Lord Jagannath's Mystic Visitors
BY: SOMANATH KHUNTIA
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Nov 27, PURI, ORISSA (SUN) Lord Jagannath is a mystic Deity, and there are many phenomena surrounding Him which cannot be explained by modern science. Not only do sages, seers and people from different parts of the world come to see Him, but inhabitants of other spheres come as well. As He is considered the Master of the universe, He attracts all. There is documented evidence to support many of these occurrences in the form of eyewitness reports and objects left by divine beings when they came. These events are also documented in ancient epics, palm-leaf scripts, and in texts written by scholars and sages of the past. Some are as follows:
1) Manima Daka Sloka from Niladri:
Ishwara Thakur, Manima
Ishwara Thakur, Manima
Ishwara Thakur, Manima
In the daily rituals of the temple this sloka is recited at the time when Lord Jagannath retires to bed. The meaning is this:
"Oh Lord Jagannath
You are king of kings
You are master of many universes
You are the controller of all creations"
The khuntia worshipper who recites this sloka then scatters flower petals up into the air to welcome all the divine beings who have come that evening to observe this ritual.
2) Kadachit Kalindi sloka by Saint Adishankar in his Sanskrit verses, "JagannathAstaka":
"Rama, Samvu, Brahma, Surapati
Jagannatha Swami, Nayana Pathagami, Bhavatume"
The meaning is:
Even Gods like Rama, Shambhu (Siva), Brahma the creator, Surapati, the king of Gods, Ganesh, the god of wisdom, who all belong to Devaloka, worship Lord Jagannath at Puri.
3) "Jatta Chhaya Lokamatra
Tribhubana Janata Badhate
This means that the inhabitants of all Lokas, or spheres are under the protection of Lord Jagannath. This sloka is taken from Brahma Geeta (writer not known).
4) From Kapila Samhita:
"Sarba Rahasya Purusottamasya
Deva Na Janati Kuta Manusya."
The meaning is that the mystery of Lord Jagannath cannot be known by the Devas, what to speak of man!
5) From Skanda Purana:
"Byomatit Byomarupa Prakasa
Byomakar Byapino Byomarudha."
The glory of Lord Jagannath is described here. He can take on any shape. He is as limitless as the sky itself. He is even beyond that.
The whole cosmos of life is divided into many spheres or Lokas. These are described in the palm leaf scripts Lokabimarsa, Lokatattwa and Lokamimansa. As life evolves from lower to higher forms, consciousness becomes more individualised and expansive. The main Lokas are 21 in number. They are as follows:
The Underworld Lokas:
1) Patala, 2) Talatal, 3) Rasatala, 4) Bitala, 5) Mahatala, 6) Atala, 7) Bhutala
The Earth Lokas:
8) Loka, this earth, 9) Pitruloka, 10) Matruloka, 11) Pretaloka, 12) Bhutaloka, 13) Jakshaloka, 14) Swargaloka,
The Higher Lokas:
15) Divyaloka, 16) Kinnara Loka, 17) Gandharvaloka, 18) Devaloka, 19) Suraloka, 20) Vishwaloka, 21) Goloka
Paranormal events occur on earth when beings from these other regions are present. According to the Loka they come from, they appear in different ways.
1. Patala Loka:
This is a sphere of the underworld which supports life on earth. It is said Vasuki, the snake who holds the world in proper balance, lives in Patala Loka. He comes to Jagannath Temple only during special darshan times. If he is present, there will be a loud rustle in the crowd.
2. Talatala Loka:
When inhabitants of this Loka come, there will be rays of light of various colours which can be seen by the naked eye. These beings come in disguise of blind, lame, one-eyed, or other deformed persons. They carry flowers in their palms to offer to the Deities, and in the crowd this can be seen easily.
3. Rasatala Loka:
If a strong wind passes through the crowd and a hot place becomes cool suddenly, beings from this Loka have come. They often come also as children and sing loudly during Kirtan, even though they know nothing about all these things. They smile in the crowd after seeing the Deities.
4. Bitala Loka:
Beings from Bitala Loka come as birds although not as vultures, who signify bad days
ahead when they are seen.
5. Mahatala Loka:
Beings from this sphere come as animals such as cats, monkeys and dogs. As dogs can not enter the temple, if one is spotted inside, it is said to have come from this Loka. If this happens, it is felt that the food that day was cooked in an impure way. All offerings must be stopped and the food to be prepared again. This dog is called Kutama Chandi. He always disappears mysteriously.
6. Atala Loka:
Sages and saints with long beards who are deep in meditation often come from this sphere. They even walk into the temple with half-closed eyes. Only when looking at Lord Jagannath Himself do their eyes open fully.
7. Bhutala Loka:
Those who sweep the temple floors, make garlands for the deities, prepare the wicks and lamps, make the earthen pots for the kitchen, and fetch the water are often from this region. Their duties are not hereditary, but are done purely for spiritual pleasure.
8. Loka, this Earth:
Ordinary people from all parts of this visible world come to Jagannath Temple with a vast variety of wishes, both worldly and spiritual. The word Loka means people. Before birth all came from other Lokas, according to previous habits and activities. They wish to go to higher Lokas, by dint of their human birth. Inside the temple they come under the influence of beings from these other spheres, who are also present there, whether they are aware of them or not. Actually, the very purpose of human birth is to pass through all the Lokas by degree. It is also told in ancient scriptures of India that the gift of human birth is the greatest boon God gives. In no other Loka can a being progress spiritually. That is why devas and demonic spirits both long to return to earth.
9. Pitru Loka:
These beings are the ancestors from the father's side of one's family. They come to the temple of Lord Jagannath at dawn when there is less rush. If one finds a man having a similar face to one's father, he is from Pitruloka. If one feels attracted to some unknown person, he is certainly related and has come down from this Loka. Inhabitants of Pitruloka come to the earth as human beings.
