For many the Lords’ mercy seems difficult to achieve, but not for all. For those who know how to apply the formula Lord’s mercy is with them always. Only by the help of the sunshine can you see the sun. Similarly, only by the mercy of Krishna can you see Him or understand Him. That mercy is received through a pure sadhu. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada used to say, ‘Don’t try to see Krsna, rather serve in such a wonderful way that Krsna would want to come and see you.’ Devotees in Medan lead by Maniram das and his team of enthusiastic devotees organised Ratha yatra to get Lord Jagannatha’s mercy and give others the chance to feel the mercy of the Lord by seeing Him on the chariot during the ratha yatra festival.
“Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, guru-krsna-krpaya, by the mercy of guru, by the mercy of Krsna. It is a question of mercy. It is not the question of scholarship or opulence or richness. No. The whole bhakti-marga depends on the mercy of the Lord. So we have to seek the mercy. Athapi te deva padambuja-dvaya-prasada-lesanugrhita eva hi, janati tattvam… [SB 10.14.29]. Prasada-lesa. Lesa means fraction. One who has received a little fraction of mercy of the Supreme, he can understand. Others, na canya eko ‘pi ciram vicinvan. Others, they may go on speculating for millions of years, it is not possible to understand.” Srila Prabhupada’s purport on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.15.30, December 8, 1973, Los Angeles
This ratha yatra was special in the sense that it was arranged within seven days’ time because HH Subhag Swami was in Malaysia for a short trip and devotees were eager to bring Maharaj to Medan before he went back to Mayapur for Gaura Purnima festival. Seeing the enthusiastic spirit of the devotees Maharaj agreed to come over. Devotees were overjoyed and started making preparations. It was surprising that devotees from came from diferent parts of Indonesia to Medan to take part in the festival. All assistance were made available by Yamuna Travels which facilitated the devotees and issued flight tickets on time. Patience is a wonderful ornament that decorates a devotee of the Lord. Many of the devotees had to face flight delays, flight diversions and again delays at transit. Their patience having put to rigorous tests, the devotees were ecstatic when they arrived at Medan.
“A person in Krsna consciousness is always transcendental to the material modes of nature. He has no expectations for the result of the work entrusted to him, because he is above false ego and pride. Still, he is always enthusiastic till the completion of such work. He does not worry about the distress undertaken; he is always enthusiastic. He does not care for success or failure; he is equal in both distress and happiness. Such a worker is situated in the mode of goodness.” [Surrender-Unto-Me]
The propensity to rendering devotional service is already innate within the hearts of the devotees that after arriving at the Sri Jagannatha deva temple, all of them immediately engaged themselves according to their inclinations in whatever seva that was available. HH Subhag Swami arrived two days before the ratha yatra and Maharaja’s presence renewed the enthusiasm of all the devotees.
“The favorable conditions for discharging devotional service are that one should be very enthusiastic in serving the Lord. The Lord in His form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted the cult of devotional service to the Lord to be preached all over the world, in every nook and corner, and therefore a pure devotee’s duty is to discharge this order as far as possible. Every devotee should be very enthusiastic, not only in performing his daily rituals of devotional service, but in trying to preach the cult peacefully by following in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya.” Srila Prabhupada Purport on Srimad Bhagavatam 2.8.21
On the day of the Ratha yatra, 4th March 2016, devotees started to decorate the chariot, prepare the coconuts, made garlands and flowers bouquets, and some others cooked for the deities and the devotees. Many local Hindu families came to take part in the festival; the devotees welcomed them by giving them prasadam. Who does not like Jagannatha prasadam? Then the guests from police department and Counsellor of Hindu Society also came. At 7 pm all devotees and guest participated in the Gaura arati. After Gaura arati Lord Jaganath was seated on the chariot and the ceremony started. The head police officer stated that their duty as police officers was to facilitate and maintain security of the society and that they were happy to be part of the wonderful festival. Then H.H. Subhag Swami gave short speech. Maharaj told about the benefit of seeing ratha yatra and conveyed gratitude to the government authorities for assisting the devotees in organising this Ratha yatra. Maharaj offered arati to the Lord and all people gathered in front of the chariot. they were so happy singing hare Krishna Mahamantra. After arati, coconuts were broken in front of the chariot as the sign that ratha yatra has started.
It was bustling in front of the Lord’s Chariot, everyone wanted to pull the chariot. Devotees pulled the Lord on the Main road. The fire up Kirtan led by Sridar prabhu made the devotees joyfully sing and danced along the parade. After an hour of journey, the Lord arrived in front of Sri Maryaman Temple. Here, Their Lordships were offered welcome arati by the priest of temple. The devotees and bhakta also offered bhoga to the Lord. Maharaj also offered arati in front of the Lord. then the Lord continued His Journey to the Sri Jaganath Deva temple. There was no tiredness seen on the facess of the devotees. They were thrilled in the euphoria of the festival.
“But our standard of happiness means “which is increasingly unlimited.” That is happiness. Therefore it is said, ramante yogino ‘nante satyanande cid-atmani. Those who are yogis, they enjoy. So enjoyment… Without enjoyment, nothing is relished. Just like you are taking to Krsna consciousness, there is some enjoyment, transcendental bliss. Otherwise how you can stick to it? So real happiness means “which is increasingly unlimited.” That is happiness.” Tape transcript of Srila Prabhupada discussion with Jeremy Bentham
Arriving back at the temple the Lord offered coconuts. Then the Lord was carried to the altar. The participant of the festival then honoured prasadam. Devotees also distributed Srila Prahupada’s books and Maha Prasadam to the visitors along the festival.
“I thank you all very much for making the Ratha-yatra festival so successful. Please convey my gratitude to all the boys and girls who participated in this great transcendental service.” SPL to Upendra, 4th July, 1968