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Title: Shri Jagannatha Puri Photo Summary

User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2006-06-13 19:48:45


The city of Puri — also called Puri-on-the-Sea, Jagannatha Puri, Nilacala,and Shri Ksetra — is considered equal to Vrindavana and Navadvipa (thebirthplace of Lord Krishna and Chaitanya respectively) as a dhama, or sacred Vaishnava holy place. For thousands of years great sages and other exalted persons have traveled to Puri on pilgrimage. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu chose to reside here for the last eighteen years of His life. Jagannatha Puri is situated on the bank of Bay of Bengal in East-Indian state Orissa.Jagannatha's Temple was built in ancient times by King Indradyumna and the whole story was marvelously depicted in Tamala Krishna's drama Jagannatha Priya-natakam (We recommend you to get this play and relish it to heart's content). The present temple of Lord Jagannatha was constructed by King Anangabheema. Historians say this temple must have been originally constructed at least two thousand years ago. The main tower is 65 m high. On the top there is Neela-chakra ("the blue disc") made from alloy of eight metals (astha-dhatu) It is 3,5 m high and each day bears different flag. The lamp is lighted there on each Ekadashi. In Chaitanya-caritamrita it is stated that if one is not for some reason qualified to enter the temple (because of not being born-Hindu or feels unclean), he may look at the chakra and bow down from distance, which is as good as visiting of the temple. Lord Chaitanya was regularly visiting the temple. Near Jagannatha's altar there is a Garuda-stambha pillar and small pond which used to be full of His tears.Lord Jagannatha"Jagat" means "universe" and "natha" is "master". Thus Jagannatha is "Master of the universe" and priests are decorating Him in different ways on different occasions - in the mood of many incarnations of the Supreme Lord as Nrsimha or Varaha, but Gaudiya-vaishnavas prefer to see Him as Lord Chaitanya did - as Lord Krishna. Wooden Deity is so heavy that few men have to hold each of His hand, some must push from behind and some pull from the front.Baladeva (Balabhadra)is on the left side. He is actually Balarama, older brother of Krishna, His first expansion.Lady Subhadra (in the middle) is Krishna's sister, Divine energy.

Since the Deities are made from wood, each 12 years Nava-kalevara-yatra (or ritual of transformation) is hold. After elaborate preliminary preparations, the right trees are found, Deities carved, transformation made and old Deities buried in the ground. Last rites were done in 1996. Though as much as half million people attend the festival, most of the procedures are conducted in secret and no other than few appointed priests and servants can be present.

First of all the special trees with the symbolic marks of chakra, ...

...conshell, mace and lotus have to be found. The search party consists of exact numbers of man belonging to specific families and casts. After several stops they will reach village Kakatpur 80 km from Puri. The oldest member of Dayitapati family has to sleep in the temple of Goddess Vimala or Mangala, meaning "Auspicious One". He must have a dream during this stay in which goddess tells him the exact location where the trees can be found. The tree for each of the four Deities will be in a different place (the fourth Deity is Sudarsan). When the search party locates the places, they may find many trees, but the sacred symbols will be found on only one of them.

The Siva's temple and pond has to be nearby. Very rare types of trees must be growing beside: The Varuna Tree, which can protect you from snakes. It is said that this tree has the power to destroy all anger and pride. People today often carry a piece of Varuna bark with them if they must meet a bothersome person. The Sahada Tree, which gives the power to forget oneself. The Vilua Tree, which has the power to cure any disease, even heart disease, cancer and leprosy...

...The cure is obtained by chewing its leaves. All three trees are very rare, whereas the Neem tree is very common. When the trees are found, they must construct a small hut nearby in which they will now reside. A great fire sacrifice is performed there to invite all demigods to give their blessings and cutting of the tree can start. First only the golden axe can touch the tree, then silver and after that iron axe can finish the work. 108 names of the Lord are chanted continuously. Neem wood will not decay for more than thirty years and it is one of the longest-lasting types of wood in India. Since "Neem" is called "daru" Jagannatha Deity is also called "daru-brahman".Only members of the Dayitapatifamily have the right of carrying the huge log back to Puri and the descendant of the original carver can carve the Deity. Only few precisely designated servants can participate in the rites of transformation. Old Deities are placed in front of the new ones and three oldest members of Dayitapati family transfer "Daru-brahman" to the new Deities... ...Not even the head priest can be there during this time. Nava-kalevara-yatra is actually this transformation ceremony during which all present have very intense experiences as they blindfolded transfer "life force" to the new Deities. Old Deities are buried in a place known as Koili Vaikuntha. Koili means "burial ground" and Vaikuntha means "Heaven".

