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Patita Pavan

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<font color=#2f4f2>In response to a request for more information about entry into the Jagannath temple, here are my preliminary notes for the chapter on Patita Pavan. I will probably end up having to shorten bits. There is more to be said, and I would appreciate comments.


I just reread this and am rather sorry that I didn't do a more careful editing job before posting. It still needs quite a bit of editing. Sorry about that.<hr></font>


<h2>Patita Pavan</h2>


Patita Pavan is a solitary deity of Jagannath who is visible to all pilgrims from the Singha Dwar entrance to the Boro Deul. The name patita-pAvana means “savior of the most fallen.” Since everyone but those of legitimate Hindu birth are allowed inside the temple, the Lord mercifully manifests in this form at the gate where He can be seen by even those who are disqualified by sin or birth from entering the temple.




Some people say that the Lord took the form of Patita Pavan for the sake of Sal Beg, Jagannath’s celebrated Muslim devotee, but a rather more accepted version is that this deity was consecrated during the reign of the second Ramachandra Deva (1732-1743). Ramachandra Deva was king of Khurda during a period of unrest, when the Muslim governor, Taqui Khan decided to plunder the Jagannath temple. Jagannath’s priests saved the deities by concealing them on an island in the Chilka lake and the frustrated Taqui Khan proceeded to Khurda where he defeated and imprisoned Ramachandra Deva. He forcibly converted him to Islam, after which he was renamed Hafiz Qadar Muhammad.


Taqui Khan died in 1734 and was replaced by Murshid Quli Khan II, who became the Naib Nazim or governor of Orissa. Murshid Quli Khan was a sympathetic ruler who allowed the images of Jagannath to be reinstalled and their worship to be restored. He also gave his daughter to Hafiz Qadar (Ramachandra Deva) in marriage in 1738. Ramachandra Deva, however, was ousted from Hindu society and even deserted by his own family because of his change of religion and marriage to a Muslim.


Ramachandra Deva never truly converted to Islam, however, and wished to be reinstated as a Hindu. He came to Puri to take darshan of Jagannath but was not allowed to do so. In sympathy for his genuine penitence, however, the priests of the temple came to a compromise and installed the Patita Pavan deity near the Singha Dwar entrance so that the king could take darshan of the Lord.


<h3>Temple Entry Prohibition </h3>


Traditionally, the following groups of people are not admitted into the Jagannath temple: fishers, leather workers, those who burn the dead, sweepers, distillers, brewers and wine sellers, potters, fallen women and prostitutes, members of non-Hindu tribes, foreigners and those belonging to other religions like Muslims or Christians. Besides these, other non-believers or atheists are not knowingly permitted to cross the temple threshold.


Some say that during British rule, a European tried to enter the temple disguised as a Hindu, but was detected before he could get as far as the Nat Mandir. Even so, because he had entered as far as he did, the priests considered the temple to have been desecrated and performed an elaborate bathing ritual (the Maha Snana) for Lord Jagannath to restore the temple’s purity. It was thus confirmed that faithless people of other religions are completely forbidden entry into the temple just to satisfy their curiosity.


In 1958, the Mukti Mandap Sabha handled a case that required an interpretation of the admissions policy for the Jagannath Temple. It involved four American women who had been converted to Hinduism at a Ramakrishna Vedanta Society in the United States and wished to enter the Temple while visiting Puri. To gain permission they approached the Raja, who in turn placed the decision before the Mukti Mandap Sabha. The president of the Sabha, Saccidananda Saraswati, said that in order to decide the case he would have to talk to the Americans. He was profoundly impressed by the American women, who wore Indian dress and who expressed a familiarity with Hindu manners and customs. Saccidananda's “test of a true Hindu” is worth quoting:

<blockquote>“The American ladies had put on saris and veils and they bowed their heads before their superiors just as Indian ladies do. They were reserved and respected their husbands as embodiments of the deity. They were not short tempered. They did not eat fish, mutton, beef, or any other meat. They were fully knowledgeable of Hindu principles of life. They took a morning and evening bath and prayed for the welfare of humanity. They were honest and very sympathetic towards the poor and the sick... They had become truly Hindu.”</blockquote>


Saccidananda Saraswati decided that the Americans should be allowed entrance into the temple and a majority of the other members of the Mukti Mandap Sabha backed his decision. This was the first time that the Mukti Mandap Sabha had ever granted foreign converts permission to enter the Jagannath Temple. This attempt at social reform, however, ended in 1964 when the Mukti Mandap Sabha reversed its previous decision and denied temple entrance to several other American members of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society.


