This was 2011. I had started going to Punjabi Bagh temple. I used to be very surprised to see a very different looking set of deities. They were Lord Jagannath, Baldeva and Subhdra Maharani. In my immaturity I didn’t pay much attention to Them and almost smiled at the unique shape of Their bodies, while paying my full attention to Sri Krishna Balaram deities.
Lord Jagannath is most merciful, within few months I was head over heals in love with Him. I heard about Him in lectures by various senior Vaishnavas at temple like HG Rukmini Krishna Prabhuji and HG Madhvanand Prabhu and many others, my inquisitiveness arose to new levels. Then inspite of a word of caution to bring deities home at my immature stage, I brought the Lordships home at Janamashtami from Vrindavana.
Jagannathah svami nayana-patha-gami bhavatu me
And then it was time to meet the Lord at His holy Dham. My first trip to Puri, in 2011 was a memorable trip etched firmly in my memory. We took the morning flight to Bhubaneshwar from Delhi and reached Puri in the afternoon. One `local panda’ found us at the parking lot and `guided’ us throughout our stay. The temple looked so majestic, the main wide road, washing of the feet, the entrance door all made me more excited to see the Lord immediately. The crowd wasn’t much that day and after a little while of waiting we bought the tickets and stood in the line. After 10 minutes of jostling with the crowd we were about to enter the altar doors. We first took darshan of Sri Lordships from a little distance and were then allowed to go inside the main room. At the altar the Lord was sitting royally. The setting was nothing I had imagined. I wish there were not so many `panda’s asking for donation’, I tried to keep my concentration on Lord and after circumambulating I did full dandavat. I cried while doing full dandvats, within my heart I felt a combination of awe and humbleness being right in front of the Lord. I would never forget that moment.
We went again in 2012 and then in 2013, immediately after my initiation, with Sumeet Prabhuji. Each trip brings me closer to the Lord of the universe and inspire me to serve Him. I try to read more about Lord Jagannath, hear about Him from senior devotees and try to serve Him at our home with much love and affection. He is the lord of my heart. He is the most handsome. He is `patita pavana’ and showers His mercy even on the lowest of the fallen souls.
He is all around me, at home, at Punjabi Bagh temple, at Ujjain, at Mayapur, at Gurgaon centre, the Lord continues to shower His mercy on all of us who love Him so dearly.
jaya Jagannath, jaya Jagannath, jaya Baldeva, jaya Subhadhara.
कदाचित् कालिन्दी तट विपिन सङ्गीत तरलो
मुदाभीरी नारी वदन कमला स्वाद मधुपः
रमा शम्भु ब्रह्मामरपति गणेशार्चित पदो
जगन्नाथः स्वामी नयन पथ गामी भवतु मे ॥१॥
Who sometimes fervently plays His flute on the banks of the Yamuna river in Sri Vrindavana, who is like a bumblebee that blissfully tastes the lotus faces of the Vraja-gopis, and whose feet are worshipped by great personalities such as Laksmi, Shiva, Brahma, Indra, and Ganesha — may that Sri Jagannatha-deva be the object of my vision.
भुजे सव्ये वेणुं शिरसि शिखिपिच्छं कटितटे
दुकूलं नेत्रान्ते सहचर-कटाक्षं विदधते ।
जगन्नाथः स्वामी नयन-पथ-गामी भवतु मे ॥२॥
on His head and a fine yellow silken cloth around His hips, who from the corners of His eyes bestows loving sidelong glances upon His companions, and who is forever known as the one who performs wondrous pastimes in the divine abode of Sri Vrindavana — may that Sri Jagannatha-deva be the object of my vision.
महाम्भोधेस्तीरे कनक रुचिरे नील शिखरे
वसन् प्रासादान्तः सहज बलभद्रेण बलिना ।
सुभद्रा मध्यस्थः सकलसुर सेवावसरदो
जगन्नाथः स्वामी नयन-पथ-गामी भवतु मे ॥३॥
Who on the shore of the great ocean resides in a palace situated on the gold-like crest of Nilachala Hill accompanied by His powerful brother Baladevaji and between Them, His sister Subhadra, and who bestows the opportunity to serve Him upon all the demigods — may that Sri Jagannatha-deva be the object of my vision.
कृपा पारावारः सजल जलद श्रेणिरुचिरो
रमा वाणी रामः स्फुरद् अमल पङ्केरुहमुखः ।
सुरेन्द्रैर् आराध्यः श्रुतिगण शिखा गीत चरितो
जगन्नाथः स्वामी नयन पथ गामी भवतु मे ॥४॥
Who is an ocean of mercy, whose bodily complexion is as beautiful as a row of blackish rainclouds, who sports with Laksmi-devi and Sarasvati, whose face is like a spotless fully-blossomed lotus, who is worshipped by the foremost demigods, and whose transcendental glories have been sung in the topmost scriptures — may that Sri Jagannatha-deva be the object of my vision.
रथारूढो गच्छन् पथि मिलित भूदेव पटलैः
स्तुति प्रादुर्भावम् प्रतिपदमुपाकर्ण्य सदयः ।
दया सिन्धुर्बन्धुः सकल जगतां सिन्धु सुतया
जगन्नाथः स्वामी नयन पथ गामी भवतु मे ॥५॥
When Jagannatha’s Ratha-yatra cart is moving along the road, at every step assemblies of brahmanas sing His praises. Upon hearing them, Jagannatha, being an ocean of mercy and the true friend of all the worlds, becomes favourably disposed towards them — may that Sri Jagannatha-deva be the object of my vision.
निवासी नीलाद्रौ निहित-चरणोऽनन्त-शिरसि ।
जगन्नाथः स्वामी नयन-पथगामी भवतु मे ॥६॥
Who is the crown-jewel of transcendence, whose eyes are like the petals of a fully-opened blue lotus, who resides at Nilachala, whose feet are placed on the head of Sesa, who is blissfully immersed in bhakti-rasa, and who derives happiness from embracing the rasa-laden body of Srimati Radhika — may that Sri Jagannatha-deva be the object of my vision.
न वै याचे राज्यं न च कनक माणिक्य विभवं
न याचेऽहं रम्यां सकल जन काम्यां वरवधूम् ।
सदा काले काले प्रमथ पतिना गीतचरितो
जगन्नाथः स्वामी नयन पथ गामी भवतु मे ॥७॥
I do not pray to Jagannatha for a kingdom, nor for gold, jewels, wealth, or even for a beautiful wife as desired by all men. My only prayer is that Sri Jagannatha-deva, whose splendid glories are always sung by Shiva, be the constant object of my vision.
हर त्वं संसारं द्रुततरम् असारं सुरपते
हर त्वं पापानां विततिम् अपरां यादवपते ।
अहो दीनेऽनाथे निहित चरणो निश्चितमिदं
जगन्नाथः स्वामी नयन पथ गामी भवतु मे ॥८॥
O master of the demigods! Quickly deliver me from this worthless worldly existence. O Lord of the Yadus! Purge me of my limitless host of sins. Aho! You have promised to bestow Your feet upon the fallen and shelterless — O Jagannatha Swami, please be the object of my vision.
जगन्नाथाष्टकं पुन्यं यः पठेत् प्रयतः शुचिः ।
सर्वपाप विशुद्धात्मा विष्णुलोकं स गच्छति ॥९॥
One who carefully recites this sacred Jagannathastakam, upon becoming sinless and purehearted, will attain entrance into Vishnuloka.
All Glories to Guru Maharaja.
All Glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.