Lord Jagganath’s bidiapana

LORD  Jaggannath  the  “ Supreme Lord of the Universe ” showers his  abundant mercy at  the most sacred pilgrimage spots in India (  one of the four dhams  that lie on the four directions of the compass in the state of Orissa )  ..


The temple is dedicated to Lord  Jagannath, who is Lord Krishna himself along with  Balabhadra and Subhadra, the brother and sister   of  Lord Jagannath.


A divine incident occurred  few hundred years back at this holy temple ,during the rule of the King Pratapa Rudra . Near to the temple there lived an ardent devotee Prabhu dasa  . He stayed near to the temple  of Lord Jagganathar . He was  an innocent devotee  and  a regular visitor to the temple right from his childhood.  He used to watch the sevaks serving the Lordships in different capacities all through the day .  He loved the last ceremony  ” Pahuda “at the temple . The last ceremony  of the day was special . It is said this seva is attended by all the demigod and goddess when the majestic Supreme Lord retires for the day .

The ecstatic kirtans  and recitation of  hymns gives a feel of being at Sri vaikuntam.  It is said three beautiful beds made of ivory  , decorated with the sweetest smelling flowers  especially jasmine makes the entire surroundings flooded with  divine fragrance .  Flowers are scattered all over the beds to the sounds of devotional music and kirtans  when the miniature golden forms of Lordships  Jagganathji , Subhadraji, and Balabhadraji  retire .


A mangala harathi is offered and all the flowers are scattered all around overheads that are invisibly collected by the demigods as a mahaprasad. This sweet episode was regularly shared by devotees .Prabhudasa was eager to attend this seva but could not make it .Days passed ! One fine day he had the opportunity to join a group of satsangh  devotees in having darshan of Lord Jagganathar . Very anxious to have darshan of Lord in close distance his mind raced to be just just there . With intense devotion and muttering some feeble words  of prayer and gratitude  and  tears  he moved closer  .


Seeing the sea of  devotees chanting the Holy name he was overjoyed . He joined the satsangh   chanting the Holy names  .He used to feel one with LORD and wished to remain in that condition .  Suddently , he was stopped and  the curtains was pulled . The time of bhoga approached . The bhoga was  carried by the sevaks with utmost devotion  . Suddenly ,  it occured to his ignorant mind  that  the spicy betel leaf prepared with flavour will be most needed by the Lordships to partake after their food . But he came to know that  such arrangement of offering prepared  scented betel leaf as bhog to Lords after food to enable them to mentally relax and enjoy was not in the routine rituals of service..


check the appended post


Prabhudasa intensely felt such needs of the Lords should have been a part of his daily bhog. He mentally volunteered to offer such prepared betel leaf added with spice and flavour in his own hands after food Lords had taken . 

 He  overheard a Sadhu saying ,the concept of bhakti   involves the idea of being not only a servant of the Lord, but also a servant of His servants. ‘Bhaj’ stands for seva ( service)  therefore what a devotee is expected to perform. Service to servant of  the Lord is supreme as the LORD resides with his ardent sevaks always  .These words eschewed Prabhudasa mind always .He decided to do something which pleases the sevaks and thus LORDSHIPS .

 Looking at the sevaks he used to offer pranaams . The next  day he went inside the temple and asked  a sevak about the service he was rendering while  bhog is  offered .


 The sevak replied ,My child !

Every day  Lord of Lords is offered  around 56 types of  raja bhog  prepared in the kitchens of the  big Temple and made available to the devotees in Ananda Bazaar sold by the  sevaks (Suaras). Few   sevaks  are engaged to supply the requisite materials for cooking  and a few carry them to Lords altar . All the sevaks are always busy in the service of Lordships.

Prabhudasa   realized that to please the Lordships , selfless rendering  of services to all the sevaks and  devotees was absolutely  needed as told by the Sadhu  . He was looking out for some seva which would please LORD .


A flash invoked  his inner being . He recollected   scented   betel leaves  offerings to the Lordships  play an important role  and knew  that the servants of the temple engaged in the service of the Lord were  consuming betel leaves with spices after their daily routine of work.


This it looked gave some bodily relief during their regular turn of services  . The mental relaxation along with a small nap after chewing the betel leaves made them more energetic . He saw them wanting for the energetic spices for their work  . He immediately decided  that offering the  betel leaves service to the servants of the LORD was the best way to please the LORD as they were serving the LORD in close quarters .


He devised a plan .Early morning he went into the nearby jungles  to pluck the betel leaves  washed it and made them into bundles .He  moved into the local market to  buy the best spices and fragrance for the scented betel leaves to be given to the servants of Lord

His first job was to make a delicious betel leaves stuffed with the best spices filled with fragrance to Lord Jagganthjee . He used to offer the same at the temple premises looking at the temple altar seeking his permission to serve the  fortunate sevaks . The offered betel leaves were  kept aside as mahaprasad .


With the basket well decorated , he used to wait near the pavement  of Mahadwaar for the  supply the scented betel leaves for the pleasure of sevaks  .  The objective of such service was not to earn money but to be a part of the  divine service rendered by the sevaks . He knew the exact timing when the sevaks would arrive  and in need of the betel leaves ,other times he used to rush inside the temple to have the darshan of Lord of Lords.


After offerings are done , he used to sell the same to the customers and pilgrims’ seeking them ..

Days passed .

From early dawn to the belated hour of every night various services and rituals of Lordships used to go on every day as a routine.


“Badasimhara vesa”  is the last routine service at the night . The immortal verses of “Gita govindam”  is chanted inside the temple followed by a ecstatic kirtan till midnight .At that hour of night no common devotee and visitors  are seen inside the temple .Even the outside premises of temple is deserted .Only saints  and austere devotees are seen inside .

sri Jagganathan

Prabhudasa even at the dead hour of lonely night used to await for the sevaks . One full moon night , “Badasimhara Vesa”  was being conducted .The kirtan was melodious .Everything had almost come to end . The lion gate and the gates inside the temple were closed under lock and key with seals . Prabhudasa  had an habit to pack his belongings only after seing the Lion gates are closed .

In that pitch hour from the darkness , two youthful persons were seen to have come from the side of the Lion gate of the huge temple and proceeding towards him .They had a divine aura .


The moon was feeling shy to boast her moonlight . The effulgence radiating out from their lovely appearance was feast to the soul .


One young man was dressed in yellow coloured dhothi ( peethambaram) and the other was dressed in blue coloured dhothi .Their eyes were very special .Looking at their beautiful eyes Prabhudasa felt he  was being drawn into the world of eternity ..In their chest the sacred thread was hanging down adding beauty to their appearance .The bewitching smile pulled him more closer .Prabhudasa was overwhelmed with joy as they approached nearer him. His body was shivering and was in a different mood of ecstasy.

Looking at them with joy multiplied stammering he said …

Please ..please …have this scented betel leaves …

The young men smiled and said … Yes!! Baba …

We just came to have that one from you …


He hurriedly took the betel leaves , cleaned them thoroughly and began to prepare the flavoured dish  by adding the best spices and flavours  slowly watching their smile that pulled his heart out of him …Out of deep love and devotion , he twisted the betel leaf into a decent fold and with all reverence offered it in their hands .


The young men took the betel leafs and partaking the same moved inside the temple at the dead of the night smiling all the way.

Prabhudasa was in a trance .He couldn’t believe what happened .

Who were they ? And why did they come ?


By the time he was recollecting the entire night he dozed to sleep. He woke up the next day but was in a different mood .He wanted those young men to come again. He waited at the same place, pleading the sun to set quickly.  It was dead of the night, the two young men once again arrived with bewitching smile. They once again took the betel leaves from Prabhudasa and just smiled.


They never asked Prabhudasa in his turn or ever insisted them to pray the price of the same since he was in a different world all together during their stay .This happened for few days and every day he had a different experience .It used to be all of a sudden When he regained consciousness, he was feeling so sad and wished they were there permanently with him.


The Shopkeepers who gave him spices on loan started pestering him for the money .He was feeling low as how to ask the young men for the money as it was more than a month they were coming and taking the scented betel leaves. As the arrears from them would get rid of  a shopkeepers debt he braved himself to ask them this night .

It was a cool night. The young men arrived with charm smiling at Prabhudasa .  Prabhudasa offered the scented betel leaves and  had tears and with all humility said , My child ! You have been enjoying the scented betel leaves past few days .. and I am short of paying arrears to the shop keeper who gives me the spices .

May I please ask your good selves to pay me the money for repaying it to the shop keeper ?   And…


 you know non payment will amount to indebtness to him and being a sin .. If I do not pay …. that gets carried to the next birth somehow .

The young men replied for the first time smiling…

Oh! baba ..we are very sorry for this .

We do not have any money now … but let us pay you something  …  saying this they removed their aprons and said please accept this aprons as pledge/ security .


We will for sure handover the payments tomorrow positively .

Prabhudasa  felt sad ! He said My child !! Kindly  take back your aprons and just pay me the arrears tomorrow .I can’t see you’ll without aprons .

 The young men smiled and said


Baba ! we too do not want to accumulate that sin to the next births for repayment . The request from Prabhudasa to keep the aprons were not considered .

Inside the temple , Saint  Balarama dasa and Ativadi Jagannatha dasa where returning from kirtan of Sri  Chaitanya maha prabhu .They happened to sight the two young person’s  amidst the conversation.


Overwhelmed to see the divine aura coming from the far end , they reached  the spot and looked at Prabhudasa and said

Baba !! you are fortunate to have those aprons and advised him to accept the same  .They said to keep the aprons offered as  pledge by them which they assured to redeem the next day after paying the arrears according to their assurance .


Prabhudasa with much hesitation kept the two aprons .

Next day , when the main doors of the temple was opened the priests noticed that Lord Jagganatha’s and Balaramas aprons were missing . The same was brought to the notice of the devotee king Pratapa Rudra .

Search for the aprons was  undertaken  . One sevak said he saw the aprons at Prabhudasa’s residence . Prabhudasa was immediately summoned .

He was rebuked and harassed to confess the guilt.

jai jagganatha

Prabhudasa  was dragged into the Kings court . It was unexpected .

Prabhudasa  with folded hands submitted to the King  how the aprons reached him. The King asked Prabhudasa to identify the two young men so that they will be punished .

 Prabhudasa immediately recollected ,


Your honour !! The revered saints Balarama dasa and Ativadi Jagganatha dasa  could recognise  the young men as they advised me to have their aprons .

King Prataparudra along with his ministers  walked inside the temple and offered obeisance’s  to Sri Chaitanya mahaprabhu disciples Sri Jagganatha dasa and Balarama dasa  and seeked their permission .


The saints told the King that the two young men  who appeared were Lord Jaggantha and Balaram themselves and now they  seated in the golden throne and revealed that divine incident that took place last night .

Since there is no system of service of offering prepared and scented betel leaves to the Lordships after the last bhoga , before the close of the temple the Lordships  went to Prabhudasa to partake the scented betel leaves as service .


 My dear King !

Prabhudasa is a great devotee and worthy for royal respect …

King Pratapa Rudra felt sad for embarrassing the great devotee . He immediately fell at the feet of Prabhudasa and appointed him as a sevak who offers  scented betel leaves to the Lordships .The  offering of bidiapana to the great Lordships started and continued since this incident ..


There was another interesting incident that took place later .  Few hundred years ago  after this incident , a very wealthy man  in South India came to Puri dhaam . He was very proud because of his wealth. He had come along with his family, though personally he had no faith in Lord  Jagnnatha.  He decided to challenge the deitys origin and the worship .Looking at the  food is offered to the deities three times daily he  publicly declared arrogantly ,  he would make a donation of 100,000 rupees to Jagannathar  if the temple cooks could spend all of it to prepare one offering  as bhog . In those times fruits and vegetables were very cheap. Even one hundred rupees were enough to buy the ingredients for one bhoga, or food offering.

One thousand rupees was too much those days .

Krishna is Shyamasundara

No one in the temple could  imagine what to purchase for  this huge amount .  This became a great problem for the priests . They were undoubtedly sad to see such a challenging attitude on the part of a arrogant man .

The priests assembeled and discussed , “Should he be told that such a huge amount  was  absolutely too much? Or  Should we tell him to give a smaller donation? Will this be too embarrassing to ask of him? We know Jagnnatha is  great- His temple is majestic, His rituals are mystic and divine-


how we can tell this man to give less…It was a difficult task

 How can we tell him to make a smaller offering so that we ordinary mortals can handle it?”

 They checked what could be the costliest  ingredient ?


Butter was the most costly of all ingredients, so what type of prasada could be prepared from only ghee? The most delicious and costliest prasada could easily be prepared with butter and coconut palm sweets within 10,000 rupees maximum .

 But this millionaire wanted to offer prasada costing 100,000 rupees!

Since the origin of Jagnnatha Temple itself, lakhs of people had been served maha prasada in the Ananda Bazar of the temple. Many types of delicacies were in abundance there. In fact, Jagnnatha Temple is the only temple in the world to have always treated maha prasad as more valuable than even darshan  or the sight of the deities. All can eat it, regardless of caste, color, or creed. Yet never before had such a problem arisen. The temple cooks were  in a dilemma ..


There was no prasada that could be prepared that would cost 100,000 rupees! Finally they decided, “Let this problem be communicated to the Lord Himself, and let His will prevail.

A group prayer was conducted  before Him.

Nobody can prevail over His wish.” The  head priest, made a heart-felt prayer, “Oh Lord, please choose which food you desire.”


 In  a  sweet way, the Lord  answered the head priests  prayer,  in a dream, “Let this wealthy person offer me one piece of scented betel leaves . But !!!  the betel nut within the pan leaf must be smeared not with lime, but with the powder of a finely ground pearl  from a elephants  forehead.”

The  wish was immediately communicated to the wealthy man. The desire was unexpected His  face paled. He thought, “A mere betel nut! Nothing more than that!”

jai jai

It is said that an elephant is worth one 100,000 rupees, dead or alive. How many bull elephants would have to be killed to find one pearl? Not every bull elephant has a pearl inside its forehead. It is a  very very rare phenomenon and it is said , one in a million has a pearl in its forehead. The wealthy man’s  head began to reel. He was defeated. He was incapable of offering even a single betel nut to Lord Jagnnatha. Unknotting his turban and removing his sandals, he went running to the Lord with a purse full of 100,000 rupees in his hands. A huge crowd followed.


Everyone stared at this strange sight. The Lord had defeated the millionaire at his own game of dollars and cents. At last his human pride was crushed. He started sobbing, reaching out to Lod  Jaggannatha, with unrestrained childlike cries.

In total devotion and defeat he prayed,

“Oh Lord, I have made a stupid human blunder, for am totally incapable of offering you even a single betel nut.

What else can be offered to you?

Oh Lord, pardon me. I am a fallen man, insignificant before you,

Everything is yours and you are everything. Take whatever I have.

Please accept only the sweet-smelling red betel nut of my heart.”

“Trnadapi sunicena taroriva sahisnuna,

amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada Harih”,

which means, one who assumes a position lower than even a tuft of grass, is as tolerant as a tree, and is a respect  of persons without caring for one’s own prestige, he alone is fit to worship Hari the Lord of Lords.

This shows how a Vaisnava is to remain unconcerned about his own worldly status while being concerned about the welfare of those around him.

Jaya Jagannatha!

Our Travel diary is available in the appended link post


Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics credits : Google images

Video credits : HG Swarupa damodar das

” Poigai Azhwar “…..wishing to witness the charming divine effulgence of the Supreme Lord Of Lords again and again, instantly lit a spiritual lamp imagining … .. Mother earth as the physical lamp structure, the sea of ether as the ghee for the flame, and the lit flame being verily the Sun himself !. ….. vaiyam thagaliyA, vArkadlE neyyAga veyyakkadirOn viLakkAga sudarAzhiyAn adikkE soottinEn son mAlai Idar neenghugavE enRu……

  “Azhwar” are  saintly souls who had  immersed  themselves in the exclusive devotion  to  Lord  Sriman Narayana  in  unconditional surrender.  The advanced  saints,  were the supreme devotees of Lord  propagating  Sri Vaishnavism among the masses through their poetical compositions glorified as  Divya Prabhandams   highlighting the beautiful effulgent form, auspicious attributes and divine deeds of the Supreme Lord in His various incarnations based on their personal mystic experiences.  They lived as  human beings and burst out bhakti laden great works for the  sake of humanity.  The direct result of the Lord’s divine grace  on Azhwars  made their outpourings  special and therefore  called ‘ Divyam’. It is  because of this that the works of Azhwars  are  called ‘ Divya Prabandham’  and are 4000  poems (pAsurams). 


The Divya Prabhandams of the Azhwars are, therefore, held in as great veneration and reverence as the Vedas in Sanskrit. All the Azhwars held the view that Lord  Sriman Narayana is the Supreme Personality of Godhead  and  one’s  only  goal of life  was to attain Him. And, the path that each one of these Azhwars advocated was  chanting the Divine Name of the Lord!  which  is  the easiest path to  attain the lotus feet of  Lord. 


     Of the twelve Azhwars , the first three — Poigai Azhwar, Bhoodhatazhwar and Pey Azhwar were believed to be of mystic birth dating back to  Dwaapara era. The fourth, Thirumazhisai Azhwar was said to have been brought up by a  couple who had the good luck to have his darshan in a  forest  . Kulashekara Azhwar was a Chera king. Periazhwar, Thondaradippodi Azhwar  and Madhurakavi Azhwar  were born into brahmin families. Nammazhwar was born in a farmer’s home and Thiruppannazhwar belonged to the Pana community. The only female  among them was Godha (Andal)   glorified  for  “Thiruppaavai  pasurams ”  even to a common man and  celebrated  as an incarnation of Mother Earth (Bhoodevi).  Thirumangai Azhwar, the youngest of the Azhwars was a chieftain of a Chola king.


The first three AzhvArs – Poigai AzvhAr,

Bhudhath AzvhAr and

Pey Azhvar  were  “ayOnijAs” –

“ones who were not born from a womb”.


They appeared on water-flowers  at  three different water sources.

Poigai AzhvAr manifested on a lotus flower at Kancheepuram  Lord  YatthOkthakAri perumaL temple tank  on  the  ” sravanam” star during the month of “aippasi”  (November ) .


The second Azhwar was Bhudhath AzhvAr who appeared on a nIlOthphala (kurukkaththi flower in tamil ) near  the seaside at thiru-k-kadal-mallai (present day Mahabalipuram)  on the day subsequent to Poigai  Azhvar (month of Aippasi, Avittam star ). 


The third Azhwar “Pey Azhvar”  appeared on a sengazhuneer flower in a well in thiru-mayilai (present day Mylapore,  the temple of Lord  Adikesava perumal  on the day after Bhudath Azhvar appeared (aippasi month, sathayam star).

All the three Azhwars were blessed by the Lord with supreme knowledge, and as a result, they lived a life focused on divinity, worshiping the Supreme Lord at different temples, and living a  life of ascetics.  

thirukovaloor (1)jaai

To them the entire cosmos , all sentient  and the insentient entities in it were alive and vibrating  with the underlying divinity of Lord represented  by HIS body and HE being the inner controller of  the soul .


Azhwars point out very clearly in their outpourings the most important attribute of Lord is  HIS immense compassion represented by HIS divine consort Sri: the divine mother forever residing in HIS heart and most easily accessible and who helps in the ultimate redemption of the embodied souls .

  Since the appearance of such great souls is invariably tied to a reason of divine intent,


the three Azhvars had to meet to fulfill the purpose of their appearance, to wit, give the world the esoteric truths  in a manner accessible to  common man  .

The stage was set at Thirukovilur and the divine plan was already about to reveal.  Lord Sriman Narayana achieved  this by making the Azhvars meet and become the harbingers in the effort towards the composition of the holy  Dravida Vedas.


Thus   Lord  arranged a divine plan and  made each of them go to the town  Thirukovilur  which   is  located 75 kms from Cuddalore and about 200 kms from Chennai.


                        The rain clouds had overcast the sky and cover of darkness spread all around in the holy town of Thirukovalur . The torrential rain began  pouring  generously .  It was as if the sky will tear open to give its opulence .


Proceeding  the temple streets ,  Poigai Azhwar  found out a small  front  passage ( dehali or rayzhi , thinnai  in tamil )   in front of Mrikanda  Ashrams hut  ( the present Thirukovalur  temple sanctum sanctorum )  which was fit for one person to lie down. 


Thanking Lord for his mercy , Poigai Azhwar   moved in and  occupied the space to lie down .  Meanwhile , Bhoodath Azhwar  coincidentally arrived there looking for a shelter.


Poigai Azhvar welcomed him and said , Holy Sire ! Please come !!  

“we have enough space for one to be supine, two to sit ,…  please  come in”.

Both the Azhwars were now seated , and were indulging in bhagavad guna anubhavam (recounting the innumerable auspicious qualities of the Lord) .   Meanwhile  pEy Azhvar  also came at the same time to the same Ashrama. The two Azhvars already present in that little room said…..


Swamin !!

in this place, one can lie down, two can sit, and three can stand …. please come in”.

PEy AzvhAr joined them, and the three Azhvars continued their joy filled discussion of the Lord’s auspicious qualities and  divyaanubhutee which was one of the most auspicious moment to be remembered in the history of Thirukovalur.  Lord pleased with the divine outcome now decided to be amongst HIS favourite devotees .


The darkness became denser and inside the small room they were not able to see each other. In the  thunders and  lightning that flashed across, the trio could see a  fourth person  exquisitely charming  entering the room  and they felt as if  they were overpowered with a sublime, divine feeling.

The trio could immediately realize that the fourth person was none other than Lord  Sriman Narayana Himself huddling among them.  Poigai Azhwar , wishing to witness the charming divine effulgence of the Supreme Lord  again and again, instantly   lit a spiritual lamp to the Lord of the lords and the outpourings  


vaiyam thagaliyA, vArkadlE neyyAga
veyyakkadirOn viLakkAga
sudarAzhiyAn adikkE soottinEn son mAlai
Idar neenghugavE enRu…

which means “using the earth as the physical lamp structure, the sea of ether as the ghee for the flame, and the lit flame being verily the Sun himself!.”


 thus   the first Azhwar composed hundred  verses glorifying the Lordships …. now glorified as “Mudhal thiruvandhAdhi (first poem of the type andhAdi, meaning the last word becomes the progenitor of the thought for the following verse) which is among the Naalayiram Divya Prabhandam …………….


 Bhudaththu Azhvar, in turn offered a lamp using his yogic powers too, yet  in a little different  fashion

 – “anbE thagaliyA, ArvamE neyyAga 
inburugu sindhai idu thiriyA
naNpurugi GnAna chudar viLakku EtrinEn
Gnana thamizh purindha nAn 

using his immense love for the Lord as the lamp structure, and his longing for union with the Lord as the energy engendering the flame. He composed a  beautiful set of 100 divine  verses known as “iraNdaam thiruvandhAdhi” (second poem of the type andhAdhi)….


The two sacred  lamps of spiritual love, lit by Poigai Azhvar and Bhudhath Azhvar, allowed  all the three Azvhars to  experience the Lord in  opulence  proximity. That ambrosia  filled experience inspired the third , Pey  AzhvAr to  glorify the Supreme Lord instantaneously …


“thiru-k-kaNdEn, pon mEni kaNdEn .

thigazhum aruKKan aNi niramum kaNdEn..

seRukkiLarum ponnAzhi kaNdEn

purisangam kai-k-kaNdEn……..

en Azhi vaNNan pAl inRu”

meaning, “I had the darshan  the divine consort of the Lord – Maha Lakshmi I  had the darshan of  the divine body of the Lord ,  the beautiful complexion of the Lord and the auspicious discus (chakra) verily the remover of obstacles that prevent us reaching the Lord, and the beautiful  white, divine conch in the hands of the Lord”.

This becomes  the first verse of ” Munraam  Thiruvandhadhi (third poem of the type andhadi), which is a set of 100 verses too  counted among the Naalayiram Divya Prabhandam . This uplifting divine experience bound them into a state of togetherness. They traveled across various parts of  India spreading the  divine message of the Lord for attaining HIS abode and  remaining in that bliss  through there divine pasurams   (The  three thiruvandhadhis).


The one hundredth verse in turn hooks up to the first verse forming a lovely garland of verses maintaining the eternal thread of continuity .

To all the Azhwars LORD was a living presence experienced in the totality of HIS being and manifestation in HIS myriad creation . 

HE lived in them and they lived in HIM  ..

Today 28-10-2017 is the appearance day of “Poigai Azhwar”  followed by “Bhudhath AzhvhAr” on 29-10-17 and   “Pey Azhvar”  on 30-10-17…


Video Credits : Sri Sunder rajan Parthasarathy

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan