The History of Jagannath Temple, Puri
- Eager to meet Lord Vishnu, his biggest devotee King Indradyumna of Avanti sent different Brahmans in search of an incarnation of the Lord named Nila Madhava, after someone told him about this human form of the deity.
- All except a priest named Vidyapati returned unsuccessful, who after travelling for a while came across Sabara. This was a land inhabited by Non-Aryans. After staying for a while at the local chief Visvavasu, he married Sabara’s daughter Lalita.
- Whilst his stay there, he noticed some peculiar behaviour of his host who would go out everyday around noon and return back to the house scented with fragrances of sandalwood, camphor and musk. On constant questioning Lalita broke the promise of not telling about Nila Madhava she had made to her father and after repeated request agreed to take Vidyapati to see Nila Madhava.
- Visvavasu bound Vidypati’s eyes who secretly dropped mustard seeds while walking which had hidden in his clothes. On reaching the destination while visvavasu carried on with his Puja, Vidyapati stayed near the deity and saw a crow transform into a four armed Vaikunth and after which Vidyapati was about to jump in the lake when a voice from the sky said “Since you’ve seen Nila Madhava , you should inform King Indradyumna.
- Just then Lord spoke to Visvavasu and said “I have accepted for many days the simple forest flowers and roots offered to me by you. Now I desire the royal worship offered to me in devotion by King Indradyumna. Visvavasu felt cheated by his own son-in-law and hence locked Vidypati in his house. Lalita begged Visvavasu to let his husband go so in the end he listened to his daughter and let him go.
- Vidyapati then went straight to King Indradyumna and told him about his discovery who then had the village besieged and visvavasu arrested. Following those mustard seeds they couldn’t find Nila Madhava but heard a voice saying “Release the Sabara. On top of Nila hill you should construct a temple. There I will manifest as Daru- Brahmana. You will not see me as Nila Madhava.”
- After the construction of the temple, King Indradyumna went to brahmlok to get the temple and its surrounding area (known as Sri Kshetra) consecrated from Lord Brahma. Who told King that Sri Kshetra is manifested by the Supreme Lord’s internal potency and that the Supreme Lord manifests itself. Therefore he could not install the Lord here, but Lord Jagannath and his abode eternally situated in the material world. He said he would install the flag on the temple and anyone who sees this flag and offers prostrated obeisance would easily be liberated.
- Frustrated Indradyumna decided to lie on a bed of Kusu grass and fast until death when Lord Jagannath appeared in his dream and told him that “I shall come floating from the sea in my wooden form as Daru-brahman at the place called Bakimuhan and only Vivavasu can lift and place it on a golden chariot”
- Best sculptors came to carve the deity but only the Lord himself disguised as an artist by the name of Ananta Maharana carved the deities as per Lord Vishnu’s desire. Behind the closed doors of the temple, the artist was supposed to work for 21 days but King Indradyumna forced the doors opened on the 14th day and saw the three forms of Lord Jagannath, Subhadra and Lord Balaram with unfinished fingers and toes.
- Regretting his decision of breaking the promise, King once again decided to lay on a bed of Kusu grass and fast until death. Once again Lord Jagannath appeared in his dreams and told him that he is eternally situated in Nilachala in the form of Lord Jagannath as Daru-brahman. In the material world, he is descended in 24 deity incarnations along with his abode. He has no material hands and feet but with his transcendental senses, he will accept all the items offered to him by his devotees.