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A Promise to Jagannatha
By Seva Priya Devi Dasi
During the 2006 Odana-sasthl festival, sitting in front of Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra, I listened as Pankajanghri Prabhu and Jananivasa Prabhu told stories of the pastimes of the Deities. My mind was wandering and thinking selfishly, "Why is it that even after praying to these Deities for over two years, my prayers have not been answered?" I was feeling very sad that my husband, Yugala Kisora Prabhu, and I had not been able to have a child together. The year before I had miscarried and often thought sadly that this had been my last chance. I tried to bring my mind back to the stories being told, and decided to not constantly pester the Lords with my desires.
As I listened, however, I recognised a pattern in the tales being told. It seemed that the devotees had all bargained with the Lord in some way: "Lord, if you give me this then I will give you this." I had never done that before, but it seemed from hearing the stories that the Lord really enjoyed these bartering games with His devotees.
"Okay," I thought, "what can I offer to You, Jagannatha? What can I possibly offer You?" I decided to just relax and allow Jagannatha to tell me in His own way what He wanted from me.
Then it just popped into my head that if He gave me a baby I would name the child Jagannatha after Him; I would raise the child to know and love Lord Jagannatha and teach him to offer service to the Lord; I would chant Jagannatha's glories by telling everyone how merciful He had been to me. So I approached the altar and made the deal, and I felt really very happy. Exactly one month passed and I began to feel impatient, thinking "Why is nothing happening? Why is Jagannatha not answering my prayers?" and I decided that we should probably visit a doctor to find out if there was an underlying obstacle to my inability to conceive a child, and so we phoned the doctor to make an appointment. Immediately the doctor offered some solutions that made us both feel overwhelmed; the thought of such procedures also made us unhappy.That night I kept waking up even though I was feeling exhausted, and I began to realise that in fact I had actually been having symptoms of a pregnant woman. I was so afraid of a negative result that I waited three days before confirming whether or not I was actually pregnant.
On the day before the doctor's appointment, I was able to confirm that I was actually pregnant, and that indeed Lord Jagannatha seemed to like the deal that I struck up with Him. I happily cancelled the appointment and went to thank Lord Jagannatha instead.As the days went by I felt that it was better not to share the news with anyone until I had reached a stage where I was sure things would be okay. At around three months I would have passed the dangerous stage of the pregnancy and it would be safe to be really happy and share the news. But Jagannatha had other plans: He reminded me that part of my deal was to chant His glories and tell everyone of His mercy to us. I constantly found myself in situations where I had to explain that I was pregnant, and then I would have to talk about the deal I'd made with Lord Jagannatha and His resultant mercy.
Now I am writing this story so it can be published in this book, and many will read it, so again I get to chant His glories and repeat what I have said so
many times lately: Lord Jagannatha is indeed the most merciful, and due to His kindness I am feeling more and more blessed each day.
(A letter received from Narahari Devi Dasi)
This Gaura-purnima I had the good fortune of coming to Mayapur for the first time in my life and also visiting Lord Jagannatha's temple during the parikrama and hearing about the wonderful pastimes of Lord Jagannatha.I was extremely sick the next day and I was praying to Lord Jagannatha that since He was a mystic He needs to do something to me so I can continue on the parikrama. Next morning I came to the temple and had caranamrta and instantly I became completely normal and all my sickness vanished.Lord Jagannatha is very merciful.
The Typist's Story
After hearing the pastimes of Lord Jagannatha a few times, one devotee felt a desire to compile these stories of Lord Jagannatha for future record. When she expressed her desire to the head pujdri, he said that it is already been taken care of and very soon we will have all the pastimes published in a book. Somehow the work stopped. But after many years it again started and that same devotee by Lord Jagannatha's mercy got the opportunity to help in the compilation of this book of pastimes, and while typing the pastimes she was. happy realizing how Lord Jagannatha had reciprocated with her desire to serve Him.
Lord Jagannatha's Mercy Felt by Nitya-seva Member
Cudamani Dasl and Siddharupa Dasl are UK devotees, members of Lord Jagannatha's Nitya-seva scheme, under which they are sent yearly a picture of the Deities, along with prasddam and tulasl leaves. She sent the following letter:
"I received your email (about the recent pastime of Lord Jagannatha) yesterday, 5th December 05 and this morning we had darsana of Lord Jagannatha Subhadra Baladeva with mahd-prasddam of Tulasl Devi all way from the Holy Dhama. When I brought the envelope of Lord Jagannatha's mahd-prasddam with Tulasl Devi to my mother, she raised her hands up in the air, chanting loudly, 'Haribol, Haribol Jai!' I had a dream early hours of this morning that His Divine Grace Srlla Prabhupada was sitting on his vyasdsana and asked a devotee to put maha-prasadam in an envelope and to take it to me and put it on my altar."
She was in ecstasy. We were in bliss.
The main reason for the Lord's appearance in various forms is to attract the living entities back to His lotus feet. Therefore we hope that the stories in this book may be helpful in reawakening your attraction to His wonderful pastimes.