Since then, a large number of Americans and Europeans have turned to Vaishnavism and have made several attempts to negotiate entry into the temple. In particular, the celebrated founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, visited Jagannath Puri on January 26, 1977 in order to request the Puri Brahmins to allow his Western disciples to enter the temple. A part of the speech he gave to them was as follows:


<blockquote>This stumbling block should be dissolved. You want to pack Jagannath Swami up inside your home, and do not want to expand His mercy. He is Jagannath, the lord of the universe, not only the lord of Puri, or the lord of Orissa. He is Jagannath. Krishna declares in the Bhagavad-gétä, bhoktäraà yajïa-tapasäà sarva-loka-maheçvaram. That is the definition of Jagannath, sarva-loka-maheçvaram. So why you should deny the inhabitants of all the world (sarva-loka) the darshan of Jagannath? Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu never approved such thing. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said,</blockquote>

<center>prithivite ache jata nagaradi gram

sarvatra prachara hoibe mora nam</center>


<blockquote>“My name will be spread throughout every town and village in the world.” Now this is being done and people from all over the world are eager to come here, so why do you restrict them?


Of course, if you do not allow these foreigners to enter the temple, there is no loss for them, because Jagannath has already come to them and they are worshiping Him. But it is the proper etiquette to show respect to the Vaishnavas. They are strictly observing the four principles of sinful life by negation: no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no fish-eating, no egg-eating, no intoxication, no gambling. They are purified.


Mahaprabhu has condemned Vaishnava aparadh. These European and American Vaishnavas are hankering after Jagannath’s darshan -- jagannätha svämé nayana-patha-gämé bhavatu me. Through your intervention they may be able to see Jagannath Swami. Since these Vaishnavas are so eager to come to Jagannath Puri and to see Jagannath, you should welcome them. You should receive them well, because Narottam Das Thakur says, chäåiyä vaiñëava sevä, nistära päyeche kebä – ‘Who can be liberated without serving the Vaishnavas?” And the scripture also says, </blockquote>


<center>ArAdhanAnAM sarveSAM viSNor ArAdhanaM param

tasmAt parataraM devi tadIyAnAM samarcanam </center>


<blockquote> “Of all kinds of worship, that of Vishnu is supreme. However, superior to the worship of Vishnu is the worship of His devotees.” (Padma-puräëa 6.253.176)


I have thus come to specially request you to remove this restriction and be friendly to the foreign devotees. </blockquote>


Westerners were previously not allowed entrance into the Ananta Vasudeva

in Bhubaneswar, but some of them approached the local MLA who

agreed to push for it. After some difficulties, entrance was granted in April 1977.


The former chief minister of Orissa, Hare Krushna Mahatab was very favorable to ISKCON and tried very hard for many years to help the western devotees gain entrance into the Jagannath temple but was unsuccessful. The Mukti Mandap has remained intransigeant in its conservatism. As recently as June, 2000, the Shankaracharya of Govardhan Pith in Puri, who converted a number of Indian Christians and Muslims back to Hinduism said that those whose ancestors had been forcibly converted to another religion should be welcomed back into the Hindu fold and allowed to enter the temple. Organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad also advocated that converts be treated like all Hindus.


In response, however, Lingaraj Mishra, secretary of the Mukti Mandap Pandit Sabha, affirmed the traditional position: “The lower caste people, mainly from the Pana community, who had been converted into Christianity are known as Mlechha (untouchables) and they eat the flesh of cows. We cannot allow Mlechha people to enter the lord Jagannath temple at Puri, whether they are Hindus or Christians. The temple is not open to people who eat beef because cows are worshipped in Hindu religion.” He also added, “People who are coming back to the Hindu religion may go back to any other religion again. Those whose entry in the temple is prohibited can have darshan of the Lord when He is taken out in a procession during the Rathayatra.”


<small><font color=#f9f9f9>


[This message has been edited by Jagat (edited 06-24-2001).]

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<h3>Dasia Bauri</h3>


It is very interesting to analyze the mood of Jagannath. There are many important deities of Krishna in India such as Sri Nathji, Dwarkadish, Balaji, Radha Raman, Udupi Krishna, etc. Each one has a particular mood and all of them are certainly merciful. However none of them is as famous for being “Patita Pavan” as Lord Jagannath. Nor are any of them generally addressed as Jagannath, Lord of the Universe. Yet although they are not known as Lord of the Universe (who should therefore be accessible to all) or “saviors of the most fallen” still everyone can have entrance into their temples. So why is there so much restriction with the temple of Patita-pavan Jagannath here in Puri?


If we further examine the exchanges that Jagannath has with His “fallen devotees” we see that He often shows them more favor than He does to His “high-class servitors” such as the king or Pandas. There are many examples, such as the story of Dasia Bauri from DARhyatA Bhakti. Dasia Bauri was a great devotee of Lord Jagannath, but was not allowed in the temple because he came from the untouchable Bauri or sweeper caste. The Pandas would have to take a bath if they even saw anyone from his caste, what to speak of touching him.


