Special Day of Special Mercy
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Jay Om Vishnupad Jagad-Guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami
Maharaj ki jay
Devotee: Jay Om Vishnupad Paramahamsa Sri Srimad Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj ki jay. Nitai Gaura premanande Hari bol
By the mercy of Gurudev and Lord Jagannath, Baladev, Subhadra, we are present here today.
I spend this Ratha-yatra time in Puri every year, but even though this year we could not go there, my mind, my heart, and everything is still in Puri with all the devotees. I told you the day before yesterday that I would come in front of you on this Ratha-yatra day, so we have assembled now here. I was a little busy with some service in the morning, after that I turned on the television and saw all Ratha-yatra in Puri—it happened without the participation of devotees and there were not so many people, perhaps one-two hundred people only. I saw the festival from the beginning. When Lord Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra come to Their chariots, King Gajapati performs "pohandi vijay" (sweeps and cleanses the chariots), and then first Baladev's chariot called Taldvaj starts off, next is Subhadra's chariot Darpadalan, and Sri Jagannathdev's chariot Nandighosh goes last. It happens like this every year. I saw that by 5-5:15 p.m. the chariots had almost reached Gundicha Bari. This year, I watched everything on television.
Anyhow, by the mercy of Gurudev, I am very fortunate to be able to meet today with you all, with all the devotees all over the world. It is my great fortune. Today is a very special day for our Gaudiya sampradaya, and devotees celebrate this day in all of our temples. We always spend this time in Puri and make a festival there, but today we have also made a small festival here without a large gathering—keeping some social distance, we are making a programme and meeting with you all through this electronic technology. It is very nice, I am very happy about that.
During this chariot festival, Mahaprabhu would dance in front of the chariots, and when the chariots would stop sometimes, He would touch the chariot with His head, and the chariot would start moving again. This is how the chariots went to Gundicha Bari in Mahaprabhu's time. Also, Mahaprabhu showed the Gundicha-marjan pastime, it was yesterday. It is the day when temples and hearts are cleaned. I have told you about it.
Today is also a good occasion, the day of Ratha-yatra, the day when Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra journey to Gundicha temple. Our Gaudiya sampradaya always happily observes this festival. Also, having special affection for this festival, our Gurudev made a temple and a Sevak Bhavan (guesthouse) in Puri on the order of Param Guru Maharaj, Om Vishnupad Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj. Now, our devotees can go to Puri from time to time. Gurudev said that Mahaprabhu had rejected Nabadwip and accepted Puri—when Mahaprabhu lived in Puri, He stayed in a place called Gambhira. We always visit it when we come to Puri. I know that when devotees come for Gaura Purnima, they also sometimes visit Puri with some sannyasi or leader. There may be some difficulty for you to go inside Jagannath Temple (there is a restriction for all foreign devotees)—on the one hand, even if we only pay our obeisance from outside, it is sufficient for us; on the other hand, at the time of Ratha-yatra, Lord Jagannath comes out in His chariot and bestows His mercy all over the world. Therefore, we are very fortunate to be getting mercy from Jagannath, Baladev, and Subhadra, and, even though we are so far, we pay our obeisance to Them from here. Sometimes, we also think that it is so crowded, we cannot come close to the chariots, but the truth is that we actually have no eyes to see this Deity of Lord Jagannath. Even Sriman Mahaprabhu Himself said, "I do not have that kind of vision to see Lord Jagannath!"
One time, Sriman Mahaprabhu went to Jagannath Temple, but after the snan-yatra they say that Jagannath has a fever, so it is not possible to see Jagannath for fifteen days. Being not able to see Jagannath, Sriman Mahaprabhu ran to Allarnath. When He came there and saw the Deity of Allarnath, He saw Jagannath there, and when He fell on the ground to pay His obeisance to the Lord, the stone floor melted under His body. That stone is still there—you can see the marks from His chest, head, hands, etc. You can go to Allarnath (it is not far from Puri) and see it. We always come there, pay our obeisance and sit there for some time. Foreign devotees are also restricted there, they cannot go inside Allarnath's temple. [The melted stone His Divine Grace mentions is kept in a small temple outside the temple of Allarnath, so foreigners are allowed to see it.]
We visit so many places when we come to Puri... Also, Haridas Thakur never went inside Jagannath temple. Every day, Mahaprabhu would come to the mangal-arati, and after that He would go to see Haridas Thakur and then to bathe in the ocean. Haridas Thakur said, "Sriman Mahaprabhu goes to see the mangal-arati every day, after that He comes to see me—in this way I get the mercy of Jagannath through Him."
During His last twelve years, Sriman Mahaprabhu was very disturbed and had become almost like mad tasting separation—He showed that He had become Srimati Radharani and was tasting the separation from Lord Krishna that Radharani felt. So many things happened in Puri at that time... Once, He jumped into the ocean and the ocean carried Him sixteen kilometres away to Konark where a fisherman found Him...
Also, King Prataparudra wanted to meet with Mahaprabhu, but Mahaprabhu said, "He is the king, and I cannot meet with a king because if I do, people will see it—what will they learn from Me? They will criticise Me. It is not good for a sannyasi." Still, King Prataparudra was very eager to meet with Mahaprabhu, he always thought about it. King Prataparudra did very much service to all devotees during the Ratha-yatra time—so many would come at that time, and he would serve everybody. Even Svarup Damodar, Raya Ramananda, Nityananda Prabhu told Mahaprabhu, "Please, give Your darshan to Raja Prataparudra." Finally, Mahaprabhu became tired and very angry, He said, "If you speak about it again, you will never see Me here again! I will go to some other place." Then, nobody said anything again. However, Nityananda Prabhu is very clever. (You know that you cannot reach Mahaprabhu without the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu. That is our line.) So, Nityananda Prabhu gave King Prataparudra some guidance—He said, "When the Ratha-yatra festival is going on, all the devotees will be chanting, dancing, and Mahaprabhu will be dancing too, and when He gets tired, He will go to Balagandi Udyan (Jagannathdev's garden) and take some rest there. At that time, you will leave your your king's dress, wear a Vaishnav's dress and come there to massage His legs, and while massaging His legs, you will recite this sloka from Srimad Bhagavatam."
তব কথামৃতং তপ্তজীবনং
tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam
"My Dear, bestowing the greatest fortune that is attained after so many births, exalted souls come to this world and live here by singing and spreading Your nectarean glories that are life and soul for those suffering in this material world being devoid of Your divine love; that are the gist of all poets' songs; that are the destroyer of all sins; that benefit anyone who hears them; and that possess universal attraction."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 14.13)
King Prataparudra did everything that Nityananda Prabhu had told him. As soon as Mahaprabhu heard this Bhagavatam sloka, He embraced the king and kept saying, "Bhurida! Bhurida!" "Bhuri-da" means a great donor (data). Who is a great donor in this world? Those who distribute the Holy Name, who distribute Hari-katha, Krishna-katha, who distribute Krishna's message all over the world. There are so many 'donors' in this material world, but our guru-varga are great donors because they distribute the Holy Names, they distribute the Lord's message all over the world.
There are so many pastimes in Jagannath Puri—Pradyumna Misra's talk with Raya Ramananda took place in Raya Ramananda's house, etc. There is no time today to tell so many things, but I would like to tell the history and pastimes of Lord Jagannath...
His Divine Grace then tells the pastime of Lord Jagannath's appearance:
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