The Esoteric Meaning of Ratha Yatra

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das
In a purport of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada gives a wonderful illumination about the esoteric meaning of Lord Jagannatha’s Ratha-yātrā.
After giving up the company of the Vraja-gopis, Vrajendranandana performed His pastimes in Dvaraka. When Sri Kṛṣṇa visited Kurukshetra during a solar eclipse, He was accompanied by Baladeva, Subhadra, and other Dvarakavasis. At Kurukshetra, Kṛṣṇa again met the Vrajavasis, especially Srimati Rādhikā and His beloved sakhis.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Sri Kṛṣṇa Himself assuming the part of Sri Rādhā in order to understand Kṛṣṇa. Lord Jagannatha is Kṛṣṇa and Sri Caitanya is Rādhā. Lord Gauranga’s leading Jagannatha Swami toward the Gundica Temple corresponded to Srimati Rādhikā’s leading Kṛṣṇa toward Vrndavana from Kuruksetra.
Sri Ksetra, Jagannatha Puri, was taken as the kingdom of Dvaraka, the place where Sri Kṛṣṇa enjoys supreme opulence. However, Kṛṣṇa was being led by Mahaprabhu to Vrndavana (represented by Gundica Temple), the simple village where all Vrajavasis are filled with ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa. Sri Ksetra, Jagannatha Puri, is a place of richly opulent pastimes (aisvarya-lila) just as Vrndavana is the place of intimate conjugal pastimes (madhurya-lila).
Lord Gauranga’s following at the rear of Lord Jagannatha’s car indicated that Lord Jagannatha, Kṛṣṇa, was forgetting the Vrajavasis. Although Sri Kṛṣṇa neglected the Vrajavasis, He never forgot them.
Thus in His opulent Ratha-yātrā, Sri Kṛṣṇa was returning to Vrndavana. In the role of Srimati Rādhikā, Sri Caitanyadeva was examining whether Sri Kṛṣṇa still remembered the Vrajavasis. When Lord Gauranga fell behind the Ratha car, Jagannatha-deva, Kṛṣṇa Himself, understood the mind of Srimati Rādhikā.
Therefore, Jagannatha sometimes fell behind the dancing of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to indicate to Srimati Rādhikā; He had not forgotten.
Thus Lord Jagannatha waited on His cart for their forward march. In this way, Lord Jagannatha showed that He could not feel satisfied without the ecstasy of Srimati Rādhikā. While Jagannatha thus waited, Gaurasundara, in His ecstasy of Rādhā, immediately rushed foward to Kṛṣṇa. At such times Lord Jagannatha proceeded very slowly.
These competitive exchanges were all part of the love affairs between Sri Kṛṣṇa and Srimati Rādhikā. In that competition between Mahaprabhu’s ecstasy for Jagannatha and Jagannatha’s ecstasy for Srimati Rādhikā, Mahaprabhu emerged successful. This is the purport of the Ratha-yātrā cars going from the Jagannatha Temple to the Gundica Temple. (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.13.119 p.)
Sri Jagannatha Swami’s Ratha-yātrā festival ki jai!
(An excerpt from Jagannatha Puri Guide Book)
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *