Sri Jagannath Ratha Yatra in Probolinggo
By Acyuta Krishna das
Lord Jagannath never stops giving His mercy to the devotees and people of Indonesia. Many cities in Indonesia already got Lord Jagannatha's glance. This was Lord Jagannath touring program through ratha yatra. As Srila prabhupada mention on his letter that "This touring program, going from town to town with sankirtana party and distributing our literatures is our real program. So do it enthusiastically and with determination and surely Caitanya Mahaprabhu will bless you more and more." (SPL to Vamanadeva, August 31st, 1971).
The Nusantara Culture Parade on Sempiro (a week stay in Probolinggo, East Java, Indonesia) attracted many people to come and participate. They came with their culture and in various types of costumes. Surya Narayana prabhu and his wife (disciple of H.H. Subhag Swami Maharaj) and Karabhajan prabhu, who resides in Probolinggo continually do sankirtan in Probolinggo to attract the Lord to come to Probolinggo. They were eagerly that there were would be a ratha yatra in probolinggo. They used all his efforts how Ratha yatra could participate on the parade. By humble prayer to Lord Jaganatha he invited the Lord to bestow His mercy to the probolinggo people. He made communication with the government officer to propose that Ratha yatra as one of the participant in the cultural parade and the committee allowed the devotees participated in the parade. A day after the birth day of Lord Balaram August 30, 2015, Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva, and Their beloved sister Subadra Devi gave special mercy to the citizens of Probolinggo on a ratha yatra festival. This is the First ratha yatra in Prolinggo, East Java.
A day before Ratha yatra, on Balarama appearance day, August 29, the devotees from around Nusantara (Indonesia) arrived in the Hare Krishna center in Prolinggo. The only purpose of their participation was to do devotional service to Lord Krishna. They helped the committee in preparing the festival. Some devotees made garlan, other decorated the chariot, and some other cooked for the devotees. They were so happy and enjoy the service that they could do for the Lord.
Srila prabhupada mention on his letter that "The faith increases in Krsna consciousness by our voluntary increase of serving Krsna. Serving Krsna is unlimited and He can accept our unlimited service, and award us unlimited transcendental pleasure in the unlimited service of the Lord." (SPL to Brahmananda, 20th February, 1968)
Celebrated the 50th years of Srila Prbhupada's Journey to Amerika, the devotees did Guru puja and darsan to Lords Jagannath, Balarama and Subadra Devi. The deities arrived in Probolingo at 17.00 PM after one hour journey from Jember temple. Devotees also observed the last Julana Yatra festival on the evening. That day was really a festival day. After the program they continued to food distribution in front of the center where only in half hour two big food containers of prasadam were distributed to the local people. There is a Hindu community temple beside the center. On the purnima people gather to do prayer. They really are respect and welcome the devotees. This chance was used by the devotees to preach. The devotee arranged bhagavad-gita reading and distributed prasadam. They accepted it with pleasure. They also said that they would participate in the ratha yatra.
On the day of the festival, devotees woke up at 01.30 am early in the morning. They finished their japa round before manggala arati. They were really enthusiast to participate and do devotional service. They were so busy that no chance for maya approached them. At 09.00 AM. The Lords were carried to the chariot. The melodious kirtan accompanied the procession. The pujari then offered bhoga and continued with arati. A recorded class from H.H. Subhag Swami Maharaj was heard and translated by H.G sundaranandana prabhu made the devotees more enthusiast. The Lord then offered coconut with camphor lamp and it signed that the ratha yatra was begun. The devotees pulled the chariot that already beautifully decorated to the place of parade.
The devotees had to wait for five hours before starting. This condition was used by the devotees to do Harinama Sankirtana. Crowded of people attracted by the Mahamantra sang by the devotees lead by Premadhana prabhu. Srila Prabhupada stated in his letter that "This sound vibration is not material, it is spiritual and powerful beyond our conception. So it cannot be hindered in any way by something material; it surpasses all these material barriers." (SPL to Mukunda and Janaki, 28th February, 1968). Many people stopped their paces just to listen the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Some of them even captivated and danced with the devotees. The weather became hot and it never stopped them to dance and sing. Srila Prabhupada also mentioned in his letter that "even they are chanting Hare Krsna in mockery still it doesn't matter. Just so long as they are chanting Hare Krsna, that is the success of our mission. SPL to Upendra, 5th February, 1968).
Some devotees distributed the prasadam in form of cookies and a ton of oranges which was donated by Dina Darini mataji. The devotees also did book distribution. The most interesting thing in Lampung, other part of Indonesia, the devotees also did ratha yatra. The book competition of book distribution was always reported between devotees in Lampung and Probolinggo through social media. every single book of srilaprabhupada was reported to H.H. Subhag Swami Maharaj and maharaj again and again motivated and encourage the devotees to distribute more book. About 120 book were distributed to people who mostly muslim.
At 14.00 PM was the turn of devotees to enter the honored stage. The crowd made the chariot difficult to move. Even the polices officer and the army could take care of the mass that over already over flood the main way. Than one devotee took Jagannath flag and started waving, suddenly the crowded divide into two and gave away to the Lord to move forward. The devotees had three minutes to perform the attraction in front of the guests. On behalf of devotees Adipurusa prabhu and Sundarananda prabhu presented a copy of Bhagavad-gita as it is to the mayor of Probolinggo, Mrs. Rukmini Buchori and her vice Mr. Suhadak, and other officer of Probolinggo. A beautiful rasa dance was performed by devotees lead by mahapavitra mataji gave different color to the parade. The unique of Hare Krishna Mahamantra tune attracted many people to see the Lord and the performance of the devotees. The devotees start the ratha yatra from Panglima Sudirman Street then Gatot Subroto Street, A Yani Street, and finished in front of city field. It was about five kilometers.
Lord Nityananda has opened up the Marketplace of the Holy Name, meant for the deliverance of all fallen souls. Now as the causeless mercy of Srila Prabhupada the Marketplace of the Holy Name is opened in every towns and vilages. All devotees and people who saw and heard the Holy Name in Probolinggo became very happy.
Our ever grateful obeisances are due to HH Kavichandra Swami and HH Ramai Swami, the GBCs of Indonesia, for their support and guidance to always look for new avenues for sankirtan. Our humble obeisances to HH Subhag Swami for always reminding us of the importance of the Sankirtan movement of Mahaprabu and inspiring us with the dedication of Sriman Jayananda Prabhu, for bringing us closer to Srila Prabhupada and keeping us united in family of ISKCON. Our gratitude to Karabhajan prabhu who arranging all necessity of the festival and taking care the devotees nicely. Our gratitude to sankirtan team for their wonderful Kirtan. Our gratitude to Dinadarini mataji the donation 1 ton oranges. Our thankful to Prasadam's team lead by Sanjaya prabhu who without felt tired prepare the prasadam for the devotees. Our gratitude to all devotees who sincerely did devotional service in satisfying Srila Prabhupada.