Puri variously known as Srikhetra, Sankha Khetra, Nilachala, Purusottam Khetra, Nilagiri etc. has acclaimed as one of the most fascinating religious centre amoung the Hindu pantheon, as the abode of Holy Trinity i e. Lord Jagannath, Balavadra and Devi Subhadra.
The religious sanctity of Puri has been descriptively glorified in many Sanskrit literatures like Skanda Purana, Bramha purana, Padma Purana, Narada Purana, Kapila Samhita, Bamadeva Samhita, Niladrimohodaya and many more. The following are some excerption of Sanskrit texts on the glory of the Kehtra .
“Gangayam cha jale muktih
Varanasyam jale sthale
Jale sthale chantariksye
Muktih Sri Purusottame”
- - - Skanda Purana
Purusottamakashyaan Sumahta Ksetram
Yatraste Darabatanu Sriso Manusalilaya
Darsanad Muktida Sakshyat
- - - Kapila Samhita
Sarbesam chaiba Debanam
Raja Sri Purusottam
Sarbesam chaiba Ksetranam
Raja Sri Purusottam
Mahaprabhu Sri Jagannath, the Presiding Deity of Puri evokes profound faith and devotion in the heart and mind of millions all over India. It seems to have capacity to nurture to all kinds of human beings with divergent sects. It is mostly regarded as the insignia and the principal salvation centre of humanism that centuries have not been able to reduce His greatness in changing time and have not made its importance any way lesser. The history of assimilation and adjustment with different Philosophies like Tribalism, Monism, Dualism and Polytheism give it a unique character incomparable to any system of thought and Philosophy. Thus, the primitive folk cult of tree worship, Propagation of tantrism, the contemplative approach of Buddhism, the Universal tolerance of Jainism, Comprehensive religion of Vedantism etc are found in it. Even Vedas have accepted Mahaprabhu Sri Jagannath as the Supreme God which is also revealed from the Mahapurusha Vidya by Maharshi Vedabyasa. Hence no exclusive religious sect could contain him.
It is really unique to see that at one pedestal the representatives of three main consciousness of Hindism Shiva, Vishnu and Sakti are representated by Balabhadra, Jagannath and Subhadra. Such religious integration and co-existence only can find in Shri Jagannath Chetana and no one can be able to be conclusive this mystery which continue from remote past that history could not reckon.
Not only the Idol of Shri Mahaprabhu and its existence but also their complex ritual system are far away for knowledge hunting scholars to reach its origin and the intrinsic quality in its traditional system are still continuing amidst it has witnessed the Vagaries of history.
The Mystic Leela of Mahaprabhu Sri Jagannath :-
At times it strikes to the minds of the devotees that the leelas (The devine performance) of Mahaprabhu Shri Jagannatha are confined to the vicinity of Shrimandira only. But it is not correct. As He is the creator of this universe, He cannot be confined to the Shrimandira only. Countless instances are there to prove that He is All mighty. He is omnipresent and omnipotent. Sri Krishna appeared in the prison for the parental affection of Basudeb and Debaki. Sri Rama also appeared is the jungle for Ahalya Udhar(Salvation of Ahalya) and to take the offerings of pre-tested fruits of Sabari(the tribal women). The Manika Gauduni episode cannot be any inferior to that of liberation of Ahalya. It is beyond all reasonable doubt and unshakable faith that the soul of this race is led by Mahaprabhu Shri Jagannatha. The glorious example is in the “Kanchi Abihijan”.
As per the Madalapanji, the non-hindus had attacked as many as eighteen times on Shri Jagannath Temple with a view to plunder the riches and annihilate the soul of this race Mahaprabhu Shri Jagannath. Astonishingly a lot of famous tempeles have been grounded wing to invarious by attackers and substantially bringing their physical and environmental changes. Many mosques have come up at Ayodhya, the birth land of Shri Rama and Mathura of Shri Krishana and Kashi Viswanath temple at Varanasi. Numerous temples and idols have turned to pieces for the construction of mosques. Despite so many invasions upon the Shrimandira it has never been grounded for constructions of any mosque nor has any damage been caused to the Holy trinity. And to our astonishment it is the pastime play (Leela) of the Sri Mahaprabhu Himself. During 18 times attacks on Shrimandira from 6th to 18th century the Mahaprabhu Shri Jagannatha along with Shri Balavadra, Devi Subhadra and Shri Sudarshan appeared before the favourite devotees at remote places may be purported to be Leela. The places where the deities appeared and seated became Brahmamaya as sacred as Ratna Singhasan and Shri Mahaprasad. The places have been identified by Shri Jagannath Temple administrations as Leela Khetra during 2007 to 2009. These places should be declared as spiritually-religious tourist places by the Government of Odisha and all kinds of developments including religious rituals should be made for the devotees and tourists.