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THE LEGEND OF LORD JAGANNĀTHA

Posted by Tattvavit dāsa | Jan 5, 2019 | Philosophy |

It is indeed interesting to know how the unique forms of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Lord Balarāma and Subhadrā as Jagannātha, Baladeva and Subhadrā have manifested and come to be worshipped. The Vedic texts like Skanda Purāṇa and others reveal two wonderful histories in this connection. We have reproduced a summary of these most sacred narrations. Just by reading them, one can purge great amounts of sinful reactions to one’s past misdeeds and attain love of God.
PART 1
The Manifestation of the Deities
THE SEARCH FOR NĪLA Madhava
Many billions of years ago, in the age of satya-yuga, a very pious king by the name Indradyumna ruled a tract of land known as Malava of which the capital was Avantī. He formed the twenty-fifth generation from the family lineage from Lord Brahmā and was a great devotee of Lord Viṣṇu.
Due to his intense devotion, he became very eager to meet the Lord face to face. Upon the arrangement of his royal priest, a brāhmaṇa came to the palace of the King Indradyumna and told him about an incarnation of Lord Viṣṇu named Nīla Mādhava (deity of Lord Nārāyaṇa made of indra-nīlamaṇi (blue sapphire)). The king then sent various brāhmaṇas out to search for Lord Nīla Mādhava. They all returned unsuccessful except a priest named Vidyāpati. After traveling for a while in the eastern direction, Vidyāpati came to an area inhabited by non-Āryan tribals called śabaras (pig rearers). He stayed at the house of a local chief, called Viśvavāsu. When he arrived Viśvavāsu was not there, but his daughter Lalitā was. Vidyāpati stayed there for some time and eventually married Lalitā, the daughter of the śabara.
Vidyāpati noticed a very peculiar behaviour of his host. Viśvavāsu would go out every day around noon and would return to the house at night scented with fragrances of sandalwood, camphor and musk. Vidyāpati asked his wife about this and she informed him that his father would go daily to worship Nīla Mādhava. Lalitā had been told by her father not to tell anyone about Nīla Mādhava, but she had overstepped that order by telling her husband. Vidyāpati repeatedly requested to see Nīla Mādhava.
VIŚVAVĀSU WAS CHEATED
Finally, Viśvavāsu bound Vidyāpati’s eyes and took him to see Nīla Mādhava. Vidyāpati secretly carried some mustard seeds in his cloth and he dropped them onto the path as he was walking. His plan was that he would later follow the trail of mustard plants that would grow there and find the way to the top of the Nīlacala mountain where Lord Nīla Mādhava resided.
When he reached Nīla Mādhava, the blindfold was removed and Vidyāpati saw Nīla Mādhava. Viśvavāsu went out to collect some forest flowers to worship and Vidyāpati stayed near the deity. During this time a crow fell off the branch of a tree into a nearby lake called Rohiṇī-kuṇḍa and drowned. It immediately took a four-armed Vaikuṇṭha form and started back to the spiritual world. Amazed by the power of the lake, Vidyāpati then climbed up onto a tree and was about to jump into the lake in order to go back to Godhead. A voice came from the sky saying “Since you have seen Nīla Mādhava, you should inform King Indradyumna.”
Viśvavāsu returned and started his daily worship of Nīla Mādhava. Suddenly the Lord spoke to him and said, “I have accepted for many days the simple forest flowers and roots offered to me by you. Now I desire the royal worship offered to me in devotion by King Indradyumna.” Viśvavāsu felt cheated by his son-in-law; therefore, he bound him up and kept in his house. It was only after repeated fervent requests by his daughter that he let him go.
“WHERE IS MY KINGDOM?”
The brāhmaṇa then immediately went to King Indradyumna and told him about his discovery. By following the trail of mustard plants, they were able to follow the path to Nīla Mādhava. But when they reached the spot, they could not find Him. King Indradyumna had the village besieged and arrested Viśvavāsu. Suddenly a voice came from the sky, “Release this śabara. On top of Nīla hill you should construct a temple. There I will manifest as Dāru-brahman (the Absolute Truth manifested in a wooden form). You will not see me as Nīla Mādhava.”
