Sragen is regency in the eastern part of Central Java province in Indonesia. Its capital is Sragen, located about 30 km to the northeast of Surakarta. Sragen is bordered with East Java Province to the east. Presently there are no devotees that are staying in Sragen.
The first time devotees held the Ratha Yatra festival in Solo, Indonesia, a few months prior, they met the Tourism leader of Sragen. The Tourism leader of Sragen requested the devotees to join in their annual city parade and hold a Ratha Yatra festival as well. This was in mid February. When HH Subhag Swami was present earlier in the year in Indonesia, after being informed about the invitation from the Sragen Tourism Department, he encouraged the devotees to hold a Ratha Yatra festival there. And by the Lord’s arrangement on the 4th of April, an official invitation was sent to the devotees by the Sragen Government.
“This is preaching spirit. As soon as you get some opportunity, preach. What is that preach? Preaching, Caitanya Mahäprabhu has advised us, “Whoever you meet, simply speak of the instruction of Krishna.” Srila Prabhupada lecture on Bhagavad-gétä 1.28-29,London, July 22, 1973
Preparations were soon underway as the 271st Sragen annual parade was on the 24th of May. Between HG Tapan Misra das (Indonesia Jagannath Ratha Yatra leader) and HG Garuda das (Jogyakarta) they managed to finalize all the necessities for the festival within a short time.
Devotees from Bali (after a 17 hour bus ride) and other places around Indonesia reached Sragen in the early hours of the morning on the actual date of the parade. Throughout the day various last minute services were completed. Before the festival began, HG Shyamasundarananda das (Mayapur) gave a short lecture on the importance of Ratha Yatra which fired all the devotees up. Coconuts were broken in order to invoke auspiciousness and the chariot was then pulled to the parade starting line-up and evening arati was performed.
After a long wait, Jagannath’s chariot was underway at around 10pm. Books and prasad was distributed to many fortunate souls that were watching on whilst an ecstatic kirtan lead by HG Sridhar das enlivening all the devotees. Around 70 devotees were present but the public numbered more than 4000!
At the end of the parade, the devotees received the good news that Jagannath’s chariot received the second place prize for the festival.
“Try to make this Hare Krishna movement popular through any source that is possible. That is our business.” (SPL to Syämasundara, 29th June 1969)”
Our ever grateful obeisances are due to HH Kavichandra Swami and HH Ramai Swami, the GBCs of Indonesia, for their support and guidance to always look for new avenues for sankirtan. Our humble obeisances to HH Subhag Swami for his inspiration and always reminding us of the importance of the Sankirtan movement of Mahaprabu and for inspiring us with the dedication of Sriman Jayananda Prabhu, for bringing us closer to Srila Prabhupada and keeping us united in family of ISKCON.
For more photos please click here: https://goo.gl/YQ5gdc