Bijoy Kumar Patnaik
At least 10 lakhs of devotees joined the world famous Car Festival of Sri Jagannatha at Srikshetra Puri celebrating simultaneously showers of the season of agriculture that opens its active chapter from this day, the day of Rath Yatra, in Orissa. They came from towns, from villages, from near and from far away places effervescing with sense of spirituality and solidarity. They came also from all parts of the country, and, various countries of the world.
Totally traditional in character, the car festival of Sri Jagannatha at Puri is an incomparable event of secular life style. It was seen that the Director of Orissa police, Mr. Sujit Das, a Christian, was pulling the ropes of the chariots.
Irrespective of caste and creed, people participate in dragging the famous Chariots, each of which, in scriptures, is described as manifestation of the body wherein dwells the supreme Master in form of the soul.
This is the most serious event of the State. The entire Oriya nation is emotionally attached to Sri Jagannath. Hence not only in Puri, the Abode of the Deity, but also in all principal centers of Orissa, including all the former Princely States, celebrates this unique festival with unsurpassable enthusiasm. Oriyas, all over the Globe, establish Jagannath temples and conduct Rath Yatra of their beloved Deity with utmost devotion.
The day opened at Puri with the sky showing clouds ready to welcome the Supreme Deity on His journey into the midst of the masses. It poured for more than two hours wiping out every iota of tiredness from the big gathering that was in agog to pull the Chariots of Sri Jagannatha called Nandighosa, of Balabhadra called Taladwaja and of Subhadra called Deva Dalana.
The traditional but ecstatic Pahandi Bije over as per schedule, Lord of the Oriya heart, the scion of the legendary line of pro-people Emperors of Orissa, the Gajapati Maharaja Sri Divyasimha Dev performed the Chhera Panhara Seva after Sankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati paid his customary obeisance.
All the top functionaries of the state in attendance, the Beloved Sri Jagannath, with his entourage, commenced his world focused Car Journey attracting once again the attention of the universe to the fact that despite change in attitude and aptitude of man everywhere, Orissa remains committed to universal brotherhood and peace and allows the world, irrespective of caste, creed, colour, and religion to share the ecstasy of her people in belonging to her National Deity.