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1-Appearance of Jagannaath Jee
From   Naarad Puraan, 2/12;     Naarad Puraan, 2/13

King Temple of Jagannaath Jee is in Puree, Orissa. This is the story as how He appeared there.

In Sat Yug, there lived a King named Indradyumn and his wife Gundikaa. That King reigned in the beginning of the first half of Lord Brahmaa's day, when Brahmaa first created the material world by the mercy of Krishn and with the help of Mahaamaayaa. He lived in middle of India, in the ancient city of Avantee Nagaree in Ujjain, where Krishn got educated by Saandeepani Muni. He and his queen were very religious and advanced devotees, and although they were royal they always engaged in the service of Bhagavaan. That King wanted to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead with his own eyes, and he continually waited for an opportunity. He always prayed, "When will a day come that I will see you my Lord?"

The King used to receive and host travelers from the various holy places of the world, especially those in India. One day, some pilgrims came to him and spent the night there. They had just come from a very high class of holy place (Teerth) and had Darshan of the beautiful four-armed Neel-Maadhav. Now they were discussing among themselves the glories of that deity. A devotee overheard their conversation and informed the King's minister about it, and he in turn informed the King and made him aware of the deity's beauty. He told the King, "Anyone who receives Neel-Maadhav's Darshan will not have to return to this world and will be liberated forever. He will attain a four-handed form and become an associate of Naaraayan in Vaikunth. Even if someone simply vows, "I will go to His temple to see Him tomorrow", but dies that day without reaching the temple, he will still go to Vaikunth and attain a four-armed form."

The King wondered, "How can I obtain the Darshan of Neel-Maadhav? Where is He located?" He wanted to ask the pilgrims, "Where can I find Him?" but they had departed during the night itself; so he became upset and decided to somehow search for the deity himelf. He called Vidyaapati, the very intelligent son of his priest, as well as his officials and commanders, and ordered them all to search in different directions: "Some of you go to the east, others to the west, others south, and so on. You should all return within three months. I will give vast wealth and an important position to the one who informs me of the deity's whereabouts." In this way, all the officials enthusiastically set out in all directions from Madhya Pradesh. Vidyaapati, who was very young and handsome and who possessed all good qualities, went toward the East.

Vidyaapati Goes to East
After three months they had all returned except Vidyaapati, and the King was worried because no one knew where he was. Vidyaapati had gone to the East coast of India, near the Indian Ocean, and there he traveled continually, searching and searching for Neel-Maadhav. One day, on the shore of the ocean, he saw a very beautiful village, where there was a mountain covered with flowers and trees and where the residents were very cultured. Evening was approaching and he decided to stay in that village, so he told some of the residents, "I would like to rest here tonight." They replied, "Vishwaavasu is the prominent leader of this village. He is a Shabar (a lower caste), but he is very qualified and religious-minded, and he is also intelligent, humble, and liberal. Whenever any traveler or guest comes, he visits Vishwaavasu's house; so you also go there."

When Vidyaapati arrived, Vishwaavasu was not at home. Only his very beautiful sixteen-year-old daughter, Lalitaa, was there. She opened the door and said, "You can wait for my father, because he is not here. He has gone out, but when he returns home he will arrange everything for you. Kindly wait outside." After some time Vishwaavasu arrived. A very sweet fragrance emanated from his body, and he was wearing very beautiful and aromatic Tilak. When he saw his guest, he became ashamed and told him, "Oh, Excuse me for returning so late. Now you may come in." He and his daughter took their guest inside. Very happy to see that beautiful personality, Vishwaavasu told him, "You can reside here for some days." Then he told his daughter, "Take care of this Braahman. Give him food and everything else he requires, and look after him in all respects. There should be no lack of anything."

Vidyaapati took his meal and rested there. He smelled a very beautiful fragrance in the house, especially when the master of the house was at home, and he wondered, "Where does that beautiful fragrance come from? I have never smelled anything like it in my entire life. And that girl is so beautiful. I should wait here for a few days, and it may be that I can find about Neel-Maadhav." He then began searching here and there for some days.

Lalitaa was now regularly serving him, and gradually she became attached to him. Vidyaapati began to develop a close friendship with her, and after some time he fell in love with her. He was already married to someone else, but still he had great affection for Lalitaa; so he requested her to ask her father to allow him to marry her. She asked her father, he agreed, and Vidyaapati became Vishwaavasu's son-in-law.

Vishwaavasu went out regularly every day, and returned in the evening very fresh and fragrant. One day Vidyaapati privately said to his wife, "My dear, Now you are my wife, and I have great faith in you. Can you tell me where your father goes every day for worship, and where that fragrance comes from? Please tell me."

