E-Pao! Feature - Appearance of Lord Jagannatha

Appearance of Lord Jagannatha
- The merciful Lord of the Universe -
By Radhamohan Das *

It was on the auspicious occasion of a solar eclipse that the residents of Vrindavana including Nanda Maharaja, Yasoda Rani, Rohini, Radharani and the gopis got an opportunity of singing Lord Krishna at Kuruksetra for the first time since the day He left for Mathura to enjoy His pastimes.

Though, Lord Krishna promised Radharani and the gopis that He would return soon from Mathura after performing some of His pastimes in Mathura and outside Vrindavana He did not return to Vrindavana, instead He moved to Dvaraka to further continue His transcendental pastimes.

At Kuruksetra, the residents of Dvaraka and Vrindavana like Vasudeva, Devaki, the two Lords Krishna and Balarama, Nanda Maharaja, Yasoda Mayi, Rohini, Radharani, the gopis and others were present together to bathe in the holy lakes on the auspicious day of a solar eclipse.

Taking the opportunity of their presence, Rohini, Lord Balarama's mother wanted to narrate the unbearable sufferings that the Vrajavasis, particularly Radharani and the gopis got due to their separation from Lord Krishna for a long time. Rohini did not want both Krishna and Balarama to hear her narration directly, fearing that such talks would cause the Lords intense pains of separation if by chance.

They happened to come nearby. She then posted Subhadra at the entrance of the temporary camp and asked her not to let Krishna and Balarama into the tent. But, the Lords listened their talks through the door from outside.

As they began hearing, Lord Krishna, Lord Balarama and even Subhadra who stood between the two Lords became motionless. They were completely dumbfounded and immersed in the tense thoughts of Radha, the gopis, and all Vrajavasis who suffered unbearably for a long time due to their separation from Lord Krishna.

Their eyes grew bigger and bigger in amazement, and other parts of their bodies - arms, legs and necks withdrew into their bodies, so much so that Krishna, Balarama and Subhadra appeared just like the deities of Lord Jagannatha, Lord Ualarama and Subhadrarani that million of devotees and pilgrims are worshipping at Jagannatha Puri and in many cities of the world.

Lord Jagannatha now parades in many cities, towns, villages etc of India and abroad to bestow His unlimited and causeless mercy. This is one inconceivable and transcendental pastime of Lord Krishna to appear Himself in this divine form as Lord Jagannatha, the merciful Lord of the Universe. Narada Muni was fortunate to be present during that wonderful pastime of Lord Krishna at Kuruksetra.

The following is another transcendental pastime of Lord Krishna, in which He appeared as Lord Jagannatha from a sacred and transcendental log, which was originally a kalpavriksa.

King Indradyumna of Avantipura, the glory of the Suryavamsa and the jewel of the Ksatriyas kings, and also the monarch of the universe in many thousands of years ago, was a great devotee and fifth in the line of Lord Brahma. He conquered in all directions and possessed wealth, power, fame & sovereignty without limit.

But, he regarded his vast kingdom as a vacant desert because he was bereft of Lord Krishna, who alone could fill his heart with joy and serenity. He thought that his wife, citizens, kingdom are the creations of that artful maya. He confused illusion with reality, because these creations are not the true identities.

In reality, we are not these bodies, nor can we truly own anything connected with our bodies. He then made a solemn pledge to dedicate his thoughts, words and deeds toward seeing face to face with the Supreme Person, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

He decided to worship Lord Nila Madhava, the deity of Lord Vasudeva, in the form of a Supreme Person, as he believed that worshipping God as the impersonal absolute was troublesome.

Lord Nila Madhava was believed to have been worshipped as the Deity of Lord Krishna during the first fifty years of Lord Brahma's life and during the second half of Lord Brahma' life, Lord Krishna was worshipped in the divine form of Lord Jagannatha. Lord Nila Madhava desired that He be worshipped by king Indradyumna in great opulence and royal manner.

Accordingly, he built a magnificent temple at Niladri mountain, since then the Lord became known as Jagannatha.

By the grace of Lord Krishna, king Indradyumna could see Lord Krishna who appeared in his dream and He told the king that the time for His advent as Lord Jagannatha had come, the king was directed to go to Bankimuhan, a sandy beach where He would arrive as a great log floating down in the Milk of Ocean from the island of Svetadvipa.

That sacred and transcendental log was originally a kalpavrksa, which manifested as Lord Jagannatha. At Bankimuhan, the wooden log marked with four symbols of Lord Visnu, after His long journey, was resting. King Indradyumna found the log as immovable as the mighty Himalayas. Hundreds of men and elephants could not dislodge and lift it.

One Virabhadra, a sabara, an outcaste and a swine herd, but a great devotee of Lord Nila Madhava lifted the sacred log easily after he offered his obeisances. The sacred log was then brought to Gundica in a grand procession. On the request of king Indradyumna, Visvakarma, the celestial architect started carving as other mundane carvers failed to use their mundane tools to carve the log.

The celestial carver who the Brahmana Ananta Maharana in the disguise of Visvakarma promised the king to finish carving the deity within 21 days on condition that he should not be interrupted under any circumstances. As no sound of chisel was heard even after only 7 days left, the king thought that Lord Jagannatha's welfare was in doubt. King Indradyumna, therefore grew impatience and he deliberately threw the doors of Gundica open.

He then found Jagannatha, Subhadra, and Balarama, alongwith the Sudarsana Cakra revealed in the unfinished forms of the deities and also Visvakarma disappeared. There were markings of the conch shell and disc on the incompletely engraved deity of Lord Jagannatha and a club and plough on that of Lord Balarama.

Seeing the incomplete forms of deities king Indradyumna lamented. He thought that the carving of the deities by the celestial carver could not be completed with the disappearance of the celestial carver due to his interruption.

The king wanted to give up his useless life that night itself as he was responsible for disfiguring the divine form of Lord. Suddenly a voice was heard saying, "Indradyumna, My dearest devotee, I am Jagannatha, eternally present as Purusottama in this wooden form.
I have appeared in this way to fulfil the vedic promise that though I am without hands and feet, I accept My devotees' offerings and walk about to bestow My blessings upon the people of this earth, I have especially enjoyed this sweet pastime in which you broke your promise to me.
Devotees' who have achieved the highest degree of love see Me as Syamasundara, the Original Personality of Godhead, holding a flute.
Still, if you prefer to worship Me in opulence you may ornament Me with hands and teeth made of gold and silver.
But you should know that I am already the ornament of all ornaments.

Narada Muni told king Indradyumna that the disappearance of the celestial carver was part of the Lord's pastime to make him increase the love of God.

Otherwise, how would it be possible that king Indradyumna, the emblem of perseverance could have lost his patience and broken his word. Narada Muni also confirmed that Brahmana Ananta Maharana was Visvakarma, the master architect of demigods, in disguise. The creation of the divine forms as Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balarama and Subhadra Rani was not an accidental.

The Lord demonstrates the true purpose of the Vedas. Narada Muni also confirmed the Lord's wonderful pastime at Kuruksetra. Thus, king Indradyumna was dispelled of his misgivings.

King Indradyumna performed the sacred installation of the Deities of Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balarama and Subhadra Rani, painted and decorated in black, white and saffron colours respectively, and gorgeously dressed in pure white silks.

The king got the blessings of the Lord that the doors of the Lord shall be closed for only three hours every morning and remain open for rest of the day for darshan by all people of the world. The king did not keep any descendant to claim for the temple as his own. The suyaras pujaris were only allowed for the service of Lord Jagannatha.

King Indradyumna performed grand installation ceremony of the processional chariots of Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balarama and Subhadra Rani. King Indradyumna prayed, "O Lord, here we are, Your eternal devotees. O Jagannatha, beholding Your shining moon-face, with large lotus eyes, Your dazzling streaks of tilaka, which flash like lightening upon Your forehead, and Your effulgent body, whose beauty surpasses the bluish autumnal sky, I think that were I granted a life as long as Lord Brahma's, I still could not drink in the full beauty of Your vision".

Lord Jagannatha is worshipped in clear vision of Sri Sri Syamasundara, the Original Personality of Godhead, holding a flute with the effulgent body of sky bluish colour bending on knees, waist and neck. Lord Jagannatha is the most merciful God in the universe. Any person who participates in the Rathayatra festival either interestingly or uninterestingly without having any idea of the festival is said to benefit.

Any person may worship all merciful Lord Jagannatha from any direction, either from far-off place or side or behind, while the Lord parades in chariot, and he receives the same blessings as that of others who worship Him from the front.

Lord Jagannatha welcomes anybody, whether he or she may be a Muslim or a Christian or an outcaste or any adherent of a sect who wishes for His causeless mercy. Any body of any faith and tradition may seek the blessings of Lord Jagannatha by touching any part of His transcendental body during the chariot procession.

Lord Jagannatha, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is being worshipped as Lord Krishna having all His divine potencies merged into Himself, is the maintainer of the whole universe. Just to show His mercy to the conditioned souls, He appears as the Deity through various mediums: earth, stone, jewel, metal, paint, even within the mind.

He manifested Himself as Lord Jagannatha from a wooden log. Anyone who tastes even one drop of nectar with his eyes will become permanently intoxicated with love of God. Lord Jagannatha is the Lord of the Universe, who has redeemed our lives.

May the conditioned souls have the opportunity to take prasadam, the remnants of the Lord, hear His glories chanted by the pure devotees, or behold the chariot or chariots during the Rathayatra festival - whether they be pious or most sinful, or any adherent of a sect, whether a Muslim or a Christian or an outcaste, and receive the most merciful benedictions of Lord Jagannatha, the Lord of the Universe.

We the children of God or in other words, the samplings of God, born in different families as Christians or Hindus or Muslims or adherents of any religion, and living in different parts of the world, say in Manipur, have only one religion i.e., to love and serve God, and abide by the laws of God.

By realizing that there is eternal relationship between, we, the living beings and Supreme God, and that our bodies are not our real identities, but our spirit souls, we should always develop love of God and worship Him. Love of God and serving Him will only bring us peace, harmony, tolerance, justice, healing, and prosperity, and what not.

May the all-compassionate Lord Jagannatha, the Lord of the Universe, on the auspicious day of Rathayatra, shower his unlimited blessings upon all the living beings of the world including the people of Manipur or all diverse religions and traditions for their peace and happiness in this age of Kali having various symptoms of tremendous anxiety, fear, and unrest in the lives of all of us.

Radhamohan Das writes for The Sangai Express as part of Kang Celebration on July 8th 2005
This article was webcasted on July 08, 2005.

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