The King constructed a temple. The King wanted Lord Brahmā to consecrate the temple. So he travelled to Brahmaloka (the planet of Lord Brahmā) and waited there for him for about an hour as he was busy. After that, Lord Brahmā agreed to consecrate the temple. But when King Indradyumna returned to planet earth, he was amazed to see that the temple was totally covered by sand and there was no one in the kingdom that he knew and nor did anyone know him. He was greatly perplexed. He learnt that many aeons have passed since his departure. But he was away for only a while. He eventually understood that the relativity of time caused this to happen. As we learn from Bhagavad-gītā (8.17), Brahmā’s one day equals 4,320,000,000 earth years. Since he waited for an hour at Lord Brahmā’s planet, roughly about 180,000,000 years have passed on earth since his departure.
THE CONSECRATION CEREMONY
During this time the temple became covered by sand. One King Galamādhava uncovered the temple from the sand. Shortly afterwards, King Indradyumna returned from Brahmā’s abode. Indradyumna claimed that he had built the temple and Galamādhava also claimed the same thing. There was an old crow in the nearby banyan tree who was constantly singing the glories of Lord Rāma. The crow was so old that he had seen the construction of the temple and said that Indradyumna had built the temple and that Galamādhava had just uncovered it. Because he had not told the truth Galamādhava was ordered by Brahmā to live outside the temple compound on the western side of Indradyumna Sarovara Lake.
Indradyumna then requested Lord Brahmā to consecrate the temple and the surrounding area, which was called Śrī Kṣetra and gives the highest type of liberation. Lord Brahmā told him that Śrī Kṣetra is manifested by the Supreme Lord’s internal potency and that the Supreme Lord manifests Himself. Therefore he could not install the Lord there as Lord Jagannātha and His abode are eternally situated in the material world. He said he would install the flag on the temple and that anyone who sees this flag and offers prostrated obeisance would easily be liberated.
THE MYSTERIOUS SCULPTOR
After a while King Indradyumna became frustrated with not seeing Nīla Mādhava. He decided to lie on a bed of kuśa grass and to fast until death. The Lord came to him in a dream and told him that He shall come floating from the sea in His wooden form as Dāru-brahman at the place called Bakimuhan.
The King went to this place and saw a huge piece of wood which had the marks of a conch, club, disc and lotus on it. Many men and elephants tried to move Dāru-brahman, but they could not move Him. That night Lord Jagannātha spoke to Indradyumna in a dream and told him to bring Viśvavāsu, who used to serve Nīla Mādhava and bring a golden chariot in front of Dāru-brahman. The king did this and Dāru-brahman easily was placed onto the chariot.
Lord Brahmā then performed a sacrifice and established a Deity of Nṛsiṁhadeva on the raised platform of the sacrificial arena. It is said that the Deity of Nṛsiṁha in the present temple compound, which is on the western side of the mukti-maṇḍapa (the altar of liberation), is the original Nṛsiṁha Deity.
King Indradyumna had the best sculptors come to carve the Deity of Lord Jagannātha from Dāru-brahman. As soon as they started, their chisels broke to pieces. According to the Nārada Purāṇa, Viśvakarma, the architect of the demigods, took the form of an old brāhmaṇa and carved the deities by the desire of Lord Viṣṇu, but under certain conditions. He said that if he was able to work behind closed doors for 21 days then the deities could be carved. The old sculptor then took Dāru-brahman into the temple and the doors were closed. After 14 days passed, the king could not hear any sounds of the artist’s tools and he became very anxious. Then, upon the persistent requests of his wife, the king then personally opened the door of the temple.
The King did not see the sculptor, but instead he saw the three forms of Lord Jagannātha, Subhadrā and Lord Balarāma. Their fingers and toes were unfinished. Thinking himself a great offender the king decided to give up his life. He then lay on a bed of kuśa grass and began to fast. Lord Jagannātha appeared to him in a dream. He told the king that He is eternally situated therein Nīlacala in the form of Lord Jagannātha as Dāru-brahman. In the material world, I descended in 24 deity incarnations along with My abode. I have no material hands and feet, but with my transcendental senses I accept all the items offered by My devotees. The fact that you broke your promise is part of the pastime for me to manifest in the form of Jagannātha. Those devotees whose eyes are smeared with the salve of love will always see Me as Śyāmasundara, holding a flute.”
OPULENT SERVICE FOR THE LORD
Lord Jagannātha further instructed the king thus, “Those in the family of the sculptor who manifested My form will continue to assist in constructing the three carts during the Ratha Yātrā festival. He also told him that the descendants of Viśvavāsu, who served Me as Nīla Mādhava, should serve Me generations after generations. They shall be called as dayitās. The descendants of Vidyāpati born from his brāhmaṇa wife should perform My Deity worship and will be called pāṇḍas. The descendants born from his śabari wife, Lalitā, should cook My food. They shall be known as suyaras.”
