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This story teaches us that God is compelled by their true devotees to bless them with His presence.

Keywords: Culture, Devotion, Worship

Jagannath God Story


After the great battle of Mahabharata ended, one day, Lord Krishna, the incarnation (avatar) of Lord Vishnu was lying down under a tree on the bank of a river when a hunter named Jara visited the forest. He mistakenly fired an arrow towards Krishna, assuming him to be a deer. After realizing his mistake, he begged Krishna to forgive him.

Krishna smiled and told him, "It’s not your fault, it’s all part of karma. In your previous birth, you were a brave king named Bali, and I was Lord Ram, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Back then, I defeated you. Now, in this life, you have helped me, and that is part of the plan for my journey."

Jara felt sorry for what he had done and told Prince Arjuna, one of the Pandavas, about the whole incident. Krishna's body vanished in the sky leaving behind his divine heart full of life.

Arjuna put Krishna’s heart on a wooden board and let it flow in the river. After a long time, it reached the ocean at Puri, Odisha. 

Jara was born again as Biswa Basu and found Krishna’s heart, in the form of a blue stone. He knew it was special and prayed to it as the idol of Neel Madhav in a cave.

One day, Indradyumna, the king of Malava and a great devotee of Lord Vishnu, heard about the idol of Neel Madhav. He wished to worship it, so he sent his priest Vidyapati, to Biswa Basu to bring the idol to his kingdom Malava.

But Biswa Basu refused to show the idol to Vidyapati even after his repeated pleading. 

Meanwhile, Vidyapati married Lalita, the daughter of Biswa Basu. After some time, he asked Lalita to convince her father to show the idol to him. Biswa Basu finally agreed but on one condition.

He said, “You will be blindfolded during the path and will only open your eyes once we reach the Neel Madhav.”

Vidhyapati agreed and they went to see the idol the next day. After showing the idol, Biswa Basu shifted it to another place. 

When Vidhyapati told Indradyumn the whole incident, the king got upset that even after being a true devotee of Lord Vishnu, he couldn’t worship his sacred idol.

That night, Indradyumn had a dream of Lord Vishnu.

Lord Vishnu said, “A wooden board of neem tree is floating in the ocean of Puri. You should make my idol with that wood and place it in a huge temple. Later, place the Neel Madhav stone inside that idol.”

After putting in a lot of effort, Indradyum found the wooden board. He looked for someone to make God's Idol. Lord Vishwakarma, the gods' architect, came as an old craftsman and told the king he could make the statue.

But he had one condition. He said, “Nobody should disturb me till the idols are made.” Indradyumn agreed to this condition and the old man started working in a closed room.

After 15 days, the sound of the hammer and other tools stopped. The queen got worried and requested the king to check if something had happened to the craftsman.

As Indradyumn opened the door, the craftsman vanished, leaving three incomplete idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabadhra (his brother), and Devi Subhadra (his sister). These idols have big, round eyes, arms coming out from below the neck, and red lips that look like flower petals.

Indradyumna realized his mistake and asked Lord Vishnu to forgive him. Lord Vishnu told him that the idols were not unfinished and ready to be placed in the temple. 

The king built a huge temple for the idols and worshipped them. He convinced Biwsa to perform the pran-pratishtha of the idol (bringing life to the idol) placing Neel Madhav, the heart in the idol.

On this divine moment, the gods from heaven offered flowers to the idols and the people of the kingdom celebrated with joy.

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Source: Shri Jagannath Ashtakam

महाम्भोधेस्तीरे कनक रुचिरे नील शिखरे

वसन् प्रासादान्तः सहज बलभद्रेण बलिना। 

सुभद्रा मध्यस्थः सकलसुर सेवावसरदो 

जगन्नाथः स्वामी नयन-पथ-गामी भवतु मे॥

mahambhodes tire kanaka-ruchire nila-shikhare 

vasan prasadanta sahaja-balabhadrena balina 

subhadra-madhya-sthah sakala-sura-sevavasara-do

 jagannathah swami nayana-patha-gami bhavatu me

Residing on the shore of the great ocean, within a large palace situated upon the crest of the brilliant, golden Nilacala Hill, along with His powerful brother Bala-Bhadra, and in the middle of them His sister Subhadra, Lord Jagannatha gives all godly souls the chance to serve devotionally. May Lord Jagannath always be the focus of my vision.

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Story type: Spiritual

Age: 6+years; Class: 2+

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