BOSTON: After a long hiatus of 17 years, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) Boston arranged a very special historic festival, the Ratha Yatra (chariot procession) of Lord Jagannatha on the major streets of Massachusetts and Boylston on Saturday, July 23 from 12 noon to 6 pm in the evening.
It was attended by thousands of Lord Krishna devotees and others coming from all over New England region. The Ratha Yatra Parade proceeded from 12 noon down Boylston St, started from Massachusetts Avenue and culminated at the Boston Common Park, where the festivities of live devotional music (Kirtan), singing dancing and henna continued with full enthusiasm and all the religious fervor in the midst of a free vegetarian Prasadam feast prepared with love and devotion by the devotees of Lord Krishna.
The ISKCON Boston has been celebrating this festival for three decades now with some pause on having grand procession on the major streets of Boston in between. This attractive, stunning, and blissfully inspiring annual Ratha Yatra involved carrying of deities Lord Jagannatha, Balarama, and Subhadra on a richly decorated chariot for a journey.
This procession created a sight no different to that which happens in Puri, India. The huge procession was accompanied by groups of musicians who were singing devotional songs, playing traditional drums, dholaks, and various other instruments, a wide-range of chanting, devotional singing and dancing by Krishna devotees.
This 2016 marks a big year for the ISKCON – a bhakti movement led by Swami Prabhupada who introduced spiritual science to the West in the form of devotional service to Krishna – turns 50 this year.
ISKCON was formally established as a non-profit in 1966. This movement has been growing steadily ever since and spreading the message of spiritual knowledge, peace, and eternal bliss through chanting and singing of the holy names of Lord Krishna and distribution of vegetarian sanctified food.
This memorable event was attended by many dignitaries and notables namely His Holiness Subhag Swami, ISKCON Mayapur -West Bengal India, Latha Mangipudi, State Representative Nashua, NH, Sanjay Kaul, Vice President, Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), Kanchan Banerjee, President, Global Indians for Bharat Vikas (GIBV), Ravindra Mahadev, Financial Advisor, The Mahadev Group – A financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
“It was the most wonderful experience of my life. I have never seen a gorgeous procession like this before. There are no words to express my joy with these wonderful devotees of Krishna and Indian vegetarian food. I will definitely never forget my time with this event,” An American witness from Watertown said to this reporter.