Appearance of Lord Jagannath
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Previously, Jagannath, Baladev, Subhadra were one Vishnu-, or Narayan-murti, and His name was Nil-Madhav. He was served about a hundred kilometres away from Puri by one savar named Vishvavasu. (Savar means a person of a very low caste. For example, you have heard about people living in the Amazon forests—savar caste is something like them.)
"I want to serve the Lord"
One time, Indradyumna, the king of Orisha, got a very strong desire in his heart, he thought, "I am the king—I have a queen, I have a kingdom, but I cannot serve the Lord properly..." This desire was very strong in his heart, he kept thinking about serving the Lord, and one day there was some sound from the sky (akash-dhvani)—the Lord Himself said to the king, "O Indradyumna, you are searching for Me, you want to serve Me, but I am not so far. I am served here by one devotee, I will not tell you his name. You must find Me—I also want to come to you because My servitor gives Me only forest food, only sweet potato, but I want some good prasadam, I want raj-bhog (opulent food)!" Hearing the message, the king became very happy, "I must find out where He lives!"
The king had many ministers and soldiers—first he sent some to the North side, "Go to the North and find where the Lord stays!" but they did not find anything; then he sent them to the West side, but there too they could not find the Lord and came back; then, he sent them to the South, but they again did not find anything. The king felt very hopeless. Finally, he told his prime-minister Vidyapati, "Vidyapati! The Lord told me He lived in some place near, and it is true, it is a fact, I have heard it with my own ears. You must go and find Him."
"Why are you leaving? Please stay!"
Vidyapati paid his obeisance in the East side (East is considered a very auspicious side), and went in that direction. He was walking and walking and suddenly, in the middle of so much jungle and forest, he saw a house on a hill, and near the house there was a very beautiful girl. She was alone there, and Vidyapati was very surprised, "A girl! Alone in the jungle! I must not stay here, I have to go to another place!" He turned back to leave, but the girl called him, "O Prabhu, where are you going? You have come to my house, and you look like a brahmin. We are savar, but will you not take some prasadam here? Will you not stay?" Vidyapati said immediately, "No, no. You are a young girl, alone here, and I am also young and alone—how can I stay here? It does not look good. What if your father comes, he can beat me. It is not good." (The girl's name was Lalita.) Lalita said, "No, no, if you do not stay here, my father will beat me because I could not serve a brahmin boy properly. Please, you must stay." Then, suddenly her father came to the house and said, "She is right. Why are you leaving? I am savar, my caste is lower than yours, but it is my duty to serve a brahmin. Please stay."
So, Vidyapati, the prime-minister of king Indradyumna, stayed in their house. He stayed there for quite a while. By and by, Lalita fell in love with him, he too fell in love with her, so they got married and became husband and wife.
Vidyapati was actually a guptachar (গুপ্তচর, an agent who is sent to search something out secretly, like FBI, or CBI in India)—he was actually there because he was searching for the Lord, he did not come there to get married or anything like that. So, eventually he noticed that Lalita's father (his father-in-law) went somewhere every day—he would leave in the morning and come back at night; but when he came back, there was so much nice smell coming from his body: incense, aguru (agarwood, or aloeswood), sandalwood, and so on. He was surprised, "Where does this man go every day?"
"Show me the way"
"Lalita," he asked his wife one day, "can you tell me where you father goes every day?"
"Father goes to worship some Deity... He goes in the morning and comes back in the evening."
"Can you ask him if he can show me where that Deity is?"
"I can ask, but it is confidential... You are my husband, so I can ask my father, but I do not know if he will allow you," answered Lalita.
In the evening, she asked her father,
"Father, my husband Vidyapati noticed that you go somewhere every day, he got the nice smell coming from you. He asked me where you went and I told him the truth. I said you went to worship a Deity."
"You have told him?!"
"Yes, I did..."
"You have made a big mistake! You did wrong!" Vishvavasu got angry, "I go there secretly because I know the Deity wants to leave, and I am afraid someone will come and take the Deity away..."
Vishvavasu became very disturbed, he thought, "Maybe I should kill him today... Yes, when the night comes, I will kill him!" But the Deity did not want it, so his mind changed: "No, I will not kill anyone, it will be an offence..." In the end, he said to his daughter, "All right, you can tell your husband that he can go with me, but I will not show him the way. I will tie his eyes with a black cloth and take him there."
Lalita told Vidyapati what her father had said, and Vidyapati said to her, "I will go, it is good, but I need to know the way how to get there..." Then Lalita said, "My father can cheat you, but you are my husband and I cannot cheat you. I have an idea. When you walk behind my father like a blind man, he will take you by hand, but I will give you some mustard seeds, and you can throw the seeds on the way behind my father until the destination, the Deity's place. When the seeds grow, you will understand what the way is by the mustard trees." (She told a very nice plan to her husband.)
