Messages of support Political / Civic leaders
Message from The Prime Minister Rt Hon Gordon Brown
I would like to send my greetings to the many thousands of you who have gathered on the occasion of the 41st Anniversary Celebrations of the Annual London Ratha Yatra Festival.
I am delighted that you have brought this, one of the oldest street festivals in the world, to London.
This joyous occasion is made all the more special by the efforts you make to celebrate not just with the followers of Krishna but to welcome everyone to come and share in your festival and experience your ancient traditions.
It is events like this that provide the rich diversity found within Britain, and provide such a valuable chance for our communities to join together in celebration.
My best wishes for a memorable and enjoyable day.
Message from Mayor of London Boris Johnson
I am pleased to provide a message of support to ISKCON for the Ratha Yatra Festival (Carnival of Chariots).
This ancient and spiritual festival brings Londoners together to celebrate the richness and vibrancy of the Hindu faith, and learn more about Indian culture and heritage.
I am proud to be Mayor of a world-class city which people of all faiths and backgrounds have chosen to make their home.
The Hindu community has been established in London for many centuries and makes an invaluable contribution to the social, cultural and economic success of the capital.
I would like to congratulate ISKCON for organising this event and wish you great success with your future activities.
Message from Rt Hon David Cameron MP
Leader of Conservative Party
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to send my best wishes to everyone attending this year’s annual Carnival of Chariots.
The Carnival in London has built up a great reputation over the last 40 years, and I know it is always a memorable and enjoyable occasion for the whole community.
I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the Carnival and to send you my best wishes for this year’s event.
Message from Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP
Leader of Liberal Democratic Party
It is with great pleasure that I send my very best wishes to all those attending the London Ratha Yatra Festival.
As one of the oldest street festivals in the world, it is wonderful that London has been a part of these celebrations for over 40 years, attracting many thousands of people from all different backgrounds and from all over the UK and Europe.
I hope the festival is a great success and that all the festival goers have a thoroughly enjoyable day.
Message from Mark Field MP
MP for Cities of London & Westminster
The Radha Krishna Temple and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) which operates from it make a unique spiritual and cultural contribution to our great global city. This contribution is being quite rightly celebrated today through the historic Ratha Yatra Festival.
Today’s street festival is a wonderful family event, typical of the harmonious and cohesive Hindu community which contributes so much to the lives of those it touches in central London.
I do hope that today’s colourful celebration is a tremendous success.
I also look forward to continuing my close relationship with the Hindu community in Westminster whom I am so proud to represent.
Faith / InterFaith Leaders
Message from the office of the Chief Rabbi Rabbi Alan Plancey – Interfaith Representative for the Chief Rabbi
It is with pleasure that I associate myself, as the Chief Rabbi’s representative, with your 41st Anniversary Celebrations of the Annual London Ratha Yatra Festival (Carnival of Chariots).
Our religions have so much to offer each other.
We are delighted to offer to you our support in all your activities which bring people together. May you continue to go from strength to strength and may we be privileged to see peace and harmony amongst all mankind.
Chief Rabbi sends his apologies for his absence and his warmest good wishes.
Message from Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales Monsignor Andrew J Faley – Assistant General Secretary
GREETING FROM THE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF ENGLAND AND WALES
On behalf of the Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, I gladly extend my best wishes and prayers to the pilgrims and their families who are celebrating the joyful Festival of Chariots this year.
May God shower you with his blessings and enrich within our hearts a deep love for his world and its peoples.
Please be assured of my prayers for your celebration and especially for the many thousands of pilgrims who will be participating in this joyful event.
Message from Yann Lovelock
Interfaith Co-ordinator for the Network of Buddhist Organisations
We of the Dharmic faiths of Indian origin have been holding exploratory talks concerning the necessity for a 4-faiths-forum to represent our views here in Britain.
Dharma offers an alternative, more peaceful way of spirituality that deserves to be better understood in the West. I therefore send you greetings in the spirit of solidarity.
Please do all you can to talk to your neighbours, of different faiths and of no faith, in order to overcome the suspicion of what is different.
May the spirit of greater understanding, that we are all seeking to build, bring us a happier and more cohesive society & thank you all for your part in bringing this about.
Message from Jon Dal Din
Director Westminster Interfaith
The Hindu community has celebrated the Ratha Yatra Festival annually in India for over 5000 years and for over 40 years here in London thanks to His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
We welcome the celebration of this highly colourful, exciting and spiritually uplifting Indian cultural festival, which attracts thousands of people of all ages from different social, ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds.
It is a joyous event in which everyone can take part. For Hindu, the Ratha Yatra Festival has a special significance.
By taking the form of Lord Jagannatha, Lord Krishna manifests the ecstasy he feels when he leaves the opulence of his palaces in Dwarka to return by chariot to Vrindavan and the pure spontaneous love the residents there have for Lord Krishna.
If my understanding is correct, it represents the presence of Lord Krishna among his people.
By chanting, dancing or helping to pull the ropes of the chariot, devotees become free of many lifetimes of karma. It represents their desire to pull the Lord back into their hearts and rekindle the loving relationship they have with him.
It is a time of spiritual renewal with the Lord of the Universe.
We all need to be reminded of God’s loving presense in the world and his closeness to us.
We believe God is love. God is both Lord of the Universe and Lord of our hearts.
Unfortunately, due to prior commitments, I cannot be with you on this occasion, but be assured of our prayers and best wishes as you gather with your families, friends and your community to celebrate Ratha Yatra.
The Westminster Interfaith Team wishes peace and joy to everyone taking part in the 41st Anniversary Celebrations of the London Carnival of Chariots.
Message from Dr Harriet Crabtree OBE
Director, Inter Faith Network for the UK
The Inter Faith Network for the UK works to promote good Inter faith relations between people of different faiths. Festivals such as the Ratha Yatra have great meaning for followers of their faiths.
They can also be windows for the wider world to see and explore aspects of another faith tradition and so contribute to creating greater inter faith understanding.
Best wishes to the Annual London Ratha Yatra Festival and ISKCON in organising the event for this special anniversary in the Hindu calendar.