Dasia Bauri was a great devotee of Lord Jagannath, even though he belonged to the untouchable Bauri caste and was thus not allowed entrance into the temple. He lived in Baligaon, a short distance to the north of Puri. Eventually, he became so surrendered to Lord Jagannath that he gave up his activities as a laborer and passed his days in prayer and bhajan. This indifference to normal life not only caused great concern among his family members, but amongst the higher caste people of the village.


Once, some of the upper caste villagers decided to go to Sri Kshetra to have darshan of Lord Jagannath. When Dasia heard this, he picked a green coconut from his garden and asked a young Brahmin to offer it to the Lord on his behalf. He further said, “Do not give the coconut to Jagannath unless he takes it directly from your hand. Just say, ‘Dasia Bauri from our village of Baligaon has sent You this coconut. Kindly accept it.’ If He doesn’t, then bring it back and return it to me.”


The young Brahmin was surprised by the request, as it is customary to hand gifts to the temple priest, who then makes a ritual offering to the Lord. Furthermore, he was doubtful that the Lord would accept the offerings of an untouchable like Dasia Bauri. Nevertheless, he agreed to try.


When the group of pilgrims came to the temple, they took darshan of Jagannath from the Jaga Mohan. The young Brahmin silently stood behind the Garuda pillar and repeated the words of Dasia Bauri. While he murmured the prayer to Lord Jagannath to accept the offering, a gigantic hand that looked like the trunk of Indra’s elephant, Airavata, extended from the Ratna Vedi and disappeared with the coconut. All the devotees present were astonished by the supernatural event.


The amazing event convinced the villagers of Dasia’s great devotion to Lord Jagannath. They ceased to trouble him for neglecting his labors. Dasia Bauri, on the other hand, felt such intense joy at the blessings of the Lord that he forgot all the miseries of material existence.


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<h3>Jagannath’s relation with untouchables</h3>


Furthermore, there are many examples in the Gaudiya Vaishnava literature where Krishna deprives His own devotees of His association in order to increase the intensity of their feelings for Him, such as when He left the Rasa lila. Similarly, Jagannath has created a very intense contrast in Puri that churns the ocean of feelings in the hearts of His devotees. On the one hand, He is very opulent and inaccessible -- so much so that He does not even allow many of His devotees entrance into the temple. This invariably increases the devotees’ feelings of separation, humility and longing for Him. Then the Lord comes out for His public festivals and gives His darshan to all in a much more accessible way than other deities in India. Having the Lord's darshan at that time melts His devotees’ hearts.


Moreover, it also melts the heart of the Lord. There are many examples of devotees such as Sal Beg and Balaram Das who were not granted admittance to the temple (or on the cart in the case of Balaram Das), yet the same opulent and inaccessible Jagannath was so much under the control of these devotees that He would not allow His rath to move until they arrived.


No other temple tradition in India where the prohibition against lower class persons entering played such a dramatic role in the Lord's pastimes. In one Puranic account, even Lakshmi Devi was denied entrance. There is also the account of the demigoddess Charchika who was forbidden entry into the temple and had to perform menial service to the head Panda before she was again allowed entry.


In view of the current situation, those who fall into the outcaste category but have firm faith in the Lord may look at His Patita Pavan form in all humility and beg Him for His mercy. Sincere humility is the principal proof of faith, whereas trying to enter the temple by force or making the claims to have a right to enter the temple are sure signs of the desire for control and mastery or simply of atheism.


In order to teach this particular characteristic of the pure devotee, Lord Brahma, the original spiritual master of the universe, appeared as the Muslim devotee Hari Das Thakur in Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s pastimes. Both he and the most worshipable Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis, who were born in a very high caste Brahmin family from Karnataka, considered themselves to be untouchable and never tried to walk through the Singha Dwar. These devotees had attained the highest limits of divine love, yet they never made an attempt to break the rules established by the temple tradition. Instead, they set the example of paying their obeisance to the Lord by prostrating themselves on seeing the temple spire, the Nila Chakra, and the flags fluttering on the pinnacle.


After some years of relationships with Western Vaishnavas and seeing their humility and sincerity, the current Gajapati, Divyasingh Deva, has shown himself to be favorable to them going into the temple. It seems that this kind of humble approach will be more likely, over the long term, to produce change, than aggressive attempts to force such change.



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<center>sacinta iva lakSyase sapadi me caritraM smaran

paraM kalita-sAhasaH patita-pAvana-tva-vratAt |

na mAm agaNayaH purA na hi vicAra-kAlo’dhunA

vrataM visRja vAthavA varada pAvayainaM janam ||1||</center>


<blockquote>O Lord! Bestower of boons!

I see You are concerned for my welfare

when You contemplate the record of my past activities;

even so, I have dared come before You

because of your promise to purify the most fallen.


