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PASTIMES FROM 1950's TO 1970's
Lord Jagannatha's Mercy on Phatik Chatterjee's'Family Narrated by Gauri, the youngest daughter of Sri Phatik Chatterjee
"Why is no one feeding us!"
During the Bangladesh war in 1971, there was a lot of communal agitation in India. Phatik Chatterjee, the previous owner of the temple, had seven daughters. He was a little afraid living here because there is a Muslim village nearby. So he moved to Katwa to protect his daughters. But one of the local Muslims from here went to him and said, "Please come back to Rajapur." Phatik Chatterjee refused. The Muslim said, "We will give you all protection." Phatik again politely refused. Then the Muslim said, "Actually we have been hearing voices coming from the temple. They are saying, 'Why isn't anyone coming anymore? Why no one is feeding us?' We are very frightened, please come back and we promise to give you a twenty-four hour guard." So then he agreed to come back and the villagers gave full protection.
"I Saw a Light Hovering over You!"
While one of Phatik Chatterjee's daughter was getting married, a group of anti-socials turned up. He knew they were thieves, dacoits. But since the wedding was under way, he invited them in, saying, "Please come, eat something." Later on the group were discussing amongst themselves, and people were watching them because a wedding means there is gold around and they were a little nervous. Then the group began to argue amongst themselves, and finally they broke away from each other and left. A few nights later, their leader came back and knocked on Phatik's door and said,"I want to speak to you."
Phatik said, "I am not going to open the door, please don't mind."
The dacoit said that he was genuine. "I want to tell you something. Actually that night of the wedding, we came to rob you. And while we were planning how to do it, I saw a light coming from Jagannatha's temple and hovering over you. And I knew that it was not an ordinary thing. I told the others what I saw and told them, 'We won't be successful in our job, we won't do anything tonight.' But some members who wanted to go ahead with the robbery became angry, and a fight broke out, then every one left." And thus Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra protected Their pujari.
One Snana-yatra day, Phatik Babu's wife, Nirmala Devi, became very ill. There was heavy rain that day and people had assembled in the temple of Jagannatha. Nirmala Devi was in bed the whole day. When Phatik Babu came back to his house and entered the room, he was astonished to see an unusual footprint in the dust on the floor. He realized that the footprint was of none other than Jagannathaji Himself. He at once took some dust of that footprint and placed it on the body of Nirmala Devi and some of it on his own head and immediately Nirmala Devi recovered from her illness.
"Did you see anything unusual last night?"
Phatik Babu used to worship mother Kali and one time he bought a goat for sacrificing. Somehow or other the goat disappeared. Many persons were deployed to search out the goat, but in vain. Gauri, the youngest daughter of Phatik Babu, also went out to search for that goat along with her niece, Kalpana. While out searching, Gauri suddenly saw the beautiful images of Lord Jagannatha and Krishna in front of her. Their colour was deep black and Their bodies were fully decorated with ornaments. They had crowns that made Them so attractive. Gauri saw that both of Them were laughing. Meanwhile Kalpana called out for Gauri. Instead of going back, Gauri tried to attract Kalpana's attention to these images in front of her. But despite all efforts Kalpana could not see Them, and she turned and went away. Gauri followed Kalpana but she did not reveal anything of what had happened. The next day Jaimini Ghosh, under inspiration from Lord Jagannatha, asked Gauri to tell her parents if she saw anything unusual last night. Then Gauri narrated the above incident.
The following stories were narrated by Dilip Bhattacharya, grandson of Sri Phatik Chatterjee
Jagannatha Removes Darkness
When Dilip was approximately 10 years old, he and his elder brother, plus two other cousin brothers, were given upanayam by Phatik Chatterjee, who was very keen on making them worshippers of Lord Jagannatha. As per the ritual, the boys were kept inside for three days and only on the fourth day were they allowed out. At that time the boys, who were very excited about having a clean-shaved head and wooden peg shoes, thought of going to the nearby market at Bamanpukur. It was early evening by the time they returned, and along the way they suddenly felt a very fearful presence, and so they all huddled up together. Phatik Chatterjee had instructed them that if they ever felt frightened, they should chant the Hare Krsna mantra, Jagannatha's name, and the Gayatrl mantra. So they began to chant the mantras. Then suddenly they saw a brilliant blue light coming from the temple sikhara, shooting up into the sky and lighting up the entire area. The boys still huddled up managed with great effort to drag themselves away from that place until they reached their house where they fell flat on the floor. They told Phatik Chatterjee of what had happened to them, and he told them that Lord Jagannatha had protected them.
