Skanda Purana (Purushottama Mahatmya 7.30)
Yatra sakhyat jagannadia sankha chakra gadadharah jantunam darsanat muktmi yo dadati kripanidh .
Whoever takes darshan of Daru-Brahma Jagannath will immediately be liberated.
There was once a great devotee of Lord Ramachandra named Raghu Dasa. He lived in Puri under a big umbrella near the Lion Gate of the Jagannath temple. Once when he went to see Lord Jagannath he saw Rama, Laxman, and Sita on Jagannath s al¬tar. From that day on he was convinced that Lord Jagannath was non-different from Lord Ramachandra. Raghu developed friendly love, sakhya rasa, for Lord Jagannath.
Once Raghu prepared a nice garland for Lord Jagannath and gave it to the pujari to offer to the Lord. But the pujari did not want to offer it, since Raghu had used a string made from the bark of the banana tree. At that time use of such things was prohibited in Jagannath's temple. Raghu felt very sad that his garland was not offered to Lord Jagannath. He left the temple feeling very down. Later in the day, the pujari was finishing the evening arati. Before the Lord goes to bed the pujaris dress Him in a special dress called bada sringar-vesa. After dressing the Lord, the pujari started to decorate His body with flowers. But to his surprise, whatever he did, not a single flower would remain on the Lord's body. The Lord would not accept any of the flowers. All the pujaris became very worried, thinking that they must have committed some offense. But what could it have been? They all decided that to try to understand what offense they had committed, they would all sleep in the temple and fast until the Lord appeared to them in their dreams to in¬form them of their offense. Sure enough, that same night Lord Ja¬gannath appeared in the dream of the head pujari, and told him, "My devotee Raghu Dasa brought a flower garland for Me. He prepared it with so much love and devotion. You saw the external feature of the string and denied him permission to give the garland to Me. You could not see how nicely he prepared the garland. He strung it with love and devotion. Now my devotee, being deprived of my service, is lying in his house keeping die garland in front of him. He has not eaten anything and is constantly crying. He has not yet slept. How can I accept any garland from you and sleep peacefully unless My devotee s desire has been fulfilled?"
Immediately the head pujari woke up and told everything to the other pujaris. Then all of them went to Raghu Dasa and ex¬plained their offense, and asked him to give his garland to Lord Jagannath. Raghu Dasa was very happy to hear that the Lord is so merciful that He was personally waiting to accept his garland. Raghu Dasa was in ecstasy.
Once, Raghu Dasa suffered from a very serious disease. His health deteriorated to the point that he could not get up from bed. He had to pass stool in his bed. The smell was very bad. Raghu Dasa, being very ill, passed in and out of consciousness, unable to help himself. One small boy was coming to serve Raghu Dasa. He cleaned his body and put on chandan and offered nicely scented things to remove the smell and purify the room. When Raghu came to his external senses, he found that the boy was Lord Jagan¬nath Himself. Raghu told Lord Jagannath, "My dear Lord, what are You doing here? By doing this low service to me, You are making me an offender. I am becoming more sinful by receiving service from You. O Lord, You are very merciful. You are the Lord of the universe. You are able to do everything. If you want, You can easily cure my disease. Instead of curing me, why are You doing this low service for me?" The Lord replied, "Yes, I could easily cure you. But I want you to be free from all your prarabdha karma so that you will come back to My abode at the end of this life. Also you should know that as My devotees get pleasure by serving Me, I also get pleasure by serving My devotees. I always desire to serve you. There is no difference between Me and My devotee." In this way the Lord and Raghu had a very intimate relationship.Raghu was very simple and his nature was like a small boy's. His relationship with Lord Jagannath was very friendly. Sometimes the Lord would come to him in the form of a boy, and they would both play together. It was known to people in general that the Lord came to Raghu to play with him. Everybody respected Raghu. He was very famous and known among the people as the friend of Lord Jagannath.