King Indradyumna then requested Lord Jagannātha, that the doors of the temple should be closed only 3 hours a day. The King also requested that he would not have any descendants, so that no one in the future would claim the temple of Lord Jagannātha as their own property.
It is said in the Nārada Purāṇa (Uttara Khaṇḍa 52.123), that the Supreme Lord Nārāyaṇa told Lakṣmī-devī: “In that great abode known as Puruṣottama-Kṣetra, which is rarely achieved among all the three worlds, the Keśava deity, who was fashioned by Myself is situated. If men simply see that deity, they will be easily able to come to My abode.”
PART 2
The Confidential Origin of the Unique Forms
There is a very confidential reason to confirm why Their forms are like this. In fact, Lord Jagannātha, Baladeva and Subhadrā are neither deformed nor incomplete forms. Rather, They are eternal, super-complete forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These forms did not manifest just because the queen forced King Indradyumna to open the door prematurely. Actually, the Lord had previously manifested this most beautiful form to His devotees. The Vaiṣṇavas understand and appreciate this loving reciprocation between the Lord and His devotees, and they relish the following pastime describing the real reason the Lord appears as the special form of Jagannātha.
THE QUEENS’ PUZZLE
Lord Kṛṣṇa resided in Dvārakā along with His 16,108 wives. All of them were incomparably beautiful and served the Lord with extreme love and care. Though the queens engaged in intense service to satisfy their divine husband, still Lord Kṛṣṇa always meditated on Vṛndāvana. He constantly remembered the residents of Vṛndāvana, especially the gopīs (cowherd girls) and the gopās (cowherd boys), and He longingly recalled the pastimes He shared with them. Feeling transcendental separation from Vṛndāvana, sometimes Lord Kṛṣṇa would seem indifferent to everything. The Lord frequently cried out in His sleep, “Rādhe, Rādhe! Gopī! Gopī!” All this disturbed His wives immensely. The queens of Dvārakā thought, “What is happening? Even if we serve the Lord so nicely, why does He always talk about and remember Vṛndāvana?”
The great saint Nārada Muni who travels the entire universe, came into the assembly of Kṛṣṇa’s 16,108 wives. He offered them his respects and began to glorify them saying how they were the best servants of Kṛṣṇa and the most glorious devotees in the entire universe. But by the way he arranged his words in saying so, he meant two things and the queens could understand the other meaning — that Kṛṣṇa really wants to return to Vṛndāvana and taste the love of the gopīs. The queens became curious to know about the Lord’s pastimes in Vṛndāvana. What happened so special there that had so tightly captured the heart of the Lord?
THE SECRET MEETING
Prompted by Nārada Muni, Kṛṣṇa’s wives began asking Balarāma’s mother Rohiṇī, who was also in the assembly, to tell them about Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in Vṛndāvana as she had witnessed them personally. Mother Rohiṇī understood their eagerness and said she would narrate them on the condition that Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma not hear her descriptions. She added that if They heard, it would be a big problem.
One day, when Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma had gone to attend to Their royal duties, all the queens eagerly took the opportunity of Their absence. They all gathered in one big hall and requested Mother Rohiṇī to narrate Kṛṣṇa’s Vṛndāvana pastimes. To make sure that the Brothers could not listen, Mother Rohiṇī instructed Subhadrā to serve as the door keeper. Subhadrā would signal to Mother Rohiṇī if Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma arrived on the scene. Now, everything was ready. All of the queens gathered in great excitement. Subhadrā stood at the gate and stretched her hands so that no one could enter inside, specifically Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma.
THE CHARM OF VṚNDĀVANA
Remembering her dear friend Yaśodā, the foster mother of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Rohiṇī then began to speak about Kṛṣṇa’s wonderful pastimes in Vṛndāvana. She described how the residents of Vṛndāvana only know Kṛṣṇa as their son, their beloved or their friend. Mother Rohiṇī told the queens, “You sometimes think that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, and you can see His four-handed form.” She described how in Vṛndāvana this idea is never present.
