B eing in Mayapur and very close to Rajapur, home of Lord Jaganath, Baladeva and Subadhra, we all jumped in a car and went to take part of the festivities that were organized for the very sweet pastime of Odana sashti. This yearly Rajapur festival is a rare opportunity for the devotees to all sit in front of Lord Jaganath and listen to some of his very delightful pastimes this year told by HG Jananivas prabhu.
The weather in Mayapur is very pleasing at that time which gives a break from the intense heat that devotees usually have to tolerate, so it makes it easy and cozy for everyone to join the festivities and peacefully enjoy the narratives of the sweet pastimes. Odana sashti being the first day of winter, all the Mayapur Deities are from that day onward, dresses in winter clothes.
Lord Jaganath,Baladeva and Subadhra, receive special treatment as they are given new starched cloth and beautiful handmade new mukut pieces. Young Mayapur devotees worked hard to shape 26 new mukut pieces to share between Lord Jaganath and his brother Lord Balaram and Subadhra was prowdly wearing a new splendid crown also made with love by young devotee girls. This tradition helps the devotees remember the pastime of Lord Jaganath and his great devotee, Pundarika Vidyanidhi, who once became critical of the Lord’s servants.
“Sri Pundarika Vidyanidhi, a close associate of Lord Chaitanya’s, once upon seeing that the Deities were being offered starched garments, became critical towards the servants of Lord Jagannatha. When Pundarika was thus speaking in this way, Svarupa Damodara tried to explain that the characteristics of the Supreme Lord are beyond the jurisdiction of worldly etiquette, and encouraged Pundarika not relinquish his critical thoughts. Svarup Damodara’s advice fell on deaf ears, so Lord Jagannatha and Balarama enacted the pastime of appearing to Pundarika in a dream that evening and slapping him on his cheeks nonstop, leaving him with red marks on his face. Thus Jagannath destroyed the sinful mentality of criticizing the behavior of the Supreme Lord’s servants by his supreme mercy.”
In the forenoon, sweet graceful Kirtan was lead by HG Narahari Nityananda prabhu which brought about a soft but still festive mood that was ideal for that auspicious day.
And of course the festivities ended with a Prasadam feast which was appreciated and relished by hundreds of pilgrims and devotees.
Lord Jaganath,Baladev and Subadhra Ki Jay!