Bhagavān Jagannātha is the Lord of the universe. He has love and affection for all beings and is always hungry for prema, love. Once Ramānujācārya came and saw that many of Jagannātha’s sevakas ate meat. He then arranged for South Indian sevakas, sāttvika brāhmaṇas, to replace them. The Jagannātha Purī sevakas started a hunger strike, praying to Jagannātha, “Please don’t kick us away.”

One night when Ācārya Rāmānuja was sleeping, Jagannātha took him in his bed 600 kilometers away to a Śiva temple. If he had moved him only a short distance then Ramānujācārya might have thought that this feat had been done by a mere mortal. Jagannātha told Ramānujācārya in his dream, “They are My children, My sons. They are doing wrong, but who are you to administer punishment? They are My sevakas. I will teach, purify and make them qualified, this is My business. Go to South India!”

In the morning Ramānujācārya woke and saw that many people were coming to the temple and chanting, “Bom bom bole! Oṁ namo śivāya!” Ramānujācārya had vowed and also given the order to all his followers, “Even at your last moment, at the time of leaving your body, or if you’re in the most dangerous situation, never go to a Śiva temple.”

Now he was very  disturbed. He said, “Jagannātha! Why have You sent me to a Śiva temple?” Then he also started a hunger strike and prayed continuously. Then Jagannātha gave some inspiration, “Look, the place I sent you is actually the abode of My incarnation Kurmadeva.

Ramānujācārya was relieved to find the deity of Kurmadeva there. Jagannātha told Ramānujācārya, “Why did you fight with my servants? This is not your duty. It is My responsibility. You are guru and ācārya; if anyone comes to you for love, affection and shelter then it is your duty to help them. You have no right to judge and punish. You can give advice, but not remove them from My service.”

Ācārya Rāmānuja accepted and Jagannātha’s service continued as before. All the pujārīs were serving Lord Jagannātha, offering Him bhoga, distributing prasādam and dressing Him. They have a very strong relation with Jagannātha. If a guru-sevaka or God’s servant does some wrong, any ordinary person cannot give punishment. They should be respected. Don’t criticize or look at their faults or else Gurudeva and God will be disturbed with you.

Once there was a cow that went out to graze in the jungle. She saw some clear ponds and lush grass, so she went to drink some water and eat the grass and became stuck in deep mud. The more she tried to free herself the more stuck she became. A tiger saw the cow from the top of a nearby hill and thought to eat the cow. The tiger jumped down and also got stuck in the mud. By the evening the cow’s guardian came looking for the cow. He came and rescued his cow with a rope. The tiger thought that he would also be saved. They used the rope and pulled the tiger nearby but then killed the tiger and skinned it, taking its leather, nails and everything else. Don’t think to attack the servants of guru or God who have relation with Him. Even if they appear to stray or do many wrong things, they have a guardian.

The next time Ācārya Rāmānuja came to Purī he never said anything to Jagannātha’s paṇḍās. In Jagannātha Purī, some pandas wear big gold chains and ornaments, abuse others, chew pan, steal, kick, and beat people, but there is not a problem. Jagannātha likes them. They have relation and love for Jagannātha.

After Śrīla Gurudeva’s disappearance, some people are running to other gurus and vaiṣṇavas. They do not have any relation with Śrīla Gurudeva. They came for their own enjoyment and now that the situation is not so easy and comfortable, they are running here and there. The pandas however never leave Lord Jagannātha. This is called relation. Anyone who has this relation will not experience any problems in his life.

In Jagannātha Kṣetra, the pandas and forest-dwellers do not follow good etiquette. They worship Jagannātha, and at the same time they catch and eat fish. Inside Bimala-devī’s temple they cut goats, sheep and buffaloes, but Jagannātha does not stop them. Śrīla Bhaktinoda Ṭhākura was very strong. He did not enforce any program against them but rather he changed them and stopped all bad activities with his sweetness without disturbing anyone.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja made relation with Jagannātha. Jagannātha never leaves His city and only once a year He comes out. But Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja took Jagannātha all over the world and gave relation with Him to the conditioned souls, and the chance to serve Him.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja used all things for Jagannātha’s service. He made friends with Kali Mahārāja, telling him, “Mahārāja, why are you distant from us? You should serve God. You are emperor of this age. Why don’t you also come and serve Jagannātha?”

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja gave ladies the adhikāra to serve Jagannātha in the temple. They perform all services. And he used gold in constructing his temples, like in New Vṛndāvana.

We should not fight with anyone. Think about how to make people friendly and favorable to bhakti. Give people mahā-prasāda and the chance for service. In this way no one will ever be against or disturb you.

