LORD GANESHA GAYATRI MANTRA
  • START - - -
  • Om lambodaraya vidmahe, mahodaraya dhimahi,
  • Tano danti prachodayat. |
  • Om mahakarnay vidmahe, vakratundaya dhimahi,
  • Tano danti prachodayat. |
  • Om ekadantaya vidmahe, vakratundaya dhimahi,
  • Tano danti prachodayat. |
  • Om tathapurusaya vidmahe, vakratundaya dhimahi,
  • Tano danti prachodayat. |
  • - - - END |

Puri Jagannath Temple

Puri, Odisha-752002

puri-temple

Story of King Indradyumna:

Once upon a time ago there was a king named Indradyumna and he was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu and he was very keen on meeting the Lord in person. Once by the Lord’s arrangement, a devotee of the Lord arrived in king Indradyumna’s court and during the course of his conversation with the king, he began talking about an incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the name of Nila-Madhava. King Indradyumna who had been eagerly waiting to meet the Lord Himself, was overjoyed when he heard the news. He immediately sent different Brahmanas in multiple directions to search and inquire about Lord Nila-Madhava. All of the Brahmanas were unsuccessful in locating Lord Nila-Madhava except one brahman named Vidyapati. After visiting many places in search of Lord Nila-Madhava, Vidyapati finally reached a place whose population was that of a non-Aryan type and they were known as Sabara. Vidyapati took shelter in the house of a local named Vishvasu. When he arrived at Vishvasu’s house, he was not there but his young daughter Lalita was there. After some time, Vishvasu returned and instructed his daughter to look after the guest well and render all services that the brahman guest might need. Vidyapati stayed at their place for some time and later on after a special request by the Sabara, married his young daughter, Lalita.   

During his stay at the Sabara’s place, Vidyapati did notice some peculiarity in the behavior of his host. Every night, the Sabara used to go out and return home around the noon tim the next day scented with a variety of fragrances such as camphor, musk, and sandalwood. Vidyapati was curious to know about the reason and he asked his wife about it. She confided in her husband and told him that her father goes to a secret place to worship Lord Nila-Madhava.

Vidyapati was ecstatic when he came to know about the existence of Sri Nila-Madhava. Actually, the Sabara had given strict instruction to his daughter for not disclosing the secret information to anybody but she disobeyed the instructions by disclosing the information to her husband, Vidyapati.

Vidyapati was getting more eager to see Lord Nila-Madhava with each passing day and finally, one fine day, the Sabara took Vidyapati to the secret place of worship of Lord Nila-Madhava. He got repeated requests from his beloved daughter to9 do this but he agreed for this with one condition and the condition was the Vidyapati’s eyes had to be blindfolded and he agreed to the condition. But there is a twist to the tale. When they were about to leave to visit the place to see Lord Nila-Madhava, Vidyapati’s wife secretly handed him over a packet of mustard seeds which he threw on the road so that he can recognize the road later on. Finally, they reached the place and the Sabara removed the blindfold and Vidyapati began dancing in ecstasy after seeing the unprecedented beauty of the deity of Lord Nila-Madhava. He even began offering prayers to the Lord.

Who is Nila-Madhava?

Here it is clearly evident that Sri Nila-Madhava was a deity incarnation of the Supreme Lord. Deity incarnations are known as Arca-Vigraha and it is believed that the Lord appears in the deity form to benefit His devotees, especially those who are less advanced. Since all cannot see the Lord and He can be only seen by his devotees, He appears in the deity form to accept their worship. 

As per Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita(9.34)

“Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru”

“Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer Me your obeisances.” Therefore He appears in the form of a deity to accept the worship and obeisances of His devotees. The Lord puts Himself in the hands of His devotees to receive their service and help them develop a love for Him. This is one of the most critical aspects of Lord Krishna’s mercy and His willingness to free all the conditioned souls from bondage in this material world. Hence, Vidyapati personally witnessed the mercy of Lord Nila-Madhava.