Lalitaa replied, "I cannot say. My father has ordered me, "Do not tell anyone where I go. Keep it secret ? very, very secret." Vidyaapati said, "You cannot tell me? You are one with me, non-different from me. You must tell me, because I am your husband." She replied, "Then you must promise that you will never tell anyone." Vidyaapati then said, "A wife should not speak like this. I know you are a very chaste wife, so you must tell me." He then became silent.

Lalitaa said, "I will tell you. He goes to worship a deity." "Which deity?" Vidyaapati asked. She replied, "I promised not to tell, but I will tell you because you are my husband. He goes to worship Neel-Maadhav."

Vidyaapati became very happy to hear this and thought, "After such a long time I have finally heard the name Neel-Maadhav. Neel-Maadhav must be somewhere nearby." He began to show so much love and affection to his wife that she revealed everything to him, and he then requested her, "Please ask your father to take me with him." She said, "Yes, I will help you."

After her father returned from worship in the evening and had taken Prasaad, Lalitaa approached him and sat on his lap. With much love and affection she told him, "My dear father, I want one benediction from you." He replied, "Oh, very good. I desire to give you a benediction. What do you want?"

She told him, "I want something very special. I know that you will be hesitant to give this to me, but I want it." He father asked, "What do you want?" She replied, "O father, I desire that you take my husband with you to see Neel-Maadhav. He wants to do His Darshan."

Vishwaavasu pondered whether or not to take him. Worried that if he brought anyone the deity might be taken or simply vanish, so Vishwaavasu was hesitant. When Lalitaa saw that he was not very willing, she said, "If you do not show Neel-Maadhav to my husband, I will take poison and die right in front of you. Your objection means that you do not consider me your loving daughter." And she prepared herself to take poison.

These are the most powerful weapons of women: "I will die," "I will take poison," "I will commit suicide." What can a husband or father say then? Of course, He will say, "Oh, you can have whatever you want." Vishwaavasu was in a dilemma and thought, "What shall I do? I must save my only daughter. I must give her this benediction."

He said, "I don't want you to die. I will take your husband with me and show him Neel-Maadhav, but there is one condition. I will tightly bind his eyes with a black cloth, and when we reach there I will remove it so he can have His Darshan. After that, I will make him blindfold again, so he will have Darshan, but he will not know where he is."

Vidyaapati Has Darshan of Neel-Maadhav
Lalitaa then went to her husband and told him, "Father has agreed to take you. He will blindfold you during the journey, but never mind." Vidyaapati was overjoyed and agreed to wear the blindfold. After that she told her father, "Yes, you can bind his eyes with a black cloth." Later, when they were seated on the bullock cart, Vishwaavasu placed the black cloth over Vidyaapati's eyes. Lalitaa, being very clever and intelligent, gave her husband some mustard seeds and said, "Keep these in your pocket. Now it is the rainy season. You can drop them one after another along the way. After some time, those mustard seeds will grow into plants producing bright yellow flowers. Then you will be able to follow the flowers and go there by yourself; you will not have to ask my father the way."

Vishwaavasu then took Vidyaapati with him along a zigzag route on the bullock cart. Vidyaapati dropped the mustard seeds one by one on the ground without the knowledge of his father-in-law. When they arrived at the foot of the mountain, they left the bullock cart there, and Vishwaavasu took Vidyaapati by the hand and led him to the temple of Neel-Maadhav on the top of the mountain. When they entered the temple, Vishwaavasu removed the cloth strip from his eyes so that Vidyaapati could see Neel-Maadhav. The deity was four-handed, and He carried the Shankh (conch), Chakra (disc), Gadaa (mace), and Padm (lotus flower). He was very beautiful, but unlike Nand-Nandan Krishn, He had no flute and no peacock feather in His head? He was more like Naaraayan. Naaraayan is very beautiful, but Kirshn is the most beautiful of all.

Vidyaapati became very happy to see Him and began to weep, thinking, "I have been searching for Him for such a long time? so many months ? and now I am satisfied. My life is now successful." Vishwaavasu said to him, "Wait here a while. I am going to the forest to bring some flowers and other paraphernalia to worship Him. Then I will offer Chandan and other articles, perform Archanaa, and then we will return home."

