On February 22nd, 2015, Radhanath Swami led the celebrations of the Rath Yatra, an ancient traditional chariot procession, at Galtare Village, Maharashtra, India. Galtare Village is the home of Radhanath Swami’s project, Govardhan Eco Village, a model farm community and retreat center highlighting the importance of spiritual ecology. The procession, with a chariot carrying a Deity of Krishna, passed through the narrow streets of the village, as 2000 villagers pulled the chariot, sang kirtan and danced joyfully. Every house in the village had lamps lit at the doorway and rangoli patterns made of colored sand, drawn in the their courtyards to welcome the Lord and the devotees. Some villagers performed a traditional dance for the Lord’s pleasure. Sharon Gannon, the co-founder of Jivamukti Yoga, along with may of her students, joined the festival taking a break from their Teachers Training Program at Govardhan Eco Village.
In his address Radhanath Swami elaborated on the significance of Rath Yatra from the sacred text Chaitanya Charitamrita, and appreciated Srila Prabhupada for inspiring the celebration of this festival in villages, towns and cities all over the world.
The villagers were overjoyed to receive the special guests from 21 countries – the Jivamukti Yoga family. Sharon Gannon also expressed her joy. Being an animal rights activist, she shared with the villagers her happiness over how the animals are treated at Govardhan Eco Village.