bhakter nirmala-nirjharasya nibhrtam samraksakam sadaram
vande sri-gurudevam anata-sira acharya-varyam nijam
"I bow my head in eternal obeisance to my Gurudev, the best of acharyas,
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj. He is the ever vigilant, stalwart
guardian of the current of pure devotion whose highest form flows from our
most worshippable Sri Rupanuga Guru-varga in their exclusive dedication to
Mahabhav, Srimati Radharani."
The flag atop the holy chariot of Lord Baladev.
On the right: the very first glimpse as Lord Baladev steps outside the temple.
Lord Baladev is taken slowly from the temple to the chariot.
His Lordship climbs the chariot to prepare for the journey.
As Lord Baladev settles on His chariot, devotees then take Lady Subhadra (on the right) to Her chariot.
On the right: Lady Subhadra is mounting the chariot.
In the meantime, Lord Jagannath appears in the gate of the Temple, proceeding towards His chariot.
On the right: a group of priests is waiting for Lord Jagannath to climb the chariot to proceed with their numerous services.
The entrance to the temple of Lord Jagannath and the pillar Aruna Stambha in front of it.
Lord Baladev and Lord Jagannath
The priests then bring numerous items and decorations that are offered to the Lordships.
On the left:
On the right: The current guardian guru of the devotees and priests at Sri Jagannathdev's Temple arriving to take darshan of the Lordships and blessing the commencement of the festival.
King Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb arriving from his palace to take the darshan of the Lorships and perform his exclusive service.
Having offered his respects and full arati to the Lordship, the King then sweeps the chariot and sprinkles water mixed with auspicious ingredients.
When the King proceeds to the chariot of Lord Jagannath, the priests quickly prepare to harness the chariot of Lord Baladev to start the journey.
The King offering lamps and fanning Lord Jagannath.
Harnessing Lord Baladev's chariot.
The King performs the same worship at the chariot of Lady Subhadra.
The King then retires to the palace, and the chariot procession starts shortly afterwards.
The chariot of Lord Baladev is moving forward.
"For example, during the Ratha-yatra, the chariot festival, there is
Jagannath, Baladev, Subhadra—They think They will go to Their chariots, but
Balaram told Them, 'Wait here, I will go first!' What kind of servitor is He
that master must go behind and the servant goes before! Baladev may be elder,
but He is a servitor—He is seva-vigraha, a worshippable embodiment of
service. So, why will the servitor go first? Why must the master go behind?
What rule is this? But no, Balaram does this for service—He said, 'I will go
first to see if there is any problem on the road. I will remove all
problems—if there is any forest, any jungle, any thorns on the way, I can
clear the path, and then My master can come easily.' That is why Baladev's
chariot always goes first." [Srila B.N. Acharya Maharaj]
The chariots of Lady Subhadra and Lord Jagannath start the journey soon afterwards.
The holy chakra atop Sri Jagannath Mandir
The chariots of Lady Subhadra and Lord Jagannath
A bird's eye view of Sri Gundicha Temple, the final destination of the chariots.
Lord Baladev arrives first, and by 5:30 p.m. all three chariots reach the entrance of Sri Gundicha Devi's Temple, non-different from Sri Vrindavan Dham.
"The matter is that when we shall go to the Dham we shall try to live and feel where we are going: the feeling should come that it is the transcendental Dham, and Mahaprabhu's Pastimes with his devotees are always going on. My own mood is that I do not go every day to the Temple of Lord Jagannath, but I go before Jagannath in His Temple and I say to Him in this way: 'My dandavat pranams to Your lotus feet. I am present, Sir. I am here.' I cannot see Jagannath because I cannot see Him through my mind and vision, therefore I am not trying to approach Him in that way. Instead I am presenting myself in front of Jagannath with the mood and prayer, 'I am here at Your lotus feet. Please see me.' 'Please see me,' means: 'My good and my bad— everything is in front of You. You please make me as You like to see me.' That is the mood."
Srila B.S. Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
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