Previously, You cared nothing for me,

but now is not the time to make judgments:

Either renege on Your promise

or purify this most fallen soul. </blockquote>


<center>na rAghava na vAyaso na khalu kRSNa caidyo’smy aham

na khalv aham ajAmilo naraka-nAza nArAyaNa |

pradhAnam aparAdhinAM parivRDhaM ca mAM pApinaM

kSamAjalanidhe vidan sapadi sAvadhAno bhava ||2||</center>


<blockquote>O Raghava! I am not Jatayu, the vulture king!

O Krishna! I am not Sisupala, the king of Chedi!

Nor, Narayan, destroyer of hell, am I the sinner Ajamila!

O Ocean of Forgiveness! You should know

that I am the most sinful leader of all offenders,

so be on Your guard against me. </blockquote>


<center>yady udyad-agha-lekhanA-kalana-jAgrad-agrAnguli-

milat-prakhara-lekhanI-mukha-vighAta-vItodyamaH |

alaM kila lalajjire sapadi citraguptAdayaH

sa eSa patitAgraNI sadaya rakSa dakSo’si cet ||3||</center>


<blockquote>Chitragupta and the other scribes of Yamaraj,

when trying to make a tally of my sins,

write and write until the nibs of their pens break,

causing them much embarrassment.


O most merciful one, if You are expert enough,

then save me, who am foremost amongst the fallen. </blockquote>


<center>vidann api hRd-antare pratipadaM yad aMhaH-kRte

yate yadu-pate na te viphalatA vrate syAd iti |

yato’si jagato guru smRti-niSedhatas te tato

na nAma ca bhajAmi yady atha vRthA krudhaM mA kRthAH ||4||</center>


<blockquote>Within my sinful heart, I know full well at every moment

that Your vow to save the fallen will never fail to bear fruit.

O Lord of the Yadus, You are the spiritual master of the universe;

the scriptures say I am unworthy to worship You

because of my sinfulness;

so if I do not chant Your name, please do not be angry with me. </blockquote>


<center>ananta yad aghAvalI-manana-sAvadhAnAtmakair

nije durita-maNDale nikhila-sAkSibhir nekSite |

janA jagati nirbhayA jaya jayeti jalpanty amuM

prabho khala-dhurandharaM patita-pAvanaz ced ava ||5||</center>


<blockquote>O unlimited one! All those who have witnessed my sins

are so terrorized that they stop seeing their own flaws.

and they fearlessly praise each other, O Lord.

So if You are truly a purifier of the fallen,

then save me, the worst of all miscreants. </blockquote>

<center>aneka-patitAdhipAn avati cakravartI yathA

nRpAn ayam asajjanaH patita-pAvanatvena nu |

iti pratidizaM khalAH patita-pAvanaM mAM vidur

na pAvayasi cet phalaM nanu bhaved idaM kevalam ||6||</center>


<blockquote>An emperor can give protection

to his tributary kings as a deliverer of the fallen

and I too have myself acted in this way.


All these rascals in every direction

think of me as a deliverer of the fallen,

but if You do not deliver me, O Lord,

this reputation will be the only reward I get. </blockquote>


<center>kadApi hi padAmRtaM tava mayApi nAsvAditaM

vRthA bhavakathAbharairapi ca nAtha nItaM vayaH |

tvayA yadapi helayA mayi na cedvidheyA dayA

tavaiva mahatI kSatiH patitapAvanatvaM yataH ||7||</center>


<blockquote>Never once have I tasted the nectar of your feet,

my life has been wasted in mundane talk.

If you should capriciously discard me now

and refuse me Your mercy,

then Your qualities as the savior of the fallen

will be greatly damaged. </blockquote>


<center>bhavAn parama-dhArmikaH prakaTitAtikAruNyakaH

svatantra-carito yadi svayam ayaM ca kiM nedRzaH |

alaM kim api cet svakaM patita-pAvanatvAdikaM

pradarzayatu nAnyathA bhavatu te yazaH sarvathA ||8||</center>


<blockquote>You are the most dutiful Lord;

You have given ample evidence of Your compassion;

You Yourself are completely independent,

but if You are so, then am I not also?

So now, if You are the deliverer of the most fallen,

show it, or Your good name will everywhere be reversed. </blockquote>


<center>vadanti yadi pAvitAH patita-pAvanatva-vrataM

bhavantam adhikaM na tat parama-durvinIto’py aham |

punAtu na punAtu vA bhuvi yathA tathaiva bruve

gRhANa guNam eva me kuru kRpAM sadoSA na ke ||9||</center>


<blockquote>If those who have been purified speak

of your promise to purify the fallen,

I do not do so to any great extent,

even though I am the most ill-mannered of all.

Whether you purify me or not,

whether I Ypeak with propriety or not,

please take me only for my virtues,

for who in this world is without fault?</blockquote>


<small><font color=#ffffff>


[This message has been edited by Jagat (edited 06-24-2001).]

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