Thursday 28 February 2013

Puri Jagannath Ratha Yatra Significance or Importance, Shri Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odhisa State, India

Puri Ratha Yatra is the festival of Chariots of Lord Jagannath celebrated every year on the Second Day of Shukla Paksha of Aashada Masa at Puri, the temple town in Odisha State on the east coast of India. On this holy day, the presiding deities of the main temple, Sri Mandira, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra with the celestial wheel Sudharshana are taken out from the main temple to the Gundicha Temple. After a stay for seven days, the deities Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra return to their abode in the main temple, Sri Mandira.

Significance or Importance of Puri Jagannath Ratha Yatra:
The Rath Yatra festival is also known as Gundicha Yatra, Ghosa Yatra, Navadina yatra, Dasavatra Yatra and by a variety of other names. Yatra literally means Travel or journey. Normally, yatra is the representative deities of temples more popularly known as Utsava Murthy in south and Chalanti Pratima or Bije Pratima in Orissa partake in these journeys. 

The yatra for the Ritual Journey takes two forms - one involving the short circumbulation around the temple and other involving a longer journey from the temple to some other destination. In puri, the Jagannath Rath Yatra takes second form of longer journey for seven days from main temple, Sri mandira to the Gundicha Temple.
The Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra is being unique among all yatras and is the grandest festival of the supreme divinity who has manifested himself in the Kali Yuga to emancipate and to relieve then from their sufferings. 

Lord Jagannath is identified fully with Lord Vishu and Lord Krishna. The sanctity of the festival is such that even a touch of the chariot or even the ropes with which these are pulled is considered to confer the results of several pious deeds or penance of ages.

The significance or importance of Ratha Yatra has been explained in Hindu Puranas like in Skanda Puranam and Kathopanishada.
  • The Skanda Puranam glorifies the sanctity of the Ratha Yatra in the following words"Gundicha mandapam namam yatrahamajanam pura Ashwamedha sahasrasya mahabedi tadadvabat". 
  • The concept of Chariot (Ratha) has been explained in the Kathopanishada  (A scripture that unveils the Mystery of  Death and Meaning of Life) in the following words " Atmanam rathinam viddhi sareeram rathamevatu Buddhim tu saarathim viddhi marah pragrahameva cha "
Meaning: || The body is the Chariot and the Soul is the deity installed in the Chariot. The Wisdom acts as the Charioteer to control the mind and thoughts ||