Lord Jagannatha in Indian Religious Life (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: NAJ299
Author: Bulloram Mullick
Language: English
Edition: 1985
Pages: 136 (8 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Weight 340 gm
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The present volume originally captioned “Jagannatha-worship at Puri” written by Bulloram Mullick and published in 1892, is now edited with an introduction by Dr. H. C. Das and reprinted by Kalyani Debi, Calcutta under the title of “Lord Jagannatha in Indian Religious Life”, and another book published by her entitled “Bhakti Movement in Orissa”. The book is a fine piece of treatise in the shape of a travel account presented to the readers at a time when there was no railway link to Puri nor a surfaced road with bridges over the rivers, It was, therefore, not a mean task to travel a long distance by bullock cart through ups and downs and against hazards. I t is not definitely known the original place from which Mr. Mullick started his pilgrimage though the book begins with journey from Cuttack with a group of persons.


The book begins with a journey from Cuttack by bullock cart in the later part of October, a suitable time for pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Jagannatha. The author describes the sandy bed of Kathajodi river and stilling heat unbearable during their journey and speaks of sarais or inns on the road for food and shelter of the travellers and shady trees on each side. The first halt at Balianta on the bank of Kuakhai river reminds him of the story of Rama's killing Bali, the king of Kiskindhya, the curse of Tara to Rama for unfair combat and killing of her husband resulting the conjugal unhappiness of Rama in the later part of his life. The place on the old Jagannatha road has religious significance and antiquarian importance. An image of Gopinatha recovered from the river Kuakhai is worshipped here. As. one proceeds on the old road towards Bhubaneswar one finds the remains of a pillared bridge on the Gangua rivulet built during the Ganga period. A couple of hours journey from Balianta brought the party in complete sight of the temple town of Bhubaneswar. “Here the natural scenery was. Grand, and glorious. The spot was gentle elevation from the Puri Road, on the summit of which stood the famous shrine. And no better spot could have been chosen. It bristled with innumerable temples which appeared to us from the road to be in a dilapidated condition. But the fact itself was nevertheless significant, viz. that in an ancient epoch of the religious history of the Province, Bhubaneswara was a citadel of Hindu faith”.


The chapter two begins with their journey from Bhubaneswar by the same bullock cart. It was again a difficult task to cross the sandy bed of Bhargavi river. After a few hours journey the party reached Sardeipur Bungalow located in the junction of two streamlets connected by roads to Puri and Bhubaneswar and overshadowed by hill ranges in the west. The place was quite enjoyable for its scenic beauty. The hillocks reminded him they hey-day of Buddhism and the religious. activities of Buddhist recluses residing in the rock- cut caves. Gone are the days of Buddhism but the caves and archaeological remains stand as lone witness to communicate to the posterity the tenets of the religion and sanctity of the places. The party proceeded from Sardeipur to Pipli, the famous centre of applique works. It is clear from the account that Pipli earned name and fame for this special type of cotton fabrics. The party took shelter in the Mukundar bungalow for the night.


In the next morning the party moved in the religious mission in the same bullock cart. Here the author intensely depicts himself as a devout devotee of the Lord and the efficacy of Hindu religion which is pre-eminently a religion of love. “It is the love of a mother or of a friend or of a chaste Lover, if you understand him aright. Bhakti or devotional love and esteem is the where with of a reunion with the divine Mother”. He believes in sajujya, the state of absorption into the supreme Being. The other states of spiritual bliss of Hindu religion are samipya (nearness). salokya (living in the same region), and sarupya (likeness). If one, however degraded or fallen to any extent enjoys such spiritual bliss if one is devoted to the supreme spirit. As the mist cleared up and day light illumined in the east like a chaste devotee of the Sun he exuberantly chanted “that divine and incomparably greater light which illumines all, delights all, from which all proceed, to which all must return, and which alone can irradicate our intellects”.


The party reached Satyabadi, famous for the shrine of God Sakhigopal. After a tiresome and hazardous journey the members of the group, particularly the ladies brightened up at the sight of Satyabadi shrine, thinking that their Cherished' Lord Jagannatha is not far off. The author- describes lucidly the temple of Sakhigopal and the- numerous gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon now worshipped in the temple complex. Here he witnessed the syncretism of sectarian creed like Vaisnavite, Sakta, the Ganapatya and Saiva, the central figure of worship being Sakhigopal, an. incarnation of Visnu.


While offering Puja to Gopalji in the temple- the author while expressing his intense devotion describes the deplorable condition of the management. The dark cella visible during day time with, the flickering of the lamp only was extremely inconvenient for the visitors. “Sceptical people confound the dark environment with the stygian. It is freely bruited that darkness is ignorance, superstitions and hellishness. The temples are dark inside, say they, because its objects is to handicap the devotee with a sense of false solemnity. To the Hindu devotee such sentiments are extremely offensive. In Hindu spirituality blackness and darkness are identified with awful solemness of chaos. Krishna,. Kali and Linga are all of black colour and the household Sila-Saligrama is a black routundity”.


The shrine of Sakhigopal has a strong legend and a continuous history. The popular legend spread from the time of Purusottamadeva (1466-1497 A.D.) relates that the monarch brought Ratna simhasana and the images of Sakhigopal and Ganesa from Vidyanagar or Vijayanagar as a mark of victory over the kingdom. The icon of Sakhigopal is stated to have been first installed at Cuttack, the capital of the then Kalingan empire. This fact is attested by Sri Chaitanya.Charitamrita. According to a Jagannatha temple stone inscription of Purusottamadeva, the place in Varanasi Cuttack where the shrine was installed is known as “Gopalapriya Jagati”, Sri Chaitanya on his way to Sri Jagannatha paid reverence to the shrine. During the attack of Kalapahada in 1568 the image was shifted elsewhere and re-installed by the king Sri Ramachandradeva in the Khurdah fort. There also the image could not be worshipped safely on account of Mughal attack. As a result, the icon was shifted to Rathipur fort and worshipped in a newly built temple. The fate of the image was more disastrous when Takki Khan, the Mughal subadar attacked Rathipur. The image was once again brought to Kantalbai on Chilka. Thanks to the Maratha for their invaluable service in bringing back the image to Satyabadi and finally installing him in a temple which still exists today.


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