Jagannatha Puri is famous for the Ratha festival of their Lordships Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra. What one in Bhakti is to look at Raganuga Bhakti in the context of the Jagannatha Puri festival is to witness the most elevated mood of our Lord Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Lord of Nilacala is Sri Nandanandana for Sriman Mahaprabhu who has taken the form of the Nayika Srimati Radhika. At the time of the Ratha Yatra Sriman Mahaprabhu witnesses Himself as Radhika who visits Kurukshetra to meet Her beloved Sri Nandanandana. Srimati Radhika does not want Her beloved to wield the bow and arrow nor hold the Shankha or wield Sudarshana. She does not want to hear from Him that His parents are Vasudeva and Devaki but wants to hear from Him that He is Her beloved Nandanandana.
The gopis along with Radhika want to dress Her beloved with the attire of a cow-herd boy and want Him to hold the flute and play that melody which attracted the graceful cows of Vrindavana. These are the moods that run through the mind of Sriman Mahaprabhu as He witnesses the Lord of Nilacala, Sri Jagannatha. Mahaprabhu will not accept that Sri Nandanandana is the son of Vasudeva and Devaki. That understanding is for worldly people. However for Premis , He is the cow-herd son of Sri Nanda and Yasoda. In the Caitanya Caritamrita , Madhya Leela it is given
naham vipro na ca nara-patir napi vaisyo na sudro
naham varni na ca grha-patir no vanastho yatir va
gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah
In the above verse the Lord of Prema Sriman Mahaprabhu teaches us the method of Prayer. This is the prayer of a true Raganugiya.He says that whatever qualifies us with the material world such as our lineage, our occupation , our race or position does not determine our true identity. We are also not servants of that wicked Krishna who is the inhabitant of Mathura and Dwaraka who is happily residing with His wives like Rukmani or Satyabhama and His hundred sons.We are in fact the servant of the servants of the Lotus feet of Sri Nandanandana who is the master of the Gopis of Vrindavana. That is our eternal spiritual identity. Here Lord Mahaprabhu is indirectly hinting that those who come under the lineage of the Six Goswamis who have taken shelter under Srimati Radhika in the form of Sriman Mahaprabhu are qualified to attain Radha dasyam.
Sriman Mahaprabhu in the mood of Srimati Radhika pleads Her Lord to go to Gundicha which is non-different from Vrindavana. The Lord dances with grace in front of the Ratha as the Lord of Nilacala is led to the Gundicha Temple during the Ratha Yatra. Wherever Sriman Mahaprabhu stops due to excess of Bhava and emotes the ashta satvika bhava due to ecstasy, the Lord of Nilacala also waits eagerly and does not move ahead until His Nayika Srimati Radhika (Sriman Mahaprabhu) recovers. Lord Mahaprabhu then single handedly pushes the Ratha with a single stroke of His shaven head and the Ratha chugs forward with renewed gait. The nine days of stay of the three deities of Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra at the Gundicha temple represents the Lord’s stay at Vrindavana for the pleasure of His gopi associates. This enthrals Sriman Mahaprabhu. The nine days of stay of the Lord represents the nine limbs of navanga Bhakti.