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Question: Can you tell us your experience at the San Francisco Ratha Yatra in 1968?

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Jayapataka Swami: This was the first Ratha Yatra with a custom made ratha. In 1967 we had a Ratha Yatra, but it was a makeshift thing on the back of a pickup truck. But in 1968 we had a ratha which was designed to be a replica of the Puri Ratha, albeit a bit smaller. So I had the great opportunity to help Jayananda prabhu in making the ratha. I decided I would try Krsna consciousness fully and be a brahmacari for two months.  And if I liked it, it was working for me, I would stay, and if not at least I would give it a good shot, and so on the day of Ratha Yatra, Jayananda prabhu shaved me up and I wore the saffron brahmacari clothes. Some people who were visiting the temple, they were shocked because I came after them and I was already a shaved up brahmacari! So they decided that if I did it, they would do it too! But the Ratha Yatra was very blissful and we had a topic, Ratha which would go lower than the San Francisco cable cars wires. San Francisco is famous for having cable cars. So the ratha went under the cable cars and then after crossing under them, would rise again to its full height. So we went through the Golden Gate Park to the  beach. So this was a very glorious occasion to be on the Ratha Yatra!