1969 San Francisco Rathayatra Festival
Prabhupada emerged from a car which had cautiously nuzzled its way through the crowds up to the side of the great ratha car. Purple velvet steps were lowered onto the street by the devotees, and the Golden Guru rose up onto the ratha’s opulent throne, just below the Deities.
My dear boys and girls, I thank you very much for joining us on this Rathayatra Ceremony. I am going to sing an Indian song and then I will explain it. Even if you don’t understand the language of the song, still, if you kindly hear patiently, the sound vibration will act.
Suddenly a frenzied storm of 10,000 young chanters startled San Francisco. A sea of people poured around the corner of Haight and Ashbury Streets in the dazzling noonday sun, completely surrounding the thirty-five foot high, brilliantly decorated Rathayatra car.
Today is the Jagannath Car Festival. There is great excitement in the San Francisco temple. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, affectionately known as Prabhupada, had given a lecture the night before, and the chants had been sung with much enthusiasm.
On July 27th, 1969 in San Francisco the most powerful spiritual celebration the bay area has ever known, the Rathayatra Festival, took place. Words cannot describe the nectarean beauty of the holy day glorifying the Jagannath Deities.
Children and grandmothers with tilok all wanting to pull the rope that will send dancing the grand Lord of the Universe. Then the conch is sounded and with the transcendental broom sweeping away the material dust, we dance towards Trafalgar Square.
Lord Jagannath is especially liberal and accessible to the aspirant devotee of Godhead. As for the history of the Appearance of the merciful Lord Jagannath, our spiritual master, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, has often told the incident.