Once Jagannath came to Raghu and told him to go with Him to steal jackfruit from the Kings garden. Raghu said, "Why do You want to steal jackfruit? If You have a desire to eat jackfruit, then let me know and I will get a nice jackfruit for You." Lord Ja¬gannath replied, "In this way I am getting everything from My devotee. In fact, I have everything. Mother Yasoda would feed Me so much butter and give Me pleasure. But still I go to the homes of others for the purpose of stealing butter. There is a special pleasure in eating stolen things. Today I want you to experience that pleas¬ure of stealing. Please come with Mel"
Helpless, Raghu agreed to the Lord's proposal and accom¬panied Him. Both of them entered the King's garden. Jagannath told Raghu, "You should climb the tree. I will stand on the ground. You will pluck the best and biggest jackfruit and throw it down. I will stand here and catch it. Then both of us will run away." Raghu followed the order of the Lord exactly as He had in¬structed. He climbed the jackfruit tree and located the best and biggest jackfruit and plucked it. "Jagannath!" he called out. "Are You ready?" Jagannath replied, "Yes! I am ready, throw it!" Raghu threw the jackfruit down, expecting Jagannath to catch it. But where was Jagannath? He had run away. No one was there to catch the jackfruit. It crashed to the ground, making a big sound and split open. When the King's gardener heard the sound, he under¬stood that someone had entered the garden to steal jackfruit. He immediately ran to the spot and found the big jackfruit lying split open on the ground, yet he didn't see anyone around. When he looked up he saw Raghu Dasa sitting in the tree. The gardener im¬mediately ran to the King and told him that Raghu Dasa was steal¬ing jackfruit from his garden. "He is still there sitting on the top of the tree!" he told the King excitedly. The King could not believe that Raghu had entered his garden to steal jackfruit. So the King gathered his ministers and went to the spot where the gardener in¬dicated. He was surprised to see Raghu Dasa sitting in the tree and the jackfruit lying on the ground. On the request of the King, Raghu came down from the tree. The King asked Raghu, "My dear . Prabhu, if you desired to eat jackfruit, why have you gone to the trouble of coming to my garden in the middle of the night and climbing a tree? You could have told me. I would have picked the jackfruit and sent it to your house." Raghu told the King the whole story about how he was cheated by Lord Jagannath. Everyone enjoyed hearing the pastime of the Lord, and they all laughed. They glorified Raghu for his greatness. In this way, Raghu would have pastimes with Lord Jagannath in the mood of friendship.
A devotee gave an eye witness account of one lila of Raghu Dasa with Lord Jagannath. Once during the Ratha-yatra, the Lords had taken Their seats on the chariot. After the King swept the road, everything was ready for the chariot to move. Thousands of people pulled the rope, but the chariot would not move. Seeing the situa¬tion, the British Saheva arranged for a powerful elephant to pull the chariot. Still the chariot would not move. The Saheva told Raghu Dasa, "Raghu Dasji, what kind of Lord is this? I have engaged ele¬phants, yet this chariot will not move." Hearing this, Raghu climbed the chariot and went close to Lord Jagannath. He spoke into the Lord's ear. Immediately the chariot started to move. Saheva was surprised to see this. He told Raghu Dasa, "You are perfect and your Lord is also perfect." Wherever Raghu Dasa lived he would leave a pot full of prasada outside for anyone to take. He would take prasada from the same pot the animals and birds took from. This was his won¬derful nature. He was very dear to Lord Jagannath.
|Jaganatha prabhu in winter clothes|
Jayaram Singhari, a worshipper of Jagannath Temple, in the year 1963:
Jayaram Singhari was considered one of the most learned men in the society of worshipers in the present day. He did not have any educational degrees or diplomas but he had profound knowledge of the ancient epics of India. Many people coming from different parts of India revered him as their spiritual guide. He only ate Mahaprasad, the rice meal offered to Lord Jagannath. One day for some reason his sons did not bring it from the temple. Even though he had not taken any food all day, he never revealed his hunger. Only his wife knew. As she looked sad, Singhari consoled her, "He will give, He will send!" But at midnight who would give? All slept, his wife also.