So, Vishvavasu tied the eyes of his son-in-law, Vidyapati, and took him to the Deity. On the way, as Lalita had suggested, he threw the mustard seeds one by one on the ground, and Vishvavasu did not know what was going on behind him. Then, they came to the place, Vishvavasu opened his eyes, and Vidyapati saw the Deity. He paid his obeisance, and after that Vishvavasu again closed his eyes and took him back.
After a while, it rained for three-four days and the seeds started growing. Some more days later there appeared mustard trees and when they grew big Vidyapati secretly went to the Deity's place alone to see if he could find the way. He easily found the way and was pleased, "I have found where the Deity is!"
The way back
Vidyapati came back to his wife Lalita and said, "I have been staying with you here for so many days, but I also have mother and father, I must go to see them. I will come back in a few days." Lalita said, "All right, you can go..."
Vidyapati returned to Puri and told everything to King Indradyumna. The king became very happy and extremely excited, "Where is it? I must go there!" Taking all his soldiers, elephants and horses, Indradyuma went to take the Deity, but Vishvavasu did not allow him to take the Deity, so the king's soldiers arrested him. The Deity was very unhappy, "You have arrested and put My servitor into prison! This is not right! When you come, you must come in a humble way. I will not go now! First free My servitor—he may be a savar, but he has served Me for many years, and you arrest him, it is very bad. First free him from the jail and make a temple for Me, then I will come. And I will come Myself—it is not necessary to bring Me!"
So, king Indradyumna made a big temple for the Lord (it is the same Jagannath temple that many of you have seen in Puri), and started waiting. He waited and waited, but the Deity did not come. He thought, "The Deity said He would come, but He is not coming..." One day the Deity came to him in a dream and said, "I am coming by the sea. I will come to the place called Chakra-tirtha. Go there, but not with your soldiers, elephants and horses. Only three people must come—you, my previous servitor Vishvavasu, and your minister Vidyapati who first found Me from your side. I will come as three pieces of wood..."
"How to carry? How to carve?"
So, the three went there to the shore of the sea and saw three pieces of wood coming from the sea. The wood was very heavy, and the king thought, "How will we carry it? It is very heavy!" but as soon as he touched the wood, it became very light, like foam. They picked up the Deities and brought them to the Deities' room in the temple.
It was only three pieces of wood, so now it was necessary to make the Deity. How will they make the Deity? The king invited a carpenter (murti-walla). The carpenter went to the temple with his hammers and all the other tools, but as soon as he touched the wood with his tools, the tools broke. The king then went on to employ one carpenter after another, but every time as soon as their tools touched the wood, the tools broke. The king did not know what to do, "How to make the Deity? It is impossible!" Then the Deity Himself told the king, "One of My servitors will come to you, his name is Vishvakarma. You will not like him and would never choose him because he looks very old, but you must allow him to make the Deity, he can do it."
So, one day an old man came to the king and said,
"Your Majesty, if you give me your permission, I can try to make the Deity..."
"Yes, yes, you can do it," answered the king.
"But I have some condition..."
"What is it?"
"You must keep me in the Deities' room, lock the door from outside, and do not open it for twenty-one days. After twenty-one days you can open the door."
"Yes, no problem," agreed the king.
So, the old man and his tools were taken to the Deities' room, and the door was locked from outside. Every day, two-three times, king Indradyumna and his wife Gundicha Devi would come to the door and they could hear some sound coming from the room, "Tuk-tuk-tuk!" so they knew the work was going on. After fifteen days, however, when they both came to the door they did not hear any sound. They thought, "What if the man has died? The temple room will become inauspicious... What will happen? The man told not to open for twenty-one days, but the man is so old, what if he died before that... How is it possible to wait then?" When they finally opened the door, they saw there was nobody inside, only three Deities were there in the room, incomplete—They did not have proper hands or legs, etc.
"I am Baladev, I am Subhadra, I am Jagannath"
That same night, the Deities came to the king in a dream and said, "I am Baladev, I am Subhadra, I am Jagannath. This is how I will rescue the whole world, the whole planet. But I have three conditions. First, you must declare that this is My temple, it belongs to all devotees, it is not anyone's personal temple. Second, My temple will be closed only for three hours (it will close at 1 o'clock and open at 4 o'clock in the morning)—it will be open for twenty-one hours for everyone. Third, you must offer Me fifty-six kinds of bhog—even though I do not have hands, I have come here for raj-bhog, I am always hungry, so you must offer Me fifty-six kinds of bhog. These are My conditions."
This is how Baladev, Subhadra, Jagannath appeared.
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