Once Vidyapati finished offering his prayers to Lord Nila-Madhava, the Sabara asked him to stay near the Deity and went into the forest to collect roots and flowers for the purpose of worshiping Lord Nila-Madhava. While the Sabara was out in the forest, Vidyapati noticed an astounding thing. A sleeping cow fell off the branch of a tree into a nearby lake and drowned and then, it immediately took the form of a four-armed Vaikuntha(spiritual) form and began its journey back to the spiritual sky. After seeing this, Vidyapati went up the tree and was all set to jump onto the lake just like the cow did but at once he heard a voice from the sky that said, “O brahmana, since you have been able to see Sri Nila-madhava, you should before all else inform King Indradyumna.”After hearing this, Vidyapati got down from the tree and waited.

The Sabara soon came back from the forest carrying a variety of flowers and roots collected from the forest and began his daily ritual of worshiping Lord Nila-Madhava. When he was engaged in offering his services to the Lord, he heard a voice saying, “I have for so many days accepted the simple forest flowers and roots offered to Me by you. Now I desire the royal service offered to Me by My devotee King Indradyumna.”

After hearing this from the Lord, he thought, “I shall be cheated from the service of Sri Nila-Madhava!”.Hence, he bound his son-in-law, Vidyapati with a rope and kept him in his house. After a while, however, he freed Vidyapati and asked him to go after repeated requests from his daughter. Vidyapati immediately went to King Indradyumna and informed him about his successful discovery.

How Indradyumna Got to Know the Truth of Nila-madhava

The king was overjoyed when he heard of the news and immediately set off on a journey with many people to bring back Nila-Madhava. From the mustard seeds which were thrown by Vidyapati while going to see Lord Nila-Madhava, small plants had grown. It was a blessing in disguise as the king and his troop could easily follow the path that led them to the secret place of Lord Nila-Madhava but when they finally reached the secret place, they couldn’t find Him there!

King Indradyumna was furious when couldn’t find Lord Nila-Madhava there and decided to besiege the village of the Sabaras and arrested the Sabara named Vishvasu. All of a sudden he heard a voice from the sky which said, “Release this Sabara! On top of Nila Hill, you should construct a temple. There as Daru- brahman, or the Absolute Truth manifest in a wooden form, you will see Me. You will not see Me as Nila-Madhava.”

Daily Rituals or Puja Aarati Timings at the Jagannath Temple, Puri

The city of Puri is also known as Jagannatha Puri, Nilacala and Sri Kshetra and it is considered to be on par with Vrindavana and Navadvipa, sacred Vaisnava holy places. For thousands of years, several great sages and other distinguished personalities have been traveling to Puri on pilgrimage. Even the great Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu chose Puri as the place to reside for the last eighteen years of his life.

The city of Puri is shaped like the shadow of a conch-shell and one can notice a portion of raised ground known as Nilgiri or “the Blue Hill” at the center of the conch-shell shadow. On the crest of the Nilgiri stands an imposing temple complex that has been dedicated to Lord Vishnu as Lord Jagannatha or the maintainer of the universe. In Sanskrit the term “Jagat” means the universe and “Natha” means the maintainer.   

Given below are a list of the rituals that are performed in the holy temple day in and day out, year after year.

1. Dwarpitha and Mangal Aarati at 5 a.m

Dwara means door or entrance and Dwarapitha means openings of the doors. Mangal Arati refers to the auspicious process of the offering of lamps to the deities during the early morning hour of the day. The door opens during the early hour of the morning time in the presence of five specific servants named, (1) Bhitarachha Mahapatra, (2) Pratihari, (3) Muduli, (4) Akhanda Mekapa and (5) Palia Mekapa and this happen after verification of “Seal” given by a specific sevayat who is popularly known as Taluchha Mahapatra the previous night. Mangal Aarati is performed soon after the door is opened.

