15 February, Chinese New Year Eve
All glories to the Sri Krishna Balarama temple in Melaka for organising for the first time in Malaysia, 4 chariots with Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva and Subadra Devi and another chariot with Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda leading the procession. Procession begat at 5.30pm from Jalan Sri Rama, Sri Krishna Balarama temple. HH Bhakti Mukunda Swami, the Vice President of ISKCON Malaysia graced and officiated the festival.
Four mini chariots were especially dedicated to children who offered worship, chanted and danced all through the route. I am not sure if children can do any bigger festival or event that a Ratha Yatra. So, it is not true children cannot do big. They can and Lord Jagannatha reciprocates.
It was a double celebration for many Chinese residents on New Year Eve reunion who also came out of their houses to greet the chariots, offer oranges and flowers to Lord Jagannatha. Many devotees from mainland China also joined the festival and were actively engages especially distributing Jagannatha prasadam.
This festival is in remembrance of Srila Prabhupada who organised his own chariot festival In his birthplace at Calcutta whe he was just a few years old. We are expecting more of ISKCON Malaysia centres to also engage their children from young to organise and manage such a big event as Lord Jagannatha Ratha Yatra, of course with a little help from their parents!
Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 7 Chapter 6 Text 1
kaumāra ācaret prājño
dharmān bhāgavatān iha
durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janma
tad apy adhruvam arthadam
śrī-prahrādaḥ uvāca—Prahlāda Mahārāja said; kaumāraḥ—in the tender age of childhood; ācaret—should practice; prājñaḥ—one who is intelligent; dharmān—occupational duties; bhāgavatān—which are devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; iha—in this life; durlabham—very rarely obtained; mānuṣam—human; janma—birth; tat—that; api—even; adhruvam—impermanent, temporary; artha-dam—full of meaning.
Prahlāda Mahārāja said: One who is sufficiently intelligent should use the human form of body from the very beginning of life—in other words, from the tender age of childhood—to practice the activities of devotional service, giving up all other engagements. The human body is most rarely achieved, and although temporary like other bodies, it is meaningful because in human life one can perform devotional service. Even a slight amount of sincere devotional service can give one complete perfection.