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Jagannath Puri temple history (Part 2) – Neela Madhava disappears

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In the previous article, we described how in Satya Yuga, King Indradyumna, ruler of Malav, was apprised of the glories of Purusottama Kshetra (Jagannath Puri) by an exalted saint who had previously visited the holy dham on pilgrimage. King Indradyumna had then sent Vidyapati, brother of the royal priest, in search of Sri Neela Madhava. After traveling for days, Vidyapati arrived at the Nilgiri hills where he met with an exalted Vaishnava named Biswabasu. Biswabasu showed him around the place and with his help, Vidyapati finally attained the darsana of Lord Neela Madhava. Request you to browse through the earlier article for a detailed description of these mysterious events. This article is a humble attempt to present the subsequent developments.

Enchanting beauty of Neela Madhava

#1 On returning, Vidyapati reported the mesmerizing form and beauty of Neela Madhava to King Indradyumna. He recounted how dense forests surround the temple of Neela Madhava on all sides. The temple was ornamented with precious gems and jewels. The deity of Lord Vishnu (Neela Madhava) held conch, disc, club, and lotus. It shone with the brilliance of blue gems. The height of the deity was approximately equal to the length of eighty-one fingers and it stood on a pedestal of a golden lotus. Neela Madhava possessed attractive bodily features, with His long arms extending up to His knees. His blissful darsana bestows liberation from this material world. Lakshmi devi sat on the left of the Lord and together they blessed all who sought their blessings. Vidyapati revealed how all of these deities were embellished with valuable stones, gems, and jewelry. Lord Ananta Sesha, with His thousand hoods, stood behind the Lordships. Sudarshana Chakra and Garuda stood with folded hands waiting to serve the Lord.

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#2 While Vidyapati was explaining, Narada muni appeared at the royal court of King Indradyuma all of a sudden. The King welcomed Narada warmly offering him all praise and honor. The King washed Narada’s lotus feet and enquired about his well-being. Narada praised King Indradyuma and revealed how all demigods, including Brahma, spoke highly of him. Narada added that the King was very fortunate that he had become devoted to Lord Vishnu, the cause of all causes. It is only after seeking Lord Vishnu’s blessings, that Brahma receives the required knowledge to create this material world. Lord Vishnu’s lotus feet are the only shelter of the conditioned living entities, Narada muni added.

King Indradyumna’s pilgrimage to Purusottama Kshetra

#3 King Indradyuma requested Narada muni to accompany him to Purusottama Kshetra so that they can behold Lord Neela Madhava together. Narada happily agreed. Accordingly, an auspicious date (Panchami tithi of the month of Jaistha) was chosen when Narada muni, King Indradyumna, his entourage, and his subjects would undertake a pilgrimage to Purusottama Kshetra.

#4 When the auspicious day arrived, the King performed all the necessary rituals before beginning the holy mission. After traveling for some time, the royal party finally arrived on the shores of river Mahanadi and decided to halt for the night. After honoring prasadam, Narada muni blessed all with beautiful sermons glorifying Lord Vishnu.

jagannath gangamata math

#5 When everyone was preoccupied with Hari-Katha, a messenger announced that the King of Utkala (Orissa) had come and he desired to meet with King Indradyumna. The King of Utkala had brought some disturbing news. He informed all that due to a sudden giant storm the whole of Purusottama Kshetra had become overlaid with sand and thus nothing was visible anymore. The natural disaster had killed many and wounded innumerable inhabitants. King Indradyumna realized that in all probability his wish to behold Neela Madhava was going to remain unfulfilled. The whole atmosphere became sad and the King retired with a dejected heart.

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Lord Neela Madhava Disappears

#6 Narada muni comforted the King saying that his desire was certainly going to be satisfied. He assured that Lord Brahma had sent him (Narada) to help in this regard. Narada advised the king to rest for the night. He added that he was going to reveal everything when the royal party reached Purusottama Kshetra the next morning. King Indradyumna became pacified.

#7 The next day the royal party commenced their journey. Narada muni brought King Indradyumna to Ekamra Kanan (Bhubaneswar) where Lord Shiva was being worshiped. Narada muni revealed how Lord Shiva had once satisfied Lord Vishnu. Being pleased with him, Lord Vishnu instructed Shiva to reside eternally at Ekamra (Bhubaneswar) along with His wife. After bathing at Bindu-Sarovar where the waters of all holy tirthas reside, the King proceeded to worship Lord Shiva. Being pleased with the King, Lord Shiva blessed him declaring, ‘Your desires shall be answered soon’. Lord Shiva summoned Narada muni and instructed him in private to assist Lord Indradyumna and thereby satisfy the desires of Lord Brahma. Lord Shiva continued that King Indradyumna would perform 1000 Asvamedha yajnas soon and the Supreme Lord, Sri Vishnu, shall subsequently manifest Himself in His Daru-brahma form.

jagannath puri temple

#8 As the pilgrims proceeded towards Purusottama Kshetra, they discovered a deity of Lord Nrsimha buried below an Aguru tree. “Anyone who shall take darshan of this enchanting deity of Ugra Nrsimha shall be liberated even from the sins of killing millions of brahmanas. They shall be delivered from all fears and misfortunes’ ‘, Narada muni explained. King Indradyumna and all the pilgrims offered their obeisances unto the fearful form of Lord Nrsimhadeva.  

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#9 Finally, Narada Muni brought King Indradyumna to the place where Lord Neela Madhava was previously being worshiped. Lord Neela Madhava, however, was now completely submerged in sand and thus hidden from public view. Narada Muni revealed how the Supreme Lord, Sri Vishnu, shall manifest Himself as Daru-Brahma shortly. Knowing the place to be the eternal pastime place of Lord Jagannath, King Indradyumna paid his obeisances. Tears of spiritual ecstasy glided down his cheeks.

#10 All of a sudden, a divine voice echoed the skies. The voice reassured King Indradyumna that he would soon be able to behold the Supreme Lord. The divine voice directed King Indradyuma to follow Narada and in this way, he would be able to accomplish the desire of Lord Brahma. Hearing this King Indradyumna paid his reverences, and started preparing himself to serve the Lord’s instructions.

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