2. Mailam at 6 a.m

This ritual refers to the removal or taking off of the clothes, dresses, flowers, etc which were used the previous night. The scheduled time of this ritual or niti is around six o’clock in the morning. But again that depends upon the time taken for the Mangal Aarati. The sevakas associated with this ritual are (1) three Pushpalakas, (2) Khuntia, (3) Changda Mekapa and (4) Dhoba. The Pushpalaka sevakas change the clothes, flowers, and Tulasi leaves from the deities worn the previous night. After the procedure of removal of clothes gets over, the deities wear another set of clean and washed clothes. It is popularly known as Tadapalagi. The clothes are known as “Tadapa” and “Uttariya” like towels. These are made from the cotton worn by the deities during their morning bath. As per the historic tradition, these clothes are washed by the dhoba sevaka or washer-men in the kunda or water tank near Bata Ganesha. And the thing to notice here is, the Dhoba Sevaka is actually a Brahmin by caste.

3. Abakash at 6:00 am to 6:30 a.m

Purificatory activities like brushing of teeth and taking bath are known as “Abakash”. During this time, the temple Jyotish or astrologer reads out the tithi (day and date) and makes everybody aware of the other astrological significance for the day and as per that, the rituals for the same day are performed.

4. Mailam at 6:45 am

During this time, the deities change their clothes (Tadap and Uttariya) and put on another set of clean and washed clothes. A sevak known as “Akhanda Mekap” keeps the sanctum Akhanda Baitha .I.e a lamp that burns till “Pahuda” or the time during which the deities retire to their bed.

5. Sahanamela at 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Although this is not a part of the rituals, more than an hour is spent daily on this to facilitate the pilgrims to go up to “Ratnavedi” or the inner sanctums to have a darshan and they do not have to pay any fee for this. During certain festive days, “Sahanamela” is held after the “Sandhya Dhupa” (Evening prayers or Sandhya Aarati during the holy month of Kartik) and during the month of Pausha, it is held after the Sakaladhupa. At times, this darshan is not allowed due to some special rituals of the deities.

6. Beshalagi at 8:00 a.m.

After the ritual of Sahanamela, the deities again gets dressed up and it can be seen from a little distance i.e. “Bhitara Katha”. During this time, the deities are adorned with gold and other precious stones to suit the various festive occasions.

7. Rosha Homa Surya Puja and Dwarapal at 8:00 a.m to 8:30 a.m.

During this time, puja is performed by three Pujapandas along with sixteen Upachars or Sodasha Upachars. Three Pujapandas sit on the Ratnasinhasana to worship the three deities, Lord Jagannatha, Shri Balabhadra, and Subhadra. The same Pujapanda who worships Lord Jagannatha also worships. The morning bhoga or food offered to the deities include rice, Kanika, Khechudi, Green leaves, Cakes, etc. The local names of the Bhog are Pitha Puli, Hansakeli, Kanti, Enduri, Matha Puli, Kakatua Jhili, Bundia, Kadali Bhaja, Ada Pachedi [ginger tonic], etc. The entire cost of the Dhoop Pujas and Ballavs are borne by the temple administration. During the earlier days, the Raja-Superintendent of the temple used to bear the cost of the substances used for the preparation of the bhoga. Hence, the bhoga is also known as “Raja Bhoga” or “Kotha Bhoga”.

8. Gopala Ballava Puja at 9:00 a.m.

The pre-decided time for this ritual is 9 A.M. The deities have their breakfast during this time of the day. During this time, sweet popcorn [Khai], Khualadus, Coconut sweets [Kora], Ripe banana, Curd, and chipped coconuts, etc. Are offered as Bhoga. Puja gets performed in a brief manner with Pancha Upachar only.