While Vidyaapati waited, he noticed a beautiful lake with lotus flowers, humming bees, and some sweetly-singing birds. The branches of a mango tree hung over the lake, and a black crow that was sleeping on one of the branches fell in. Immediately, his soul appeared with four arms. Then Garud quickly came, took that very beautiful and glorious four-handed personality on his back, and flew to Vaikunth. Vidyaapati began to think, "Oh! With no practice in Bhakti at all, he so quickly went to Vaikunth. He never did anything auspicious. He was impure? a crow only? eating flesh and other abominable things. Yet, simply by falling into the pond he became four-armed and went to Vaikunth. Why should I remain here?"

He wanted to climb the tree and jump into the lake as well, so that he could also attain a four-armed form and go to Vaikunth. "I should not wait another moment," he thought, and at once began to climb the tree. When he was about halfway up the tree, however, an Aakaashvaanee (Divine voice) called to him, "Don't commit suicide just so that you can be liberated and go to Vaikunth. You will have to perform many important services for the benefit of the entire world, so don't die yet. Be patient. Everything will be accomplished. Return to Mahaaraaj Indradyumn and tell him that Neel-Maadhav is here."

In the meantime, Vishwaavasu returned with many flowers and other paraphernalia and said to Vidyaapati, "Oh, come and join me." He had no idea what had happened to Vidyaapati. Vishwaavasu prepared Chandan and other ingredients, and throughout the whole day he performed worship, offered prayers, and engaged in many other devotional activities. All the residents of that village were known as Dayita, which means those who are very near and dear to Krishn. Vishwaavasu was known as Dayita-pati, the master of all those Dayitas. He served Neel-Maadhav in this way, although he was a Shabar. He was fully surrendered and always called out, "Neel-Maadhav" Now Vidyaapati was also very much charmed with the glories of the deity and, seeing the worship of Neel-Maadhav performed by his father-in-law, he became overjoyed.

When Vishwaavasu had completed his services, he again covered Vidyaapati's eyes with the cloth strip, and departed from there. After some hours, traveling again in that zigzag way, they reached their home. Then Vishwaavasu heard Neel-Maadhava telling him, "You have served Me for a long time. Now I want to take the royal service of a very high class of devotee named Indradyumn Mahaaraaj. Don't be afraid and don't worry." Vishwaavasu, however, immediately became upset and thought, "Oh, Thaakurjee will go to Mahaaraaj Indradyumn? I cannot bear the thought of His separation. This boy will return and tell the King, and the King will come and take Neel-Maadhav." He then practically arrested Vidyaapati and imprisoned him within one of the rooms of his house.

Vidyaapati Escapes
Vidyaapati could not go anywhere, so he told his wife, "Please help me. I want to return to Madhya Pradesh very soon. I have promised my King, who wants to come with his whole family to serve Neel-Maadhav. Please help me. You are my wife? my other half."

Lalitaa agreed and said, "You can go. I will help you." She then told her father, "If you do not release him from this jail, I will commit suicide at once." She was ready to commit suicide, so her father's heart melted in compassion and he released Vidyaapati. Now free, Vidyaapati assured his wife, "I will return very soon. Don't worry." He then quickly left and proceeded towards Indradyumn's kingdom.

Indradyumn Does Darshan of Neel-Maadhav
He walked continually until he finally arrived back in Avantee Nagaree. He had been gone for over six months. King Indradyumn became very happy when he heard from Vidyaapati, "I have discovered Neel-Maadhav. Please come with me." The King decided, "I shall go with my entire kingdom, my wealth, my wife, and my soldiers and commanders." He wanted to bring Neel-Maadhav to his kingdom, to worship Him for the rest of his life. Proceeding from Ujjain, he reached the place about a hundred miles south of Puree. But when he reached there, there were no mustard seed flowers. There was also no hill and no village, for by the desire of Neel-Maadhav, the entire village was covered with over a hundred feet of sand. Everything was covered, including the hill, and Neel-Maadhav was not there.

The King began to weep. He sat down on a straw mat facing the ocean and decided, "I will not take anything to eat until I have Darshan of Neel-Maadhav; if I do not see Him, I will die. I came with my whole kingdom, all my wealth, my wife, and family, but I don't get the Darshan of the Lord. Oh, I must give up my life." Then, as he began to chant, "Neel-Maadhav! Neel-Maadhav! Neel-Maadhav!", an Aakaashvaanee called to him, "I will not come, but do not worry. I will not come here to give you Darshan, but you will be able to see Me. I am sending Brahmaa. You should come with Brahm to Vaikunth, and there you can have My Darshan. In this world I will not give you Darshan in the form of Neel-Maadhav, but I will manifest myself in four forms: Jagannaath, Baladev, Subhadraa, and Sudarshan Chakra. Wait near the sea where Bankee Muhaanaa is located."

This place is presently known as Chakra Teerth, and it is by the part of the ocean known as the Bay of Bengal, where the water moves towards West Bengal. "Go there and wait, and a Daru-Brahm (Bhagavaan in the form of wood) will come. He will manifest in the form of a very large, fragrant, reddish log, and the signs of Shankh, Chakra, Gadaa, and Padm will be seen everywhere on that form. Go there. Take Me out and make four deities from that log. Then you will be able to worship Me."

Brahmaa quickly came there and took the King with him to Vaikunth, where he could freely gaze at Neel-Maadhav as He conversed with His associates. The King became even more attached and began to weep, and then Brahmaa told him, "Let us go. He will not come to Earth in this form, but He will come as four forms. Let us now go to the place that He has designated, and wait for Him there."

In the meantime, while the King was gone, many years had passed and the entire world had now changed. Before going he had constructed a very large and beautiful, high temple, but now it was also covered by sand. The sand had been removed many times, but the temple had become old. A new King had come and repaired it, and he had declared, "I am the builder of this temple." Now that King Indradyumn had returned, he told the new King, "This is not yours; I have built it, so I am the owner of this temple. You have only repaired it." There was a crow named Kaagbhushundi, who had been witness to the pastimes of Raam Chandra and also King Indradyumn's building the temple; and now he testified on the King's behalf. Brahmaa also came forward and agreed, "This King has built the temple. You have only repaired it." In this way, King Indradyumn again became the owner of the temple.

Indradyumn Establishes Neel-Maadhav
Somehow, by Krishn's mercy, the King's wife was there. He had no child at all, so there was only he and his wife. The King and his new associates and army waited for the deity, and at last he saw the red tree-trunk, marked everywhere with Shankh, Chakra, Gadaa, and Padm. He approached that trunk with his soldiers and elephants and they tried very hard to take it out of the water, but they could not do so. Many elephants and strong men, and even his entire army, could not take the tree-trunk out of the water.

The aerial voice came again and told the King, "Bring My old servant Dayitaa-pati Vishwaavasu, and his daughter as well. Vishwaavasu will carry Me from one side, and the Braahman Vidyaapati will take Me from the other side. And bring a golden chariot for Me. I will come out easily, and then you can arrange everything." By the power and will of Neel-Maadhav, Vishwaavasu, Lalitaa, and Vidyaapati were still alive and now they were brought on a chariot with honor. The King requested the three of them to enter the waters of the ocean and lift the log. Vidyaapati and his wife and father-in-law then began to lift and simultaneously pray to the log, "Jaya Jagannaath! Jaya Jagannaatha! Neel-Maadhav! Neel-Maadhav! O please, please be merciful and come upon our chariot."

The log came out very easily, and it was brought on the golden chariot to the place near to where the Jagannaath Temple is now situated. The King kept the log there in a big hall, and he invited all the carpenters of Orissa, telling them, "I will give you vast wealth if you can make the Vigraha (statue)." Very famous carpenters came there wanting to make the deity, but their instruments and tools broke as soon as they touched the iron-hard log. An old but beautiful Braahman then came forward. He had brought some tools, and he told them, "My name is Maharana. I am very expert, and I can make you the Vigraha." That Braahman was actually Neel-Maadhav or Jagannaath Himself. He continued, "I will complete the Vigraha in twenty-one days, but you must promise that the door of this hall will remain closed. I will be alone there with my tools, and after twenty-one days I will open the door so that you can see the deity. At that time you can take Him into the temple and serve and worship Him." The King replied, "Yes, I will obey your instructions. I will not open the door."

The Braahman went inside the hall with his tools, and locked the door from inside. For fourteen days there was no sound, and Indradyumn became very worried. He thought, "What can be the matter? The Braahman has not taken a drop of water or anything to eat this entire time. Perhaps he is dead." His Prime Minister then told him, "Don't open the door. There is some mystery behind this. Only open it after 21 days; not before." However, his wife pleaded with him, "If you don't open the door now, the Braahman may die and we will be guilty of Brahm-Hatyaa (the sin of killing a Braahman). We must open the door. Please hurry." The King replied, "The Braahman told me not to open it before 21 days. How can I open it before 21 days?" She beseeched him again and again, and finally the King called for his carpenters to cut away the locks; he opened the doors forcibly and entered.

Inside the hall, the King was struck with wonder, for he could not see the Braahman. "Where is the Braahman Maharana?" he asked. The four deities - Jagannaath, Baladev, Subhadraa, and Sudarshan Chakra were there, but they had not been fully completed. Their eyes and noses were only round shapes, their arms were not full-length, and their hands and feet were not completed. In fact nothing was completed. The King began to weep. Opening up his heart to his Prime Minister, he said, "I have committed an offense by breaking my promise. Now what shall I do?" Weeping, he again wanted to commit suicide.

