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Gita Govinda and Jagannath
Once upon a time, die Gita Govinda song was very famous among die people of Orissa. In a small village near Puri, there lived a girl named Padma. She was die daughter of a gardener, and was very expert in singing Gita Govinda. One day while Padma was plucking eggplant from the garden, she was chanting Gita Govinda very melodiously. When Lord Jagannath heard this song of Gita Govinda, He became so attracted diat He could not keep Himself in the temple. At once He left the altar and went to the garden where Padma was singing. Lord Jagannath followed behind die girl, listening to her singing. He was so much enchanted widi this song of Gita Govinda that He forgot Himself. While He was walking behind die girl His clodi was torn by the thorns of an eggplant tree. The top piece of His cloth fell on the ground, but the Lord was so much engrossed in hearing Gita Govinda that He did not notice.
After some time, Padma filled her basket with eggplants and left die garden. Lord Jagannath, completely satisfied by hearing Padma s singing, returned to the temple. The next morning, die pu-jaris came to perform their morning service. When they opened die temple gate, they were very surprised to see that Lord Jagannadis cloth was torn and His top piece of cloth was missing. Pieces of cloth were scattered here and there. It was as if the Lord had not been dressed die previous evening. After seeing this, the pujaris became very worried and immediately informed the King. No one could understand how this had happened. Everyone considered it very inauspicious. The King started to fast and fell in front of die Lord, praying to Him to excuse any mistakes in their service.
Lord Jagannath appeared to the King in his dream and told him, "Oh King! Do not be worried. I am very fond of hearing the Gita Govinda song written by my great devotee, Jayadeva. Last night there was a village girl who was chanting Gita Govinda very nicely. I became attracted by her song and left temple to listen to her. When I was following her in the eggplant garden, My cloth was torn by the thorns on the eggplant trees. Unknowingly I have left My top piece of doth there in the eggplant garden. You do not have to be worried at all. You have no fault in any of this. But I re¬quest you to please bring that girl every day and let her sing Gita Govinda in front of Me in the temple before I go to bed."
Immediately the King sent people to find the girl. When they located her house, they found Lord Jagannaths top piece of clodi lying in the garden. When the King heard this, he was very surprised: this confirmed that the Lord had gone last night to her garden. The King wanted to fulfill the desire of the Lord to hear Gita Govinda every day from Padma. He personally went to Padmas house and told her of his dream and of the Lords desire to hear her sing. He told her that if she had no objection that she could come and reside in Puri. All facilities for her and her family members to stay in Puri would be arranged. Then she could sing Gita Govinda every day in front of the Lord Jagannath. Hearing this, the girl was very happy. How fortunate she was that the Lord wanted to hear her personally sing Gita Govinda! And so Padma, along with her family members, agreed to go to Puri to serve Lord Jagannath.
They all came to Puri and met the King. He gave them all facilities to stay in Puri and gave Padma the special service of chanting Gita Govinda in front of Lord Jagannadi. From that time the system of chanting Gita Govinda before Lord takes rest was introduced in die Jagannath temple. The King gave lot of respect to the song Gita Govinda written by Jayadeva. He fixed the time for singing this song, and the method for singing was determined. A special order was given by die King for this service and was en¬graved in stone as a permanent order. From that day onwards, Padma, the most fortunate girl, started singing Gita Govinda every day in front of the Lord during the midnight arati before Jagan¬nadi takes rest. Padma became known as Deva Dasi, or maidservant of the Lord.