Chapter 18 – Vaisnava-ksetra—Bhubaneswar Dhama

Excerpt from Informal Talks by
His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to the Lingaraja Mandir in Bhubaneswar and therefore we follow in the footsteps of Mahaprabhu. The Vaisnavas, the gaura-priya-janas, the dear devotees of Gauranga Mahaprabhu, also visit the Siva temples; they pay respects to Lord Siva and pray for the mercy of Lord Siva so that they may develop Krsna-bhakti.

We should not treat the demigods with disrespect; they may not be the Supreme Lord, but still they are the servants of Krsna. Mahaprabhu has taught us this, and especially about Lord Siva, vaisnavam yatha sambuh: “Siva is a great Vaisnava.” Therefore Mahaprabhu visited respect to Sivaji who is known as ksetra-pala—“The guardian of the ksetra.”

In Vraja Mandala you will find that there are nine Ksetrapala Mahadeva murtis. In Vrndavana you will find Gopisvara Mahadeva, in Kamyavana you will find Kamesvara Mahadeva, in Govardhana you will find Cakresvara Mahadeva, in Nandagrama you will find Nandisvara Mahadeva and in Mathura you will find Bhutesvara, Gokarnesvara, Suklesvara, Bhadresvara and Rangesvara. Besides these, in Mathura there are many, many Siva temples.

In the Adi-varaha Purana it is mentioned that Lord Visnu gave this order to Sivaji: “In Mathura you shall become the ksetra-pala, to guard My ksetra. If someone pays respect to you and has your darsana, he actually gets the result of visiting My ksetra.” Those who circumambulate Vrndavana and do Vrndavana parikrama—at the beginning and at the end—they visit Bhutesvara Linga in Mathura, because vaisnavam yatha sambhuh: “Siva is a great Vaisnava.”

Caitanya-Bhagavata

This Bhubaneswar Ksetra is also Siva’s dhama. It is mentioned in the Caitanya-bhagavata: Sri Vrndavana dasa Thakura referred to Bhubaneswar. When Sriman Mahaprabhu came here, on His way to Jagannatha Puri Dhama, He passed through Bhubaneswar. He visited the Lingaraja temple, because the Bhubaneswar Lingaraja is a very dear servant of Anantadeva, and it was for that reason that Mahaprabhu came here.

In the Caitanya-bhagavata it is mentioned that Sriman Mahaprabhu came to Bhubaneswar and chanted and danced before Lord Siva here in the Bhubaneswar temple. So following in the footsteps of Sriman Mahaprabhu, all Vaisnavas come to visit Siva in Bhubaneswar, and chant and dance here.

Bhubaneswar Ksetra is also mentioned in the Skanda Purana, and Sri Vrndavana Dasa Thakura has recorded that in Sri-Caitanya-bhagavata.

Ekamra Kanana

So then Lord Vasudeva said, “My ksetra is Purusottama Ksetra, and in the north of that ksetra is Ekamra Kanana.

That is very auspicious place, which can give bhukti* and mukti.** it is a very nice and beautiful place. You shall stay there and it will become famous as Bhubaneswar. I give you that Ekamra Kanana to go and reside there and become guard of that ksetra—the ksetra-pala.”

Hence Bhubaneswar is also known as ‘Hemacala’ and ‘Svarnadi Ksetra’. In this ksetra there are crores and crores of Sivajis, koti-linga. And there is also the asta-tirtha, the eight famous tirthas. Bhubaneswar is superior to Varanasi, and it also more dearly to Lord Sivaji.

In the Svarnadi-mahadeva-grantha,*** we find that Vyasadeva once came here. This is Vaisnava-ksetra, Ekamra Kanana, and Vyasadeva has described its glories.

There it is mentioned that once Devi Bhagavati, that means Goddess Parvati, heard the glories of Ekamra Kanana from the lips of Lord Siva, Sambhu. So Bhagavati Devi came here to see this ksetra. She saw the maha-linga, the form in which Siva is worshipped. That linga has a complexion half white, half black, sitasita-varna. So Devi also offered puja to that maha-linga. One day Devi saw hundreds of cows coming out from a lake, and they poured milk from their udders onto the maha-linga; then they circumambulated the maha-linga and went away.

On another day, when she saw the same thing, she assumed the form of a gopalini, a cowherd girl, and followed the cows. At that time there were two demon brothers named Krti and Vasa who were greatly enchanted by the beauty of Parvati Devi, so they approached her and expressed their desire to have her as their wife. Then Bhagavati Devi disappeared from that place and went to Lord Siva and told everything before her Lord. Lord Siva then assumed the form of a gopa, and went to the place of the maha-linga. Lord Siva could understand the history of these two demons.

Lord Siva revealed that those two demons Krti and Vasa were the sons of Drumila raksasa. Drumila had worshipped many demigods, and they became greatly pleased and gave him the boon that any weapon could not kill his sons. Then Sivaji said, “Now they will be killed by you, O Devi. You kill them. They can’t be killed by any weapons, so I cannot kill them.”

So, as she was instructed by Sivaji, Devi came before those two demons in the form of a cowherd girl and said, “All right, I shall fulfill your desires, but I have one condition: I shall be the wife of whichever one of you can carry me on his head or shoulder.”

Bhagavati Devi manifested her potency and placed one foot on the shoulder of one demon, and the other on the shoulder of the other demon, and crushed them. They were killed when Bhagavati assumed the form of Visvambhari, visvambhari-rupa. Visa means universe. She expanded as Visvambhari and crushed them. So from that day, the Vaisnava-pravara Sambhu and Devi Bhagavati stay here in the ksetra of Ekamra Kanana.