The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana see Kṛṣṇa as the most beautiful and charming boy who is dancing and playing on His flute and attracting their hearts irresistibly. His majestic turban is decorated with peacock feathers. He loves, and is loved by, all the cowherd boys and girls without the slightest trace of knowledge of His unlimited greatness. Such love is characterized by unparalleled intimacy and is love of God in its most complete and purest form, transcending the obstacles of awe and veneration that result from awareness of His infinite opulences. Whether they be the greatest of sages, the greatest of demigods or even the inhabitants of Vaikuṇṭha, none are able to enter into the mysteries of these most confidential of devotional mellows of the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana. Out of all of them, the gopīs’ love is the best. Even among them, the devotion of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is so most superexcellent that it completely captures the heart of Kṛṣṇa in completely unimaginable ways. There is no end to the glories of the gopīs’ devotion to Kṛṣṇa so much so that He frankly admitted to them that He, who is the proprietor of limitless opulences and the Lord of millions of goddesses of fortune, felt like a pauper and was unable to repay them for Their devotion.
STRANGE SYMPTOMS
As Mother Rohiṇī continued her descriptions of the uniquely wonderful Vṛndāvana pastimes, which were so pleasing and ecstatic, the queens heard with rapt attention and all of them lost their external senses. Subhadrā, although officially engaged in guarding the gate, could not miss the opportunity to hear Lord Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. Like the queens, she too lost her external senses.
Although Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were busy attending a meeting, They, being the Supreme Personalities of Godhead, could understand that Mother Rohiṇī was describing Their Vṛndāvana pastimes. In overwhelming greed to hear those descriptions, the Brothers suddenly left their royal assembly and ran to the place where Rohiṇī-devī and the queens were gathered.
When They reached the door, They found Subhadrā standing at the gate on security duty. Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma stood on both sides of Subhadrā and instantly became absorbed in Mother Rohiṇī’s descriptions. Since Subhadrā was fully engrossed in hearing and had lost her external senses, she did not perceive the presence of the Lords. Just by hearing those stories Kṛṣṇa became overwhelmed with intense feelings of separation for Vṛndāvana. He was so completely absorbed in hearing the Vṛndāvana pastimes, that His heart began to melt. As the Three became enraptured by hearing of the pastimes, great ecstatic transformations called aṣṭa-sāttvika-vikāra manifested in Their bodies. These uncommon bodily symptoms are caused by the highest state of devotional ecstasy called mahā-bhāva that is unknown to anyone except the gopīs. Lost in a state of wonder, Their Lordships’ eyes became big and dilated, and Their hands and legs disappeared inside Their bodies. Their hands and legs shrunken in that way, Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and Subhadrā looked just like the deities in the Jagannatha Purī temple.
BY NĀRADA MUNI’S MERCY…
At this time, Nārada Muni came to that spot. From a far distance he could see the three forms of Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and Subhadrā. As he approached Them, Kṛṣṇa, along with His brother Balarāma and sister Subhadrā came to Their external senses. Their bodies manifested Their normal forms. They wound up that mahā-bhāva which had manifested Their special forms.
Nārada Muni danced with his arms raised in great bliss. “I have seen it! My Lord, You are trying to hide from me, but I have witnessed the most wonderful of Your forms! I am so fortunate. My dear Lord, I have seen so many of Your amazing, transcendental forms. But I have never seen this beautiful form! I humbly pray that You manifest this most auspicious form somewhere in this world so that everyone can take darśana (have audience) of Your most special mahā-bhāva-prakāśa-rūpa (the embodiment of devotional ecstasy).” To fulfill the desire of His devotee Nārada Muni, Lord Kṛṣṇa manifested this form and eternally resides in the famous temple at Śrī Kṣetra, Puruṣottama-dhāma, also known as Jagannātha Purī.
EPILOGUE
One may wonder that the deity of Jagannātha appeared billions of years ago and the pastimes of Vṛndāvana happened only 5,000 years ago. How were the deities fashioned much before the actual pastime? The answer is that all the pastimes of the Lord are called nitya-līlā or eternal pastimes and are always continuously going on in some universe or another and also regularly in this universe. It is not that Lord Kṛṣṇa descended to this world only 5,000 years ago. He has descended many times. In every day of Lord Brahmā, Lord Kṛṣṇa appears once. That is, once in 8,640,000,000 earth years He descends and manifests all His pastimes again and again on this earth. Just as 7am occurs everyday of our lives, the pastimes of the Lord happen everyday of Lord Brahmā.