9. Sakala Dhupa (Morning food offering) at 10:00 a.m.

It refers to the food offerings during the morning time. The word Dhupa is used in the temple which means the offering of a bhoga to the deities, especially Sakala Dhupa(morning meal), Madhyahna Dhupa(midday meal) and Sandhya Dhupa(evening meal) and the nitis or rituals performed during this time are a little elaborate in nature. The Pujapandas perform the Bhoga puja with Sodasha Upachars which means the puja has sixteen aspects known as (1) Asana (seat of image), (2) Swagata (welcome), (3) Padya (water for washing the feet), (4) Arghya (offering of flower, Chandana etc.), (5) Achamanya (water for sipping), (6) Madhuparka (ghee, Madhu or honey, khira or milk, dahi or curd offered in silver or brass vessel), (7) Achamaniya, (8) Snana (bathing), (9) Bastra (clothes), (10) Avarana (jewels), (11) Gandha (scent and chandana), (12) Pushpa (flower), (13) Dhupa (incense stick), (14) Dipa (lamp), (15) Naivedya (food) and (16) Vandana (namaskara or prayer). This ritual is performed in the Garbhagriha. It is worth noting that there are seven images seated on the Ratnavedi. After bhoga, the same gets distributed as Khei(dues) among the sevakas of the day that also includes Gajapati Maharaja. The following sevakas namely  (1) Pujapanda, (2) Suarabadu, (3) Paniapata, (4) Pradhani, (5) Pratihari, (6) Palia Mahasuara, (7) Pantibadu, (8) Garabadu, (9) Rosha Paika, (10) Palia Patri, (11) Changada Mekapa, (12) Muduli, (13) Chandana Ghatuari, (14) Palia Mekapa, (15) Palia Khuntia, (16) Hadapa Naika, (17) Bidia Jogania, (18) Sudusuara, (19) Gochhikara, (20) Dakshinighara Pratihari, (21) Ghantua, (22) Baijayantri, (23) Dhukudidwara Pratihari, etc gets involved in this ritual. After the Bhoga Puja, alati is offered to the deities and this is known as Sakala Dhupa alati which is offered by the pujapandas.

10. Mailama and Bhoga Mandapa Bhoga at 11:00 a.m.

The prescribed time for this ritual is around 11 A.M in the morning. After the ritual of the Sakala Dhupa, the deities change their clothes and puja takes place after that at Bhoga Mandapa which is a place behind the Garuda Stamba of the Nata Mandira. An abundant amount of bhoga or food such as rice, daal, curries, variety of cakes, etc is offered to the deities. Pujapandas carry out the Bhogapuja with the Pancha Upchars as per the discussion they had earlier. The cost of this bhoga is not borne by the temple administration. Traditionally, this bhoga is offered with the intention of providing sufficient Mahaprasada to different Mathas(monasteries), other institutions and individuals who consume the Mahaprasada as their prime meal of the day.

To put it in another way, the Suaras(authorized cooks) of the temple prepare enough amount of food in the Rosha ghara on a commercial basis for the pilgrims and others. It should be kept in mind that one should be in pure in mind as well as body while taking the Mahaprasada and no outside food should be consumed along with it. To display utmost respect towards the Mahaprasada, it should be eaten while being seated on the floor. People should also ensure that water does not fall on the feet when hands are washed after having the Mahaprasada. It is a noteworthy point that should be focused here is, the Mahaprasada remains free from the caste discrimination which is prevalent in the orthodox Hindu society. People who represent different castes, accept Mahaprasada from the same plate without any sort of hesitation whatsoever. The sevakas who take part in this niti or ritual are, (1) Pujapanda, (2) Mahasuara, (3) Suara, (4) Changda Mekapa, (5) Palia Mekapa, (6) Palia Pushpalaka, (7) Bhoga Mandapa Pratihari, (8) Suarabadu, (9) Khuntia, (10) Patribadu etc. On most of the occasions, the Bhoga Mandapa puja is conducted once a day after the Sakala Dhupa but during festive occasions, it is conducted after the Dwipahara dhupa/Madhyahna dhupa. On certain occasions, the Bhoga Mandapa puja is conducted twice or thrice a day which is after the Sakala dhupa, Madhyahna dhupa, and Sandhya dhupa and they do it to meet the high demand of pilgrims and as per the necessity of Mahaprasada.