If you think, “I am a great scholar, I will change everything by force,” it will not be possible.

Jagannātha said, “Rāmānuja, where will you find pure sevakas?”

Everyone has relation with Kali Mahārāja. If you are against him then he will always fight with you. Where will you hide? There’s no need to insult anyone. Chant the mahā-mantra, always follow Ekādaśī and serve Tulasī, Guru-varga, the vaiṣṇavas and do not be attached or involved with anything else.

In Kali-yuga it is very hard to find a sevaka who is śuddha and sāttvika. The sevakas of Jagannātha eat fish and meat, take pan and also do service. They come to the mandira wearing gold and tilaka and beautiful cloth and do their services. But they paste their bodies like candana in the service of Jagannātha.

Bhagavān gave the decree about what is good and what is bad. But if a child is dirty and calling out, “Mother, mother,” will she reject the child? She cannot. If a mother has mamatā, then how much more mamatā does Bhagavān have? Our misfortune is that we go to others for shelter, we don’t like Bhagavān.

In Jagannātha Purī there are many beggars who have many ailments and diseases. Jagannātha daily sends them His mahā-prasāda. He arranges for all. If the lowest and most degraded person thinks and prays to Jagannātha, then He will help. He is the Lord of the universe.

This is Kali-yuga. If someone is contemptible and you are calling him, ‘Thief, thief,’ again and again, then those qualities of the thief will come to you. Don’t waste time criticizing anyone. This is not our mālā. If you hear someone criticizing anyone, then immediately forget it and chant, “Jaya Jagannātha! Haribol!” Don’t fight kali and try to do bhajana. We are staying in his kingdom so we should not fight against him. If we do fight, then how will it be possible to do bhajana? This is Kali Mahārāja’s time and kingdom.

Simply follow the injunction of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and you will be protected:

kaler doṣa-nidhe rājann
asti hy eko mahān guṇaḥ
kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya
mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 12.3.51

Although the age of Kali is a sea of faults, one can easily be liberated from material existence by chanting Kṛṣṇa’s names in saintly company.

That place where Śivajī resided became known as Bhubaneswar. Śivajī prayed there, “You are very far away in Jagannātha Purī. Without Your prasāda I won’t take anything. Please give me a place in Your mandira.”

Jagannātha said, “I’ll come in the form of Ananta Vāsudeva and stay near Bindu-sarovara. Gaṅgā-devī will come there and you will be worshiped here with Pārvatī. My mahā-prasāda will then come to you daily.”

The caraṇāmṛta and mahā-prasāda from Ananta Vāsudeva daily goes to Śivajī’s temple in Bhubaneswar; hence, vaiṣṇavas accept Śivajī’s prasāda there because it is the mahā-prasāda of Jagannātha.

One day, Śivajī prayed to Jagannātha, “You situated me in a city so far away from You. When You go on Ratha-yātrā, I want your darśana, can I come?” Jagannātha gave permission for Śiva to come. During Jagannātha’s boating pastimes in Candana-sarovara, different demigods come and ride in boats with Jagannātha. Mahā Lakṣmī welcomes them and offers them cold drinks.

Bhagavān sleeps only three hours during this time and the rest of the day He is being lovingly served.

Once, someone prayed to Jagannātha for darśana of Viśvanātha.

Jagannāthajī said, “All incarnations are present within Me.”

“I will go to Kāśī, please give me blessings and strength.”

After he came from praying to Jagannātha, one old brāhmaṇa grabbed him and asked, “Where are you going?”

He replied, “I want to go to see Kāśī Viśvanātha.”

The old brāhmaṇa said, “If you take me to Jagannātha then I’ll take you to Kāśī  Viśvanātha.”

So they agreed and went for Jagannātha’s darśana.

Jagannātha said, “Kāśī Viśvanātha will stay at the gate to cleanse all peoples’ sins.”

The old brāhmaṇa stood by the door quietly and did praṇāma and then he appeared as Kāśī  Viśvanātha, Lord Śiva.”

Śivajī sits by Jagannātha’s door and cleans all anarthas from those who come. On one door, Kāśī  Viśvanātha is there in the form of a Rudra mūrti.

At one door is Mārkaṇḍeya and at one door Hanumān is on guard. There is so much bhoga offered to Jagannātha. If any mahā-prasāda is not sold, then it is dried out in the garden in the sun where Hanumān protects it. Kakh Basundi the crow gives hari-kathā there. At night time all the birds come and hear hari-kathā and sing kīrtana. When the mahā-prasāda is all dry, then it is put in packets and distributed. From there it goes all over the world and what is left over is given to the devotee birds.

Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from [email protected] )

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