Sri Jagannath dev Snan Yatra, Mukunda datta and Kholavecha Sridhar disappearance day

graphic footer

The most merciful Lord of the universe Patita Pavan Shri Jagannath dev blessed the Purnima tithi in the month of Jyeshtha by choosing it as the most auspicious day of his appearance as Daru brahma, to bestow upon all his causeless mercy. It was on this auspicious day that the Lord appeared in this form to accept service form his great devotee Maharaj Indradyumna, who after having heard of an exquisitely beautiful deity of the Lord named Nila madhav, became intensely eager to serve that deity of the Lord, but could not locate the whereabouts of the Lord and was therefore highly distressed. In his desperate search for the Deity of the Lord, who had completely stolen his heart, he sent his ministers in all the directions to search for the Lord and gave them all a time limit of three months to report back to him about their findings. After three months of restless waiting, the king was disheartened to hear that his ministers had returned with no good news, except for one, Vidyapati, who had headed in the Eastern direction. The King was anxious about Vidyapati but held on to the hope that perhaps he had found out some clues and was therefore not yet able to return and decided to wait for Vidyapati. Vidyapati, who was a young Brahman filled with all good qualities, had reached the eastern shore in his search, where he saw a beautiful village and decided to stay in the village for the night. He was directed to the house of the chief of the Village, who was a sabara, from a lower caste, but was a very qualified and intelligent personality named Vishwavasu. When Vidyapati arrived to the house of Vishwavasu, he was informed by the daughter, Lalita, that Vishwavasu was not at home, and she requested him to wait outside till he comes back. Upon returning, Vishwavasu, from whose limbs Vidyapati could smell a divine fragrance,  welcomed Vidyapati, invited him to stay for a few days and instructed his daughter to take good care of and serve Vidyapati, which she did very expertly, and in due course of time they developed affection for each other and were married with the approval and blessings of Vishwavasu. Vidyapati, who was always curious about the divine fragrance permeating the atmosphere when Vishwavasu was at home, asked his wife Lalita about where her father would go in the morning and come back only in the evening. At first she was hesitant to tell as she had promised her father that should not tell anyone, but after persuasion, she revealed to her husband that her father would go everyday to worship the deity of Nilamadhav. Hearing the name of Nilamadhav, Vidyapati felt great joy and requested her to ask her father to take him along for having darshan of Nilamadhav. At the next opportune moment she asked her father and though reluctant he agreed to her request at the condition that he will blindfold Vidyapati on the way going and coming back, to which he agreed. The next day while going there blindfolded, Vidyapati, who had taken a small bag full of mustard seeds with a hole, dropped the seeds on the way so as to be able to trace the way afterwards as the seeds would in due course of time grow into mustard plants. Arriving at the cave where Vishwavasu used to worship Nilamadhav, he had the darshan of the most gorgeous Lord and felt great joy at heart. After going back he left for the Kingdom of Maharaj Indradyumna and informed him about Nilamadhav, hearing which the King was in great ecstasy. Immediately they came to the place, following the mustard plants, but to everyone´s great distress the deity had disappeared which plunged Vishwavasu in great grief, as he was bereft of his service. But a celestial voice proclaimed that everything that had occurred was by the will of the Lord and that soon a special Log of wood will float to the shore of the Ocean and the Lord wants to accept worship from the King in a form made of that wood. Soon enough three logs of wood were found and the best of architects were called upon to carve the form of the Lord, but as soon as they would start using the tools, the tools would break and therefore no one was able to carve the form of the Lord, which again put the King in great anxiety. Then one day the Lord himself came as an old Brahman and said that he would carve the deity but on the condition that for 21 days no one should enter the room. However after, after 14 days the King entered the room as he was concerned about the brahmana who had not taken any water or food and also no sound could be heard from the room. Inside the room the brahmana was not to be seen anywhere and there were incomplete deities of Jagannath, Baladev, Subhadra and Sudarshana chakra. Seeing that the deities had not been completed, he started regretting having opened the door and felt much aggrieved at heart but he was consoled by a celestial voice proclaiming that the lord wanted to be worshiped in this form and therefore the worship of the Lord started in this way and every year on this auspicious day the Lord is bathed profusely to celebrate the appearance day of the Lord. 

This day also marks the auspicious disappearance day of Mukunda datta, who was an intimate associate of Mahaprabhu, and is the famous singer Madhukantha in Krishna Lila. Born in Cattagrama district, in the village of Chanhara, he was a good friend of Mahaprabhu from his very childhood and Nimai would often debate and argue with Mukuda datta. After coming back from Gaya, while experiencing great ecstatic feelings of love, Nimai would listen to the melodious singing of Krishna Lila by Mukunda datta. Also it was Mukunda datta who took Gadadhar Pandit to Pundarik Vidyanidhi, from whom Gadadhar Pandit took initiation. At the time of Mahaprabhu´s sanyas, Mukunda datta was one of the only few devotees who knew of the Lord´s decision to take the renounced order of life, and made the necessary arrangements to assist him. Later, while in Puri, once Mahaprabhu refused to see Mukunda datta as he was displeased by the fact that Mukunda datta would sometimes go to hear from Mayavadi speakers. Hearing this Mukunda datta was greatly distressed and inquired as to when would the Lord give him darshan, to which the Lord replied that only after a million years would he be able to see him. Hearing this Mukunda datta began to dance happily thinking at at least in a million years he would be able to see Mahaprabhu again. Hearing about this Mahaprabhu bacame pleased and called him immediately. Thereafter, Mukunda datta also relinquished going to hear from any other speakers who were not Vaishnavas. We pray to his lotus feet to please bless us with the service to the lotus feet of Shri Gaura Hari. 

The great devotee named kholaveca Shridhar, who was very dear to Mahaprabhu and is the cowherd Kusumasava in Krishna Lila, also left this material world on this auspicious day. Although he was very poor, and would earn his living by selling banana cups, yet he would spend half of his earnings in the service of the Ganges and with the remaining would somehow fulfil his necessities. Once Mahaprabhu offered to fulfil his desires but being fully satisfied in Krishna prema, he considered his present facilities to be sufficient and only prayed for service at Mahaprabhu´s lotus feet. The Lord would often joke with him and take fruits, flowers and vegetables from him and would drink water from his broken pot. In this way Nimai would perform many pleasing and joking pastimes with Shridhar. Also just before Nimai took sanyas, Shridhar presented a squash to mother Saci and she made a Squash sweet rice with it for Mahaprabhu, which was very dear to him. Although poor, Shridhar was a dear devotee of Mahaprabhu and set an example of how it is not material possesions that bind the Lord but rather pure love and devotion is the only means to tie the Lord with the ropes of affection. On this glorious day, we humbly pay respectful obeisances to his lotus feet and pray to develop unflinching devotion to the feet of Sacinandan Gaurahari.