Yamuna dasi: Our sankirtan for Lord Jagannatha and for the Rathayatra Festival was, as you can see, completely ecstatic. Jagannatha was the center of our lives. The Lord Jagannatha came to us before Radha-Londonisvara came to us via Shyamasundara. Shyamasundara carved these beautiful deities and They, like in San Francisco, were the center of all the devotees’ lives. During prasadam, we used to even speak about Lord Jagannatha and Lord Jagannatha, Subhadra and Balarama’s beauty, and we would race up from prasadam just to sit at Their feet and sing jagannathah svami nayana-patha-gami bhavatu me. So by the time this event came, you can see how ecstatic the devotees are chanting. In some cases, it was the first time that devotees from all these three European countries were together in one place.
London Rathayatra became so famous as the long walking yatra. Later Srila Prabhupada walked in great ecstasy, or danced in great ecstasy throughout the whole event. Srila Prabhupada commented about this Rathayatra. He said, “Make the deities so beautiful that everyone will be attracted to Them. Make it very opulent.” So that was the direction that we were heading was to try to make the deities visible for those that were witnessing Them for the first time, the passersby, and to increase the love of the devotees already familiar with the Lord. How nice to see people that would never have had access to Lord Jagannatha. So this was a real growth period in London. Just as there was a burgeoning of youth interested in spiritual life and breaking out of the mold of the ‘50s and ‘60s in the United States, this happened in London at the same time. So mostly through the Holy Name, the sankirtan, we attracted people. Sometimes it was prasadam, but mostly it was through sankirtan. Look at them, the crowds, just immense. And this is only after being in England for two years. The first year, 1968, we were the handful, ’69 it was increasing, and this is by ’70, not even a full two years. Of course, Srila Prabhupada’s arrival in 1969 was the catalyst. We were the seeds being planted, and he was the blossoming creeper of Lord Chaitanya’s love. And when he came, everything ignited like a firestorm! It was like a firestorm actually, with the thunder and the voracity and the speed of a firestorm.
Reference: Following Srila Prabhupada – Remembrances by Yadubara Dasa