10. Matru Loka:
These beings give the same signs of their presence here, but they are from the mother's side of one's family.
11. Preta Loka:
Those who commit suicide come to this Loka after death. This is the region of bad spirits and beings of evil demonic nature. They come inside the temple, but only to the outer portions, not into the inner altar of the Deities. They criticise, joke, and make noise or other disturbances in spiritual gatherings there. Their coming is signaled by a bad smell, like that of a dead body.
12. Bhuta Loka:
This Loka is similar to Pretaloka, only having the confused inhabitants who have taken their lives by consuming poison.
13. Jaksha Loka:
People in a crowd wearing gorgeous dresses are often Jakshas in disguise. They have come to this earth for worldly comforts and bad motives, such as how to collect money from those present in the crowd. They wear gold ornaments and precious gems to impress others.
14. Swarga Loka:
Swarga means Heaven. Beings from this sphere have this sign: In darkness, suddenly there will be light. Many people present may experience a divine feeling without any visible reason at all. Not flowers but petals only will be found scattered on the floor afterwards
15. Divya Loka:
When divine beings of this Loka come, auras of different colours will fill the atmosphere. Even in darkness, these can be seen slightly. Some of the temple lamps (Dipas) may be mysteriously extinguished at that time. Beings from Divya Loka do not come in form, but only as light and auras. There are other signs, but mortal man cannot have concrete experiences of them.
16. Kinnara Loka:
When Kinnaras come to the temple, they come as dancing girls. They may be seen visibly if one's third eye is open. They are eight in number, the Asta Sakhis: Rambha, Urbasi, Menaka, Tilottama, Manjujosi, Rochika, Mochika and Sundaree.
They come as Devadasis also, only to dance before Lord Jagannath before He goes to bed. They are decorated in flowers only, no ornaments.
17. Gandharva Loka:
During devotional singing these beings are always present, both inside and outside the temple. They sing in chorus spiritual songs known as Bhajans, meant only for the Deities. If an ordinary person's singing is especially sweet one night, or soft sweet music is heard in the midst of silence, a Gandharva is present. According to Nada Shastra, there are ten types of divine sounds that may be heard inwardly, the two highest being the sound of the flute and OM.
18. Deva Loka:
Many gods come to Jagannath Temple to pray every night, such as Indra, God of Rain, Baruna, God of the Ocean, Vayu, God of Wind, Laxmi, Goddess of Wealth, AND Saraswati, Goddess of Wisdom. The sign of their presence is complete tranquility and peace in the midst of a huge crowd. It would appear as if nobody at all was there. After they go, flowers of different varieties are usually found scattered on the floor of the temple.
19. Sura Loka:
Sura means strength, especially the divine strength of mother. Beings from this Loka come to the temple during darshan time, known as Sahana Mela. They come in a big rush so that the crowd is forcibly pushed aside for them to precede to the Deities without any difficulty.
20. Vishwa Loka:
Those who come from Vishwa Loka think that Lord Jagannath is just like a human being. The worshippers of the temple who are in charge of decorating the Deities with flowers, sandal and beautiful dresses and take great pleasure in doing such spiritual things are often from Vishwa Loka. They seem to be worldly, with homes and family life like ordinary people but they are born to serve Brahma, the Supreme.
From Goloka come Sri Krishna Himself and the gopis. Even though there might be a big rush inside the temple, everybody will love the gathering. All present will feel attracted towards something unseen and smell soothing fragrances all around. In the crowd there will be more ladies than men. Most significant of all, all will hear a mysterious sweet laughter in the air.
There are other spheres of Lokas also, such as:
1. Shiva Loka - the abode of Shiva
2. Vishnu Loka - the abode of Vishnu
3. Brahma Loka - the abode of Brahma
4. Asura Loka - the abode of demons
5. Yama Loka - the abode of Yama, the king of death
6. Naga Loka - the abode of snakes
7. Graha Loka - the abode of planets
A. From Shiva Loka: Shiva comes on Snana Purnima day to see the Bathing Ceremony of Lord Jagannath. He comes in disguise of a sage with trisula.
B. Lord Vishnu comes to see Dola Festival, or Colour Day held in the temple during Holi celebrations in the beginning of Spring. He comes as any other devotee but he would have with him big garlands, to be offered to Lord Jagannath.
C. Brahma comes during Chandan Yatra, or Spring Festival. He stays for twenty-one days. He can be identified with one who recites Vedas in front of the Deities.
D. From Asura Loka: Asuras, or beings of demonic physical instincts come at the time of rice offering, especially at the time of mid-day Bhoga.
E. Yama, the King of Death: Someone from his Loka comes when a dead body is found in the premises of the temple.
On Ratha Yatra day every year, not only do people come from all over the world, but also beings from all Lokas and planets. Lord Jagannath's chariot, known as Nandighosha, is guarded by the following devas:
1. the Flag by Hanuman from Mahatala Loka.
2. the Chariot itself by a being from Bitala Loka.
3. the Rope by Vasuki from Patala Loka.
4. the Wheels by Mother Vimala from Sakti Loka.
5. the Entrance by Gatekeepers Jaya and Vijaya from Divya Loka.
6. the devas surrounding the Chariot being: Ram, Laxman, Krishna, Nrusingha, Narayan, Chintamani, Yoga Maya and Kubera, all from Devaloka.
7. the sages all around the chariot being: Narada, Vyasa, Suka, Parasar, Rudra, Vashista and Viswamitra, all from Pitruloka.
The chariots of Balabhadra and Subhadra are guarded by many divine beings also.
Somanath Khuntia lives at Manikarnika Sahi, Hazari Lane, Puri.
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