-Lord Jagannatha Drawn by my daughter Riya
Hello friends, I feel so fortunate to dedicate my 100th blog post to Lord Jagannatha(the Lord of the World). Today is the auspicious day, the world famous Sri Jagannatha Ratha (chariot) Yatra or Annual Car Festival commences in Lord’s abode Puri, in Odisha. The Lord Jagannatha along with his elder brother Lord Balbhadra and younger sister Goddess Subhadra begins his 9 day visit to Gundicha Temple via their maternal aunt’s home from his main temple. They travel in separate wooden chariot which are constructed every year for the sacred occasion and dismantled afterwards after the Lord returns to his own abode.
All the Hindus living in any corner of the world observe the day by bringing out the holy chariot in their own cities and towns. The Lord Jagannatha consciousness is believed to be the path to salvation and one who had a glimpse of the Lord or drawn the ropes of the chariot are entitled to it. Lakhs of people congregate in Puri to observe the 3 km procession.The renowned saints of Bhakti era like Sri Chaitanya, Guru Nanak, Meerabai had visited the 12th century temple during this occasion. This time however the festival is observed without the devotees owing to the pandemic.
Lord Jagannatha is worshipped and treated just like humans. There is an interesting story associated with Car Festival. It is said that when Lords chose to take his elder brother Lord Balbhadra and younger sister Subhadra in this excursion, quite naturally his wife Goddess Lakhshmi is annoyed with him for being left out. To express her displeasure, she visits him on the fifth day at Gundicha Temple. Both the deities sit confronting each other and Goddess Lakshmi pleads with Him to return back along with her. The Lord refuses and funnily enough, like any jealous wife, before she returns empty handed she orders her servitude to break a part of the Lord’s chariot named Nandighosa, to vent her anger.
Another interesting anecdote is when Lord returns back to his temple, the follower of Goddess Lakhshmi allow the chariot of Balbhadra and Subhadra inside but block the path of Nandighosa. A fascinating verbal exchange take place between the followers of both sides, where Lord pleads with her to let him in and she refuses. At last when Lord presents her large bowl of ‘rosogolla’ a sweet delicacy, the Bengal and Odisha call their very own, she finally relents and allowed him in.
The above incidences emphasizes that when Lord adopts the human form, they also behave like humans do and that’s precisely make him more endearing to his divotees. The Jagannatha consciousness or Krishna consciousness have reached around the globe through Srila Prabhupada, an Indian spiritual teacher through his International Society of Krishna Consciousness, ISKCON.
Friends in this trying time, we can draw solace if we can align our thoughts with the consciousness of God, the Almighty. No matter which religion we happen to follow all leads to one Supreme Power, who holds the remote control of the world. Let’s all pray to Him to throw out distress and pain from our lives and we can live happily ever after. Jai Sri Jagannatha!
Happy Ratha Yatra to all of you.