*Bhukti-material enjoyment
** Mukti-liberation from material attachment
*** Svarnadi-mahadeva-grantha: Refers to a book written by Srila Vyasadeva glorifying Bhubaneswar.

Bindu Sarovara

After killing the two demons, Krti and Vasa, Bhagavati Devi became very tired and thirsty. She wanted water, so Siva with his trident, Trisula, pierced a hilltop and a great well was created that is known as “Sankara Bamph.” But Devi said, “I want water from a great sarovara a pond, which will be there eternally.”

So Sivaji ordered his bull carrier, Nandi, to install the sarovara. All the tirthas came to that place, and all the holy rivers, such as Kaveri, Gomati, Krsna, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Gandaki, and Rsikulya Mahanadi—all the holy rivers came there. And again from heavenly planets and from Patala came the Mandakini and Ksirodaka; they all came. When Lord Siva saw that all the holy rivers had come, he asked all those holy rivers and tirthas to please pour water there, drop by drop. Bindu means drop. This they did, and Lord Brahma installed that sarovara. And it is known as Bindu Sarovara.

Mahaprabhu bathed in Bindu Sarovara, and Bhagavan Janardana and all the demigods, headed by Brahma, bathed there as well. This is the way in which Bindu Sarovara was installed.

Ananta Vasudeva

Then Sambhu(Lord Siva) paid his obeisances to Lord Janardana and the Lord placed Anantadeva on the eastern side of Bindu Sarovara. Siva became the ksetra-pala—the guardian of the dhama, and Anantadeva became the controller of the ksetra. Here Anantadeva stays with His sister. Subhadra Devi. He is known as Lord Vasudeva, who fulfilled Lord Siva’s desires, and to do so He stayed on the eastern side of Bindu Sarovara and is still there. In the front wall of His temple you will find Laksmi Devi, and also the Sudarsana Cakra.

Ananta Vasudeva and Madana Mohana are the Lords of the Lingaraja Siva. (The Madana Mohana here in Bhubaneswar is a fourhanded form). And at the time of Candana-yatra, Sivaji, Ananta Vasudeva and Madana Mohana ride a swing and go to the Candana-yatra. They have Candana-yatra at Bindu Sarovara at the same time as Candana-yatra begins at the Puri temple.

In Puri there are three famous Sivas and they also accompany Madana Mohana to Chandana Yatra.

In the Ananta Vasudeva Mandir, Vaisnavi Bhagavati herself cooks bhoga for Ananta Vasudeva. First Ananta Vasudeva is worshipped with bhoga-arati and then prasada will go to the Siva temple, and Siva, who is always in need of Ananta Vasudeva’s prasada, becomes very pleased. This is the Vaisnava process. The Vaisnavas first worship Lord Visnu, and then they offer that prasada to Siva. In this way a Vaisnava worships Siva.

But one who is not a Vaisnava will directly worship Siva, so, a Vaisnava can never accept such prasada. The Vaisnava will first worship Lord Vasudeva—Visnu—and offer bhoga, then that prasada will be offered to Lord Siva. This is the system that is used in the Jagannatha temple; you will find the Goddess Durga there, and also Siva and Laksmiji.

So Jagannatha prasada is offered to Siva, and there is no Siva prasada. That is the Vaisnava process, and we accept it.

If someone bathes in Bindu Sarovara, it will be as though he has bathed in all tirthas, because all the tirthas are there. If someone goes to the Ananta Vasudeva temple, and gets darsana of Ananta Vasudeva, it is the same as his seeing the Supreme Lord.

So Lord Siva, by the order and mercy of Janardana, has become ksetra-pala. And at the same time Siva is bhakti-pradata; he is a great Vaisnava so he can give you bhakti if he is pleased. Also he can give you the adhikara, the right or qualification, to serve the dhama of the Lord. Lord Siva can give you dhama-seva-adhikara and bhakti. For these reasons the Vaisnavas go to the temple of Sivaji, and also because Mahaprabhu went there, we follow in His footsteps. The Vaisnavas gaura-priya-janas, the dear devotees of Gauranga Mahaprabhu, also visit the Siva temples; they pay their respects to Siva and pray for the mercy of Lord Siva so they may obtain Krsna-bhakti.

There is so much information in the Caitanya-bhagavata. There is a whole chapter about Bhubaneswar, and much more; this is just a summary.

Srimad-Bhagavatam
First Spoken in Bhubaneswar

The Srimad-Bhagavatam was first spoken at Bhubaneswar, in the Ekamra Kanana. Sivaji says:

aham vedmi suko vetti
vyaso vetti na vetti va
bhaktya Bhagavatam grahyam
na buddhya na ca tikaya

“I know the Srimad-Bhagavatam; I know Sukadeva knows the meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam, but I don’t know if Vyasadeva knows it or not. The Srimad-Bhagavatam can only be understood by bhakti.”1

Lord Siva spoke the Srimad-Bhagavatam to Goddess Parvati, here in the Ekamra Kanana. At that time, a parrot was listening. Suka means parrot. At first Parvati Devi was listening and saying, “Hmm, Hmm, hmm (meaning yes).” But then she fell asleep, and the suka—the parrot was listening—then said, “Hmm, hmm, hmm.” At first Sivaji could not understand it, but at last he noticed that Parvati had fallen asleep. So he wondered who was saying, “Hmm, hmm, hmm.” Then he was the parrot who was imitating Parvati and he ran after it but the parrot flew away. That parrot then entered into the womb of Vyasadeva’s wife, and he became Sukadeva Gosvami. That is how Sukadeva knows the Bhagavatam. This is such a famous place, this Bhubaneswar Dhama—Bhubaneswar Ksetra. It is a Vaisnava-ksetra.

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