Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you very much for your kindly participating in this festival, Ratha-yātrā festival. This festival is coming down since five thousand years, when Lord Kṛṣṇa, along with His elder brother Balarāma and His younger sister Subhadrā, all together in a chariot came from Dvārakā to Kurukṣetra. Kurukṣetra is still existing, and the Dvārakā, the city, is also still existing.
So according to Vedic culture, when there is eclipse, lunar eclipse, people take bath in sacred rivers. So especially they go to Kurukṣetra, a pilgrimage. So Kṛṣṇa along with His family members, brother and sister, came to Kurukṣetra, and receiving this news, the gopīs and inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, where Lord Kṛṣṇa lived in His childhood, they came to see Him.
So amongst the gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was the chief. And when She saw Kṛṣṇa in Kurukṣetra in all opulence, She said: "My dear Kṛṣṇa, You are also here; I am also here. But We are missing Vṛndāvana. So I wish that You come along with Me again in Vṛndāvana and We enjoy in the forest of Vṛndāvana."
These feelings of separation was preached by Lord Caitanya. So this Ratha-yātrā festival is still observed in Jagannath Purī in India. And five hundred years ago Lord Caitanya participated in this festival, and He was in the mode of separation as if Rādhārāṇī was taking back Kṛṣṇa to Vṛndāvana.
So this Ratha-yātrā festival is a feeling festival for the Vaiṣṇava. Lord Caitanya taught us how to feel separation of God. Lord Caitanya never taught us that He had seen God, but He felt the separation of God very severely. Similarly, His next disciples, the sad-gosvāmīs, they also prosecuted their devotional service by separational feelings.
- he rādhe vraja-devike ca lalite he nanda-suno kutaḥ
- śrī-govardhana-kalpa-pādapa-tale kālindī-vane kutaḥ
- ghoṣantāv iti sarvato vraja-pure khedair mahā-vihvalau
- vande rūpa-sanātanau raghu-yugau śrī-jīva-gopālakau
- (Śrīla Śrīnivāsa Ācārya)
So this Ratha-yātrā festival is very nice, feeling festival for the Vaiṣṇava. And anyone who is participating in this festival, he'll gradually develop his dormant love for Kṛṣṇa.