagannath will come up to over our temple.
Jayapataka Swami: Srila Prabhupada ki,
Jayaptaka Swami: Jagannatha Swami ki,
Devotees : Jaya!
Jayapataka Swami: So, Jagannath is so Kind. Now He has come all over the world. …here is New York, in 5th Avenue, Los Angeles, Venus Beach, Tokyo and… So in Calcutta, there was never a Rath Yatra before, because there were so many tramlines, thanks to the British… Nitai Gaur Premanande Hari Haribol!
Jayapataka Swami: But thanks to Jayananda and the inventors of the convertible top Ratha Yatra, we have been able to negotiate their wires. So, as the result we can have a big ratha. So everybody is coming out. There used to be fairs in Calcutta like State fairs type, that’s for the ratha yatra, but the paper last year said that, “The Calcutta annual ratha yatra fairs have been buried under the ground by the ISKCON ratha yatra festival, like that.” Nobody goes to the fairs, anymore. Everybody, you know where they are. They are right here.
The people… it’s a constantly changing crowd because, thats… the people are uh, coming… we go on ten miles, so they walk along for miles, then they gradually peel off, and so new people come on. So it’s a constantly changing… So as you’re seeing a different scene, then its actually, mainly a different group of people. The whole family comes out, husband, wife, children, have a darshan, wearing their silk saris, women. It’s a very big event, and uh, its actually a 9 day festival. These two ratha yatras, one going and one coming.
We take Lord Jagannath. This is on the main Chowrangee uh, Avenue, behind the largest building in Calcutta, but doesn’t match much with the empire state building. Maybe only 21 storeys, 27 storeys. But this is the main thoroughfare. This is near the public bus terminal. So the 7th… we go… this is going, rath yatra that… The pictures of the coming rath yatra when it was raining a lot…. The coming rath yatra is sometime more interesting because its not a holiday day then. They usually only give you one holiday. So that day all the office crowds they come out, then uh, they meet the rath yatra, they usually stay a little later. So then it’s uh, very big crowd.
People all offering their obeisances Lord Jagannath, behind this the construction on this proposed Calcutta subway. Schedule will be finished in 1981 (Laughter)
Devotee: Jaya! (Laughter)
Jayapataka Swami: Actually I don’t know how we got back here again, back infront of the Calcutta temple. You can see the lake there of the… this is called Victoria Place. Prabhupada would like it to be renamed. He liked to rename it as Bhaktivedanta place. But, the government has given us that… that park and the lake for beutification. So, now we have uh, Visnupad has organized the whole new planting there, and they’re,putting up some special uh, what you call (inaudible) gazebos or something, and different type of decorations. It’s a beautiful. This road is so narrow, that just never (inaudible)
So actually we started coming to the end of the ratha yatra, actually which is in far North Calcutta, where uh, the rath is going to remain for 8 days in addition to the rath yatra day. Its going to remain there, and we put on our pandal program. It’s a… it’s a…. everyone is welcome to come around the early part of July, to attend the Calcutta rath yatra.
There’s the red flag. Stop. They must be adjusting the roof, the canopy. It’s getting to be dark, when it gets dark, completely in the night time then then gets a little bit wild, people just they get more exited. In Calcutta, normally there is loadsheding. That’s the excuse they have for their electricity failures. They say, insufficient load, so they shed the load in some areas. Say they need 500 mega watz, they have 300, so 200, but I never seen the 200 that’s supposed to be lit. But it was a blessing from the skies for the ratha yatra because we would have a generator, we have the whole rath yatra car lit up at night. Unfortunately I don’t think they have a picture of that. And it’s so beautiful, and there is a completely dark street, with millions of people to see the rath cart just like a big transcendental moon coming down with uh, Lord Jagannath just like jewels, just in the center there with the lights on them. People come out more in the evening, and then it is so crowded, you cant see them. That it gets very difficult. Sometimes the people, I mean this big a crowd, even the police they just completely give up. I mean if it was unruly, you would… no hope of controlling it but by Lord Caitanya and Jagannath’s mercy people are generally of course going there, of course for no other purpose but to do our religious austerity, to pull the rath yatra cart, so normally things are very well organized.