Effulgence From the Temple
Another time Dilip's mother went to the temple to offer a lamp. After some time they could see so much light inside the closed doors of the temple. They thought a rat might have pulled the lamp and it had caught fire inside the temple. When they ran to the place they saw a strong blue light coming from underneath the door. When they opened the door, the light disappeared but the scent of frankincense was everywhere.
"Don't leave this place."
After the temple was given to ISKCON and Phatik Chatterjee left his body (in 1986), Dilip's father, Ram Bhattacharjee—who had been assisting Phatik for many years—decided to return to Belpukur, where he had his own house and property, and settle there. That same night both Ram and his wife both had startling experiences. Ram's wife started foaming at the mouth and Ram started choking, his eyes bulging in their sockets.After some time they returned to normal, but they were left shaken. Later on in the morning, Lord Jagannatha appeared before Ram, sitting on his chest, telling him that he cannot leave this place. So Ram declared that as long as he lived, he will not move anywhere. He also advised his children (Dilip and brother) to do the same. Later they built a house just 500 metres away from Jagannatha temple.
"1 must take darshan of Jagannatha."
After Dilip's parents passed away, on several occasions Dilip tried to move back to Belpukur or other places where he could earn a better income, but Lord Jagannatha would come to him in his dreams and, sometimes lovingly and other times threateningly, tell him not to move away from Him. Dilip says, "If I don't visit Jagannatha two days in a week, everything in the house gets disturbed and life becomes very irritating. And still now, so many problems 1 constantly face, I just go and inform Dada (a name he has lovingly called Lord Jagannatha since childhood, which means elder brother), and sure enough within no time it all settles down."
Pastimes Narrated byjaimini Ghosh
"You have to maintain yourself."
After the temple and Deities had been repaired, Jaimini Ghosh desired to serve Them, but he had no money, so he appealed to Lord Jagannatha and explained his plight. That night two huge branches fell from the tree beside the Temple; he sold that wood and the money provided for the se\d for a few months.
When the money was finished, he again approached Lord Jagannatha and said, "Prabhu, I cannot maintain You anymore, You will have to maintain Yourself." From that day on, inside the temple on the side of the altar he would find just enough money to pay for the days puja."
"Free trip to Puri"
Another time Jaimini fell asleep outside the temple. When he awoke, to his surprise he found himself in Puri during the Rathayatra festival. He enjoyed the festival for some days, but thought of how his parents, who knew nothing of his whereabouts, would be terribly worried about him. He decided to return home, but didn't have any money for his fare. Approaching some pandas, he explained his situation. The pandas advised him, "If Lord Jagannatha brought you here, then go before Him and ask Him to take you back." Jaimini did just that, and the next morning when he woke up he found himself back in Rajapur.
Stories From Other Sources
Lord Jagannatha Didn't Want to Leave
Some Brahmanas from a local village felt they could offer Lord Jagannatha a better standard of worship and wanted to take Him to their village. So one day they came and stole Lord Jagannatha. While carrying Him across the fields, they all suddenly felt the need to answer nature's call, so they put Lord Jagannatha down and went to relieve themselves. But upon returning they found that they could not lift Lord Jagannatha, and so they went and found some more men to help them. Despite their many attempts, however, they could not budge the Lord. Then they realized that He didn't want to leave Rajapur, so they came back and told the priests, "We have made a big offense; your Deity is out in the field, please bring Him back." So two pujarls went and easily picked Him up and carried Him back home.
