I just read Adi Kavi Prabhu’s piece on improving safety in regards to future Ratha festivals. I appreciate his deep meditation on this and also appreciate the seva he and Kirtiraja Prabhu performed at the festival last Saturday since my kids and I came a little too close to receiving the mercy of Jagannatha via the wheel of his cart.
If I saw a spot to leave comments after Prabhu’s article, I would have. But without any spot (that I could find) I decided to awaken my blog and use this space! I have a humble suggestion for the organizers of the Jacksonville Beach Ratha for next year–a suggestion which would both improve the safety of the participants and reduce the WTF look on the faces of all the beachgoers who were just chilling on their towel one minute, only to have to make a dash to grab their stuff while a band of they-don’t-even-know-whats comes parading by banging on drums and ringing bells (whew, that was one long sentence!).
So here it is. My big idea…which I realize I should probably keep to myself but if I was that kind of girl I wouldn’t have a blog. Okay. So about a half hour before the parade, some folks can head out along the path, passing out flyers/invitations, giving beachgoers a heads up as to what’s coming their way. This way the onlookers get some warning and maybe even a little bit of a clue as to what’s going on.
I know the idea of Jagannatha Ratha Yatra is blissful, especially when it takes place on the beach and the wheels of the cart and the feet of the devotees are bathed in ocean water. Nectarean, as the really fired up would say. But me, well…somehow that salve of love has been wiped clean from my eyes and I am having a really hard time these days getting them all muddled up with bhakti again. My vision is way more ordinary and material. And while the average blissed out devotee may not have noticed that a lot of the onlookers were kind of pissed off that their day at the beach was interrupted by god only knows what 😉 I sure as heck did. And hence, my suggestion. A shout out to Lord Jagannatha. A heads up to the people maxin’ and relaxin’ on Jacksonville Beach. And then some space on the side of the cart so people (like myself) can move over instead of forward (does anyone understand the words “jeldi” and “agay”??) if the threat of getting smooshed becomes imminent.
Okay. I’ll go back to my hole now…