If we are asked, “Which occured first? Winter or summer?” They are regular occurences and it is not that noe happened one after the other. Similarly, the pastimes of the Lord occur in a regular fashion. And the same pastimes are eternally manifest in the Goloka Vṛndāvana, the highest Vaikuṇṭha planet in the spiritual sky. So there is absolutely no contradiction in the chronology although there appears to be from our limited vision. [End]
Many billions of years ago, in the age of satya-yuga, a very pious king by the name Indradyumna ruled a tract of land known as Malava of which the capital was Avantī. He formed the twenty-fifth generation from the family lineage from Lord Brahmā and was a great devotee of Lord Viṣṇu.
Due to his intense devotion, he became very eager to meet the Lord face to face. Upon the arrangement of his royal priest, a brāhmaṇa came to the palace of the King Indradyumna and told him about an incarnation of Lord Viṣṇu named Nīla Mādhava (deity of Lord Nārāyaṇa made of indra-nīlamaṇi (blue sapphire)). The king then sent various brāhmaṇas out to search for Lord Nīla Mādhava. They all returned unsuccessful except a priest named Vidyāpati. After traveling for a while in the eastern direction, Vidyāpati came to an area inhabited by non-Āryan tribals called śabaras (pig rearers). He stayed at the house of a local chief, called Viśvavāsu. When he arrived Viśvavāsu was not there, but his daughter Lalitā was. Vidyāpati stayed there for some time and eventually married Lalitā, the daughter of the śabara.
Vidyāpati noticed a very peculiar behaviour of his host. Viśvavāsu would go out every day around noon and would return to the house at night scented with fragrances of sandalwood, camphor and musk. Vidyāpati asked his wife about this and she informed him that his father would go daily to worship Nīla Mādhava. Lalitā had been told by her father not to tell anyone about Nīla Mādhava, but she had overstepped that order by telling her husband. Vidyāpati repeatedly requested to see Nīla Mādhava.
VIŚVAVĀSU WAS CHEATED
Finally, Viśvavāsu bound Vidyāpati’s eyes and took him to see Nīla Mādhava. Vidyāpati secretly carried some mustard seeds in his cloth and he dropped them onto the path as he was walking. His plan was that he would later follow the trail of mustard plants that would grow there and find the way to the top of the Nīlacala mountain where Lord Nīla Mādhava resided.
When he reached Nīla Mādhava, the blindfold was removed and Vidyāpati saw Nīla Mādhava. Viśvavāsu went out to collect some forest flowers to worship and Vidyāpati stayed near the deity. During this time a crow fell off the branch of a tree into a nearby lake called Rohiṇī-kuṇḍa and drowned. It immediately took a four-armed Vaikuṇṭha form and started back to the spiritual world. Amazed by the power of the lake, Vidyāpati then climbed up onto a tree and was about to jump into the lake in order to go back to Godhead. A voice came from the sky saying “Since you have seen Nīla Mādhava, you should inform King Indradyumna.”
Viśvavāsu returned and started his daily worship of Nīla Mādhava. Suddenly the Lord spoke to him and said, “I have accepted for many days the simple forest flowers and roots offered to me by you. Now I desire the royal worship offered to me in devotion by King Indradyumna.” Viśvavāsu felt cheated by his son-in-law; therefore, he bound him up and kept in his house. It was only after repeated fervent requests by his daughter that he let him go.
“WHERE IS MY KINGDOM?”
The brāhmaṇa then immediately went to King Indradyumna and told him about his discovery. By following the trail of mustard plants, they were able to follow the path to Nīla Mādhava. But when they reached the spot, they could not find Him. King Indradyumna had the village besieged and arrested Viśvavāsu. Suddenly a voice came from the sky, “Release this śabara. On top of Nīla hill you should construct a temple. There I will manifest as Dāru-brahman (the Absolute Truth manifested in a wooden form). You will not see me as Nīla Mādhava.”
The King constructed a temple. The King wanted Lord Brahmā to consecrate the temple. So he travelled to Brahmaloka (the planet of Lord Brahmā) and waited there for him for about an hour as he was busy. After that, Lord Brahmā agreed to consecrate the temple. But when King Indradyumna returned to planet earth, he was amazed to see that the temple was totally covered by sand and there was no one in the kingdom that he knew and nor did anyone know him. He was greatly perplexed. He learnt that many aeons have passed since his departure. But he was away for only a while. He eventually understood that the relativity of time caused this to happen. As we learn from Bhagavad-gītā (8.17), Brahmā’s one day equals 4,320,000,000 earth years. Since he waited for an hour at Lord Brahmā’s planet, roughly about 180,000,000 years have passed on earth since his departure.
