By Ramabhadra, NY Temple President
It was the largest assembly of devotees ever. I did my usual head count at 23rd St. and 5th Ave. and my estimate was 4000 devotees in the Parade.
I rate it in the top three of all 35 Fifth Ave. New York Ratha Yatras.
During the Parade it was cloudy and the temperature was perfect, no rain at
all, and towards the second half of the Parade the Sun came out and by mid
afternoon it was a warm summer day. It was the largest assembly of devotees
ever. I did my usual head count at 23rd St. and 5th Ave. and my estimate was
4000 devotees in the Parade. Just 5 years ago there were only 1500 devotees
in the Parade but the last two years it has taken off. Last year I estimated
2750 persons but this year was much bigger. The assembly in front of
Jagganatha’s cart was close to two thousand devotees. It was almost two
blocks long and at two different times I was illusioned into thinking the
second half of the Jagganatha assembly was the Subhadra devi assembly until
I looked and noticed that it was Jagganatha’s Cart that the large two block
assembly were in front of. That line was so long Lokanatha Swami’s kirtan
was hard to hear being more than a full block away from the beginning of the
second half of the line of persons in front of Jagganatha. We even had
regular temple restaurant customers in attendance who are workers in the
Radha Govinda Mandira area as Satya invited many of them and some came.
The stage performances were good and we always had a full crowd viewing the
stage activities and with no chairs this year. We served more prasadam then
any previous NY Ratha Yatra. The prasadam line was two thirds of a long New
York City Block until after 5pm when prasadam started to run out. We served
close to ten thousand plates of prasadam. The As Kindred Spirit Bhajan Booth
gets a really good crowd of viewers and street dancers.
There was only one main book table this year because we had only the main
stage in the Park because of the ongoing Park renovations and Gauranga Prema
prabhu thought it was good but he only had Atmanivedana prabhu and a young
Indian couple helping him. He sold $1000 this year and considering what he
had to work with he assessed that it was a good. Last year he had Naveena
Nirada prabhu and in previous years when Vaishesika prabhu would attend that
table alone would do $2000. There was no one managing the Questions and
Answers booth and the Prabhupada booth. A few of the young Brahmacaries then
manned the Q&A.
If the Park is open next year and it is scheduled to be complete by then I
am confident we won’t have to fight to get back inside although the present
female Park manager may request we serve the Free Feast outside on the
sidewalk adjacent to the Park which is no problem as we know all the
Prasadam will be served.
I am seriously thinking about adding two Floats to the parade with two
Bhajan bands with large and loud speakers like the Harinam truck, one
between Jagganatha and Subhadra and the second between Subhadra and
Balarama. We would need a guaranteed storage depot to store them in after
Ratha Yatra. Satya thinks its no problem getting them into the Parade.
The Radha Govinda Mandira Sunday “Day after Ratha Yatra Festival” was
outstanding. A group of older Matajis from LA including Vaishesika prabhu’s
wife said it was awesome they never saw anything like it. They said every
segment of the Ratha Yatra and Sunday festival increased with more
excellence and more ecstatic energy. We served a 17 course gourmet quality
Sunday Brunch at 10:30am on Sunday to 750 ecstatic devotees after Dina
Bhandhu prabhu made a two hour temple room presentation. Devotees went on
Harinams on Friday evening, Sunday after the 17 course Brunch, and some went
on Harinam at Midnight on sunday night as the temple room kirtan was just
The Vaikuntha Players made an excellent performance of the “Dice Match”
from Mahabharata with a 30 devotee Troupe. The Players got a huge rousing
standing ovation at the end of the 80 minute performance. Everyone in the
temple was effected with an exceptionally ecstatic mood.
Lokanatha Swami lead the first hour of kirtan Sunday night then I had
Gauravani prabhu orchestrate a kirtan from the stage with more than 1000
devotees in the temple room it was excellent. The bhajans countinued on
stage until midnight after the Drama which ended at 9:30pm. Maduha prabhu
had to leave at midnight so he took the stage away and the devotees
continued the bhajans on the floor until 1 am. The Sunday evening program
went from 5 pm – 1 am.
Devotees were awestruck at the stunning beauty of Sri Sri Radha Govindadeva
in Their gorgeous and opulent new Designer quality dress I had made in New
Delhi. Go to radhagovinda108.com and double click on some of the ten newly
posted videos and you will be there even though you missed it. You need high
speed broadband to view the videos properly. I will post a few more videos
of the Parade by tomorrow.
I am going to do a mini fund campaign so our Vaikuntha players and Bhajan
band can have a first class and easily assembled portable stage. It will
cost $7000 and I will start raising the laxmi this Sunday while everyone it
still floating in space from the ecstatic Ratha Yatra 2010.
Your insignificant servant,