priyah so ‘yam krishnah sahacari kuru-kshetra-militas
tathaham sa radha tad idam ubhayoh_ sangama-sukham
mano me kalindi-pulina-vipinaya sprihayati
My dear friend, now I have met My very old and dear friend Krishna on this field of Kurukshetra. I am the same Radharani, and now we are meeting together. It is very pleasant, but still I would like to go to the bank of the Yamuna beneath the trees of the forest there. I wish to hear the vibration of His sweet flute playing the fifth note within that forest of Vrindavana
Sri Caitanya Caritamrta (Antya-lila 1.79)
In this verse, Srila Rupa Goswami gives the inner meaning of the Rathayatra Festival. Srimati Radhika and Sri Krishna are meeting in Kurukshetra after many years of painful separation. While Srimati Radhika is happy to see Her beloved, She is also feeling great separation from the moods of Vrindavana, where She spent Her youth with Sri Krsna. In Vrindavan they were always engaged in very sweet and charming pastimes together. Seeing Sri Krsna in Kuruksetra, surrounded by chariots and soldiers and bereft of His flute and peacock feather, Srimati Radhika did not feel satisfied.
This mood is the real essence of Rathayatra. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu discovered this verse by Rupa Gosvami hidden in the thatched roof of Srila Haridas Thakura’s cottage. When Mahaprabhu, who came in this form to taste the moods of Srimati Radhika, read this verse, He was greatly astonished and asked Srila Rupa Goswami, “How did you know My heart?”
The rathayatra festival has been taking place since ancient times, but before Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s appearance there was not much rasa in it. Every year the king of Puri would observe it alone, using so much money, and only his own people would attend. Due to the influence of Mahaprabhu, Rathayatra has become a grand event in which the entire public is invited to participate. Now millions of people throng to Jaganath Puri every year just to celebrate this festival. Due to the great service and causeless mercy of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, this same festival is now going on in major cities all over the world.
We invite you all to join us in celebrating the Rathayatra Festival this year in New Braj, which is located in the simple and serene setting of the Sequoia foothills. The festival will be held on July 28th and 29th. It is our ardent desire that people from all locations and walks of life will join us as we endeavor to imbibe one drop of this sweet internal mood given by Srila Rupa Gosvami. By honoring this festival, we hope to please our gurudevas, the Vaisnavas, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and Sri Sri Radha Krsna.
(The spirit of this article was taken from “Origins of Rathayatra” by Sri Srimad BV Narayana Goswami Maharaja)
There will be activities for all ages, prasadam (blessed food), dramas, great company, deep hari-katha, beautiful kirtans, entertainment and of course the Rathayatra itself.
The schedule can be found below:
Saturday July 28th, 2012
12 pm Arati
1 pm lunch prasadam
3 pm activities
5:30 pm bhajans
6 pm Rathayatra Katha by special guest speakers
7 pm Arati
7:30 dinner prasadam
9 pm feature showing on projector with popcorn/nectar/treats
Overnight guests please bring a tent, warm clothes, and a small donation to help offset costs. Hot showers and porter potty restrooms will be available.
Sunday July 29th, 2012
5:30 am Mangala Arati
7 am bhajans
8 am Srimad Bhagavatam Class
9 am breakfast prasadam
11 am PARADE STARTS!
1 pm Special Ekadasi feast including curd (panir), fresh oraganic New Braj grilled veggies and subjis, watermelon, and much more
3 pm performances including dance, drama plays, poetry, kirtan, and more
5:30 pm bhajans
6 pm Lord Jagannath Katha
7 pm Arati
7:30 pm dinner prasadam
We are also going to have a very special New Braj raffle fundraiser! Prizes include: New Braj T-shirts, kurtas, necklaces, books, one hour massage, and the grand prize is a 7-day pass to the New Braj HariKatha Festival 2013 ( a value of over $130)! The tickets will be $3 donation each or 2 for $5. The drawing will be on Sunday evening after the performances.