BENGALURU, Jan. 23, 2019: ISKCON Bangalore celebrated its 34th annual Sri Sri Krishna Balarama Ratha Yatra on January 19, 2019. The Deities of Krishna and Balarama came out of the temple precincts in a grand chariot and traversed nearby areas. Enchanting kirtans and large-scale prasadam distribution took place all along the procession route.
The inaugural ceremony of the Ratha Yatra was graced by His Holiness Sri Sri Subudhendra Tirtha Swamiji, Mantralaya Matha; His Holiness Stoka Krishna Maharaj; His Grace Madhu Pandit Dasa, President, ISKCON Bangalore; His Grace Chanchalapathi Dasa, Vice President, ISKCON Bangalore; Sri K Gopalaiah, Hon’ble MLA; Sri Bhadre Gowda, Hon’ble Dy. Mayor, BBMP; Dr. Mohan Manghnani, Chairman, New Horizon Educational Institutions (NHEI), Sri Prakash and Sri Dinesh, devotees and supporters of ISKCON Bangalore, and other senior devotees of the temple.
His Grace Chanchalapathi Dasa, in his welcome address, briefly narrated the history of ISKCON Bangalore and how Srila Prabhupada introduced Ratha Yatra in the Western world in San Francisco in the year 1967.
Sri K Gopalaiah said, “ISKCON has a long history and anybody who comes to Bengaluru visits this temple. I feel blessed at this Ratha Yatra.”
Sri Bhadre Gowda expressed his good wishes for the Ratha Yatra and assured his support for the temple’s initiatives for the benefit of the society.
Sri Mohan Manghnani said, “I get new energy, new focus and positive vibrations at ISKCON and entering this place is like entering Vaikuntha. I appreciate the selfless duty of the management in running the biggest NGO in the world – Akshaya Patra and such a big temple.”
His Grace Madhu Pandit Dasa said, “The Lord is seated in everyone’s heart. Our entire body should be engaged in the service of the Lord if we have to experience the presence of the Lord in the heart. In the same festive spirit and enthusiasm with which we pull the Ratha, celebrate, chant and dance – in the same way, every moment of our life should be a celebration of service to the Lord in the heart. Srila Prabhupada said that the highest welfare activity that you can do to humanity is to awaken people’s consciousness by making them chant Hare Krishna and distributing prasadam. At Kumbha Mela, every day more than seven thousand visitors are being served free Krishna Prasadam at our camp.”
Following the scriptural statement – simply by seeing the Lord on the chariot, one makes advancement for stopping the repetition of birth and death – a large number of devotees assembled to pull the chariot and receive the blessings of the Lord on the chariot. The congregation of ecstatic devotees gambolled with delight as and when Hare Krishna kirtan hit a crescendo.
Annually, during the Ratha Yatra, the utsava Deities of Krishna and Balarama magnanimously come out of the temple on a chariot to shower Their blessings on everyone witnessing the procession. The chariot was decorated with colourful display of lights and flowers and it was a sight to behold.
Thousands of devotees pulled the chariot, offered their prayers, joined in the kirtans, and partook of the dinner-prasadam after the event.