Cobra representing Ananta SesaThe temple has four gates: Simha-dwara (Lion or main Gate), Ashva-dwara (Horse Gate), Vyaghra-dwara (Tiger Gate) and Hasti-dwara (Elephant Gate). There is also small sanctum of Satya-narayana, Ramacandra, Nrsimhadeva in the temple area and smaller Deity of Jagannatha called Patita-pavana ("Savior of the fallen") that can be seen by everybody directly from the street. None of the temple kitchens in the world is as grand as Lord Jagannatha's kitchens in Puri. Awesome and gigantic, the Jagannatha Temple kitchens reflect centuries of tradition. Without electricity or machines, skilled chefs work under oil lamps over open wood fires. Every day they prepare more than a hundred different dishes and offer them to the central Deities. Further, given only one day's notice the chefs can prepare a full meal for up to 100,000 guests.During Snana-yatra (bathing) festival Lord Jagannatha is supposed to get sick and He is brought for few days to His private rooms. There, the Anavasara (rejuvenating) ceremony takes place. Only Dayitas, servants from the lower caste, take care about the Lord and because He is supposed to have fever, fruit juices are served for drink. During Anga-Raga (Nava-Yauvana) ceremony Lord Jagannatha's Deities are newly painted. But the real reason for His absence in the temple is actually enjoying undisturbed privacy and svakiya-rasa with His wife Laksmi. Then Lord Jagannatha asks Her permission to leave and comes out for His Ratha-yatra chariot festival. Deities of Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Lady Subhadra are by rolling movements with sounds of drums carried out of the temple to Their carts. It is grand festival and the biggest event in whole Orissa. Only during the Ratha-yatra festival the big Deities can be seen by all including non-hindus. The king of Orissa then sweeps the street in front of the carts with a golden handled broom.Shri Chaitanya experienced Ratha-yatra festival in unique way. In the mood of Shrimati Radharani He remembered a time when inhabitants of Vrindavan came to meet Krishna at Kuruksetra. Gopis were cowherds and Krishna was King with weapons and chariots and all over were splendid riches. Gopis remembered Krishna as a simple cowherd boy in Vrindavan and paradoxically felt even more separation than before......Therefore they took the rein (ropes) of His chariot and with all strength start to pull Him back to Vrindavan. This is the real mood of Ratha-yatra relished by gaudiya-vaishnava devotees. Shri Chaitanya tasted many ecstatic emotions during the festival and afterwards the verse written by Rupa Gosvami pleased Him very much: "I am the same Radharani, and now we are meeting together. It is very pleasant, but I would still like to go to the bank...... of the Yamuna beneath the trees of the forest there. I wish to hear the vibration of His sweet flute playing the fifth note within that forest of Vrindavan." Ratha-yatra was also one of the favorite festivals of Shrila Prabhupada. He used to say that he never attended festival in Puri, but he always had his own. And that was true in his childhood when he celebrated it with his neighbors, as well as in later times when he introduced it in many western towns.Gundica Mandir (Temple)This temple is located at the end of main road about 3 km northeast of the Jagannatha Temple. The temple at Gundica is called Sundaracala and Jagannatha Temple is called Nilacala. At the time of the Ratha-yatra festival. Lord Jagannatha goes to the Gundica Temple and stays there for one week. After one week He returns to His original temple. It is said that the wife of lndradyumna, the king who originally established the temple of Jagannatha, was known as Gundica. The cleansing of the Gundica Temple - Gundica-marjana- takes place the day before the Ratha-yatra festival as mentioned in Chaitanya-caritamrita."...The next day Lord Chaitanya smeared sandalwood pulp on His personal associates, gave each a broom and went to Gundica. They cleansed everything nicely including the ceiling. They moved Lord Jagannatha's throne to clean underneath it. Shri Chaitanya cleansed in jubilation and chanted Hare Krishna simultaneously, everyone followed His example......Lord Chaitanya's entire body was covered with dust and dirt as He washed the temple with His tears. Imitating Lord Chaitanya, the devotees gathered dust and straw in their cloths and discarded it outside into one pile. Lord Chaitanya's own pile of straw and dust was much bigger than the devotee's collective pile. Lord Chaitanya mopped and polished the room and throne with His cloth. All the rooms were cleansed with a hundred water pots......Whenever anyone had to speak, they uttered only the holy name of Krishna. Lord Chaitanya approached everyone just to teach them how to work. While praising the good and chastising the bad, without bearing grudge, Lord Chaitanya said, "You have done well, teach others." Lord Chaitanya personally instructed how to receive the Supreme Lord within one's cleansed and pacified heart." The well where Shri Chaitanya drunk.Indradyumna SarovaraThis water tank is about a half km from the Gundica Temple.Water to clean the Gundica Temple is brought from this kunda. Shri Chaitanya engaged in water sports with His intimate associates in this tank....and if they are not to take complete bath, they take at least tree drops of its water on their heads.Non-Hindus can walk within the walls of Gundica Temple and see the beautiful garden, but they are not allowed in the temple building.Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya's HouseThis house is about 1,5 km south of the Simha-dwara of the Jagannatha Temple. If you walk out of the Jagannatha Temple, turn right and follow the road toward Swarga-dwara (the ocean). Go past the first right, which goes around the temple, and then walk about another 100 m and make the next right to Sweta Ganga Tank. Sarvabhauma's house, better known as Gangamata Math, is on the left.When Lord Chaitanya first came to Puri, He fainted in front of Deity of Lord Jagannatha and Sarvabhauma took Him to his home. He wanted to teach Him Vedanta in order to protect Him from allurements of material world. At the end he recognize who He actually is and became His devotee.Indradyumna Maharaja leads the ecstatic kirtan in the very same room where Sarvabhauma discussed Vedanta.There are Radha-Krishna Deities called Radha-Rasikaraja in this house, which are said to have been worshiped by Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. Inside there are paintings of devotional scenes all over the walls. The black wooden sandals are said to have belonged to Sarvabhauma.Here Lord Chaitanya manifested His Sad-bhuj form with six arms, which shows that all His forms as Ramachandra (holding bow and arrow), Krishna (with the flute) and Chaitanya (holding waterpot and rod of a sannyasi) are different manifestations of His Supreme Personality, thus exhibiting simultaneous oneness and difference.There is a hidden tunnel in the house that is said to lead in two directions — to the sea and to the Jagannatha Temple. It is said that this tunnel was used by Shri ChaitanyaAfter the Ratha-yatra festival Lord Chaitanya was offered a very wonderful feast here in Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya's house. The elaborate descriptions of all preparations can be found in Chaitanya-caritamrita. It seemed that Shri Chaitanya could match the amount of prasadam taken by Jagannatha Himself (!)During His first visit, Lord Chaitanya stayed here for 5 days. Than He departed for His South India tour.Jagannatha Vallabha GardensShri Chaitanya used to meet here with Ramananda Raya. Ramananda Raya used to train girls here to dance for the pleasure of Lord Jagannatha. There are three altars in the Jagannatha Vallabha temple. On one altar there are large Deities of Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra. On the middle altar there are Deities of Lord Chaitanya (in saffron) and Ramananda Raya (in white). Radha-Krishna Deities are on the third altar.India is a country where almost all can be seen on the streets - from giving birth to cremation. Not like in the West where everything is hidden and more illusory in this sense...So cremation is also a part of the day in Jagannatha Puri.Bhaktisiddhanta SaraswatiThakura's BirthplaceGreat vaishnava saint, Bhaktivinod Thakur, lived in Jagannatha Puri. As the regional governor he was also in charge of Jagannatha Temple. He was not only saint, but he could see more clearly motivation of people, which made him a very effective judge. British colonizers used to look at the managerial qualities of Indians with contempt, but Bhaktivinod won their recognition also in this regard. In few minutes he could finish the cases which others were unable to close in hours. In his house a son Bhimal Prasad was born, who later became famous all over India as Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati.The temple at his birthplace is located about 1 km from the Jagannatha Temple on Grand Road. There is a Gaudiya Math temple here, with Jagannatha Deities and a murti of Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja. There are also murtis of the heads of the four Vaishnava sampradayas — Vishnuswami, Madhvacarya, Nimbarka, and Ramanuja.When Bhimal Prasad was a child,Ratha-yatra cart stopped in front of Bhaktivinod's house and like in times of Lord Chaitanya couldn't move for a while. Bhaktivinoda was a governor and his wife could came out with Bhimal Prasad in her arms and place him directly in front of the Jagannath's Deities......A flower garland fell on the child, thus blessing Bhimal Prasad. Shortly afterwards the cart could move again and Ratha-yatra continued.Green coconuts provide very pleasant beverage called "dab". It is very refreshing drink very much welcomed in hot Indian climate. To find good source of drinking water can be troublesome and dab is so pure that during wartime in emergency cases it was used as blood infusion in absence of specially manufactured substances.Siddha Bakula is the bhajan-kutir of Haridasa Thakura, where he chanted 300,000 names of God daily. In order to provide shade for Thakura Haridasa, Shri Chaitanya planted a toothpick used by Lord Jagannatha. All of a sudden it grew up and appeared as a great shade tree.The devotees returned to Haridas Thakur saying, that Lord Chaitanya wanted to meet him. He replied, "If I could just get a solitary place near the temple, I could stay there and pass my time. I do not wish the servants of Lord Jagannatha to touch me. I would remain there in the garden alone. That is my desire..." ...Happy to hear this, Shri Chaitanya came personally to meet Haridas after His devotees departed for sea bathing and their residential accommodations. Shri Chaitanya took Haridas within the flower garden and there, in a very secluded place, He showed him his residence. Shri Chaitanya requested him, "Remain here and chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. I shall personally come here to meet you daily. Remain here peacefully, and look at the cakra on top of Lord Jagannatha's temple and offer obeisances. As far as your prasadam, I shall arrange to have that sent here." Rupa Goswami recited Lalita Madhava and Vidagdha Madhava before Shri Chaitanya and His followers under the tree here. During his stay in Puri, Sanatana Goswami lived here with Haridasa Thakura. This is considered a very holy spot for the Gaudiya Vaishnavas, as this is where Haridasa Thakura left his body and where, after his departure, Shri Chaitanya carried his body while dancing in ecstasy.

Murti of Haridas Thakur.In course of time, the King of Orissa ordered his officers to cut down the tree here in order to construct Lord Jagannatha's Ratha-yatra cart. Big amount of wood is needed, since the carts are about 13 m high and each year a new ones are constructed......The next morning the royal officers found the tree hollow and returned without cutting it. The main branch of the tree is petrified, stone to the touch. This is the part that was transformed, so the king would not take it. People tie stones to this kalpa-taru (wish-fulfilling tree) and make their wishes.About a hundred feet away in the same compound is the Shri Haridasa-Sadbhuj Temple. There is a Sadbhuj-murti (six-armed form) of Lord Chaitanya on the altar. Beside this Deity is Lord Nityananda on one side and on the other side a shorter Advaita Acarya. A murti of Haridasa Thakura is in front, to the side of the main altar. There is also a Deity of Lord Narasimhadeva.Haridasa Thakura's SamadhiThe samadhi temple of Haridasa Thakura, the nama-acarya (teacher of the chanting the holy names) is located by the beach in the Swarga-dwara area near the Purusottama Gaudiya Math. If you are walking on the beach there is a sign for the Sea Hawk Hotel. It is right behind this hotel. Many rickshaw-walas know where it is located.Disappearance of Haridas Thakur.Like a great mystic yogi or Bhisma, Haridas gave up his material body in the presence of Lord Chaitanya and all the devotees at Siddha Bakula. Then Shri Chaitanya picked up Haridas Thakur's body and chanted and danced in ecstasy for sometime with the other devotees. Then Haridas was carried to the sea beach for His burial ceremony, which was personally conducted by Lord Chaitanya.Within the temple, the chapel structure is Haridasa Thakura's samadhi There is a very nice painting of Haridasa Thakura in the samadhi. On the center altar is a wooden Deity of Lord Chaitanya, on the right altar Lord Nityananda, and on the left, Advaita Acarya.Shri Chaitanya gave a benediction saying, "Anyone who has chanted and danced here at Haridasa Thakura's samadhi will achieve the favor of Krishna very soon. There is such wonderful power in seeing Haridasa Thakura."Gambhira is located close to Siddha Bakula. There is a sign over the door that says "Shri Shri Radhakanta Math, Gambhira." It is about half a km from the Lion Gate going toward Swarga-dwara or the ocean. This is the former house of Kasi Misra. You can look through a small barred window into the room called Shri Gambhira. This is the room where Shri Chaitanya lived.There is a lamp here that remains always lit and never goes out. You can see Shri Chaitanya's original wooden sandals. His quilt, water pot, and bed. Shri Chaitanya lived for 12 years in this room. On a marble throne, a murti of Shri Chaitanya is encircled by a cloth, so that just His face is visible. Upstairs there are dioramas of the life of Shri ChaitanyaLord Chaitanya's ecstatic symptoms manifested in Gambhira are incomprehensible by common man, but Gaudiya Vaishnavas accept them as the topmost manifestations of love of God. His devotees used to sleep in front of Chaitanya's room so that He would not hurt Himself while experiencing intense feelings of separation...Tota Gopinatha TempleGaudiya Vaishnavas accept that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ended His manifested pastimes in Jagannatha Puri by entering into the knee of the Tota Gopinatha Deity.

If you come in the morning around seven, you can give a donation to see the crack in His knee where Lord Chaitanya entered the Deity and left this world.This temple is located by a large white water tower in the Gaurbat Sahi area. It is five minutes walk from the Chatak Parbat Purushottam Gaudiya Math temple. The sign on the door says "Shree Tota Gopinathjee," and there are two stone lions by the door. It is 15 minute walk from Haridasa Thakura's Samadhi.