By Bhaktiratna Sadhu Swami
Some people consider a difference between Shri Jagannatha Puri Dhama and Shri Navadvipa Dhama or Shri Vrindavana Dhama and think that Shri Jagannatha Puri is inferior in some way to Shri Vrindavana or Shri Navadvipa. To destroy their doubts, it is clearly stated in Shri Vaishnava Tantra:
madhura dvaraka lila yah, karoti ca gokule;
nilachala sthitah krishnasta, eva charati prabhuh.
“Each and every sweet and mellowful pastime which is performed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Krishna in Gokula Vrindavana, Navadvipa, Dvaraka, Mathura etc. is performed by the playful Lord in Shri Nilachala Kshetra Jagannatha Puri Dhama without a doubt.?br/>
Shrila Prabhupada confirms this statement of Shri Vaishnava Tantra in his beautiful purport to Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya Lila 22.132:
Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura has sung:
shri gauda-mandala-bhumi, yeba jane cintamani, tara haya vrajabhumi vasa
“One who understands the transcendental nature of Navadvipa and its surrounding area, where Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu enacted His pastimes, resides always in Vrndavana.?Similarly, living in Jagannatha Puri is as good as living in Vrndavana. The conclusion is that Navadvipa-dhama, Jagannatha Puri-dhama and Vrndavana-dhama are identical.
Puri Dhaam Glorified in Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata
The following verses are originally stated in the Skanda Purana by Lord Krishna Himself to Lord Shiva and have been explained by Shrila Vrindavana Dasa Thakura in Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata, Antya Khanda Chp 2, Verse 366-379 as given below. Please remember these were the great glories of Puri Dhama even before the Supreme Lord Vrajendranandana Krishna personally came there in His supreme form of Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu along with all His eternal associates in creation and resided there for 24 years from 1510 to 1534 AD. So one can imagine how much the already supremely glorious glories of Shri Jagannatha Puri Dhama were magnified unlimitedly by the direct presence of Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu in Shri Gambhira in Kali Yuga!
In Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata, Antya Khanda, Chapter Two, Lord Krishna Himself shares His most confidential secret to Lord Shiva:
sei sthane amara parama gopya puri ..366..
“Today I will tell you the glories of My supremely confidential and rare Personal Abode of Shri Puri Dhama.?br/>
sei sthana siva, aji kahi toma'-sthane .
se purira marma mora keha nahi jane ..367..
“O Shiva, I will personally tell you the supreme glories of Puri today because no one else knows the essence, secret and full inner glories of Puri Dhama.?br/>
sindhu tire vata-mule 'nilacala' nama .
ksetra-shripurusottama-ati ramyasthana ..368..
“On the banks of the salt-water ocean, at the root of a banyan tree is the My own Holy Abode of Nilachala Kshetra Shri Purushottama Dhama which is most enchanting and beautiful in this whole universe.?br/>
ananta brahmanda kale yakhana samhare .
tabu se sthanera kichu karite na pare ..369..
“When millions of universes are destroyed at the time of the Prakrtika Mahapralaya, or total material annihilation at the end of 100 years of Lord Brahma (our 311 trillion years), the supremely transcendental Shri Jagannatha Puri Dhama is not effected or even touched in any way.?br/>
sarva kala sei sthane amara vasati .
pratidina amara bhojana haya tathi .370..
“At every moment I constantly and eternally reside in Shri Jagannatha Puri Dhama. And not only that, I personally eat and accept the offerings daily in this abode of Mine.?br/>
se sthanera prabhave yojana dasa bhumi .
tahate vasaye yata jantu, kita, krmi ..371..
sabare dekhaye caturbhuja devagane .
'bhuvanamangala' kari' kahiye ye sthane ..372..
“This personal abode of Mine is 10 yojanas or 80 miles in area in transcendental size. When the demigods from the heavenly planets look down on the earth, they astonishingly see that all the living beings residing in Shri Jagannatha Puri Dhama, even the insects, worms and ants, all of them are possessing four transcendental hands holding the conch, disc, lotus and club and the personal opulence of the Lord Himself. That is why this most holy abode of Mine is known as “Bhuvanamangala?or the Abode which purifies and makes the whole world supremely auspicious.?br/>
nidrateo ye sthane samadhi phala haya .
sayane pranama-phala yatha vede kaya ..373..
“All the Vedas state that simply by sleeping in Shri Jagannatha Puri Dhama, one gets the transcendental fruit of Samadhi or trance on the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And even simply by lying down in Shri Puri Dhama, one effortlessly achieves the unlimited fruits of offering obeisances to the Supreme Lord with devotion.?br/>
pradakshina-phala paya karile bhramana .
katha matra yatha haya amara stavana ..374..
“The Vedas continue to state that simply by wandering in Shri Jagannatha Puri Dhama here and there, one gets the infinite fruits of circumambulating the Lord, and simply by speaking any words in Shri Puri Dhama, one achieves the fruits of directly offering glorious prayers to the Lord.?br/>
hena se ksetrera ati prabhava nirmala .
matsya khaileo paya havisyera phala ..375..
“Such is the supreme influence of Shri Kshetra Jagannatha Puri Dhama. Even eating fish in Puri Dhama gives one the fruit of eating sacrifical offerings or prasadam of the Lord.?(Ofcourse this is not a license to do that)
nija-name stha mora hena priyatama .
tahate yateka vaise, se amara sama ..376..
“Since this Holy Abode is the dearest among My most dear Abodes, I have personally given Puri the Name of Shri Jagannatha Puri Dhama which contains My own Holy Name of Jagannatha (and Puri means home so it means My own home). Those who simply reside in Shri Puri Dhama become just like Me in all requests.?br/>
se sthane nahika yamadanda-adhikara .
ami kari bhala-manda-vicara sabara ..377..
“My great devotee Yamaraja, the superintendent of Death, does not have the right to even approach anyone residing in Shri Jagannatha Puri Dhama. The personal care and maintanence of all those who reside in Puri Dhama is personally done by Me and Me alone.?br/>
hena se amara puri, tahahara uttare .
tomare dilalana sthana rahibara tare ..378..
?So O Shiva, I will award you a beautiful place north of Shri Jagannatha Puri Dhama, so that you can eternally reside near My supremely Holy Abode.?br/>
bhukti-mukti-prada sei sthana manohara .
tatha tumi khyata haiva 'shribhuvanesvara' .."379..
“That enchanting and beautiful place where you will reside will become famous as Shri Bhubaneswar, and it will grant enjoyment and liberation to one and all who approach it.?br/>
suniya adbhuta puri-mahima sankara .
punah shricarana dhari' karila uttara ..380..
“Hearing these most astonishing and splendid glories of Shri Jagannatha Puri Dhama from the mouth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Krishna Himself. Lord Shiva clasped His lotus feet and spoke as follows.?br/>
Shri Brihad Bhagavatamrita of Shrila Sanatana Goswami: Part 2, Chp 1:
daru-brahma jagannatho, bhagavan purusottame
ksetre nilacale ksarar-nava-tire virajate
In Purusottama-ksetra Nilachala Shri Puri Dhama, by the shore of the salt-water ocean, te Lord of the universes Lord Jagannatha-Krishna, is splendidly manifest in a spiritual form of wood.
Shrila Sanatana Gosvami quotes the Padma Purana's description of Lord Jagannatha:
samudrasyottare tire, aste shri-purusottame
purnananda-mayam brahma, daru-vyaja-sarira-bhrt
"On the northern shore of the ocean, in Purusottama-ksetra, the supremely blissful Personality of Godhead Lord Krishna pretends to be made of wood."
The Vishnu Purana explains:
niladrau cotkale dese, ksetre shri-purusottame
daruny aste cid-anando, jagannathakhya-murtina
In the country of Orissa, in Nilacala in Purusottama-ksetra, the spiritual and blissful Personality of Godhead appears as the wooden Deity named Lord Jagannatha."
maha-vibhutiman rajyam, autkalam palayan svayam
vyanjayan nija-mahatmyam, sada sevaka-vatsalah
Opulent and powerful, He personally protects and maintains the kingdom of Orissa. He is glorious. He loves His servants.