THE CONSECRATION CEREMONY
During this time the temple became covered by sand. One King Galamādhava uncovered the temple from the sand. Shortly afterwards, King Indradyumna returned from Brahmā’s abode. Indradyumna claimed that he had built the temple and Galamādhava also claimed the same thing. There was an old crow in the nearby banyan tree who was constantly singing the glories of Lord Rāma. The crow was so old that he had seen the construction of the temple and said that Indradyumna had built the temple and that Galamādhava had just uncovered it. Because he had not told the truth Galamādhava was ordered by Brahmā to live outside the temple compound on the western side of Indradyumna Sarovara Lake.
Indradyumna then requested Lord Brahmā to consecrate the temple and the surrounding area, which was called Śrī Kṣetra and gives the highest type of liberation. Lord Brahmā told him that Śrī Kṣetra is manifested by the Supreme Lord’s internal potency and that the Supreme Lord manifests Himself. Therefore he could not install the Lord there as Lord Jagannātha and His abode are eternally situated in the material world. He said he would install the flag on the temple and that anyone who sees this flag and offers prostrated obeisance would easily be liberated.
THE MYSTERIOUS SCULPTOR
After a while King Indradyumna became frustrated with not seeing Nīla Mādhava. He decided to lie on a bed of kuśa grass and to fast until death. The Lord came to him in a dream and told him that He shall come floating from the sea in His wooden form as Dāru-brahman at the place called Bakimuhan.
The King went to this place and saw a huge piece of wood which had the marks of a conch, club, disc and lotus on it. Many men and elephants tried to move Dāru-brahman, but they could not move Him. That night Lord Jagannātha spoke to Indradyumna in a dream and told him to bring Viśvavāsu, who used to serve Nīla Mādhava and bring a golden chariot in front of Dāru-brahman. The king did this and Dāru-brahman easily was placed onto the chariot.
Lord Brahmā then performed a sacrifice and established a Deity of Nṛsiṁhadeva on the raised platform of the sacrificial arena. It is said that the Deity of Nṛsiṁha in the present temple compound, which is on the western side of the mukti-maṇḍapa (the altar of liberation), is the original Nṛsiṁha Deity.
King Indradyumna had the best sculptors come to carve the Deity of Lord Jagannātha from Dāru-brahman. As soon as they started, their chisels broke to pieces. According to the Nārada Purāṇa, Viśvakarma, the architect of the demigods, took the form of an old brāhmaṇa and carved the deities by the desire of Lord Viṣṇu, but under certain conditions. He said that if he was able to work behind closed doors for 21 days then the deities could be carved. The old sculptor then took Dāru-brahman into the temple and the doors were closed. After 14 days passed, the king could not hear any sounds of the artist’s tools and he became very anxious. Then, upon the persistent requests of his wife, the king then personally opened the door of the temple.
The King did not see the sculptor, but instead he saw the three forms of Lord Jagannātha, Subhadrā and Lord Balarāma. Their fingers and toes were unfinished. Thinking himself a great offender the king decided to give up his life. He then lay on a bed of kuśa grass and began to fast. Lord Jagannātha appeared to him in a dream. He told the king that He is eternally situated therein Nīlacala in the form of Lord Jagannātha as Dāru-brahman. In the material world, I descended in 24 deity incarnations along with My abode. I have no material hands and feet, but with my transcendental senses I accept all the items offered by My devotees. The fact that you broke your promise is part of the pastime for me to manifest in the form of Jagannātha. Those devotees whose eyes are smeared with the salve of love will always see Me as Śyāmasundara, holding a flute.”
OPULENT SERVICE FOR THE LORD
Lord Jagannātha further instructed the king thus, “Those in the family of the sculptor who manifested My form will continue to assist in constructing the three carts during the Ratha Yātrā festival. He also told him that the descendants of Viśvavāsu, who served Me as Nīla Mādhava, should serve Me generations after generations. They shall be called as dayitās. The descendants of Vidyāpati born from his brāhmaṇa wife should perform My Deity worship and will be called pāṇḍas. The descendants born from his śabari wife, Lalitā, should cook My food. They shall be known as suyaras.”
King Indradyumna then requested Lord Jagannātha, that the doors of the temple should be closed only 3 hours a day. The King also requested that he would not have any descendants, so that no one in the future would claim the temple of Lord Jagannātha as their own property.
It is said in the Nārada Purāṇa (Uttara Khaṇḍa 52.123), that the Supreme Lord Nārāyaṇa told Lakṣmī-devī: “In that great abode known as Puruṣottama-Kṣetra, which is rarely achieved among all the three worlds, the Keśava deity, who was fashioned by Myself is situated. If men simply see that deity, they will be easily able to come to My abode.”
PART 2
The Confidential Origin of the Unique Forms
There is a very confidential reason to confirm why Their forms are like this. In fact, Lord Jagannātha, Baladeva and Subhadrā are neither deformed nor incomplete forms. Rather, They are eternal, super-complete forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These forms did not manifest just because the queen forced King Indradyumna to open the door prematurely. Actually, the Lord had previously manifested this most beautiful form to His devotees. The Vaiṣṇavas understand and appreciate this loving reciprocation between the Lord and His devotees, and they relish the following pastime describing the real reason the Lord appears as the special form of Jagannātha.
THE QUEENS’ PUZZLE
Lord Kṛṣṇa resided in Dvārakā along with His 16,108 wives. All of them were incomparably beautiful and served the Lord with extreme love and care. Though the queens engaged in intense service to satisfy their divine husband, still Lord Kṛṣṇa always meditated on Vṛndāvana. He constantly remembered the residents of Vṛndāvana, especially the gopīs (cowherd girls) and the gopās (cowherd boys), and He longingly recalled the pastimes He shared with them. Feeling transcendental separation from Vṛndāvana, sometimes Lord Kṛṣṇa would seem indifferent to everything. The Lord frequently cried out in His sleep, “Rādhe, Rādhe! Gopī! Gopī!” All this disturbed His wives immensely. The queens of Dvārakā thought, “What is happening? Even if we serve the Lord so nicely, why does He always talk about and remember Vṛndāvana?”
The great saint Nārada Muni who travels the entire universe, came into the assembly of Kṛṣṇa’s 16,108 wives. He offered them his respects and began to glorify them saying how they were the best servants of Kṛṣṇa and the most glorious devotees in the entire universe. But by the way he arranged his words in saying so, he meant two things and the queens could understand the other meaning — that Kṛṣṇa really wants to return to Vṛndāvana and taste the love of the gopīs. The queens became curious to know about the Lord’s pastimes in Vṛndāvana. What happened so special there that had so tightly captured the heart of the Lord?
THE SECRET MEETING
Prompted by Nārada Muni, Kṛṣṇa’s wives began asking Balarāma’s mother Rohiṇī, who was also in the assembly, to tell them about Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in Vṛndāvana as she had witnessed them personally. Mother Rohiṇī understood their eagerness and said she would narrate them on the condition that Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma not hear her descriptions. She added that if They heard, it would be a big problem.
One day, when Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma had gone to attend to Their royal duties, all the queens eagerly took the opportunity of Their absence. They all gathered in one big hall and requested Mother Rohiṇī to narrate Kṛṣṇa’s Vṛndāvana pastimes. To make sure that the Brothers could not listen, Mother Rohiṇī instructed Subhadrā to serve as the door keeper. Subhadrā would signal to Mother Rohiṇī if Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma arrived on the scene. Now, everything was ready. All of the queens gathered in great excitement. Subhadrā stood at the gate and stretched her hands so that no one could enter inside, specifically Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma.
THE CHARM OF VṚNDĀVANA
Remembering her dear friend Yaśodā, the foster mother of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Rohiṇī then began to speak about Kṛṣṇa’s wonderful pastimes in Vṛndāvana. She described how the residents of Vṛndāvana only know Kṛṣṇa as their son, their beloved or their friend. Mother Rohiṇī told the queens, “You sometimes think that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, and you can see His four-handed form.” She described how in Vṛndāvana this idea is never present.
The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana see Kṛṣṇa as the most beautiful and charming boy who is dancing and playing on His flute and attracting their hearts irresistibly. His majestic turban is decorated with peacock feathers. He loves, and is loved by, all the cowherd boys and girls without the slightest trace of knowledge of His unlimited greatness. Such love is characterized by unparalleled intimacy and is love of God in its most complete and purest form, transcending the obstacles of awe and veneration that result from awareness of His infinite opulences. Whether they be the greatest of sages, the greatest of demigods or even the inhabitants of Vaikuṇṭha, none are able to enter into the mysteries of these most confidential of devotional mellows of the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana. Out of all of them, the gopīs’ love is the best. Even among them, the devotion of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is so most superexcellent that it completely captures the heart of Kṛṣṇa in completely unimaginable ways. There is no end to the glories of the gopīs’ devotion to Kṛṣṇa so much so that He frankly admitted to them that He, who is the proprietor of limitless opulences and the Lord of millions of goddesses of fortune, felt like a pauper and was unable to repay them for Their devotion.
