“ India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters. I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage…” the very patriotic pledge that we have learnt from our school days infuses the essence of patriotism in us for our motherland and her varied cultures and heritage, flora and fauna and lot more marvels and mysteries that took birth on this pious land.
India is a land of marvels in every field starting from the invention of the Zero, various path breaking scientific discoveries, religious and spiritual marvels to majestic engineering marvels and lot more which has left the world awestruck by it’s bounty and abundance in knowledge and resources. It is a land which shares an equal occurrences of mysteries too.
Mystery is something which is very unusual that cannot be explained or understood . Our country is a land of many such mysterious phenomenon that has happened in the historical periods and has continued till date. No science or scientific solutions could ever explain their occurrences till date. Some mysteries like- the Bhangarh Fort, the lake of skeleton, the Jodhpur Boom, the Kongka La pass in Ladakh, mass bird suicide in Assam, Gyanganj, Son bhandar caves in Bihar, twins village of Kerala, the floating pillar, the mystery of the lifting stone, door less houses of Ahmednagar, the magnetic hill, red rain Kerala, ghost lights of Sunderban, the Visa god, the mystery of friendly cobras, bullet baba temple, the temple of friendly rats and lot more, starting from geographical mysteries to spiritual mysteries, there in abundance of it .
Among all these mysterious phenomenon the one that caught my attention and is worth mentioning is the mysterious phenomenon of the Puri Jagannath Temple.
Puri Jagannath temple is one of the four most important Char Dham in the Hindu religion and culture. It is believed that a person attains moksh or Nirvana after completing the pilgrimage to all the four important vaishnavite spiritual destination. This temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, a form of Lord Vishnu in the hindu culture. This architectural and spiritual marvel is situated in the heart of the coastal city, Puri, with the Bay of Bengal kissing it’s shores in Odisha. It is mostly famous for the Chariot Festival or Rath Yatra that take place every year with devotees flocking around to pull the chariots of the lord, his brother Balaram or Balabhadra and sister Subhadra from around the world, a spectacle of devotion, a marvel indeed.
There are a lot of mysteries surrounding the lord and the temple which has not been solved till date. No science has ever been able to explain all these mysterious phenomenon which has led people to believe that the almighty is the ultimate power in this world that has kept everything in tandem.
Some of the Mysteries of the Temple are:
The temple architechture
The mystery revolving the temple architecture is that the temple doesn’t cast shadow at any time of day on any direction irrespective of the position of the Sun during the day from sunrise till sunset.
The Sudarshan chakra at the top of the temple or ‘shikhar’ can be seen from each and every corner of the city but the surprising fact is that from wherever it is seen it seems to be facing towards the onlookers no matter what the direction is.
One more surprising fact about the temple is that when a person enters the main entrance or the Singhdwar ,out of the four entrances ,one can hear the sound of the waves but as one moves back the sound vanishes which is still a mystery. Inside the temple premises the sound of waves are not heard anymore.
Also there has been mysterious phenomenon of non movement of birds and flights reported above the temple till date. Even science has failed to understand this divine mystery.
The Prasadalay or the temple kitchen
The most mysterious phenomenon of all happens everyday in the divine kitchen of Lord Jagannath. Everyday thousands of devotees are fed with the Maha Prasad of the temple after it has been offered to the deities during the regular afternoon ritual of ‘Aarti and Darshan’. What baffled the scientist from time immemorial is the way the Prasad gets cooked . The earthen utensils that are used for the purpose of cooking the meals and serving to the devotees are stacked one upon another till the height of the kitchen roof over the wood lit fire. Lord Jagannath’s marvel is the one that works here as believed, reason being the top most earthen utensil containing the Mahaprasad gets cooked first and then the order follows, that is from top downwards. The mystery till now hasn’t been solved scientifically.
The amount of Prasad made never gets wasted regardless of the amount of devotees visiting the temple which varies everyday, yet everyone is fed full and heartily without even the need for preparing extra Prasad.
