New Vrindaban Ratha Yatra Draw Over 350
Posted July 26, 2010
The elaborately decorated chariot carrying Lord Krishna (Jagannatha), his brother Baladeva, and his sister Subhadra is pulled with ropes of love.
New Vrindaban’s annual Ratha Yatra drew over 350 people from across the United States to Marshall County last weekend. “I can’t believe the entire parade lasted 90 minutes! Once I started singing along with everyone else, the time just flew,” said Jenny Santilli, a Spanish teacher at South Harrison High School in Clarksburg, WV. “The chariot was gorgeous. There was so much decorative detail – paper swans, cow-shaped and parrot-shaped balloons, and garlands of fresh flowers.”
Santilli, who is working on her doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction at Marshall University, attended the Ratha Yatra to fulfill part of her Multicultural Studies requirement. Her assignment was to visit a community that is different from her own. “I am a practicing Catholic, so the Hare Krishna community is definitely different. But after talking with the devotees, I can see many similarities in our fundamental belief systems.”
Santilli also brought her 15-year old son Jonathan to the Ratha Yatra. “I want to expose my kids to as many different cultures as possible. Jonathan saw things he had heard about in school. Everybody was so friendly and answered all our questions.”
Counter-clockwise from bottom left: Padma & Pritha Seward (New Vrindaban), Vani Patel (New Vrindaban), Susan (California), unnamed guest (New York).
Ratha Yatra, which originated in Jagannatha Puri, India, is based on the ancient Vedic scriptures. Lord Krishna, who is also known as Jagannatha or “Lord of the Universe,” is seated on an elaborate chariot, along with his brother Baladeva and his sister Subhadra. The Vedic scriptures describe how Lord Krishna was the most beloved person in his simple childhood village of Vrindaban. When Krishna was forced to leave Vrindaban as a youth to assume his princely duties in Dwaraka, all the residents of Vrindaban went into mourning, thinking only of the day when Krishna would return. Many years later, the residents of Vrindaban met Krishna in Kurukshetra, where they saw him in an elaborate princely chariot and fine royal dress. The residents draw the chariot, with Krishna aboard, with ropes of love. The Ratha Yatra, and its significance in Vedic culture, was established in the western world by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).
“New Vrindaban is a very peaceful place, and I plan to come back and bring my niece from Wheeling,” said Santilli. “New Vrindaban is definitely God’s country.”
New Vrindaban Community is located south of Moundsville – Wheeling, off Route 250. For more information, contact (304) 843-1600 or email@example.com.