The Supreme God
According to mythology, one night King Indradyumna had a dream in which Lord Vishnu appeared and told him that he would appear in the form of Daru (Log of sacred wood) in the sea, on which he would find the idol of Lord Jagannatha. He should bring this idol with him and build a temple.
Exactly in that place, the king saw a shining blue object on a wooden plank. When he lifted it, he felt a tremendous surge of strength. He decided to make a deity of the gods with this wood. However, he couldn't find any craftsman capable of sculpting the deity from the wood. Whenever a craftsman attempted, their tools would break, and they wouldn't succeed in making the deity.
One day, Lord Vishwakarma, in the form of a sculptor ‘Ananta Moharana’, arrived there and said that he would create the idol of Lord Vishnu. However, he set a condition that for the next 21 days, no one would enter the temple, and he should be allowed to work without any disturbance. It's believed that after around 14-15 days, Maharani Gundicha became curious and opened the temple's door. Inside, she saw that the sculptor had created three idols:Lord Jagannath, his sister Goddess Subhadra, and their brother Lord Balabhadra. However, the hands and feet of these idols were not yet complete, and much work was still left. Because of the breach of the condition, Ananta (the sculptor) stopped his work right there. That's why it's said that even today, the three idols placed in that temple remain incomplete. We're talking about the Jagannath Puri Temple, one of Lord Vishnu's four sacred abodes. It's a temple with a rich history and some secrets that still remain unanswered today.
Lord Jagannath is worshipped in Jagannath Puri like many other avatars of Vishnu, such as Narasimha, Krishna, Vamana and many more. Due to this, people consider Lord Jagannath to be a powerful entity, which is why there are many mysteries associated with the Jagannatha Puri Temple. It's believed that Lord Vishnu comes to the temple to have his meals. That's why there is a grand kitchen in this temple where mysteriously the Mahaprasad (sacred food offering) never runs out and never goes to waste. It's said that no matter how many devotees come to the temple in a day, the Prasad is always sufficient for distribution. However, as the closing time of the temple approaches, the Prasad starts to diminish on its own, and not a single grain is wasted.
Another mystery related to the Prasad is that it's cooked in earthen pots placed on wooden hearths using traditional methods. Seven pots are stacked on top of each other for cooking, but surprisingly, the topmost pot, which is farthest from the fire, gets cooked first. Ideally, the pots at the bottom should cook first, but this is a mystery for which no one has found an answer.
Along with these mysteries, there are many other secrets connected to the temple that people debate about. For instance, the flag on the temple's spire flutters in the opposite direction of the wind, and no birds fly over the temple, which even restricts airplanes from flying over it. Many have attempted to provide scientific explanations for these mysteries, but no concrete answers have been found till date.
Apart from all these, there is a biggest secret of the Jagannath Temple that people hold various theories about. This secret revolves around the practice that is carried out in the Jagannath Temple every 8th, 12th or 19th year. In this practice, new idols are installed in the temple in place of the old ones every 8th, 12th, or 19th year after the previous Nabakalebara. Nabakalebara is a combination of two Odia words: naba (new) and kalebara (body), translated as "the change of one's physical form". However, something unique happens to these old idols before they are placed in the new ones. This is known as "Brahma Padartha" and it's considered so sacred that significant steps are taken to preserve it.
On the day of the ritual Nabakalebara, the entire city's electricity is cut off, and darkness is spread everywhere. The temple is taken under the command of a CRPF team, and entry or exit for anyone is strictly prohibited. No one is allowed inside the temple except for one person – the Chief Priest who performs this ritual. Even they are not allowed to know the secret of the Brahma Padarth, so their eyes are blindfolded, and they wear thick gloves on their hands so that they cannot feel or recognize the Brahma Padartha. Some priests have shared their experiences, stating that when they touched the Brahma Padartha, they felt a powerful energy, as if they were holding something alive that was pulsating like a heartbeat.
People believe that this Brahma Padartha is none other than the pulsating heart of Lord Krishna, which is believed to be alive even after 5,000 years. It is said that what Raja Indradyumna found near the river, known as Neel Madhav, is now referred to as the Brahma Padartha, believed to be the beating heart of Lord Krishna.
After the battle of Mahabharata, during the afternoon, when Lord Krishna was resting under a tree, a hunter named "Jara Sabara" mistakenly shot an arrow with a poisonous tip that struck Krishna's foot. Lord Vishnu's eighth incarnation's purpose on Earth had been fulfilled, so he decided to depart from his mortal body at that moment. As per the Mausala Parva of the Mahabharata, when Shri Krishna left his mortal body, Arjuna immediately rushed to the scene upon hearing the news. He performed the last rites of Shri Krishna, and something unusual happened. Different parts of his body dissolved into the five elements of nature, but his heart remained intact, still beating. Arjuna placed the heart on a piece of wood and set it afloat in a river. Later, this heart-shaped piece of wood, known as the Brahma Padartha, was found by Raja Indradyumna in the form of Neel Madhav. This is why people believe that the idol of Lord Jagannath is alive because it contains the heart of Lord Krishna, and this belief is the reason behind the various mysteries associated with the temple.
It's a beautiful interpretation of the lore and beliefs surrounding the Jagannath Temple, linking the divine essence of Lord Krishna with the living presence of the deity.