Sudarsan of Lord Jagannath
BY: SIBASUNDAR PATTANAIK
Sep 19, KHORDHA, ORISSA (SUN) Sudarsan is the Chakra of Lord Jagannath, which is placed on the left side of the Lord. Generally, the Chakra is a circular shaped iron weapon having curved and sharpened edges on its outer circle, and there are several spokes connecting the inner axis with the outer circle. In ancient times it was used as a weapon by the warriors who used to throw it towards their foes. As it moves towards the enemy in circling its axis and touching the enemy, its curved and sharp edges pierce the body of the enemy warriors, chopping off their limbs or heads. Afterwards the Chakra returns to its master.
But Sudarsan Chakra of Lord Jagannath is not a round shaped iron weapon. It is pillar shaped wood on the upper portion of which a Chakra is carved out. It is clothed. As Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra change Their bodies in the year of dual Asadha, normally falling on the 12th year, Sudarsan is also replaced with a new body.
When Lord Jagannath takes His incarnation as Narayana, He is adorned with four articles in His four hands. In His upper right hand He holds Sudarsan Chakra and in His upper left hand He holds a Sankha (Conch). In His lower left hand He holds Gada (Mace) and He holds Padma (Lotus) in His lower right hand. Lord Jagannath is also adorned with those articles on the days of Sanabesha - three times inside the temple and once on His Chariot "Nandighosa".
The last one is on Asadha Sukla Ekadasi Day (the 11th day of Bright Moon in the month of Asadha). Like His incarnation Narayana, Lord Jagannath holds the Chakra in His upper right hand on the days of Sunabesha. But it is unique in India that Sudarsan Chakra is placed on the left side of Lord Jagannath. Some people get solace that placement of Sudarsan on the left side of Lord Jagannath is an advantage, as Lord Jagannath cannot apply His left hand to throw Sudarsan Chakra with such a velocity, as His left hand is less powerful than the right hand.
Lord Jagannath is Almighty. His left hand is as forceful as His right hand. Sudarsan is not fearful. The bhaktas (the devotees) worship it and they consider Sudarsan as their protector. At times when they are in danger, Sudarsan comes to their rescue. To help the bhaktas, Sudarsan doesn't require a specific order from Lord Jagannath, which is given by the Lord in general terms to protect the bhakta prior to their actual difficulties or danger. Sudarsan is the sum total bhakti (devotion) of the Vaisnavas (the persons who worship Vishnu or any of His incarnations). It is "Vaisnavastra", a Weapon for Vaisnavas). At the time of their need, Sudarsan comes to their rescue and kills evil persons or Daityas.
Sudarsan is being worshipped in the following terms:
Sudarsan Mahajwala Koti Surjya Samaprabha,
Agyan Timirundhasya Vaisnavastra Niketan"
(Oh Sudarsan! Your are highly hot and exert light equivalent to crores of Sun. In the pitch darkness of immorality you are weapon of Vaisnavas and also their abode).
Sudarsan as its name implies, "Su" + "Darsan", means "Well Views". There is no fearfulness for it. On the other hand, every bhakta likes it. There are numerous instances of how Sudarsan comes to the rescue of the righteous people and kills the evil persons. In the famous war, Mahabharat Yuddha, all warriors took pride in themselves to have killed the warriors of the opposite camp. When Belalasen was asked what he hadseen, he told that he had only seen a Chakra killing the warriors of both sides. That Chakra is none other than Sudarsan Chakra, normally adorning Lord Krishna, the God Himself, taking His incarnation in Dwapar Yuga.
It is God who killed the evil persons in that war to protect the righteous people of the world. In Srimad Bhagabatam, we come across a story how Chakrabarti King Ambarish (a predecessor king of Lord Rama) was protected by Sudarsan. King Ambarish was a devotee of Bhagaban. He observed austerity on the Ekadasi day. On the following morning he took his bath and gifted different valuable articles and cows to the Brahmins. Thereafter he was going for Paran (to take food after observing the austerity of the previous day of Ekadasi) when the sage Durbasha appeared, to whom the king requested for Parana.
The sage went for a bath but did not return for a long time. As the time limit for Parana was about to be over, which usually ends about three hours from Sun rise, and the sage did not come, at the advice of the Raja Purohit (the King's Priest), the king took water as Paran, for which the sage became furious and removed a hair from his head and threw towards the king. The said hair turned into a burning object and went towards the king. Seeing this, the king called the Almighty for help.
At this Sudarsan appeared, being illuminated like crores of Sun, and destroyed the burning hair of the sage. Thereafter Sudarsan ran after the sage Durbasha to kill him and he later ran for shelter, first to Siva and then to Brahma, who expressed their inabilities to save him from the weapon of Lord Jagannath. Thereafter the sage surrendered before Lord Jagannath, who said that His Sudarsan is under the clutches of His bhaktas, who may save the sage. Lord Jagannath said that His devotees have relinquished their worldly attachments such as wife, son, dwelling house, superiors, life treasures, Ihaloks (present life) and Paraloks (subsequent life) for His devotion, and have made complete surrender before Him.
Lord Jagannath expressed His inability to save the sage since He cannot leave His devotees, who do not want Salokya or Sarupya Mokhya (to end one's worldly birth for a living on God's place or merged with God). Lord Jagannath said that the bhaktas exist in the abysmal depth of His heart and He exists on their respective hearts. Lord Jagannath advised the sage Durbasha to take shelter before the king Ambarish, abusing the sage not to apply his Tapa and knowledge in the unjustified manner, but to look for the well-being of the society.
The sage surrendered before the king, who requested Sudarsan to save the sage. In his prayer to Sudarsan, the King Ambarish praised Sudarsan in the following manner:
"Oh Sudarsan! You are equivalent to Agni (Fire), Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon) and all the stars. You are water, earth, heaven, tanmatra and indriyas. You are having a thousand spokes and are beloved of Lord Visnu. You destroy the powers of all weapons and you are the protector of the earth and harbinger of Dharma, Karma and also Protector of Yagyan. You are the Lokapal possessing the pure heart. Your burning quality destroys darkness. Being the defender of Dharma (righteousness) and destroyer of Adharma (evil quality) you travel at the speed of mind. Your virtuousness is supreme and your swarup (real intention) is universal. None can defeat you. When the Lord throws you to kill Daityas (evil persons), you instantly do that and none can do anything against you."
Lord Jagannath possesses such a weapon, i.e., Sudarsan Chakra, which protects the righteous people from evil persons. Sudarsan is also authorized to represent Lord Jagannath for Panti or Chacheri Bhog, after getting Agyamala (falling of flower garland from the body of Lord Jagannath). He also goes to the bathing platform with Lord Jagannath and His Brother and Sister on Jyestha Purnima, and also accompanies Them to Gundichaghar during the Car Festival.
Glory to Sudarsan!
Source: Orissa Review