12 Pages

INTRODUCTION: Locating Krsna's image

The stairs leading from central London’s Soho Street Rädhä-Kåñëa temple down to the street are steep and narrow. Still, it was relatively easy for me, with the help of one other püjäré (temple priest) to carry the bright yellow and white wooden image, Lady Subhadra, from the temple room down into the waiting Bentley limousine to join her two divine brothers, Jagannätha and Baladeva for their even easier ride to Marble Arch, where their annual procession to Trafalgar Square would begin. Once there, I helped carefully lift, one after another, the three smiling fi gures onto their waiting ratha, a modest 38 fthigh brightly colorful replica of its massive sixteen-wheeled and much taller prototype in Puri, Orissa. There, off the Bay of Bengal coast, for many centuries the annual Rathayäträ of Jagannätha (Lord of the universe) has drawn hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. They wait for several hours as the three huge images are inched up makeshift ramps by straining scores of priests onto their three separate cars and then are drawn toward Guëòicä Temple, the procession’s destination two miles distant.