Not organized, well, at least pretty peaceful. So there is always have thousands who come up. So this is a daytime picture because in the night time the people come, and that time it’s not possible to photograph the temple. Every year we build it fresh, this is the temple where this year where Jagannath came to. Its about 80 feet high, 80 or 60 feet high. Different designs every year, this time they made a square temple. And in there Lord Jagannath, Nitai-Gaur, Prabhupada, they remain for the eight days, 9 days of the ratha yatra function.
This park was completely taken over, all the big like, this is a wooden tent you make, because it is the rainy season, because of the rain, so that people don’t have to walk, they built a walkway out of wood there. You can see that front, then we connect this temple to the main big top to the whole exhibition.
Here the people are taking uh, Lord Jagannath from the cart uh, they are proceeding a procession all the students, chanting “Jay Jagannath, Jay Jagannath!” that’s the rath yatra cart, at night, you will get a picture of it, here you got a idea, because they are unloading now, therefore they… but in the actual stage they are having uh, kirtan. Prabhupada’s pictures there in the back, arati, lecture.
This is Bhakti Caru Maharaja giving out an award to the books as well as certificates, and the first prize is a free trip, all expenses paid with your two parents or one friend, depending on the age groups, to uh,Vrindavan for the best artist in Jaganath rath yatra painting contest. Over 5000 entries sent in this year. The paintings uh, are really beautiful.
Here is the Bhagavad-gita distribution program, those who want Bhagavad-gita, they can get autographed this time. So this lady is presented the Bhagavad-gita, I am presenting it to her after autographing it. She’s already donated the requisite donation on the side (inaudible)
Here is the (inaudible) painting contest, but it is so crowded, the photographer apologising that he could get any close ups. They take it down in the day time, put it up at night. You can just see, through all the people, only half the people see these paintings. I was thinking that last year’s paintings should be brought over to the West, you could, you know put them up here in America during the ratha-yatra. They’re very inspiring to see, these 6, 7 year old, 10 year olds, 15 year old uh, boys and girls. They’re beautiful. They have to… the only rule is has to show Jagannath and show Lord Caitanya. So you get some beautiful pictures of Lord Caitanya and Jagannatha at Ratha yatra festival.
There are about dozen book tables. This is a book table manned by the bhaktas wearing white. People come up and receive the Gitar Gan which… Vishnupada has just published Gitar Gan recently. Srila Ramesvara’s zone helped to publish some books last year. Here is another book table. Yet another book table . They also come up to buy beads. This is in front of the temple. Now you can see in the night time, the people coming to take darshan.
Jaya Jagannatha, Subhadra, Balarama ki
Devotees : Jaya!
Jayapataka Swami: Jay Nitai Gaur ki.
Jayapataka Swami: They come up to get charanamrita. Originally we have the deities on the main stage, but then the people want to go… they wanna have darshan, so we put them on the side, then we couldn’t have a lecture because, you know.
Maybe you don’t know, but that’s a very uh, tense situation over there, so we have to separate everything. We have prasad distribution outside from the special armored vehicle. (Everyone laughs) We bought at… we got donated a surplus army vehicle, and that’s been reconditioned into a prasada distribution, I don’t know, (inaudible)
Here is a special exihibition on the worldwide Krishna conscious movement, an electirical push button exihibition on the left there.
This is uh, To you give the perspective, the side view of the pandal, the pandal was bigger than a football field. It’s the side view, from the center looking into where the Deities are. During the day, twenty to fifty people always coming and having darshan. They take off the… this is a side view, you will see uh, (inaudible) This is a (inaudible) life membership booth, program.
