The Cart Festival
It was the occasion of Cart Festival in the holy land of Puri. Every nook and corner was filled with devotees who had assembled from across the globe to witness Lord Jagannath mounting his chariot and travelling to his Aunt's.
It was as if the universe was bowing to the One God. The sun, the rains, the wind, the ocean, were also eager for one glance of the Paramount One. Spirituality and divinity hung like low clouds in the air. The sounds of the conch, tolling bells, drum beats in harmony promulgated a vibe of sanctitude among the masses.
An onlooker might perceive the proceedings as chaos, but to one's surprise everything works like clockwork. In sync, the priests carry the Lord across the temple sanctorum through a flight of stairs to the pavement, where the chariots are lined. Once the dieties are placed in their respective carts, a multitude of rituals follow, each bearing it's own significance.
Even the King of the land comes out of his royal palace and sweeps the peripheral of the chariot with a golden broom. Only then the chariots begin their journey. The ritual implies that all are equal before Him. Even the king renounces his position and serves the Lord, in a bid to unite with the One. As the chariots march ahead devotees chant the name of the Almighty, grateful for one glance, a momentary touch of the dieties.
You may ask what is so special about this festival. My friend, the cart festival is not just a hullabaloo of rituals; it is a way of life. It signifies the unison of the almighty with his devotees. The Lord steps out of his sanctum sanctorum to meet his disciples, bless them, be one with them. There is no barrier of caste, creed, religion, region, gender between the worshipper and the worshipped. Every one is free to meet and greet the Lord. It signifies the soul's freedom from the shackles of malice and being one with the One God, to merge in the vastness of infinite.
Jai Shri Jagannath