Fragrance of Mayapur

The fragrances, all spiritual, in the fields of the Dham, forests and rivers fill your nostrils. Unlike the material world, your eyes can roam freely here. Mayapur, located in West Bengal, the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, is home to the largest center of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. In 1978, ISKCON Mayapur has assumed responsibility for the adoration of Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhadra are installed in a nearby temple. The original deities of Jagannath Krishna, the Lord of the universe, his brother Balarama and sister Subhadra are worshiped in Puri on the coast of Orissa, for thousands of years.

In addition to the chance to bathe in the Ganges there are few other reasons that seem to push a pilgrim to put even one foot outside the complex of Mayapur, especially during the Festival Gaura Purnima. According to tradition, five thousand years ago, when Krishna was present on earth, Krishna, Balarama and Subhadra were transformed into these forms due to spiritual ecstasy they felt, listening to a devotee who described the pastimes of Krishna adolescence.

The sage Narada, which he passed, was speechless when contemplating these churches and their ecstatic forms so that they would allow that, of the Divinity that Li raffigurassero as they appeared now, could be worshiped. Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhadra currently reside in a grand temple in Puri and attracts pilgrims from all over India, particularly in Orissa and Bengal.

The following story tells how it happened that Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhadra began to be worshiped in the holy place of Mayapur. Many hundreds of years ago, in the Indian state known today as Orissa, a wicked man named Raktabahu destroyed temples and created panic in the hearts of the pious people. When the devotees of Lord Jagannatha Puri learned of the violence of Rakta Bahu, were seized with fear and approached Sri Jagannatha.

The devotees prayed O adorable Lord, we are in great anxiety in listening to the vile Raktabahu is destroying temples and Deity. He is traveling in this direction and could arrive at any moment to attack your temple. If this happens we will be forced to commit suicide, because we will never be able to tolerate any action committed against You. Please save us from this danger, doing something to protect, O Lord Almighty, Your divine form and your temple.

That night Jagannath appeared in a dream to the chief priests and said, "I am amazed by the burning love and devotion of My devotees. All of you, you love me more than yourself. Nobody can damage the My divine form or my temple. Only with My will can not keep away all the devotees. But, bless my devotees and reciprocate with them, often accept what may seem like an inconvenience, to make sure that the love and devotion of My devotees increases without limits.

Tomorrow, then, please bring out of the temple Balarama, Subhadra and Myself and games for Bengal. You have to travel along the road of the jungle, to avoid Raktabahu, which is coming from the main road. Do not be afraid, I will protect you always. Lord disappeared from the dream. Priest awoke and spread the message. Immediately the devotees of the Lord organized the trip.

The traditional system of Jagannatha Puri stipulates that, devotees from different walks of life, are assigned special service for the Lord. Devotees of the group of Sabara always bring the Deity when they leave the temple on the occasion of the festival. So when the message of the Lord came to Sabara , they organized themselves to leave the next morning. Sabara walked, carrying the Deities throughout the day and before sunset stopped in a proper place. They gathered fruits, flowers and leaves in the jungle to worship the Deity.

The next morning, after worshiping the Deity, the Sabara walked towards the next destination. In this way spent eleven days. On the twelfth day they arrived in Simanta Dvipa, one of the nine islands of Navadvipa Dhama, the holy place of the pastimes of Lord Caitanya, in West Bengal. That night Jagannath appeared in a dream to Sabara and expressed his desire to stay in that place. He said it was the most suitable place and completely transcendental.

Sabara served the Lord for generations. But gradually the deity and the temple disappeared. However, the Lord never left that place, as was revealed later, five hundred years ago during the period of the pastimes of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. At that time a devotee named Jagadisa Ganguli lived in a small village near Mayapur.

Jagadisa was a devout very high and although it was very old, walked nine hundred kilometers every year to participate in the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannatha chariot festival in Puri. One day Jagadisa was struck by an illness that left him blind. When he realized that he could no longer contemplate the divine form of Sri Caitanya, and the Deity of Jagannatha is very sad. In addition, his friends considered that the annual pilgrimage to Puri was too long and dangerous for him and refused to take it with them.

Jagadisa remained at home, overwhelmed by lamentation and sorrow. One night Jagannatha appeared in a dream to Jagadisa. The Lord told him that the next morning, when he went to the Ganges for the morning ablutions, a log would touch his head, and he would have regained his sight. The Lord also suggested Jagadisa to bring the trunk in a nearby village, where he lived a devout carpenter and ask him to carve a Deity of Jagannatha.

The Lord told him that the carpenter would have refused to perform the work, as he was a leper, and his hands were deformed, but urged Jagadisa to insist and convince the leper carpenter to do the job. After work, the Lord assured Jagadisa, the leprosy of the carpenter would disappear. Just as the Lord had predicted, the next day when Jagadisa took a bath in the Ganges, a trunk touched his head and he regained his sight. He took the trunk and took him to the nearby village, where he sought and found the carpenter leper. Jagadisa pleaded with the leper from the trunk to carve the Deity of Jagannatha, but the carpenter refused.

The leper showed Jagadisa his deformed fingers and asked, "How can I sculpt the divine form of the Lord with these hands?" But Jagadisa insisted and told him that leprosy would be cured as soon as he finished the sculpture. At the end of the leper agreed. Jagadisa remained with the leper, as he worked and saw him suffer terribly. Blood and pus flowed out of his hands without fingers, and he continued to want to leave the job.

But Jagadisa encouraged him and helped him to forget his agony, until he had finished sculpting the Deity of Jagannatha. As soon as he had finished his leprosy was cleansed. Jagadisa brought the Deity, in the place where he is currently the Jagannatha temple in Mayapur and began to worship Him. After a few nights, Jagadisa had another dream. This time Jagannatha told him to ask the same carpenter to carve wooden soul of the Deity of Balarama and Subhadra Devi. Jagadisa him and installed these Deities in the temple next to Jagannatha.

After the death of Jagadisa, over the years the worship of the Deity diminished and finally Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhadra were forgotten and their temple collapsed. About sixty years ago the residents of a nearby village noticed a particularly beautiful blue flower, growing on top of a pile of termites. As they approached the stack heard a voice that said, Please give me the water, I thirst. The villagers unearthed the Deity of Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhadra, and though they had been covered with termites for a long time, the wood was not damaged. So the worship times.

In 1978, the pujari priest felt that it would not be able to continue the adoration of his beloved Deity for a long time and gave the ISKCON temple, who built a splendid new temple, surrounded by gardens of fragrant flowers and mango orchards. The current leaders invite all the pilgrims who visit Sri Mayapur to visit the temple of Jagannatha. The scriptures say that Jagannatha Puri is eternally manifested in this holy place, and visiting it will acquire the same benefits that can be obtained by visiting Jagannatha Puri.

The Vedic scriptures teach us that the Lord appears in the form of the Deity to accept our worship and our service. The deity is therefore not different from the Lord Himself. It is therefore not surprising that the Deity performs the activities, which could not be carried out by an ordinary statue. The Vedic scriptures and the stories of many temples tell of Gods who speak, walk, appear in a dream and so on.

Some Gods have a reputation to reciprocate with his devotees in a directly perceptible manner. The Lord Jagannatha in Mayapur is one of these Deities. People have never ever seen but they could hear him. They saw a glow coming from the temple, and could hear the tinkling of anklets and a sweet fragrance that filled the air.

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