11. Madhyanha Dhupa [Afternoon Food Offering at 12:30 p.m to 1:00 p.m (After Noon).

The timings for this ritual is between 12:30 P.M to 1.00 P.M. Three Pujapanda sevakas perform the Bhoga Puja in the Pokharia(space around the Ratnavedi inside the Garbhagriha) along with the Upacharas in the same manner as during the Sakala Dhupa. The Bhoga items are more in number compared to that of the Sakala Dhupa. The same set of sevakas who takes part in the Sakala Dhupa are engaged in this niti as well. The Madhyahna alati is offered to the deities by the Pujapanda sevakas after the Madhyahna Dhupa.

12. Madhyanha Pahudha at 1:00 p.m to 1:30 p.m.

Post the ritual of the Madhyahna Dhupa, the deities enjoy a siesta known as Pahuda. It is to be noted that if nitis have been performed within the pre-decided time limit, and only when time permits, the Deities retire for an afternoon nap. Kalahatadwara/Kalaghatadwara, Jaya Bijaya dwara and Beherana dwara/Dakshini dwara (south gate of the porch/Mukhasala)  remain closed during this time. This ritual is generally performed between 1.00 P.M and 1.30 PM.

13. Sandhya Aarati(Evening Lamp Offering) after sunset.

After the opening of the doors post Madhyahna Pahuda, the Sandhya Aarati or Alati is offered to the deities by the Taluchha and Palia Pushpalaka sevakas. If there is no Madhyahna Pahuda due to a constraint of time or due to some other reason, then the Sandhya Aarati is offered after the Madhyahna Dhupa after changing of clothes of the deities. On the Ekadashi day, the deities put on a new set of clothes after the ‘Aarati” gets over.

14. Sandhya Dhupa at 7:00 p.m to 8:00 p.m.

The time dedicated for this ritual is between 7.00 p.m to 8.00 p.m. The puja upacharas and manners .I.e the sodasha upacharas are very much similar to that of the Sakala Dhupa. The items served during this Dhupa are mostly Pakhala (watered rice), pitha (cake). It contains varieties of puddings; confections and delicacies known as Kanla puli, Takua, Mathapuli, Bhogapitha, Gotali, Kakara, Amalu, Jhadeineda, Kadamba and Subasa Pakhala, etc. Post this Bhoga puja, another aarati known as Sandhya Dhupa aarati is performed by the Pujapanda sevakas. This aarati is also popularly known as Jaya Mangala Aarati.

15. Mailam and Chandanalagi.

During this time, the deities change their clothes and anointed with chandana which is mixed by camphor, kesara, and kasturi. The Pushpakala sevakas. Other sevakas who take part in this ritual are Suarabadu, Ghatuari, Muduli, Palia Mekapa, Palia Padhiari, Garabadu, Hadapa Naika, and Palia Khuntia.

16. Badashringara Bhog at 11:00 p.m.

Badashringara Bhog is the last bhoga of the day which is offered to the deities around 11 P.M. For this ritual, the bhoga puja is performed by the pujapanda sevakas who follows the principles of the Pancha Upacharas, and they perform the puja while being seated on the floor down the Ratnavedi. During the time of this ritual, the quantity of bhoga prepared for the deities is much less and the items that are prepared are Pakhala and Kanji, fries that include Kadalibada and sweets include khiri. After that, the Pujapanda sevakas offer Badasinghara Dhupa alati to the deities. 

