Lord Jagannath: Discovery
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
How did Lord Jagannath appear?
Visvavasu once found a stone and started worshiping it in the jungle thinking the stone to be a deity of some demigod. The stone turned into Narayana, or Vishnu, murti.
At the same time, Indradyumna, the king of Odisha, got a particular desire. He thought, "I have everything—I have a queen, I have a whole kingdom, etc.—but one thing I still have not been able to do is to serve the Lord. I have not done anything to serve the Lord." He thought of the Lord and his chaitya guru took him to his mahanta guru: he heard a message from the sky, "I am waiting for you. I am here—not as far as you think."
Loving search for the lost servant—it reminds of Gopal who was also waiting for Madhavendra Puri, but in Madhavendra Puri's case Gopal gave him direction and showed him the place, "I am here," but this time the Lord did not give any direction, so King Indradyumna had to find out the place himself. All he knew was that the Lord was there and was waiting for him.
The king sent all his soldiers to search for the Lord. First, he sent a group to the North, then the South, and then the West. They got nothing. The king thought, "The Lord said He was there, but I cannot find Him... I must find Him!" He was paying obeisance and suddenly his prime minister, Vidyapati, came. The king ordered him, "I know the Lord is here, but I cannot find Him. Go and find Him, by hook or by crook but you must find Him."
Vidyapati thought, "The soldiers have searched in three of the directions, but they have not tried the East side. East is a very auspicious side. I must go there."
He set off and after many days of travelling found himself in a huge jungle. There was a big hill, some river and a very dense forest all around. Vidyapati wondered, "How did I get here? Who brought me here?" Suddenly he saw a girl. He was surprised, "A girl! I must not stay here! I do not know what brought me here." He quickly turned back and wanted to leave, but the girl called out to him, "Wait! Why are you leaving? You look like a brahmin, you must stay. We are savara by caste (uncivilized) and it is our duty to serve you." Vidyapati did not know what to say, he thought, "She is a girl, how can I stay here?" He was about to leave, but then she said, "Please do not leave, my father will be angry." As soon as she said it, her father came out, "Why are you leaving? My daughter is telling you to stay. Please be our guest." Vidyapati explained to him, "I thought your daughter was alone here and I should not stay here, it would not be right, but now that you have come I can stay." He stayed with them for a few days.
The father's name was Visvavasu, and the girl's name was Lalita. She was very happy to see Vidyapati, and Vidyapati too soon fell in love with her, and they got married.
One day Vidyapati asked his wife,
"Lalita, every day your father goes somewhere for the whole day. He returns at night and so much nice smell is coming from him—sandalwood, karpur (camphor)... Where does he go every day?"
"Well, my father goes to some place where he worships some god, the Lord."
"He worships the Lord? Where?!"
"I do not know."
"Can you take me there and show the place?"
"I do not know where it is, but I can ask my father to take you there."
When she asked her father, Visvavasu was very unhappy, "Have you already told that man?! I heard some king will come and take the Deities away, so I have been hiding here all this time, but you have already told him everything?" He was so unhappy that he thought he would kill Vidyapati, his son-in-law. Finally, he said to his daughter, "OK, what can I do? I can take him there, but he has to go with his eyes tied with a black cloth."
Lalita came back to her husband and told her that her father had agreed. She also said, "Father can cheat you, but I cannot cheat you—I am your wife and you are my husband. I am going to help you." She gave him some mustard seeds and as Vidyapati was going to that place, he dropped the seeds on the ground, marking the road. When they came to the place he saw how Visvavasu did puja and other things.
Later on, the mustard seeds sprouted and grew into mustard trees, so he knew now the way to the place and could go there on his own. Then he said to his wife, "Lalita, I have been here for so many days, I am staying here at your father's house, but I also have parents and a home. I must go there."
"Are you leaving?!"
"Yes, but I will come back."
Vidyapati went to King Indradyumna and told him everything in detail, "What you had sent me for, I have succeeded in that. I have found the Lord!"
"Tell me, tell me! Where is it?"
"I know the place, come with me."
The king took all his soldiers, elephants, horses, and with all that procession went to take the Lord. The Lord said to him, "I will not go in this way! First make a temple for Me, then I will come." At the same time, the Lord also said to Visvavasu, "Now I want to taste raj bhog, good prasadam. Every day you have been giving me kanda mul [a root that tastes like sweet potato]. I am tired of it." The Lord spoke to both of them, the king and his servant.
So, King Indradyumna made a temple: this is how the Jagannath temple appeared.
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