Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, June 15:
After being worshipped by millions for 19 long years, the wooden idols of the presiding deities of Shree Jagannath temple in Odisha’s holy city Puri will bid adieu to the Ratna Simhasana (bejewelled throne) that they adorned and vacate it for the newly carved idols after transfer of Brahmapadartha (life substance) from them past midnight today.
Badagrahis (body protectors) of the four Lords are waiting for that divine moment when they will remove the Brahmapadartha from the old wooden idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Sudarshan and place them in the newly carved idols.
“It’s a very difficult task to do as I have to part with the existing idols with whom I had such a close a relationship of devotion and surrender. I am unable to stare at them. I am choked with emotion; my eyes are filled with tears whenever I look at them these days. I am preparing myself for that propitious moment when I shall be transferring the Brahmapadartha from the old idol of Lord Jagannath to that of the new idol of His as the badagrahi,” Jagannath Swain Mohapatra, mukhya badagrahi of Lord Jagannath, told reporters, his voice choking with emotion, on Sunday.
“After purnahuti, certain other rituals will be completed before the Brahmapadartha parivartan of the Lords. We will move as per our plans, but we can’t say what He wishes. It is only His wish which prevails and nothing else,” said Haladhar Das Mohapatra, mukhya badagrahi of Lord Balabhadra and also the dalapati (team leader) of the Banajaga Dal speaking to reporters.
“This is the blessing of the Lord. It’s the benevolence of the Lord. Unless one is blessed by the Mother (Devi Subhadra) one cannot do such a job. With everyone’s support and cooperation, I have wished to do it,” said Rama Chandra Das Mohapatra, mukhya badagrahi of Devi Subhadra.
The Brahamapadartha parivartan niti (life substance transfer ritual) of the Lords will take place late in the night today. During the ritual, Shree Mandir and its surrounding will be blacked out. Tadau Karana and Deula Karana (temple clerk servitors) will guard the Simhadwara (Lion’s Gate) of the temple during that period.
Puri King Gajapati Maharaj Dibya Singh Dev, considered the first servitor of the Lords, will offer purnaahuti (final oblation to the sacred havan fire) at the mahayagna being held inside the Koilibaikuntha.
“Everything is being done as prescribed in the scriptures. All rituals are being done in perfect order,” said Padmanav Mohapatra , a senior priest of the temple.
As per the procedure followed, eyes and hands (up to elbows) of the servitors conducting the secret ritual of Brahmapadartha parivartan are covered with cloth-bands so that they can’t touch and see the Brahmapadarthas at the time of their transfer, which is done in the dead of the night. Before transfer of the Brahmapadarthas, a special Bhoga (prasad /offering) is offered to the deities/old idols known as ‘Sarbanga Panti Bhog’. This is the last ‘Bhoga’ of the old idols. Raghabdas Mutt, Puri bears the entire expenditure of the Bhog on this score, said sources in the know of the procedures.
“There is not going to be a power cut in the entire Puri town on Monday. Only the temple and areas adjoining it will be kept under darkness. As per schedule, Daitapati sevayats will enter the temple premises around 8 PM to 9 PM. After completing Brahmapadartha parivartan and other secret rituals, the Daitapati servitors will come out of the temple premises next day morning,” informed Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration.
As per time-honoured practice, the old idols will be buried in Koilibaikuntha (also known as the graveyard of the deities) inside the temple premises after Brahmapadartha parivartan of the deities. The process of burying of the old idols is known as patali ritual.