17. Khata Seja Lagi and Pahuda at 12:00 a.m (Night).

Badashringara Bhog is the last bhoga of the day which is offered to the deities around 11 P.M. For this ritual, the bhoga puja is performed by the pujapanda sevakas who follows the principles of the Pancha Upacharas, and they perform the puja while being seated on the floor down the Ratnavedi. During the time of this ritual, the quantity of bhoga prepared for the deities is much less and the items that are prepared are Pakhala and Kanji, fries that include Kadalibada and sweets include khiri. After that, the Pujapanda sevakas offer Badasinghara Dhupa alati to the deities. 

17. Khata Seja Lagi and Pahuda at 12:00 a.m (Night).

This ritual is performed at the time of midnight when bedsteads of the deities are arranged. The idols of Sayana Thakura is carried out by the Pushpalaka sevakas from the Bhandara Ghara to Ratnavedi and the sevakas keep the idols near Lord Jagannatha. It is a metallic conjoined idol of Purusha(Lord Vishnu) and Prakruti(Goddess Lakshmi). After that, there follows a ritual of an offering of Paida(Green Coconut), Pana(Betelnuts) and Camphor alati to the deities. The Bada Chhata Matha performs kirtana when Pahuda alati is performed to the deities by the Pushpalaka sevakas. Earlier, during the time of alati, Bhitara Gayani, a Temple Devadasi, used to sing devotional songs from the Gitagovinda while standing at the Kalahata Dwara. This seva has been discontinued after her demise. After this, the Sayana Thakura is taken to Jaya Bijaya Dwara where paida, pana is offered to the Syana Thakura along with pushpa and camphor alati. Thereafter, the idol is carried out to the bedstead of Lord Jagannatha and then taken to the Bhandaraghara. Post that, the deities retire to their beds and after that, the doors of Kalahata Dwara, Jaya Bijaya dwara, and Dakshina/Beherana dwara are sealed and the person who remains in charge of sealing the doors is Taluchha Mahapatra. The temple premises remain vacated without and sevakas and visitors and this phase is called Sodha. Only a few temple police officials, and sevakas keep a watch on the temple during the night time.

In short, the above-mentioned rituals are the Dainadina Nitis(Daily Rituals) observed at Sri Kshetra or Jagannatha Temple in Puri. It is incredibly difficult to keep pace with the time slots prescribed for each ritual because of multiple practical difficulties. According to tradition, one niti or ritual cannot be performed unless the previous ritual is completed. And, because of this, punctuality varies so that the attendance of various sevakas required to perform a specific ritual can be ensured. Also, during specific festive occasions, few additional rituals are performed. Hence, as and when it is required,  changes in timings and alterations in the daily rituals are made.        

puri-temple-construction

How the Temple was Constructed?

As per the instructions given by the voice from the sky, king Indradyumna began making the necessary arrangements. He brought stones from a place known as Baulamala and for that he had built a road from there till the Nila-kandara hill. The holy abode of Sri Kshetra, or Puri, is found to be in the shape of a conch, and in the navel of that conch the king established a town in the name of Rama-Krishna-Pura and constructed the temple there. The dimension of the temple is as such that it extends 60 cubits beneath the earth and rises 120 cubits above the surface. The king built a kalasa or round pinnacle and on top of that, he kept a chakra. He also got the temple decorated with invaluable golden ornaments. King Indradyumna had the desire that Lord Brahma should consecrate the temple and to fulfill that wish, he traveled to Brahmaloka and spent a long time there waiting to meet Lord Brahma. During that phase, the temple which was very close to the sea became buried from the sand of the nearby seashore.

During the absence of King Indradyumna, first it was Suradeva and then later Galamadhava took over the kings of that area. It was Galamadhava who recovered the temple which was buried under sands and brought the temple back to its originality. However, king Indradyumna who was away at the Brahmaloka returned from there and claimed that it was he who had constructed the temple. But Galamadhava denied it saying he is the creator of the temple. But there lived a Bhushandi crow near a banyan tree and the crow had been living through many ages by singing the name of Lord Rama. From its abode on the branches of the banyan tree, the crow had witnessed the entire construction of the temple. He made it clear by saying that it was king Indradyumna who had constructed the temple and later on in his absence, the temple got buried under the sands. He also confirmed seeing that king Galamadhava had merely uncovered the temple. Lord Brahma ordered Galamadhava to reside outside the grounds of the temple on the western side of the lake known as Indradyumna Sarovara. Lord Brahma took this decision due to the fact that king Galamadhava tried to conceal the truth.

