PURI YATRA - JULY 13, 2010
Taking out the Lord in chariot, singing his divine name, is an effective form of sadhana and worship bringing in harmony and fraternity in society. Pulling the chariots around the temple garbha mandira though found in many of the temples, taking out side the temple for a distance of 4 k.ms is unique in Puri JagannathYatra. It is said seeing the Lord seated in chariot makes one free from entangling again in the cycle of birth and death.
Millions of people throng to this small coastal town to touch the 50 metre long rope and to have the glimpse of the Lord seated in the Rath.
The 13.5 m height chariot of Lord Jagannath with 16 wheels comes lost.
The 13.2 m height chariot of Lord Balabhadra with 14 wheels comes in the middle.
The 12.9 m height chariot of Mother Subhadra with 12 wheels comes in front or sometimes in between the chariots of her two brothers.
Every year these three wooden chariots are made out of sal wood and at the end of Rath Yatra these chariots are dismantled and the pieces of wood are given to devotees as prasad. Only a particular family of carpenter is given the task of making these 3 chariots. The work starts on Akshaya Tritiya Day which normally falls 3 months ahead of Rath Yatra Day.
Mother Sarada Devi along with her companions had darshan of Lord Jagannath in 1888. Even now, in the Mahalaxmi shrine of the temple, a small plaque about mother's visit is kept and devotees of Sri Ramakrishna during their visit to this temple spend few moments in this Mahalaxmi shrine for japam and dhyanam.
Though one's scientific temper may doubt the annual recurring of events like the three deities taking bath with 108 pitchers of water and as a result becoming ill for 15 days and then coming out on Rath Yatra occasion, the devotional fervour that is generated during this event can never be under estimated.
Does this Rath yatra signify the philosophy that our body itself is the chariot? Each and every one is pulling out his own chariot in the world. Since the Lord is seated on the chariot, we are supposed to be careful in pulling out the chariot lest it will disturb His travel. When the journey is over and the chariot is dismantled, we take up new chariot and continue the travel again. When we are tired in pulling the chariot, we turn back to the Lord, pleading for complete rest. This turning back towards the Lord seeing his permission to us free is what is expected out of us. Unless and until it happens we will be busy in our travels enjoying some times and suffering some times forgetting the travel is not meant for us but to the One who is seated inside.
Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama
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