Never has been a single day in the Temple, when a devotee has gone empty stomach from it’s premises after the darshan of the Lord. In front of the lord all the devotees are equal. Whether they are rich, poor, healthy, unhealthy, meek, low or high. Caste, creed, colour nothing matters here at Lord Jagannath’s durbar.
Every devotee eats the Mahaprasad from the same earthen pots that has been eaten from previously by another devotee and sits on the ground while consuming the mahaprasad that comprises of rice, daal, a very delightful dish made of vegetables, kheer or rice pudding to name a few out of 56 varieties that is offered to the Lord everyday.
Sitting on the ground compels one to realize that we all are made of the same earth and hence will return to earth one day after fulfilling our duties and also this reminds us to keep ourself grounded in our life with a steadfast devotion and faith for the almighty.
The flag atop the temple and the direction of the wind
The temple flag atop the main building is believed to wave opposite the direction of the flow of the wind, no one knows the reason why and how and that has been witnessed by everyone, every devotee and every single person.
The usual phenomenon is that the area near the beach witnesses the wind from sea to land during daytime and from land to sea during the night time. Exactly the reverse happens in this land of miracles which has defied the laws of nature that has made us believe the power of the omnipresent above us that is ruling the world and us and every tiny atoms in the world.
The temple history and the heart of the Lord and the idols
Lord Jagannath is said to be the local deity known by the name Nila Madhav whose idol has been found in the jungles and installed in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple by the then ruler of the Puri Kingdom, King Indradyumn. As it is believed, he has been instructed by the lord in his dream for the search of the idol of Nila Madhav and the construction of the temple. It is also said that the king ,while having bath in the sea, found a log of wood floating and got the vision where the lord ask him to place that piece of wood into the temple idol of Lord Jagannath since that log of wood is the ‘Heart of the Lord’. From that time till now, no one has ever seen it or had the fortune of even holding it, not even the priests of the temple. The Heart is believed to be living.
In every 13 years the existing idols are replaced with the new idols during a very elaborate and age old ritual of ‘Naba kalebara’. Even in those ritual the heart of the lord remains unseen by the highest priest of the temple when it is taken out from the old idol and then placed in the new idol. Mysterious indeed.
This mystery took birth and died simultaneously with the King of Puri, King Indradyumn who got the great fortune of receiving lord’s vision, instructions and blessings that has led to the establishment of the temple and devotees flourishing to get the glimpse of the Lord of the Universe, the Lord of Kaliyuga.
Also the idols of all three deities are incomplete mysteriously. The idols are devoid of hands and feet and are being made such during the festival of Naba Kalebara by the craftsman, the old age ritual being followed till date and the custom will continue in future too without slight changes. None of the rituals except the existence of Devadasis has changed till date and are followed religiously, regularly.
According to the Hindu culture and the sacred Vedas, Lord Jagannath is believed to be the tenth avatar of Lord Vishnu, one of the Trinity of the Hindu religion and is believed to be living , the savior of the mankind who is going to manifest his living form, the tenth and the final one on the doomsday, the day that will mark the end of the world, the end of Kaliyuga.
The Puri Jagannath temple mysteries has till date left the scientist, the geologists ,geographers, the historians and architects along with the general population astonished and out of wits due to the occurrences of these divine mysteries which has strengthened the belief of the devotees and their steadfast devotion and faith from generations to generations, the belief that there can never be someone above the almighty, the omnipresent, the guiding light guiding each and everyone towards their life goals, duties and destinations.
The temple has seen such beautiful mysteries from the time of it’s inception and establishment. Why this happens, no one knows, but whatever it is , it is the very blessings of the Lord Jagannath that has kept the temple standing against all odds and has bear the test of times in this pious land of Puri.
Not everything is explainable with science. It is not necessary that everything should have a reason behind it and such mysteries are perfect example of it.
Thus the Puri Jagannath temple signifies the divine mysteries that can remain intermingled with the undaunted devotion of the devotees and is counted as one of the country’s beautiful divine mysterical places to visit in a lifetime.
By Dr. Dikshya Bose, Kolkata, India