Then this is a picture from inside the pandal. The pandal holds… a pandal is like a big tent or circus tent, a big top. It’s about 70 feet high, its made to hold the rain, but inside they’ve put a false roof with colored cloth. All the decoration is done with rope and cloth. Nitai Gaura deities are on the left and right. They’re too big for them to be on the stage. This is just showing… this is just a very close up shot. It holds about ten to twenty-thousand people. Now, due to the newscasts & films, so the picture didn’t come up so good but it get in… it goes back, this is from the center of the… this is not from the stage but this is from the… standing down on the ground in the crowd, it goes back about uh, 300 feet from the stage, and the people are standing on the outside of the pandal there, looking in and there’s about fifty deep all around on the outside looking in, and inside the people, matajis, sit on one side and the men sit on the other side, and they very quietly listen to the lecture and the program. The amazing thing is that this whole program is going on… there’s nothing else but Krishna.
There’s the Jagannatha painting contest, taking darshan of the deities, there is the hearing the lecture on the stage, there’s seeing the exhibits, question and answer booth. Because Srila Ramesvara had his mercy on us, we could have some of these wonderful exhibits that they made in Los Angeles , uh, converted for use in India, but last time I asked it was over $800, but we do our best and this people when they come and give for this Krishna consciousness lectures, dramas, films, there is no other uh, cultural event. There is not even Indian dancing, there is nothing, there is not anything, the only culture reside is the pure culture of Lord Jagannath and Lord Caitanya.
Yet people pack the place in weekends, there are hundred thousand people in the night, and on the weekdays because it is a 8 day festival, you get a minimum of 50,000. Even on a raining day, one day, it was practically the same crowd, 40-50,000. On the weekend, one government official was supposed to speak, he came and even with the police help, he couldn’t get in for half an hour. It was so crowded, and outside the rath yatra, I didn’t take pictures, but there is hundreds of popcorn vendors, pop… papadam vendors, pakora vendors, balloon vendors, you name it. The only people that can sneek inside are the life saver vendors, the lozenge vedors, they put their lozenge bottle under their shirt, come in, and they go in the crowd with tapping a spoon on the bottle, hard to get it out selling lozenses to the people while they’re listening to the lecture.
Over 40 tons of prasadam are distributed during the ratha yatra. There wasn’t… They don’t take any donations from ISKCON food relief for that, they raise it from the local life members, ISKCON food relief only goes to the rural places and the places in the, you know, places like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vrindavan, Mayapur, Hyederabad firm, uh, Nepal, places like that. Calcutta, Bangladesh collect their own.
So that was the basic uh, going on the uh, 8 day… 9 day festival at the park, which was started, 18 night, or 1899, 1900 by… 1901 by Srila Prabhupada and rejuvenated by Vishnupad, and we are trying to (inaudible) to make it nowadays.
It’s actually by the mercy of Prabhupada, that he said that we make this the biggest ratha yatra, so we are trying to fulfil his desire and it was a hard struggle, the background I am worried they didn’t have time. They said, the last year the communist government said, “You can never have ratha yatra again.” We can only hope that by Jagannatha’s mercy… in fact this rath yatra has more or less turned the tide.
(inaudible) the Janmastami festival, two ministers from the Communist government of West Bengal came up to the Janmastami festival, and they lectured and they were praising Prabhupada and the Krishna conscious movement like anything. One of them whose uh, whose uh, slightly different party, he criticized the other members of the coalition, and he said that, “This Godless concept will never… see Prabhupada has shown that without Krishna, without God there can be no uh, system which will succeed, neither Communist nor any other.” He was yelling out, so it was a big step forward there, in a sense actually, what has (inaudible) is the millions of people who have come out. But if you cannot beat them, then join them. They see that, there is no reason in trying to tell the people, don’t come to rath yatra, they didn’t give us the permission. What would it mean? They’re gonna come anyway.
Devotee: Gonna happen.
Jayapataka Swami: So, by Lord Caitanyas mercy, if they knew that it was going to be that big, 12 years ago, they would have never would never have given us the permission I’m sure.
Jaya Jagannatha Swami ki
Jayapataka Swami: Jaya Radha (inaudible) ki
Jayapataka Swami: Jaya Srila Prabhupada ki
Jayapataka Swami: Jaya Visnupada ki
Jayapataka Swami: Nitai Gaur Pramanande
Devotees: Hari Haribol!
Bhavananda Goswami: Srila Acaryapada ki,
Transcribed by: Sadananda Krishnaprem Das
Revised by Jagannatha dasa Brahmacari