New York Rathayatra
New York is considered the most important city in the world. Therefore, it’s not surprising that it was the first city where Srila Prabhupada preached and established his first center. It was also in New York that he incorporated ISKCON, that the first Harinama samkirtana went out, that Back to Godhead magazine started, that the BBT (originally ISKCON Press) was established, and much, much more. Sri Sri Radha Govinda, the presiding Deities, were installed in 1972.
On Saturday, June 13th, the 40th annual Rathayatra went rolling down 5th Avenue, the most well-known street in the world. And Lord Nityananda’s Padukas and Lord Nrsimhadeva’s Sitari were there also, traveling on Lord Balarama’s cart. Forty New York city blocks away, at the other end of the procession ast the Festival of India site in Washington Square Park, we had set up a tent for darshan of the Padukas and Sitari and to hand out TOVP information. Thousands of devotees from all around the world attend this Rathayatra and when Lord Jagannath, Lord Balarama and Lady Subhadra finally arrived at the festival site our tent was flooded with devotees offering flower petals to the Padukas and receiving the Sitari on their heads from the hand of Jananivas prabhu. We handed out almost 2000 packets of TOVP information by the end of the festival.
The Sunday program at the New York temple on the day after Rathayatra is a famous event, packed with devotees. Kirtans by well-known kirtan leaders, dramas, dances, and a world-class prasadam feast are the attractive features of this festival. The TOVP presentation was also scheduled for this evening. About 500 devotees were present and the program began with the Padukas and Sitari receiving Their abhisheka during a kirtan by Agnideva prabhu. Ramabhadra prabhu, the Temple President, then introduced the TOVP Team. Amabrisa and Svaha prabhus were also present, and along with Radha Jivana and Jananivas prabhus they all inspired the devotees with the importance of the TOVP project. The fundraising finished with $315,000 in pledges and, after a drama and Bharatnatyam performance, a wonderful feast was served.
All glories to Lord Nityananda Rama. All glories to the devotees of Lord Caitanya.
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