Today we will travel with Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra in procession, and we will chant the holy names of the Lord and dance for His pleasure. So we shall read from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter Thirteen: “The Ecstatic Dancing of the Lord at Ratha-yatra.”
sa jiyat krsna-caitanyah
sri-rathagre nanarta yah
yenasij jagatam citram
jagannatho ‘pi vismitah
May the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna Caitanya, who danced in front of the car of Sri Jagannatha, be all glorified! By seeing His dancing, not only was the whole universe held in wonder, but Lord Jagannatha Himself became very much astonished.
jaya jaya sri-krsna-caitanya nityananda
jayadvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vrnda
All glories to Sri Krsna Caitanya and Prabhu Nityananda! All glories to Advaitacandra! And all glories to the devotees of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu!
jaya srota-gana, suna, kari’ eka mana
ratha-yatraya nrtya prabhura parama mohana
All glories to the listeners of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta! Please hear the description of the dancing of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu at the Ratha-yatra festival. His dancing is very enchanting. Please hear of it with great attention.
panca-dasa dina isvara maha-laksmi lana
tanra sange krida kaila nibhrte vasiya
For fifteen days the Lord [Jagannatha] had remained in a secluded place with the supreme goddess of fortune and had performed His pastimes with her.
PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada
The fifteen-day period of anavasara is also called nibhrta, in honor of the solitary place where the supreme goddess of fortune lives. After living there a fortnight, Lord Jagannatha took permission from the goddess of fortune to leave.
tanhara sammati lana bhakte sukha dite
rathe cadi’ bahira haila vihara karate
Having taken permission from the goddess of fortune, the Lord came out to ride on the Ratha car and perform His pastimes for the pleasure of the devotees.
In this connection, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments that as an ideal husband, Lord Jagannatha remained fifteen days in a secluded place with His wife, the supreme goddess of fortune. Nonetheless, the Lord wanted to come out of seclusion to give happiness to His devotees. The Lord enjoys Himself in two ways, known as svakiya and parakiya. The Lord’s conjugal love in the svakiya-rasa relates to the regulative principles observed in Dvaraka, where the Lord has many married queens. But in Vrndavana the conjugal love of the Lord is not with His married wives but with His girlfriends, the gopis. Conjugal love with thegopis is called parakiya-rasa. Lord Jagannatha leaves the secluded place where He enjoys the company of the supreme goddess of fortune in svakiya-rasa, and He goes to Vrndavana, where He enjoys the parakiya-rasa. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura therefore reminds us that the Lord’s pleasure in parakiya-rasa is superior to His pleasure in svakiya-rasa.
In the material world, parakiya-rasa, or loving affairs with unmarried girlfriends, is the most degraded relationship, but in the spiritual world this type of loving affair is considered the supreme enjoyment. In the material world everything is but a reflection of the spiritual world, and that reflection is perverted. We cannot understand the affairs of the spiritual world on the basis of our experience in the material world. The Lord’s pastimes with the gopis are therefore misunderstood by mundane scholars and word-wranglers. The parakiya-rasa of the spiritual world should not be discussed except by one who is very advanced in pure devotional service. The parakiya-rasa in the spiritual world and that in the material world are not comparable. The former is like gold, and the latter is like iron. Because the difference of the two is so great, they cannot actually be compared. However, just as a knowledgeable person can easily distinguish gold from iron, one who has the proper realization can easily distinguish the transcendental activities of the spiritual world from material activities.
COMMENT by Giriraj Swami
Fifteen days before the Ratha-yatra festival in Puri, Lord Jagannatha is brought from inside His temple onto a rooftop of the complex and is bathed, in public view, in the ceremony called Snana-yatra. After the bathing ceremony the Lord retires to a secluded place in an area inside the temple reserved for the supreme goddess of fortune. For fifteen days she serves Him with great love and devotion, and after that period, called anavasara, the Lord wants to come out of seclusion to give pleasure to His devotees, and with the permission of the goddess of fortune He goes out in the procession called Ratha-yatra.