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Significance of Ratha-yatra

Krishna went to His father's house, and He came to Kurukshetra in the chariot. This is Ratha-yatra. After Krishna departed from Vrindavana to Mathura and He never returned, once He returned, so Mother Yasoda, the cowherd boys and the gopis, they lost their life and vital force. They were simply crying and weeping. That was their business. So Krishna sent sometimes Uddhava to pacify them that, "I am coming very soon after finishing My business.

So when they got this opportunity that, "Krishna has come to Kurukshetra with His brother, sister, father. So let us go and see..." So they went to Kurukshetra to see Krishna. Whenever they got some opportunity, they wanted to see. So they went to see Krishna in the charioteer fighting dress. They were astonished. They thought that, "Krishna is our friend, cowherd boy. How is that, He is in the chariot, fighting?" So they became astonished. So this is the pastimes of Vrindavana. 

So similarly, when the inhabitants of Vrindavana went to see Lord Krishna, Jagannatha. Krishna means Jagannatha. Jagat means this world, and nathameans master, or proprietor. So Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita, bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram [Bg 5.29]. "I am the proprietor of all the planets." Therefore He is Jagannatha - the proprietor of all the world, all the planets. So the Vrindavana inhabitants went to see Krishna, because their life was Krishna. They did not know anything except Krishna. So that was the opportunity. 

So it was the request of Radharani to Krishna, "My dear Krishna, You are the same Krishna; I am the same Radharani. We are meeting, but We are not meeting in the same place. Here You are just like a royal king, with chariots, with soldiers, with Your ministers, secretaries. And there in Vrindavana You were a cowherd boy, and We used to meet in the jungles, in the bushes. So I want to take You there. Then I will be happy." So that sentiment was expressed by Lord Chaitanya, because Lord Chaitanya's worship was in the mood of Radharani. 

Reference: There is A Story - Compiled from the Books, Lectures and Conversations of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada