The Lord’s mercy comes in many forms and the story behind Odana Sashti is one amongst many to tell.
Once, Sri Gaurasundara accompanied by all His devotees came to see Lord Jagannatha on Odana Sasthi. Musical bands with numerous instruments, mridangas, conch shells, bells, etc. echoed all around and the entire town wore a festive look. Their Lordships wore many different sets of clothes that day and the festival would last until the Makara-shankranti, in mid-January. Sri Gaurasundara and the Vaishnavas stayed late into the night, gripped in waves of ecstasy, seeing Sri Jagannatha’s many changes of dress.
The Supreme Lord as the worshiper, Sri Krishna Chaitanya, worshiped Himself in His Deity form, Lord Jagannatha. Unless the Lord blesses one, one cannot fathom this divine, esoteric, mystery, which was now being played out. Upon the altar, the Supreme Lord, Sri Jagannatha, in His wooden Deity form sat in yoga-asana while He, as the crest jewel of all sannyasis, steeped in the mellows of bhakti-yoga, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, came for His own darsana.
On the occasion of the Odana Sasthi festival, the Deities are colorfully dressed in the finest of silks and with beautiful golden jewelry inlaid with precious gems. Garlands, bracelets, and earrings are all made from fragrant seasonal flowers further bedeck Their Lordships. Scented oils, incense, flowers, ghee lamps, and sixteen different items for special worship are offered to Lord Jagannatha. Grand and opulent offerings of prasadam are also made continually. Sri Gaurahari observed these festivities with His devotees. – Sri Chaitanya Bhagavata, Antya Khanda 10
As we all know, Odana Sashti marks the beginning of winter and on this day the Lord is offered a new starched dress.
If you will like to sponsor the dresses, decorations, or the full festival, please visit us at www.mayapur.com