Chapter 17 – The Glories of Sri Bhubaneswar Dhama

Lord Caitanya came to Bhubaneswar. This city is actually the hidden Kasi, the residence of Lord Siva. Lord Siva had collected water from all the holy places and brought it to Bhubaneswar, and formed the lake known as Bindu Sarovara. Lord Caitanya knew the significance of the lake and that it was Lord Siva’s favorite. He took His bath in this lake and further increased its auspiciousness.The linga form of Lord Siva that was worshipped there was self-manifest. He went to see the linga and mingled with the crowd of Siva devotees who were loudly chanting the glories of Lord Siva. The linga was surrounded by small-lit ghee lamps, set in rows, offered by the visiting devotees. Lord Caitanya was pleased to see the opulence of His beloved devotee Lord Siva. The Lord’s associates were also very happy in that devotional atmosphere. Lord Siva is always immersed in the meditation of the Supreme Lord which makes him relish the nectar of devotion and inspires him so that he cannot keep from dancing.

That same Supreme Lord Gauracandra, his master, was dancing ecstatically in front of him. The Lord and His devotees spent the night there. I will now describe from the Skanda Purana how Lord Siva found this place… Lord Siva and his consort Paravati were living contently in Kasi for a very long time. Then they went to Kailasa and left Kasi to be ruled by kings. Soon a king named Kasiraja ascended the throne. He was an ardent worshipper of Lord Siva. Suddenly, by the will of destiny, he lost everything in a war. He was determined to destroy his conqueror in battle, Sri Krsna. With vengeance in his heart he sat down to perform the most terrible austerities, meditating on Lord Siva. Lord Siva, attracted to appear before him by the potency of the austerity, offered him to choose any boon. Kasiraja eagerly asked, “I pray only for this boon from you, my Lord, that I may avenge my defeat and destroy Krsna in battle.” Lord Siva is a magnanimous personality. No one can say how he will grace someone with his favor. He said to Kasiraja, “King, prepare for battle. My army of followers will be right behind you in the battle. Let me see who is strong enough to defeat you as long as I am behind you with my weapon Pasupata.”

Reassured by Siva’s words, the foolish king Kasiraja went to battle against Krsna, smiling confidently. Lord Siva, accompanied by his associates and his followers, followed the army of Kasiraja. His intention was to fight for the king. Krsna, the supersoul situated with everyone’s heart, knew immediately what was happening. He swiftly sent His disc weapon, Sudarsana, to destroy the enemy. The Lord’s Sudarsana disc is invincible, so unchallenged it went straight to Kasiraja and severed his head from his body. The Sudarsana started destroying the city of Kasi, the capital of Kasiraja. This enraged Lord Siva. Seeing that his abode was being plundered, he released his terrible Pasupata weapon. But what can any other weapon, however powerful, do against Sudarsana?

The pasupata weapon quickly retreated in fear. Sudarsana went after Lord Siva himself. Lord Siva fled from the awesome weapon. The power and heat from the Sudarsana covered the whole world and Siva had no place to hid. Lord Siva found himself in the same predicament as the sage Durvasa when he was the quarry of the fearsome weapon. Lord Siva finally understood that he was being preyed upon by the Sudarsana disc and that only Lord Krsna could help him out of his dilemma. Then making a decision, he remembered Lord Krsna, taking shelter at His Lotus Feet. He began to offer prayers to the Lord:

“All glories to the Supreme Godhead, Krsna, the son of Mother Devaki. You are omnipresent and the shelter of all living entities. You give men both good intelligence and ill motivations. You are the creator, maintainer and protector. You never see the faults of others and You are an ocean of compassion. You are the only well-wishing friend of those who are suffering. You are the forgiver of all offences, so kindly forgive my offences, since I have asked shelter of You.”

Lord Krsna, being appeased by Lord Siva’s prayers, recalled His Sudarsana and appeared before him. Lord Siva saw Him faintly smiling although His eyes were still stern. He was surrounded by His cowherd boyfriends and Vrndavana damsels. Krsna said, “ O Siva, you are well aware of My position and power, so what suddenly prompted you to act in this fashion? That degraded king Kasiraja is no better than a little insect and siding with him you are fighting with Me. Now you have seen the fearsome form of My Sudarsana disc, which not even you could counter. All the most powerful weapons like Brahmastra and Pasupatastra put together are no match for Sudarsana. The unique feature of the Sudarsana disc is to chase after and destroy the one who sends counter weapons. Now I am feeling that there is no one in the entire creation who dislikes Me more than you.”