After sometime there was a soft knock at the door. On opening the door, the old man found a banana leaf in which there were seven types of temple cakes! Nobody was there. The next morning when he narrated this happening, nobody believed him. All day long this miracle of Lord Jagannath was very much in mind. The next night a voice told Singhari in a dream, "Did you eat everything that was given?"
Jagannath and KANPATA HANUMAN
Sree Mandir has four gates. And in each Gate there stays Hanuman in a different forms performing a different service for his master. Hanuman protects the temple staying at the four gates.
In the western gate Lord Hanuman is around Four feet height and known as ‘KAN PATA HANUMAN’
In the east- where there is Lions Gate, Hanuman is worshipped there as ‘FATE HANUMAN’.
In the north gate Hanuman sits in padmasana, holding chakra in four hands, and is worshipped as ‘ASTABHUJA HANUMAN’.
In the south gate Hanuman is seven feet tall and worshipped as ‘BARA BHAI HANUMAN’.
There is a beautiful leela behind this western gate deity. This gate is near the temple of Maa Mahalaxmi.
It is said that Lord Jagannath remaining busy in his royal activities and listening to the lakhs of devotees come to him daily, does not find a moment to spend with his beloved wife Maa Lakshmidevi.
Apart from that maintaining the customs Lakshmidevi never comes to her husband’s place as because his elder brother is always present there.
When everything calms down following the traditions, during middle of the night, Lord Jagannath gets out to meet his wife.
Mahalaxmi is the daughter of the Ocean GOD. Shree Mandir is situated at the sea shore. The sound of the sea always creates a deep vibration. And again during night when everything is calm the sound of the sea is most vibrant and disturbing. That disturbed Lords romantic mood.But since Ocean God is HIS father in law HE never complained about it.
But toleration too, has a limit. One night Lord was very much disturbed by the sound of the sea and sarcastically commented on the ocean God’s lack of commonsense. Mahalaxmi did not utter a word but was hurt deep inside.
All romance starts and ends with Lord. He realized immediately that his dear wife was hurt by his words. He cajoled Mahalaxmi and next day ordered his dear one Hanuman, near the western gate to ensure that the sound of the sea never enters the meghanada pachery- the boundary wall of Sree Mandira.
Being ordered by his Master, Hanuman made the entire boundary wall sound proof and being explicitly loyal always put his ears on the wall to ensure that the sound of the sea has been seized.
As he has put his ears all the time to ensure the temple soundless- he is known as KANPATA HANUMAN.
It is an astonishing fact that during night when one stands before the temple listens the sound of the Sea. But most surprisingly the sound is never heard inside the temple.
That is the wonderful manifestation of GOD’s power.
Jagannath for the Belivers
There was once a great scholar in Mithila named Udayan Acharya. He was a great pandit in Naya philosophy. He was able to defeat everyone and establish his own verdict. No one dared to argue with him. Even learned Buddhist and Jain philosophers avoided meeting with him out of fear. Once, Udayan Acharya developed a desire to study Jagannath philosophy. He found in the Skanda Purana a verse that read: yatra sakhyat jagannadia sankha chakra gadadharah jantunam darsanat muktmi yo dadati kripanidh (Purushottama Mahatmya 7.30). Whoever takes darshan of Daru-Brahma Jagannath will immediately be liberated. Although Udayan had faith in Lord Jagannath, still he could not believe this statement. Yet he had a desire to examine the verse more thoroughly.