Once there was a very serious epidemic in this area; a lot of people were getting sick and some of them were dying. Lord Jagannatha appeared in a dream to the pujarl and told him of a medicine that would cure this disease. In the morning the pujarl called all the villagers and told them to gather the ingredients to make this medicine. They did so, but were unable to find one ingredient, which doesn't grow in this area. But later in the day a small boy came to the temple carrying a branch, which he gave to the pujarl's wife. When the pujarl returned and saw that branch he became very excited and said, "Oh, that's just what we want, this is the last herb we need to make this medicine! Who has brought this?" The wife replied, "Oh, a very charming little boy brought it. I don't think he was from this village, for I have not seen him before." So they made that medicine and everybody was cured. From that day Lord Jagannatha has earned great respect even from the non-Hindus.
"Don't show your feet to the deities."
Once some children were playing in front of the old temple. One of the girls started showing the soles of her feet to the Deities in an insolent way. "Don't do that," the other children said. "This is the Thakura." The girl, who was from a Muslim family, said, "What do I care for Them?" Within a very short time her feet became infected. The infection spread to her legs and she could not walk properly anymore. She is a grown woman now and you can still see her in the village moving around on her knees. So everyone in the locality is very respectful and a little fearful of Lord Jagannatha.
There was a thief who sometimes used to come to the temple and steal whatever he could. Even though he was warned again and again by his friends that this Deity of Jagannatha is very powerful and intolerant of any bad behaviour, still he continued.One night he was captured while robbing a house and the locals chopped his hand off. When the police arrived to arrest him, in his pitiable condition he made a plea. "I know why this has happened to me. Before you take me to the jail please take me to Jagannatha's temple, so that I may beg forgiveness from Him!"
None of Lord Jagannatha's Property is Insignificant
An old man from this village told this story to the pujarl. When he was a young boy, he was herding cows through the Jagannatha Mandir. At that time the temple was in ruins so there were many bricks strewn around the temple. Just for fun he took a brick, broke it with his stick, and threw it out. That night he couldn't sleep. The whole night he was constantly hearing a voice saying, "Why did you throw the brick out of My temple?" The next day he retrieved the brick and put it back from where he had taken it. Only then, the old man said, did he have peace.
The Lord Speaks Through His Devotee
This story was told by Srila Prabhupada's godbrother, Srila Damodara Maharaja. He relates, " I was having darsana of Lord Jagannatha (this was at the old temple) when the pujarl brought the bhoga offering." Having been a pujarl at the Yogapith for many years, Maharaja noticed that the bhoga plate was not covered and that there were dogs around. He also saw that something fell into the bhoga plate as the pujarl was passing through the door. Damodara Maharaja didn't say anything about it, but later in the day an old lady dressed in white came and started to chastise that pujarl severely, "Why are you offering something impure to Lord Jagannatha? Why you are not covering the bhoga plate with a cloth. You have to be more careful in the future!"Maharaja was surprised and wondered how she could have known, for he had been alone; there was no one else around at that time! Then he added that one should always be respectful to everyone in the dhama, for it's not so easy to discern who is a great devotee.
Offense to Maha-prasadam
Lord Jagannatha is very popular here. He is known as a very powerful Deity amongst all the different villages in this area. About 25 years ago, on sndna-yatra day, a riksha driver took some kichari prasadam while at the temple, and also took some for his friend, who was a Muslim. But his friend threw it on the ground and said, "I don't eat food that has been offered to idols!"
That night in his dream, the friend saw that Lord Balarama was sitting on him, strangling him, beating him like anything, and saying, "Don't you know that My brother is worshipped by honoring his maha-prasadam, and you dared to throw it on the ground?! I will kill you!" The man was very fearful. Subhadra was there too. She was laughing and saying, "Kill him, kill him!" Lord Jagannatha was there and He was also laughing, but He said, "No, no, no, don't kill him." The next day this Muslim came very humbly before the Deity and offered worship to Lord Jagannatha. He narrated his story and also asked for some maha-prasadam. But there was nothing left. "There must be something," he pleaded. So the pujarl went and searched the pots and found a little, which the man happily accepted.