King Indradyumna then prayed to Lord Brahma to consecrate the temple and its surrounding area as Sri Kshetra offers the highest kind of liberation that once can get. But Lord Brahma said, “This Sri Kshetra is manifested by the Supreme Lord’s own internal potency, and the Supreme Lord manifests Himself. Therefore it is not within my power to install the Lord here. Lord Jagannatha and His abode are eternally situated in this material world by His own mercy. Therefore I shall simply place a flag on top of the temple and give this blessing: anyone who from a distance sees this flag and bows down, offering his prostrated obeisances, shall easily become liberated.”

After a while, king Indradyumna began feeling depressed with so much of delay in seeing Lord Nila-Madhava. He began feeling as if his life has become useless and laid down on a bed of Kusa grass. He was fully determined to sacrifice his life through fasting. During that stage, Lord Jagannatha or Nila-Madhava spoke to him in his dream and said, “My dear King, don’t be anxious. I shall come floating in from the sea in My wooden form as Daru-brahman at the place called Bankimuhan.”

King Pradyumna was elated with the news and set off on a journey to that place with the company of his soldiers. He saw a huge piece of wood marked with a conch, chakra, and a lotus. The king engaged many strongly built men and even elephants to move that Daru-brahman, or woody brahman but to everybody’s amazement, then failed to even budge it. But again during the same night, Lord Jagannatha again spoke to the king saying, “Bring My previous servant Vishvasu, who used to serve Me as Nila- Madhava, and place a golden chariot in front of Daru- brahman!”

The Sabara Returns:

King Indradyumna as he was instructed in his dream and brought the Sabara, Vishvasu and kept him on one side of Daru-brahman and on the other side, he put Vidyapati, the Brahman. He then placed a golden chariot in front of the Daru-brahman and began kirtana by chanting the holy names of the Supreme Lord. Indradyumna then caught hold of the Daru-brahman and prayed the Lord to mount the chariot. Then Daru.brahman was then easily placed on the chariot and taken to a pre-decided place. At that place, Lord Brahma began a sacrifice and established the deity of Nrisimhadeva on the raised platform where the sacrifice was made. It is believed that the place where the temple stands on the present day is the same place where the sacrifice was performed by Lord Brahma and the Nrisimhadeva deity which stands on the western side of the Mukti-mandapa in the temple is none other than the same Nrisimha deity.

How the Deity was Carved:

To carve the Deity of Lord Jagannatha from the Daru-brahman, king Indradyumna invited many skillful sculptors but none could even touch the Daru-brahman. As soon they began working on it, their chisels broke and broke into pieces. In the end, the Supreme Lord Himself came in a disguised avatar of an old artist who introduced himself as Ananta Maharana. As per the Narada Purana, Utkala Khanda 54.22-65, the artist Vishvakarma had assumed the form of an old brahmana. He promised that he would carve the deity if he were allowed to work behind closed doors for twenty-one days. The king agreed to the condition and preparations for the same were in full swing. As per the instructions of the old sculptor, all other artists were kept occupied in making three chariots. The old sculptor then took Daru-brahman into the temple and closed the doors. He made the king promise that the sculptor would stay alone and the king would not open the doors of the temple even slightly before the twenty-one days were completed.

King Indradyumna began getting anxious with each passing day and when 14 long days were passed, the king was unable to bear the sounds of the artist’s tools. His minister was stopping him again and again but king Indradyumna didn’t pay hid to his requests and on the advice of his queen, opened the doors of the temple by force with his own hands.

