Fun and Security
Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Ratha Yatra (Festival of Chariots) is growing in Buenos Aires. So claims the organizers. It is my fourth consecutive year attending and I can see the expansion myself. Each year at spring, which is now, in Placa Francia park, joyful and soulful people come for the procession and a stage events capturing what life is truly meant for- recognizing the greatness of Jagannath, the Lord of the Universe.
And since the terminology speaks for itself the festival is a global reality. I was asked to deliver a message from the stage. To inform the public that Ratha Yatra once was a program limited to South East Asia. With the introduction of Ratha Yatra to the west, San Fransisco in '67 to be specific, by our guru Srila Prabhupada, the festival caught on like wildfire to spread internationally.
It is events like these that demonstrate love. "Love and trust" were the term he used to express what should be the cultural norm for his fledging movement. Indeed pilgrims who came, and some from Paraguy, Brazil and elsewhere, have their trust raised.
Most unfortunate it is at these events that rogues take advantage. I've seen it time and time again. You get a bunch of pilgrims attracted to a sacred event and theft to be the concomitant factor. One of our monks got robbed. It is a given that there's always someone to spoil the party. You might call it party bashing or pilgrim pirating. It's something inauspicious.
It's times like this that reminds me of the value of a "Ksatriya" element- security. Wherever there are people, protection is needed.
I cannot say that spirits were brought down totally because one of our seniors had an incident, but caution needs to be applied in all circumstances.