Hearing these somewhat angry words of chastisement Lord Siva felt trepidation. He threw himself down on the ground and caught hold of Lord Krsna’s Lotus Feet. Surrendering himself to the Lord, Siva said, “O Lord, the entire creation is subservient to Your will. Who can claim to act independently? Just as dry straws are strewn by the wind, so does the entire material nature behind Your commands. Everyone executes Your wishes. There is no one who can disobey Your instruction.

Somehow You have given me this feeling of false pride, and blinded by this I was unable to see anything else but myself as great and powerful. I am helpless, my Lord. Since it is You only who made me think in this manner. Your Lotus feet were always my life and soul and I stayed in the forest and meditated solely on Your Lotus feet. Yet you churned this mood of arrogance within me. What can I do? I acted, as you desired.

In spite of everything I committed serious offences at Your Lotus feet; now kindly forgive and bless me with Your mercy. And I pray for this boon, that I may never again develop such evil intelligence. I have been rightly punished for my arrogance. Now kindly tell me where I can stay, for who else but You can I turn to with such problems?”

Lord Krsna smiled slightly and spoke kindly, “Listen, My dear Siva, I am giving you a very beautiful place. Live here with all your associates and followers. This place is known as Ekamra Kanana. In these idyllic surroundings you will appear and be worshipped as Kotidigisvara. This place is in everyway captivating as Kasi. Besides, this place is also spiritually extremely elevated, but it is not known to all. Today I will reveal to you the esoteric significance of this place which is dear to Me. On the shores of the ocean, covering a very large area, is the place known as Nilacala. It is also known as Purusottama Ksetra or the abode of the Supreme Person. It has a most pleasing and peaceful atmosphere. Even at the time of cosmic annihilation it remains intact, unscathed. I reside eternally here and daily receive opulent offerings of foodstuffs. It is an area spread over eighty square miles.

All living entities living within this area through the influence of this place possess fourhanded forms, though visible to only the demi-gods and the equal. The demigods glorify this place as the most auspicious of all places of pilgrimage. The act of sleeping here is equivalent to deep meditation or samadhi. Similarly, lying postures accrue the pious result of offering obeisances to the Deity. Simply walking here is the same as circumambulation, and all speeches are glorification. These are all enumerated in the Vedas. Such is the potency this ksetra. This place is very dear to Me, hence it is known by My name. All the residents here are My equals. It is outside the jurisdiction of Yamaraja, the guardian of death. Here I am the judge who decides on the evil and the pious deeds and their results.

The place I have designated as your residence lies north of My abode, Puri. Your place is, as I have described before, very beautiful and charming. Here one can very easily attain liberation and bliss. This place will be famous Bhubaneswar.”

The glories of Jagannatha Puri greatly impressed Lord Siva. He again embraced the Lord’s Lotus feet and began to speak, “O Lord of my life, I have one prayer. I am always falsely proud, that if I remain far away from association with You, it is almost detrimental for me. I am yearning in my heart to stay close You because I can never benefit from bad association. If You consider me Your servant, then kindly allow me a place in Your own abode. After hearing the wonderful glories of Your dhama from Your Lotus lips, I feel an uncontrollable urge to simply live there. Living very humbly, I want to render menial service to You. All I pray for is just a little space in Your dhama.” His voice choked with emotion and tears flowed down his cheek.

The Lord was very pleased with Siva’s words and He embraced him firmly, saying, “Hear Me, O Siva. You are as precious to Me as My own self. One who is dear to you is ever more dear to Me. I reside always within you, there is no doubt about this. I allow you to stay in all My abodes. In fact, you are the protector and maintainer of all the dhamas. And this place known as Ekamra Kanana I am giving to you. Stay here and make it your home. This place is also My favorite. I will be pleased if you stay here always. One who claims to be My devotee but disregards you is only trying to pretend devotion to Me.”

This is how Lord Siva came to reside in this famous place, Bhubaneswar. It still exists. In order to teach everyone that Lord Siva is very dear to Lord Krsna, Lord Caitanya danced in front of Lord Siva.

He was now practically demonstrating all the instructions of Lord Krsna as they are found in the Puranas and other Vedic scriptures. Clapping His hands and dancing, He sang, “Siva Rama Govinda” and then offered worship to Lord Siva with all His devotees. The Supreme Lord is the Supreme instructing spiritual master. One who does not follow His instructions makes a grievous mistake and suffers because of it.

The Lord took His disciples and went around Bhubaneswar, visiting the different temples of Lord Siva. The Lord was particularly happy to see a Siva linga that was in an out of the way place….

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