Hinduism,Cosmos ,Sanatan Dharma.Ancient Hinduism science.
King Indradyumna was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu and was eager to meet him face to face. Once a brahmana came to the palace of the King Indrayumna and told him about an incarnation of Lord Vishnu named Nila Madhava. The king then sent different brahmanas out to search for Lord Nila Madhava. They all returned unsuccessful except a priest named Vidyapati. After traveling for a while Vidyapati came to an area inhabited by non-Aryans called sabaras. He stayed at the house of a local chief, called Visvavasu. When he arrived Visvavasu was not there, but his daughter Lalita was. Vidyapati stayed there for some time and eventually married Lalita, the daughter of the Sabara.
Vidyapati noticed some peculiar behaviour of his host. Visvavasu would go out every day around noon and would return back to the house scented with fragrances of sandalwood, camphor and musk. Vidyapati asked his wife about this and she informed him that his father would go daily to worship Nila Madhava. Lalita had been told by her father not to tell anyone about Nila Madhava, but she had overstepped that order by telling her husband. Vidyapati repeatedly requested to see Nila Madhava. Finally Visvavasu bound Vidyapati’s eyes and took him to see Nila Madhava. Vidyapati secretly carried some mustard seeds in his cloth and he dropped them onto the path as he was walking. When he reached Nila Madhava, the blind fold was removed and Vidyapati saw Nila Madhava. Visvavasu went out to collect some forest flowers to worship and Vidyapati stayed near the Deity. During this time a crow fell off the branch of a tree into a nearby lake and drowned. It immediately took a four armed Vaikuntha form and started back to the spiritual world. Vidyapati then climbed up onto the tree and was about to jump into the lake. A voice came from the sky and said “Since you have seen Nila Madhava, you should inform King Indradyumna.”
Visvavasu returned and started his daily worship of Nila Madhava. 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.” Visvavasu felt cheated by his son-in-law; therefore, he bound him up and kept in his house. After repeatedly being requested by his daughter he let him go.
The brahmana then went to King Indradyumna and told him about his discovery. By following the mustard seeds, which had grown into small plants, they were able to follow the path to Nila Madhava. When they reached the spot, they could not find him. King Indradyumna had the village besieged and arrested Visvavasu. Suddenly a voice came from the sky, “Release this sabara. On top of Nila hill you should construct a temple. There I will manifest as Daru-brahman (the Absolute Truth manifested in a wooden form). You will not see me as Nila Madhava.
The King constructed a temple. The King wanted Lord Brahma to consecrate the temple. So he travelled to Brahmaloka and waited there for him. During this time the temple became covered by sand. While he was gone, first Suradeva and then Galamadhava became king of the area. King Galamadhava uncovered the temple from the sand. Shortly afterwards, King Indradyumna return from Brahma’s abode. Indradyumna claimed that he had built the temple and Galamadhava also claimed the same thing. There was an old crow in the nearby banyan tree who was constantly singing the glories of Lord Rama. The crow had seen the construction of the temple and said that Indradyumna had built the temple and that Galamadhava had just uncovered it. Because he had not told the truth Galamadhava was ordered by Brahma to live outside the temple compound on the western side of Indradyumna Sarovara Lake.
Indradyumna then asked Lord Brahma to consecrate the temple and the surrounding area, which was called Sri Kshetra and gives the highest type of liberation. Lord Brahma told him that Sri Kshetra is manifested by the Supreme Lord’s internal potency and that the Supreme Lord manifests Himself. Therefore he could not install the Lord here, but Lord Jagannath 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.
After a while King Indradyumna became frustrated with not seeing Nila Madhava. He decided to lie on a bed of Kusa grass and to fast until death. Lord Jagannath came to him in a dream and told him I shall come floating from the sea in my wooden form as Daru-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 Daru-brahman, but they could not move Him. That night Lord Jagannatha spoke to Indradyumna in a dream and told him to bring Visvavasu, who used to serve Nila Madhava and bring a golden chariot in front of Daru-brahman. The king did this and Daru-brahman easily was placed onto the chariot.
Lord Brahma then performed a sacrifice and established a Deity of Narasimhadeva on the raised platform of the sacrifice arena. It is said that the Deity of Narasimha in the present temple compound, which is on the western side of the Mukti-Mandapa, is the original Narasimha Deity.
King Indradyumna had the best sculptors come to carve the Deity of Lord Jagannath from Daru-brahman. As soon as they started their chisels broke to pieces. The Supreme Lord Himself came in Disguise as an old artist who called Himself Ananta Maharana (According to the Narada Purana, Visvakarma, the architect of the demigods carved the Deities by the desire of Lord Vishnu, who took the form of an old brahmana). 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 Daru-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 fully anxious. The king then personally opened the door of the temple by force.
The King did not see the sculptor, but instead he saw the three forms of Lord Jagannath, Subhadra and Lord Balarama. 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 Kusa grass and began to fast. Lord Jagannath appeared to him in a dream. He told the king that He is eternally situated here in Nilachala in the form of Lord Jagannath as Daru-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 Jagannath. Those devotees whose eyes are smeared with the salve of love will always see Me as Syamasundara, holding a flute.
The King prayed to Lord Jagannath that those in the family of the sculptor who manifested your form will continue to assist in constructing the three carts. He also told him that the descendants of Visvavasu, who served Me as Nila Madhava, should generations after generations serve Me. They shall be called as dayitas. The descendants of Vidyapati born from his brahmana wife should perform the Deity worship to me. The descendants born from his sabari wife, Lalita, should cook My food. They shall be known as suyaras.
King Indradyumna then requested Lord Jagannath, 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 Jagannath as their own property.
It is said in the Narada Purana (Uttara Khanda 52.123), that the Supreme Lord Narayana told Lakshmi Devi: “In that great abode known as Purushottama-kshetra, which is rarely achieved among all the three worlds, the Kesava Deity, who was fashioned by the Supreme Lord Himself is situated. If men simply see that Deity, they will be easily able to come to My abode.”
In Skanda-Purana (Utkala-khanda) it is mentioned that this most beautiful Sri Kshetra is spread over 10 yojanas (128km or 80 miles) and surrounded by sands. Utkala is another name of Orissa. Utkala is described in scriptures as the most holy place on this planet. Utkala is divided into four parts which represent the weapons of Lord Vishnu. These four kshetras are known as Sankha-kshetra (Puri town), Padma-kshetra (Konark), Cakra-kshetra (Bhubaneswar) and Gada-kshetra(Jajapura, where the Viraja Devi temple is). Within this area of 10 yojanas, Puri is known as Sankha-kshetra because its shape resembles a conch shell. This Puri-kshetra covers an area of 5 krosa, 3 of which are immersed under the ocean, and 2 on land. This land is covered with golden sands and deChorated with a blue mountain. The Lord Himself in His arca-vigraha form is residing here on the bank of the ocean atop the blue mountain. Sankha-kshetra spreads from east to west. Its head is towards west where Lokanatha Mahadeva resides.
References and mention of Jagannath have been found in numerous religious texts and semi-religious literary works.
The most ancient reference is found in the 3rd rca of the 155th sukta in the 10th Mandala of the Rig veda. In a sukta there is reference to sacred log (Daru) which runs as thus:
“Ado yad daru plavate sindhoh pare apurusam,
Tada rabhasva durhano, tena gaccha parastaram.” (10.155.3 R.V.)
Vedic Commentator Sayanacharya has ascribed this sukta to Jagannath in the following manner,: “The exists on sea-shore in a far off place, the wooden image of a deity with name Purusottama;
O ye, by worshipping that wood so indestructible, attain the supreme place.
However, the acceptance of this rca as referring to Jagannath is not universal. Alternately, it has been argued by scholars that the rca is Alaxmi Stava only.
In the Uttara Kanda of the Valmiki Ramayana, mention of Jagannath has been found where Rama has advised Vibhisana to devote himself to the worship of the deity, who has been described as the presiding deity of the Ikshvaku Kula (Clan) or Surya Vamsa. As a matter of fact, even today, the ritual Vibhisana Bandapana is observed in the temples of Jagannath. Further, in the Kiskinda Kanda of the Ramayana, there are references to the names of Jagannath among other deities.
In the Mahabharata, the tale of King Indradyumna and the tank named after him is a direct reference to the Jagannath lore. In this epic, there is description of Vedi, which is identified by the scholars as Antarvedi or the seat of Sri Jagannath in the Samkha Kshetra. In the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata, a reference has been made to the Jagannath Dharma.
Mention of Jagannath and the Purusottama Kshetra abound in Puranic literature of Matsya Purana, Vishnu Purana, Agni Purana, Padma Purana, Narada Purana, Brahma Purana and Skanda Purana.
References to Jagannath have also been made in some Sanskrit texts such as Kapila samhita, Tirtha Chintamani, Niladri Mahodaya, Rudrayamala, Tantrayamala and Purusottama Tatwa. The Jagannath Astakam of Adi Shankaracharya composed in Sanskrit is another important historical literary piece on Jagannath which provides information about the temple and appearance of the deity in the 8th century.
Apart from the above Puranic and other ancient texts, the mention of Jagannath in medieval Odia literature is enormous. Almost every Oriya literateure like Sarala Dasa, Jagannath Dasa, Jayadeva, Balaram Dasa, Achyutaand Dasa, Jasobanta Dasa, Ananta, Upendra Bhanja, Baladeva, Dinakrush Dasa, Kavi Jadumani Mahapatra have composed invocations, prayers pertaining to Jagannath.
In modern Odia literature, Jagannath has been a common reference point on both historical and mythical paradigms. The most acknowledged literary pieces on Jagannath are the novels Nila Shaila and Niladri Vijaya by renowned Oriya writer Surendra Mohanty, who was a recipient of Orissa Sahitya Akademi awards in 1957-8, 1969 (for Nila Shaila) and 1987.
According to one version Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is said to have merged with the idol of Jagannath in Puri after his death
The Vedas state:
apani-pado javano grahita pasyaty
acakshuh sa smoty akamahsa vetti
bedyam na ca tyasyati vetta tam
ahur agryam purusham mahatam
– Shvetashvatara Upanishad 3.19
“Without legs and hands, He moves and accepts. Without eyes He sees, and without ears He hears. He knows all that is knowable, but no one know Him. They call Him the original Supreme Person”.
To protect this assertion of the Vedas, Lord Jagannatha takes His form without hands and legs. Still, Lord Jagannatha is able to accept fifty-six different types of food, offered eight times daily, and He tours the world in His splendid carts.
Lord Jagannatha Fulfills the King’s Desire
Hearing the worlds of Lord Jagannatha in his dream, the King became satisfied and prayed to him as follows: “My Lord, grant that those who appear in the family of the sculptor who manifested Your form may age after age assist in constructing the three carts”.
Lord Jagannath, slightly smiling replied, “That shall be”. Then Lord Jagannatha said to the King. ” The descendants of Vishvavasu who used to serve Me as Nila-Madhava, should generation after generation serve Me. They may be called My dayitas. The descendents of Vidyapati born from from his brahmana wife should perform the Deity workship for Me. And his descendants born from his Sabari wife Lalita, should cook My food. They shall be known as suydras. The King Indradyumna said to Lord Jagannath, “My Lord, kindly grant one favour 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 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?”
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”.
Thus the merciful Lord Jagannath, Balarama and Subhadra appeared in this material world to benefit all living beings. What is the benefit They bestow? That is stated in the Narada Purana:
pratiman tatra tam drishtva svayam devena nirmitam
anayasena vai yanti bhavanam me tato narah
The Supreme Lord Narayana tells Lakshmi devi. ” In that great abode known as Purushottama-kshetra, which is rarely achieved among all the three worlds, the Kesava Deity, who was fashioned by the Supreme Lord Himself, is situated. If men simply see that Deity, they are easily able to come to My abode”. In this way Lord Jagannatha is delivering the whole universe especially as He rides on is cart before the eyes of all.