Besides the mystical stories, there’s another side to Lord Jagannath too; His loving pastimes and reciprocation with His sincere devotees are faith giving.
On July 7th 1902, an astonishing event revealing Jagannath’s love was reported. Ganesh Mishra in his book Santha Mala recounts that on this fateful day Dasia Bouri from the town of Dandamukunda pur was stopped from taking a coconut inside the temple premises. He was excited at the prospect of offering this fruit to the Lord. However the priests mocked at his idiosyncrasies, and precluded his entry. He felt sad and cried alone, outside the temple’s Lion gate. He picked up his coconut and loudly wailed,
“Oh merciful, friend of the fallen, Lord Jagannath, please accept this offering of mine.”
Lo and behold! In the presence of thousands, two giant hands appeared from nowhere, and picked up the coconut from Dasia Bouri’s hands, and the fruit landed on the altar of the temple.
In the mid eighteenth century Captain Beatle from France was sailing with his party to Pondichery. As they passed through the Bay of Bengal, near Jagannath Puri, the ship was caught in the midst of a severe storm. The sailors and the captain panicked; there seemed to be no respite. Just then, one of the passengers in the ship explained to Beatle that Lord Jagannath resided on the shores of this vast ocean. If they prayed to the Lord for protection, the ship had some chance of being salvaged. Left with no other recourse, the Captain offered his heart-felt prayers to Lord Jagannath. Almost instantly, the storm subsided, and the ship had smooth sailing. Feeling immense gratitude, Captain Beatle returned to Puri on his way back to France. He donated a large sized bell for the pleasure of the Lord, as an expression of his thanks. Visitors and pilgrims to the temple marvel at the unique sized bell.
To be continued…