HomeStories | Videos | Proverbs and Fables | Coloring Fun | Krishna Cuisine | Save the Earth | Kids to Kids | About Us


Lord Jagannatha

Once there was a king named Indradyumna who was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. One day the King heard about the Lord in a deity form called Nila-Madhava. The king sent many brahmana priests in different directions to search for this Deity. In due course, only one of them named Vidyapati returned successful.

Vidyapati after searching through many regions came to a tribal place called Sabara, where he was welcomed by a tribal named Visvasu. Visvasu was happy to host him and instructed his daughter, Lalita, to serve the guest very nicely. After Vidyapati spent some time in the house, on the request of Visvasu, accepted Lalita as his wife.

Vidyapati noticed that Visvasu would everyday leave the house at sunset and return the next day after noon, smelling of scented oils, camphor and in an ecstatic mood. On questioning, Lalita revealed that his father would go to the forest to secretly worship Sri Nila-Madhava. Vidyapati was happy to hear this and thus begged his father in law to allow him to see Nila - Madhava.

Visvasu finally agreed but on one condition that Vidyapati would be blind folded on the way to the jungle. However Vidyapati had taken a small bag of mustard seeds which he sprinkled on the path as he walked. On reaching the destination, Vidyapati was overwhelmed with joy and devotion at seeing the Deity form of Nila-Madhava. As he was praying to the Lord, he noticed a nearby crow fell off into the lake and gave up its body. It immediately took a four-armed Vishnu form and ascended to Vaikuntha.

Seeing this Vidyapati immediately climbed a tree and was ready to jump and give up his life, when he was stopped by a voice that reminded him of his duty towards King Indradyumna. When Visvasu returned to worship the Lord, the same voice of Lord Nila Madhava informed him that having accepted his simple but pure worship for so many years, He now desired to be worshipped royally by the king.

Visvasu, filled with grief at the thought of being seperated from His beloved Deity, bound Vidyapati to a tree. But after repeated requests from his daughter, Visvasu accepted this as God’'s desire, and released Vidyapati, who immediately went to the court of King Indradyumna. With great joy, the King went with several people to visit the Deity form of Nila-Madhava. Following the trail of the seeds that had now become mustard plants, Vidyapati took them to the jungle, but to every one's great disappointment the Deity was not present there.

Being enraged, the King attacked the Sabaras and also arrested Visvasu. However he was forbidden by the voice of Nila Madhava to harass the Sabaras. He was also instructed to build a temple on the top of the Nila mountain for the worship of Daru-Brahamna (God in the wooden form). King Indradyumna prayed to Lord Vishnu to appear in a Deity form, but when nothing happened for some time, he became discouraged and decided to give up his life by fasting. At that time Lord Jagannatha spoke to him in a dream that He would soon appear in His wooden form floating in the sea. Soon in a place called Banlimulan, the King and his soldiers saw a huge piece of wood marked with the four symbols of Vishnu (conch, lotus, cakra and club). Although he engaged many men, he could not move the wood. Lord Jagannatha once again appeared to the king in a dream and instructed him to get Visvasu, the Sabara who had earlier worshipped Him as Nila-Madhava.

Acting according to these instructions, the King placed a golden chariot and requested the Sabara Visvasu and the Brahman Vidyapati to mount it. The wooden form of Daru-Brahaman was easily placed on the chariot now and taken to the palace. However no one was able to carve the wood to make the Deity. The chisels would simply break. Finally the Lord appeared as a sculptor and agreed to make the Deities only on the condition that He would not be interrupted for the twenty one days that he needed to finish the work.

The king readily gave the promise. But after fourteen days, he became impatient at not hearing the sound of any work from inside. Against the advise of his ministers, he opened the door to discover that the sculptor had disappeared, leaving behind three unfinished forms manifesting Lord Jagannatha, Subhadra(Lord Krishna's sister) and Baladeva (Lord Krishna's brother). The king was very disappointed and decided to give up his life by fasting. When half the night had passed, Lord Jagannatha appeared once again to the king in a dream instructing that He should be worshipped in the form of the unfinished Deities.

The Deity form of the Lord without hands and feet also represent the unbelievable power of the Lord, that without feet, He can run faster than the swiftest, without hands accept from all, see without eyes and hear without ears. Lord Jagannatha also instructed that He be served only by the descendants of of the Sabara Visvasu, called the dayitas. The descendants of Vidyapati with his first Brahman wife would perform His Deity worship, and the descendants with his second Sabara wife, Lalita, called the suyaras, would cook for Him. This tradition is maintained to this day.

When Lord Jagannatha instructed King Indradyumna to ask for a boon, the king asked that the temple doors be closed for only three hours in a day to give greater opportunity to serve Him. The king also requested that Lord Jagannatha would accept food offering all day long to let more people taste His prasadam (the spiritual first offered to the Lord). Finally the king requested that he remain without descendants, so that no one would lay claim to the temple. All these boons were given to the king by the Lord.

The Rath yatra festival (also known as chariot festival) takes place every year in the rainy season, during the months of June and July in the eastern part of India, particularly in Puri, in the state of Orissa. Three richly decorated chariots are drawn through the streets of Puri. In each chariot is seated each of the three deities - Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra. During this festival, thousands of devotees from all over India go to Puri with an earnest desire to touch and pull the rope of the chariot. Thus the merciful Lord Jagannatha, Subhadra and Baladeva appeared in this material world for the benefit of all living being


©2007 Vedic Cultural Center.  All Rights Reserved   |  Disclaimer