San Francisco Ratha Yatra
Posted July 15, 2009
This Ratha-Yatra, chariot procession, has been celebrated for five thousand years in India. Srila Prabhupada said in a lecture that this festival commemorates the glorious occasion of when Lord Krishna, along with His elder brother Balarama and His sister Subhadra, all together in a chariot came from the Capital City of Dvaraka to the pilgrimage place known as Kuruksetra. Both these places are still existing today. Upon receiving the news that Krishna was coming to Kurukestra, the Gopis of Vrindaban traveled there to see Him. When the chief Gopi, Srimati Radharani, saw Her Lord Krishna in Kuruksetra in all His opulence, She said, "My dear Krishna, You are also here, I am also here. But We are missing Vrindavan. So I wish that You come along with Me again in Vrindavan..." These feelings of separation were preached by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu five hundred years ago when he started the Krishna Consciousness Movement in West Bengal India.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, whose Glorious activities are recorded in a book called the Caitanya-caritamrta, would attend this Ratha Yatra. At this festival He would dance with intense feelings of ecstatic love of God. He was in the mode of separation as if Radharani was taking Krishna back to Vrindavan. Srila Prabhupada says, "So this Ratha-yatra festival is a feeling festival for the Vaishnavas. Lord Caitanya taught us how to feel separation of God. Lord Caitanya never taught us that He had seen God, but He felt the separation of God very severely. Similarly, His next disciples, the Sad-Gosvamis, they also prosecuted their devotional service by separational feelings."
The parade will begin on John F. Kennedy Drive and Transverse Drive in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park at 11am. It will continue down JFK Dr. and end at 1pm in Sharon Meadows on the corner of JFK Dr. and Stanyan Street. The Sharon Meadows festivities will include a Free Vegetarian Meal, Live Theatre, Music, Ancient Indian Dances, Exhibits, Books and much more.
We invite everyone to bring their family and friends to experience this extraordinary event, enjoy the sumptuous Vegetarian feast, and help pull the large chariots through Golden Gate Park. This festival is wheel chair accessible and family friendly. No drugs or alcohol will be permitted.
ISKCON Founder-Acarya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada