The Jagannath Ratha Yatra (cart festival of Lord Jagannath) is a centuries-old festival which takes place in Jagannath Puri, India. It celebrates the return of Krishna (Jagannath) along with His brother and sister (Balarama and Subhadra) to Vrindavan, the place of the pastimes of His youth.
It is mentioned in the scriptures by Lord Krishna to Shri Narada that “you will find me wherever my devotees come together to remember me and chant my names and glories”. Today thousands of us have come together for the purpose of remembering God. In this day and age where there is so much conflict, hatred, greed and ego even in the name of religion, we have come together to honor Lord Jagannath. Jagannath means the Lord of the universe, the father, the mother of all living beings. Vedanta Sutra states “Janmady asya yatah”, that the absolute truth is one from whom everything and everyone emanates.”
“Real religion is that which awakens unconditional, unmotivated love for the Lord from within our hearts. The love for God, which is dormant in the heart of all living beings, can be awakened by chanting of holy names of the lord.”
“Srila Prabhupada very simply explained the meaning of Ratha Yatra. He said that Ratha Yatra is the meditation on bringing Krishna back into our hearts. Krishna resides within the heart of all living beings, but we have forgotten Him. The real purpose of spiritual life is to make our heart a suitable home for God to reveal Himself to us. If we are inviting God to reveal himself in our hearts it must be clean. But if our hearts have accumulated the dirt of lust, envy, arrogance, greed, anger and illusion then He will not be happy to reveal His home within our heart. The purpose of every great spiritual path in this world is to help one another to honestly and sincerely clean our hearts, to cultivate the character of humility, charity, love for God and compassion to all beings.”
The Twin Cities area of Minneapolis/St. Paul is well known for many things. There are the snowy and cold winters, professional sports teams, and several Fortune 100 companies based here. Of all the images that the word Minneapolis conjures it’s highly unlikely anyone would even consider Ratha Yatra in their top ten lists.