I Shall Dance!

Tomorrow at midday a huge, colourful procession will move down 5th Ave in the centre of Manhattan. Drums will sound, thousands of voices will sing in unison, praising and celebrating the divine. Three giant carts will be pulled by long ropes, their wheels slowly turning. Atop these carts will sit sacred forms of God, along with his brother and sister. This is Rathayatra – Festival of Chariots.

Its history is widely written about, so I won’t repeat it all here. Suffice to say it’s an ancient festival from India, that was first brought to the Western world by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in the late 60s. The best thing about it, is that everyone gets a chance to join in, by singing, dancing, feasting, sweeping, serving and so much more. All of this is in the mood of sincere service to Lord Jagannath, whose name, meaning Lord of the Universe, is one of many thousands of different names for the divine.

I was thinking about the upcoming festival as I sat in a plane a few weeks ago, and was suddenly overwhelmed at the thought of dancing again before the chariot procession. There’s nothing like it.

O my Lord Jagannath!
O Lord whose smile is the curved bow to which I tie my heart-string,
I want to dance before you forever!
Moving in every direction,
tracing sacred lines across the road upon which you travel.
I will throw my arms to the sky
and jump with every last spark of energy.
With joy I will stamp my feet in rhythm,
if it brings you pleasure.
O Lord Jagannath, my heart is filled with supreme bliss to receive your glance,
even for a moment.
Never mind the beating sun,
your gaze sends a cooling sandalwood breeze.
Never mind my tired feet – this body is an imperfect instrument,
but by your limitless grace, I can dance across the hardest of ground.
My dear Lord, by some good fortune, I have the chance to come before you now –
to spin, to stretch, to sway and sing,
whether this sky brings pelting rain, or the fiercest heat,
I shall dance! I shall dance!

This moment is golden and complete, because you are present.
O Lord of my heart,
please allow me to dance before you forever.
If I cannot twist and turn and leap –
if I cannot offer you my every movement in this moment,
I will be lost.
My sweet Lord, descended from the divine world,
please accept my every step
as a dance, a song, a prayer,


Filed under Art, Music and Dance, Inspiration!, Krishna Consciousness, New York, Photos

8 responses to “I Shall Dance!

  1. Jahnavi Mataji,
    I love this prayer. It’s Soooo good. You are soooo good too 🙂

  2. an incredible mediation and prayer ….art from the heart ! wish I could join you in dance x

  3. Bhakta Delroy

    Oh my dear Lord, this body is a lump of ignorance, but with you before me its’ every ebb and flow transcends all the 3 modes of this material manifestation what to speak of the mode of ignorance. When will I be seated at my fathers side to dance an eternal dance, to an eternal transcendatal melody for him that is the first progenator, the cause of all causes and the source of everything.
    For now I have Rathayatra………… I have an opportunity to Dance, for one who is the Supreme Lord of the Dance…………….Let me dance with all my heart and soul, that my worshipable Lord might notice me and be Pleased……..you share so much Jahnavi mataji, if you can inspire me then you must be inspiring millions……..sincerely, All glories to you………. and yes Dance!!!

  4. A wonderful poem; I’m looking forward to dancing for the Lord next week in London – in pelting rain, or fiercest heat!

  5. keith

    this is an awesome page! hari bol from oklahoma

  6. DavidC

    For those who attended – and also for those who didn’t! – please find below an initial selection of my shots taken from this year’s London Ratha Yatra:


  7. Beautiful! Just beautiful!
    Your words, and your devotion that shines thru them is lovely.

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