One time he travelled to Puri. He arrived at night and went to take rest, planning to go for darshan the following morning to see if he would get liberation like the verse said. Early the next morning, the head pujari came to the temple gate, but he could not open it. Others soon arrived, and all tried their best, but none could open the temple. No puja could be done, and there was no mangala-arati. A message was sent to the King, who came personally and tried to open the doors. Still they would not open. Everyone thought that a very sinful person had arrived in Puri whom the Lord did not want to see. For the entire day the doors remained shut. Finally everyone went home and took rest. During the night, Lord Jagannath appeared to the head pujari in his sleep and told him, "As long as this non-believer Udayan Acharya is in Puri, My door will not open. I am only available to those who have faith in Me. Faithless people cannot reach Me."
The next morning Udayan Acharya performed puja to his Salagram-sila. At that time the head pujari of the Jagannath temple, along with many others, arrived at Udayan Acharyas place. The pujari asked, "Are you Udayan Acharya from Mithila?" Udayan Acharya stood and replied, "Why, yes, I am." The pujari said to him, "You have no faith that one will attain liberation just by taking darshan of Lord Jagannath. That is why Lord Jagannath s temple did not open yesterday. As long as you remain here, His doors will not open." Udayan was surprised to hear this, and immediately understood his mistake. He said, "Due to one sinful person like me, so many people will be deprived of having darshan of Lord Jagannath. I must go myself to pray to the Lord for forgiveness. Let me see whether He listens to my prayer." Udayan Acharya went to the temple and, being very humble, he prayed to Lord Jagannath. Immediately the door of Lord Jagannaths temple opened, and everyone took darshan of the Lord.
Experience of Goswami Tulsidas:
Goswami Tulsidas was a great devotee of Lord Rama. He had heard that Sri Jagannath was an incarnation of Lord Rama. Once he decided to visit the Jagannath Temple to have darshan of his Lord Rama in the incarnation of Lord Jagannath. However, when he entered the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and saw the three deities, he was filled with a sense of disappointment. He could not sense the presence of Rama and came out with a feeling of disenchantment. As he was descending the steps of the temple known as Baishi Pahacha (Twenty-two Steps), a monkey came jumping and snatched away the shawl which covered his upper body.
Goswami did not know what to do. It was quite dark and he could not see anyone. Suddenly a person appeared, apparently out of nowhere. His face was glowing and his presence seemed divine. He asked the monkey to return the shawl to Goswami. The monkey promptly did so and the creature and Goswami’s benefactor disappeared. Goswami just stood there amazed at the incident. The entire sequence of events had left him searching for answers.
At night Goswami had a dream in which he heard his Lord’s voice. “I am surprised that you came back from the temple disappointed. How did you not feel my presence in the deity of Lord Jagannath? He and I are one and the same. The monkey who took your shawl was none other than Hanuman who just wished to give you a little shake-up whereas the man whom the monkey obeyed was none other than Vibhishana.
It is believed that even now, every night Vibhishana and Hanuman visit the temple of Lord Jagannath.
Next day Goswami Tulasidas returned to Sri Jagannath temple and sure enough he saw the presence of his Lord in the sanctum sanctorum.
By Hazuri Balabhadra,year 1940:
"I was standing on the roof of my house where the temple is more visible," reports Hazuri Balabhadra. It was 5 A.M. I have forgotten the date, but the month was July. I saw strange rays of light coming from the Chakra on top of the temple, like a clear line of brilliant light leaving the temple at high speed. This lasted for more than 10 minutes. Out of great curiosity, I asked my father, He replied, 'You are very lucky. Only you saw the vehicle of some other devas coming to Lord Jagannath.' "I am thrilled even now when I tell you this!" This story was told to the father of this writer in the year 1940
Jagannath is a living deity, more you look at him more you will fall in love with him. You will never get bored or tired looking at him even if you stand for hours looking at him. You look at Him, He looks at you with bigger eyes. You want to hug Him, He is right there with wide arms open embracing you altogether.
More you look at him your emotions will flow, You know he is seeing and listining to you. He is not a deity, He is an emotion. Jai Jagannath