STRANGE SYMPTOMS
As Mother Rohiṇī continued her descriptions of the uniquely wonderful Vṛndāvana pastimes, which were so pleasing and ecstatic, the queens heard with rapt attention and all of them lost their external senses. Subhadrā, although officially engaged in guarding the gate, could not miss the opportunity to hear Lord Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. Like the queens, she too lost her external senses.
Although Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were busy attending a meeting, They, being the Supreme Personalities of Godhead, could understand that Mother Rohiṇī was describing Their Vṛndāvana pastimes. In overwhelming greed to hear those descriptions, the Brothers suddenly left their royal assembly and ran to the place where Rohiṇī-devī and the queens were gathered.
When They reached the door, They found Subhadrā standing at the gate on security duty. Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma stood on both sides of Subhadrā and instantly became absorbed in Mother Rohiṇī’s descriptions. Since Subhadrā was fully engrossed in hearing and had lost her external senses, she did not perceive the presence of the Lords. Just by hearing those stories Kṛṣṇa became overwhelmed with intense feelings of separation for Vṛndāvana. He was so completely absorbed in hearing the Vṛndāvana pastimes, that His heart began to melt. As the Three became enraptured by hearing of the pastimes, great ecstatic transformations called aṣṭa-sāttvika-vikāra manifested in Their bodies. These uncommon bodily symptoms are caused by the highest state of devotional ecstasy called mahā-bhāva that is unknown to anyone except the gopīs. Lost in a state of wonder, Their Lordships’ eyes became big and dilated, and Their hands and legs disappeared inside Their bodies. Their hands and legs shrunken in that way, Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and Subhadrā looked just like the deities in the Jagannatha Purī temple.
BY NĀRADA MUNI’S MERCY…
At this time, Nārada Muni came to that spot. From a far distance he could see the three forms of Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and Subhadrā. As he approached Them, Kṛṣṇa, along with His brother Balarāma and sister Subhadrā came to Their external senses. Their bodies manifested Their normal forms. They wound up that mahā-bhāva which had manifested Their special forms.
Nārada Muni danced with his arms raised in great bliss. “I have seen it! My Lord, You are trying to hide from me, but I have witnessed the most wonderful of Your forms! I am so fortunate. My dear Lord, I have seen so many of Your amazing, transcendental forms. But I have never seen this beautiful form! I humbly pray that You manifest this most auspicious form somewhere in this world so that everyone can take darśana (have audience) of Your most special mahā-bhāva-prakāśa-rūpa (the embodiment of devotional ecstasy).” To fulfill the desire of His devotee Nārada Muni, Lord Kṛṣṇa manifested this form and eternally resides in the famous temple at Śrī Kṣetra, Puruṣottama-dhāma, also known as Jagannātha Purī.
EPILOGUE
One may wonder that the deity of Jagannātha appeared billions of years ago and the pastimes of Vṛndāvana happened only 5,000 years ago. How were the deities fashioned much before the actual pastime? The answer is that all the pastimes of the Lord are called nitya-līlā or eternal pastimes and are always continuously going on in some universe or another and also regularly in this universe. It is not that Lord Kṛṣṇa descended to this world only 5,000 years ago. He has descended many times. In every day of Lord Brahmā, Lord Kṛṣṇa appears once. That is, once in 8,640,000,000 earth years He descends and manifests all His pastimes again and again on this earth. Just as 7am occurs everyday of our lives, the pastimes of the Lord happen everyday of Lord Brahmā.
If we are asked, “Which occured first? Winter or summer?” They are regular occurences and it is not that noe happened one after the other. Similarly, the pastimes of the Lord occur in a regular fashion. And the same pastimes are eternally manifest in the Goloka Vṛndāvana, the highest Vaikuṇṭha planet in the spiritual sky. So there is absolutely no contradiction in the chronology although there appears to be from our limited vision. [End]
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10Jignesh Teji, Mayadass Brijmohunand8 others
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