Jagannath Puri dham is addressed by various names. Some of these names are Sri Kshetra, Purushottama kshetra, Nilachala dham, Jagannath dham, Samanik tirtha, Uddiyan pith, Marta-Vaikuntha, Nilgiri, Niladri, Sankha kshetra, Bhu-svarga, and Nrsimha kshetra. Jagannath Puri is one of the most prominent spiritual sites of India (Bharat). It is said that the Supreme Lord bathes at Badrinath (situated in North India), changes His clothes at Dwarka (situated in West India), accepts His food at Jagannath Puri (situated in East India) and then proceeds to take rest at Rameshwaram (situated in South India). Here at Jagannath Puri, the Supreme Lord resides in His deity form. Anyone who takes His darsana attains liberation from this material world. By visiting Jagannath Puri, one attains the pious credit of visiting all the other holy places of pilgrimage. Below are listed some of the unending glories of Jagannath Puri dham.
13 Glories of Jagannath Puri dham :
#1 Jagannath Puri is spread over a distance of 120 Kms.
#2 Jagannath Puri dham is situated on the sea shore (coast of Bay of Bengal, Orissa) and hence the adjoining land is sandy. There exists a blue hill at the center of this holy dham.
#3 Anyone who takes darsana of Lord Jagannath attains liberation. Of this there is no doubt.
#4 The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, eternally resides at Jagannath Puri dham. Hence this place is also known as Purushottama Kshetra (abode of the Supreme Person).
#5 Whatever pastime Lord Krishna performs in Goloka Mathura and Dwarka, He manifests all these pastimes in Jagannath Puri Dham.
#6 Jagannath Puri dham is never destroyed and remains unaffected even during the times of universal creation and annihilation.
#7 Knowledge about the holy dham of Jagannath Puri is concealed due to the illusory potency (Maya) of the Supreme Lord.
#8 Anyone who resides in this holy dham for even the duration of a single breath, attains the result of performing an Ashwamedha yajna.
#9 One residing at Jagannath Puri does not incur any Karmic result for his/her actions.
#10 Anyone residing in this holy dham, including the animals and birds, are relieved of all their past Karmic results. All entities living within this area are, by the influence of this place, possess four-handed forms like denizens of Vaikuntha, though this form of theirs is visible only to the demigods.
#11 Anyone who passes away at Jagannath Puri attains liberation from the clutches of this material world.
#12 Yamraja, the guardian of death, has no jurisdiction over the inhabitants of Jagannath Puri. The Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, personally takes up the responsibility of adjudicating the pious and the impious in this holy abode.
#13 The act of sleeping in this dham is equivalent to deep meditation or samadhi. Similarly, simply lying in this dham accrues the pious result of offering obeisances (dandavat) unto the Deity. Walking about the dham is the same as circumambulation (pradiksina) and all speeches accrue the result of glorifying the deity.
Verses glorifying Jagannath Puri :
In Sri Brhad Bhagavatamrta (2.1.159-163) Srila Sanatana Gosvami describes Jagannath Puri dham as follows –
In Purushottama kshetra Nilacala, by the shore of the saltwater ocean, the Lord of the universe (Jagannath) is splendidly manifested in a spiritual form of wood.
On the northern shore of the ocean, in Purushottama kshetra, the supremely blissful Personality of Godhead acts to be formed of wood.
The Vishnu Purana describes as follows –
In the country of Orissa, in Nilacala, in Purushottama kshetra, the spiritual and blissful Supreme Personality of Godhead appears as the wooden Deity called Lord Jagannath.
In Bharata Varsha, in the country of Orissa, in Bhu-svarga, in Purushottama kshetra, the Lord of the Universe (Jagannath), who makes the devotees fearless, whose pastimes are like those of a human being, and who grants liberation, appears in a form of a wood.
The Goddess of Fortune (Lakshmi devi) personally cooks for Him. When He has eaten, the merciful Lord distributes His remnants to His devotees. His remnants are so precious that they cannot be obtained even by the demigods.
These remnants, called mahaprasadam, should be eaten and honored without the consideration of who has touched them or from where they have been brought. “Oh, what glory of that place (Jagannath Puri)! Even an ass residing there becomes a four-armed resident of Vaikuntha. Anyone who goes there once is never born again.
Veda Vyasa explains in the Garuda Purana:
When the demigods in heaven behold the people of Jagannath Puri as four-armed residents of Vaikuntha, holding conch-shell, chakra (disc), and lotus in their hands, they (demigods) faint again and again.
Glories of Jagannath Puri Dham in Skanda Purana
In Chaitanya Bhagavata, Srila Vrindavan das Thakura quotes from Skanda Purana the conversation between Sri Krishna and Lord Shiva where Lord Krishna recites the glories of Jagannath Puri dham to Lord Shiva. We are presenting the text and translation below for the pleasure of the devotees.
Sei sthane amar parama gopya-Puri
Sei sthan, Shiva, aji toma sthane
Se Puri-ra marma mor keho nahi jane
Sindhu tire Bata-mule Nilachala nama
Kshetra Sri Purusottama – ati ramya sthana
Ananta brahmanda kaale yakhana sanhare
Tabu se sthanera kichu karite na pare
Sarva kaale sei sthane amara basati
Pratidin amara bhojan haya tathi
Se sthanera prabhabe yojana dash bhumi
Tahate basaye yata jantu, keet, krimi
Sabare dekhoye chaturbhuj devagane
Bhuvana mangala kari kohoye ye sthane
Nidrateo ye sthane samadhi fal hoye
Sayane pranam fal yatha vede koy
Pradakshin fal paay karile bhromon
Katha matra yatha haya amara stobon
Se sthane nahik Yama-danda adhikara
Ami kari valo mondo vichara sabara
(Chaitanya Bhagavata, Antya, 2.366-379)
Today I shall apprise you the glories of Sri Puri Dham, My supremely confidential abode.O Shiva, I will personally tell you the glories of Puri today because no one else knows the essence, glories, and the truth of Puri Dham.
On the shore of the ocean, at the root of a banyan tree, is situated the beautiful Purusottama-kshetra, which is also known as Nilacala.
Even when countless universes are destroyed at the time of total material annihilation (at the end of 100 years of Lord Brahma), the supremely transcendental Sri Jagannatha Puri Dham is not affected or touched in any way.
That place is My eternal home. Every day I eat opulent meals at Jagannath Puri dham.
This personal abode of Mine is 10 yojanas or 80 miles in size. The demigods visualize all the living beings residing in Sri Jagannatha Puri Dham, even the insects, worms, and beasts, to be possessing the four-handed forms of the liberated souls of Vaikuntha. That is why this holy abode of Mine is known as ‘Bhuvanamangala’ or the Abode which purifies the whole world.
Anyone who sleeps in that place obtains the result of meditating in samadhi. Anyone who reclines in that place obtains the result of offering obeisances unto Me. This the Vedas declare.
Simply by wandering in Sri Jagannatha Puri Dham, one achieves the endless results of circumambulating Me, and simply by speaking anything in Puri Dham, one achieves the fruits of directly offering glorious prayers unto Me.
My great devotee Yamaraja, the superintendent of Death, does not have the right to even approach anyone residing in Sri Jagannatha Puri Dham. For everyone there, I personally decide what is pious and what is a sin.
Image Credits :
RJ Rituraj, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Softdynamite at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons