Mahapravu & Rasikananda

Mahapravu & Rasikananda
Mahapravu Shree Jagannath always understands the devotion of His devotees. He waited for the arrival of Muslim devotee Salabeg and Bhakta Balia Balaram Das to move in his car from Lion Gate of Sri Mandir to go to Sri Gundicha temple. Another such incident of His waiting for His devotee Swami Rasikananda in his Car during the annual Car Featival at Puri is worth mentioning. Rasikananda was born in the year 1590 A.D. at Rohininagar situated on the bank of river Subarnarekha which is now in Balasore District of Odisha. The boy’s name was Rasika Murari. His passion for the Mahapravu was found in his childhood when he was uttering the name of Pravu Krishna constantly. Like his father, he was uttering the name of Pravu Krishna while sitting on a sacred place called Ghantasila being in meditation of the calmly form of Pravu Krishna. At that time, the great devotee Sri Shyamananda Thakur was studying the devotional scriptures at Vrindaban, after getting inititation from the Vaisnava Guru Sri Jiva Goswami.
One day, while Sri Shyamananda was sitting absorbed in meditation in a lonely garden, Bhagaban Sri Madan Gopal Himself appeared before him and said “Syamananda, immediately proceed to Utkal where Bhakta Rasika Murari, who is very dear to me is meditating and chanting my name constantly. Initiate him in the Mantra of Pravu Sri Krishna and preach my love and devotion widely”. But Sri Syamananda though came to senses at once by this incident, could not at the outset believe the command of the Mahapravu. So in next few moments Sri Gopal appeared before Sri Jiva Goswami and ordained him to tell Syamananda to immediately proceed to Utkal and initiate devotee Rasika Murari in Sri Krishna Mantra and preach the art of love and devotion. Sri Shyamananda Goswami reached Utkal in the year 1608 A.D., initiated Rasikananda ( the name of Rasika Murari after initiation) and stayed at Utkal now in Odisha and devoted his remaining period of the life in preaching love and devotion of Sri Krishna. The Matha where he stayed is now at Kanpur, nearly 4 km from Rasgovindpur and at about 46 km. from Baripada, the District headquarters of Mayurbhanj district in Odisha State.
There the wooden sandals he used to put on, his winter wrapper like Kantha and his Samadhi are there. In the Year 1630 AD Syamananada Swami breathed his last. Rasikananda Swami was living in a Matha at Gopiballavpur on the bank of the river, Subarnarekha, which was on the northern border of the Ex-State of Mayurbhanj, (at present in Nayabasan Tehsil of West Midnapur District of West Bengal) and at a distance of 47 km on road from Baripada via Jamsola. The Matha is in a very dilapidated condition due to lack of maintenance and preservation. Once, while Sri Rasikananda Swami was living as a guest of king Baidyanath Bhanj of Banapur, the Muslim Subedar Ahmed Baig who was kept in charge of Odisha, became much irritated of the devotion of Pravu Sri Krishna, preached by Rasikananda which was widely acceptable to the common mass.
Subedar Baig became furious and asked Swami Rasikananda to pacify a ferocious and rogue wild elephant by his power of devotion to Pravu Krishna. This is the test of his devotion. If he fails, he will be punished severely. Rasikananda fearlessly approached the rogue elephnat and whispered the name and mantra of Pravu Sri Krishna in both the ears of the elephant. Instantly, the nature of the elephant was changed and he became, peaceful, obedient and in token of respect for Saint Sri Rasikananda, the elephant prostrated in his feet. On seeing this miraculous power of Sri Krishna mantra which Rasikand preached, Ahmed Baig became stunned, and he himself started glorifying the merit and greatness of Sri Rasikananda Swami. Thereafter, Rasikananda returned to Gopiballavpur.
Once an intense desire to see the Mahapravu Shree Jagannath of Puri came to his mind. He started to proceed on foot to Puri and on the way he was to visit sacred places at Jajpur and other places of pilgrimages located on the bank of the river Baitarani. There was delay, as a result of which he could not reach Puri Dham in time. On the day of Gundicha, the day of Car Festival the car started moving from Lion’s Gate towards Sri Gundicha temple in Badadanda. Knowing this, Sri Rasikananda Swami prayed from the core of his heart saying ” Hey –Mahapravu , kindly favour me by staying in the car till my arrival, to enable me to have your darshan in the car during Car Festival. Kindly wait for my arrival. “
Mahaprabhu Shree Jagannath is Bhabagrahi and Bhaktabatsal and Bhaktabandhu. He waited for his sincere devotee in the Nandighosa Ratha and none of three Rathas, inculding that of His moved an inch forward. The Thakur Maharaja was perplexed at this. Even horses and elephants in large number, being yoked to pull the three Rathas, failed to drag an inch forward. All efforts failed. The Gajpati king prayed and took shelter of Mahapravu Shree Jagannath to favour him to solve the situation. In his dream, Mahapravu Shree Jagannath told the king – “My devotee Rasikananda is hurriedly rushing to see me on the car during the Car Festival. He is approaching Puri and is now at Tulasichoura, located very near, please wait for his arrival. After his arrival and seeing me in the car, the car will move of their own accord in the usual pulling.”In fact, the dream came true when the king received Rasikananda Swami and on his touching the cars by hands, the cars ran on the road, being dragged by devotees and reached Sri Gundicha Temple smoothly.
The record testifies the event to have taken place in the year 1640 A.D. On request of the king, Rasikananda stayed with Sri Vigraha Batakrushna in “Kunja Matha”, located on the side of Sri Mandir. Infact that Matha was first founded by Swami Rasikananda. Rasikananda left Puri for Remuna, as Khirchora Gopinath at Remuna ordered the Gajapati king in his dream to send him back to render His worship. There at Remuna, Rasikananda stayed and rendered Seva Puja of Pravu Khirachora Gopinath till his last days. Till date, the Samadhi Shrine of Rasikananda is within the premises of the temple, and at a distance, the residence of Rasikananda is found at Remuna. It was Narasingh Deb, the Gajapati King, who brought Madan Gopal’s idol from Chitrakut, and that Madan Gopal remained at Remuna, who later on in the year 1436 A.D. after stealing Khira Bhoga for saint Madhabendra Puri, came to be known as Khirachora. The legend says that Pravu Sri Rama has carved this stone idol of Madan Gopal at Chitrakut by arrows during his stay and has shown to Sita. In 1258 A.D. the temple for Mandan Gopal was built at Remuna and for arrangement of Seva Puja landed property was donated by the king. In Chitrakut, Pitahmaha Brahma was worshipping Madan Gopal. Madhabendra Puri one of the devotees, whose Matha is still there very near to Khirachora Gopinath temple, Remuna, near Balasore in Odisha. This incident testifies the fact that the Mahapravu is even fulfiller of the sincere thought of devotees.
The Eternal Mystery Of Mahaprabhu Shree Jagannath by Srikanta…..
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