Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ratha Yatra or Ghosha Jatra or Gundicha Jatra (2days to go)

Two days to go for the auspicious Rathayatra or the famous Ghosha jatra. Preparations are on as per time and tradition to make the lord's annual visit to his aunty's place. Many of us may or may not know the reason why every year this Rathyatra is being performed and why so much of chaos every time with the grand festival.To all curious people for the answer let me tell you the reason.

Rathyatra hosts Lord Jagannath, the lord of the "ODIAS" and as they call it as "lord of the universe" he is regarded in all religions. But he represents sanatan dharma and an avatar of Lord Krishna. He is the only deity who is not made up of stone but instead he is made of wood (in Odia DAARU which means Neem tree trunk). The lord resides in Srimandir in Puri. Everyday lakhs of devotees pay holy visits to the deity to offer their prayers to him. And being one of the four most sacred places for the Hindus Puri Jagannatha temple has special place in devotion & sacredness for the Hindus across the world.But for non Hindus or people from all other religions, entry to Srimandir is Strictly prohibited. Even the Converted Hindus from ISCON are not allowed in the temple. In local media we hear many foreign creatures being caught at the main gate while they were trying to enter the temple. you may ask the question like why this restriction as at other places of worship for Hindus there is no such restriction. Let me answer you - this is a sacred place for Hindus and not a tourist place and we Odias have faith that our deities are Moving Gods ("Chalanti Pratima") & they are very sacred. from ancient times the deities & the temple have been kept very sacred and the spirituality has been maintained till date. From the British time to the Mughal invaders nobody has been able to enter the temple or touch the deities. At times when the invaders attacked the state & raided the temples,  deities were taken out of the temple to secret places where sacred temples were built and the deities were worshiped. The instances of Kalapahad & other non Hindu rulers attackers and the safe & secret custody of the lords are well known to the world.The current temple which under the care of Archeological survey of India has been raided by many invaders and looted by many. And every time with Vedic rituals we have made the temple clean and as sacred it was ever. In that concern the temple is kept heavenly sacred and you can feel the sacredness the momment you enter it.
Even there were many non Hindu devotees to the Lord bu they too were not allowed in the temple. "Bhakta salbeg" the great muslim devotee's name come first in the list who was a cotton weaver in the ancient city of Cuttack & was a great devotee of lord Jagannath. Once he dreamt of offering his handmade pillows to the lord and carried two greatly weaved pillows to the temple but the Badapanda - Pujari's dint allow entry to the temple & even threw away the pillows made by him. Bhakta salbeg pleaded the lord and offered his prayers and to everybody's surprised the very next day morning when the main doors were opened for the first rituals of the Lord, it was seen that the lords were resting on the same pillows made by Salbeg.

Earlier Hindus from lower caste too were not allowed in the temple & the instance of "Dasia Bauri" proves that. Once Dasia bauri being a lower caste Hindu devotee wanted to see the lords & offer coconuts to him. He entered the temple but at the 22 steps the Pujaris caught him and getting to know his caste they expelled him out of the temple.Dasia bauri was a great devotee and being bitten by the Pujaris he too pleaded to the Lord and for one Momment the lord vanished from his place and took the coconuts from dasia Bauri's hand and paid him for the due devotion. And then to maintain the dignity of the devotees and the temple & deity sacredness the lord announced that once in a year, the lords will come out of the Srimandir & give darshan to his devotees who are not allowed inside. During this Rathyatra the lords come out of the temple to visit their aunt's place called Gundicha, hence its called Gundicha Jatra. The lords stay there for 9days and on the 9th day they return to Srimandir. Once the lords are out of srimandir anybody can touch him, see him & pray him. But the number of people at the Bada danda during the rathyatra is so much that you need to be really lucky enough to touch the deity. What kindness the lord is showering ; for people who can not come to his place he is coming out to offer a darshan and its said that everyone who makes Darshan of the lords on the Ratha will be free of all his sins.
Thursday, the 21st 2012, the lords are coming out for which Bada danda is waiting, Ratha is waiting and his all his devotees are all waiting....

May Lord Jagannatha bless you all with all good fortune & best of health.

Jai Jagannath ...

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