Another Version (Rath Yaatraa)
Perhaps in another creation (or in another Kalp), when the King opened the door, the Braahman was present and at once told him, "Why have you come in the middle of my work? Now only fourteen days have passed. I wanted another seven days to complete the Vigraha. Why did you open the door? Now there are only round eyes. Well, I think it must be the wish of God Jagannaath Himself; otherwise I would have been able to complete the task, and you would not have interrupted me." Saying this, the carpenter disappeared, and at that time the King and his associates knew that he was not simply a Braahman carpenter? He was Krishn Himself. They began to lament in separation.

The deity then ordered the King through Aakaashvaanee, "Don't worry. There is a mystery behind this. I desired to manifest like this, and there is a very deep reason for it. Keep Me in the temple and begin to worship in the form of these deities. Carry out My orders. Vishwaavasu and his son-in-law Vidyaapati will worship Me, along with Vidyaapati's two wives. The sons of Vidyaapati's Braahman wife will take turns to worship, and the sons of his Shabar wife will cook varieties of food for Me. Many Dayita in the dynasty of Vishwaavasu will serve Me for ten days during a Rath Yaatraa Festival. Only they will worship Me at that time; no one else will perform the worship. They alone will take Baladev, Subhadraa, and Me on chariots, and they will bring us to Gundica Mandir. Make a festival for ten days beginning from today, and take these chariots to the Gundica Mandir."

It was due to the request of Queen Gundica that the events of this pastime were unfolded as they happened, which is why the Mandir was named after her. Thaakurjee continued, "We will remain here for those days, and then you may take us back. You should perform many festivals, like Snaan Yaatraa, Chandan Yaatraa, Heraa Panchamee, and so on."

During Chandan Yaatraa, Jagannaath's entire body is covered with Chandan for many days. At that time, the Vijaya Vigraha deity known as Govind is placed on a very beautiful boat in Narendra Sarovar, and His boat pastimes take place. Then, during Snaan Yaatraa, the deity receives Abhishek from thousands of pitchers of water brought from all the holy places in India, and His bath is so long that He becomes sick. His stomach becomes upset and He falls ill. At that time, Lakshmee takes Him to her palace and closes the door for fifteen days.

Shree Chaitanya Mahaaprabhu could not survive without the deity, and therefore He went to Alalanaath and cried, "Where is Krishn? Where is Krishn?" He became mad, so much so that when he touched the stones at Alalanaath they melted. Wherever he offered his Pranaam. wherever his hands, head, and other limbs touched the stone, their impressions appeared on that piece of stone.

Only the Dayita, the family of Vishwaavasu Shabar, can serve Jagannaath at the time of Rath Yaatraa. Actually, there are two kinds of servants. One is coming from the dynasty of Vidyaapati's original Braahman wife, and these devotees do Archanaa and Sevaa. Those who descend from Lalitaa are called Supaakar (excellent cooks), because Jagannaath had accepted them as His cooks even though they are of a low-class birth. They very quickly and easily cook not less than one hundred mounds of rice and Daal, and a variety of other preparations. They are expert in using many stoves, and they can place at least 25 earthen pots on one stove.

Indradyumn Gets Boon
The King prayed, "O Thaakurjee, I want a boon so that I may serve You." Thaakurjee replied, "What boon do you want, O King?" The King said, "I desire that there should be neither sons nor daughters in my dynasty. I do not want any children. I know You will grant my desire." Thaakurjee smiled and asked, "Why don't you want children?"

The King replied, "After I die, they will quarrel over money, and they will have no interest in serving You. So much money will come for Your service, and they will think, "This property is mine" or "Jagannatha is my property". I don't want any of my family members to think, "This temple is mine, Jagannaath, Baladev, and Subhadraa are my property, and all the money coming as Pranaam (donations) is therefore mine to enjoy." If they think in that way, they will use everything for their own sense gratification and go to hell. There should be no one to take even a single paisa. You are the owner. You Yourself should depute those who will serve you. The managers should regularly be changed, and they should be your servants, like trustees." So the King of Orissa is always the trustee, and someone else is selected after him. They are not actually kings, in the sense that they cannot take a farthing or a paisa for themselves. If they do, they would be ruined."

Upon hearing the King's words, Jagannaath Jee began to smile, and thus the Rath Yaatraa Festival began.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/9/09
Updated on 10/02/13