To see Lord Jagannatha and to die – these were the thoughts of millions of people coming to the Ratha-Yatra festival for the millions of years. There was a legend that those who end their lives under the wheels of the Lord’s chariot, will never take birth again.
Quite recently on the scale of the history of Creation Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu clarified this point, explaining the true meaning of Ratha-Yatra. Since then you will not find people throwing themselves under the wheels of these huge, like multistore buildings, chariots.
What can we see there? How this festival attracts millions of people every year?
Literary Jagannath means the Owner (the Ruler) of the Universe. Usually only hindus born in India are allowed to enter His temple. Here, everyone knows that non-hindus are prohibited.
Never the less, people’s respect to Jagannath is so high that during these days of festival, when He goes out on the streets, showering His mercy to all living beings, people of all cast and creed come to this Indian town.
Food, accepted by Jagannath, is considered so holy that it keeps purity in every condition. Locals are ready to eat this prasad even from the mouth of a street dog. For them, such faith in Prasad shows the level of your faith in Lord.
They believe that a person who has seen Jagannath will get his eternal life in spiritual realm very soon, thus ending up his cycle of birth and death for ever.
During one of my visits I wrote few short articles about the festival.