BY VISHAKHA SUSEVINI DEVI DASI
KUCHING - Amid Visit Malaysia Year 2014, ISKCON Kuching organized for the seventh consecutive time the Jagannath Ratha Yatra festival in Sarawak Land of Hornbill, East Malaysia on 21 st June 2014. The beautifully decorated chariot and colorful float carrying Lord Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhatra Maharani were pulled by devotees with ecstasy while full force of dancing, singing and chanting the Holy Name of The Lord clouded the whole atmosphere along the routes of the yatra.
Hundreds of devotees thronged the city streets across the route amid security right from 5 p.m. in the evening to witness the majestic Ratha Yatra. The procession followed the traditional route which started from Sri Maha Mariamman Temple and halted at Hare Krishna Multipurpose Hall, where a grand mass of fireworks and Lion Dance by the Chinese Association welcomed the glorious deities. They were then seated in the center of the grand stage as the presiding deities.
As official declaration of this festival, His Holiness Janananda Goswami Maharaj, YB Senator Dato Dr Loga Bala Mohan Jaganathan @ Loka Bandhu Gauranga Das (Deputy Minister of Federal Territories, Malaysia), Simheswara Prabhu (General Secretary of ISKCON Malaysia), Kripa Sindhu Krishna Prabhu (Chairman of ISKCON Kuching), Mr. Lo Khere Chiang (Local Councilor) and other leaders from political associations, NGO and other organizations joined hands and officiated this grand event.
As a welcoming speech, the Chairman of ISKCON Kuching, Kripa Sindhu Krishna Prabhu welcomed and thanked everyone for participating in this annual Borneo Island Sri Jagannath Ratha Yatra. He also thanked all devotees who were involved tirelessly in organizing and making the event a huge success. He also showed his gratitude to the Malaysian Government for giving freedom to the citizens to practice different religions in the country. Lastly, he wished well and prayed that the Lord of Universe bless everyone with good health and prosperity.
In addressing the crowd, the Deputy Minister of Federal Territories YB Senator Dato Dr Loga Bala greeted everyone with well wishes and highlighted the current social problems faced by the youngsters in the country, where all religious bodies should always attempt to involve youths in religious activities to help form the character positively from the beginning which would subsequently help to prevent their involvement in crime activities. This is deemed as very important to the society as the youths today are the future of the nation.
His Holiness Janananda Goswami Maharaj in his speech narrated the wonderful pastime of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu during Sri Jagannath RathaYatra in Puri. The Lord in golden form is so merciful because by dancing He can wake our Love of God and His tears that spread on everyone is as spray of Krishna Prema on everyone. That is the beauty of this festival of Chariot.
More than six hundred people from local communities and sixty visitors from other states in Malaysia and other countries such as England and India joined this festival to be fully absorbed in devotion for the sweet Lord. After the official declaration ceremony, the program for the evening featured variety of performances including 1 Malaysia dance performance by Ministry of Social Development and special performances on the Past Times of Lord Krishna by ISKCON children and youths.
This was followed by serving of Prasadam to the huge crowd of people. Prasadam was prepared for 700 guests and various types of pure vegetarian food and sweets were distributed out.
With the Prasadam distribution and grand finale of performances, the seventh annual Jagannath Ratha Yatra festival organized by ISKCON Kuching Malaysia came to an end. This year’s festival was yet again a huge success and the celebration has been so intense, joyful and had all the devotees involved completely immersed in the love for the Lord. This celebration has been organized for the pleasure of Lord Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhatra Maharani and may everyone be blessed immensely by the merciful Lord.