What he saw inside was nothing less of astonishment for the king as he did not find the old sculptor inside the temple but saw that Daru-brahman was manifested in three different forms as Lord Jagannatha, Subhadra, and Balarama. When he went closer to the three Deities, he noticed that their fingers and toes were unfinished. The king’s wise minister then enlightened him by saying that the sculptor was none other than Lord Jagannatha Himself and because the king did not keep his promise by opening the doors seven days too soon, Lord Jagannatha decided to manifest Himself in that way.

The king was again depressed by thinking that he was an offender and decided to end his life. He again laid down on a bed of Kusa grass and began fasting. Lord Jagannatha appeared in his dreams by the time when half of the night had passed and said,  “I am eternally situated here in Nilacala in the form of Lord Jagannatha as Daru-brahman. In this material world, I descend in twenty-four Deity incarnations with My abode. I have no material hands and feet, but with My transcendental senses I accept all the items offered in service by My devotees, and for the benefit of the world I move from one place to another. You have broken your promise, but that is just a part of the sweetness of My pastimes to manifest this Jagannatha form, which protects the eternal words of the Vedas. Anyway, those devotees whose eyes are smeared with the salve of love will always see Me as Syamasundara, holding a flute. If your desire is to serve Me in opulence, then from time to time I may be decorated with hands and feet made of gold or silver. You should certainly know, however, that My limbs are the ornaments of all ornaments.”  

The Vedas say the following:

Apani-pado javano grahita
pashyaty acakshuh sa shrinoty akarnah
sa vetti vedyam na ca tasyasti vetta.

“Without legs and hands, He loves and accepts. Without eyes He sees, and without ears, He hears. He knows all that is knowable, but no one knows Him. They call Him the original Supreme Person.” To protect this assertion of the Vedas, Lord Jagannatha takes His forms without hands and legs. Still, Lord Jagannatha is able to accept fifty-six different types of food which are offered eight times daily, and He travels the world in His awesome carts.

After listening to the words said by Lord Jagannatha in his dream, the king was happy and satisfied. He prayed to the Supreme Lord by saying, My Lord, grant that those who appear in the family of the sculptor who manifested Your form may age after age assists in constructing the three carts.” Lord Jagannatha replied by saying “That shall be” with a smile on His face. Lord Jagannatha further said to the king, “The descendants of Vishvasu, who used to serve Me as Nila-Madhava, should generation after generation serve Me. They may be called as My dayitas.The descendants of Vidyapati born from his brahmana wife should perform the Deity worship of Me. And his descendants born from his Sabari wife, Lalita, should cook My food. They shall be known as suyaras.”


Then king Indradyumna said to Lord Jagannatha “My Lord, kindly grant one favor to me. Let the doors to Your temple be closed for only three hours a day. The rest of the time, let the doors be open so that all the residents of the universe may have access to see You. Further, let it be that all day long Your eating may go on and that Your lotus fingers may thus never become dry.”

Lord Jagannatha replied, “Tathastu, so be it. And for yourself, what benediction do you ask?”
    
To that, the king replied, “So that no one in the future will be able to claim Your temple as his own property, I desire to be without descendants. Kindly just grant me this one benediction.”

Lord Jagannatha replied, “Tathastu, so be it.”

Hence, the merciful Lord Jagannatha, Subhadra, and Balarama came into this material world to benefit all living beings. One may wonder what is the benefit They bestow and it is clearly stated in the Narada Purana(U.Kh.52.12)

Pratimam tatra tam drishtva
svayam devena nirmitam
anayasena vai yanti
bhavanam me tato narah.

The Supreme Lord Narayana once told Lakshmi Devi, “In that great abode known as Purushottama-Kshetra, which is rarely achieved among all the three worlds, the Keshava Deity, who was fashioned by the Supreme Lord Himself, is situated. If men simply see that Deity, they will easily be able to come to My abode.”

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