A Journey with Jagannath, Relived

The thrill on my son's face, the enjoyment of a new world... Nothing could beat this smile that brought back past memories.

While we spend most of our lives robotically leading it, there are some things that don't die.... They stay dormant in the crevices of the mind only to surprise us when a connect with the past is made.

Jagannathpur Ranchi, Jagannath Mandir

The innocence of childhood, the enjoyment of climbing the rocky steps to the temple, the peace  and tranquility at the main shrine... The connect with the divine, the mesmerising look of deep devotion in the face of Garuda, the vahan of Jagannath who looks up to him in adoration... All of this added up to my visit to this small temple on a hillock. The silent wilderness of Ranchi has given way to a noisy order and yet, the depth of a past enbedded in my head appeared to beat this very noise.

I had heard of a place called Puri, where the main shrine of Jagannath was, and in my many trips to Jagannathpur, I never knew when I would make it there. This trip to visit lord Jagannath again, was to introduce him to my son who till now, has seen him as a small idol in our puja Ghar. I had traveled 30+ years in time in discovering this journey in my head, my son would do the same journey in 2 days... And the excitement in my mind was immense. While, a part of me said this wouldn't stick in his mind for too long, my mind was determined to have it fed into his memory at this point. He needs to see the real Jagannath at Puri, at Ranchi, at home and hopefully some day, within his mind's eye.

The temple of Jagannathpur has been renovated a few times. What stands today is an architectural piece in Nagara style of Orissa architecture, but what sits in my mind is a silent, walled interior, away from the world, cutting away the winds, an echoing interior... A place I have been to in past lives, a place that has made several appearances in my dreams, a place I am visiting again... And it's mesmerising connect with me in my real world, dream state, in a spiritual plane, in a timeless plane across lives...

Jagannath Mandir, Puri

The temple of Puri Jagannath brings haunting familiarity, a flavour of having lived here and experienced it before, though in reality it appears fresh and new.. but the vibe, I have felt this vibe before. I remember carving pieces of chalk when I was kid. I carved temples, with a scalpel and black board chalk, and arranged them in an order that looked nice. Three shrines placed together two shorter shikaras and one taller in the center. For what ever reason, I made this arrangement and I liked it as a kid (though it didn't follow any rules of architecture). But what really got me was the recollection of the same arrangement of shrines when I stood in front of three Shiva Linga small shrines, exactly the same way within the premises of Jagannath Puri, under the shade of a silent tree, that has seen time roll by for centuries. Shrines (walls, shikara, with embedded garbha griha deep down within) stand next to each other, be it Lingaraj, Mukteshwar or Jagannath, but they don't stick to each other as in the case of this peculiar set within the walled world of Puri. What I didn't comprehend was how I made the temples look like Jagannath in pieces of chalk and arrange them in peculiar order, given I had no idea of this science at that age and neither had I visited any place that early. 

My extremely strange inclination to architectural rules, logic of sacred sciences and immense love for the Lord has led me down, not just memory lane of this life... It has been connecting a lot more dots in my head that I didn't know even existed. This journey has made me question the presence of time, it's nature, it's influence and it's mesmerising presence to baffle my mind. If I just had to remove all the gaps, across lives, I would know just how many times I have been at this place, and that may not even have been dependent on real geography... It may have been something else altogether.

Jagannath has been in my life from when I started to think and remember things. He has never left my side, though I have left his several times. This journey across time, has made me revisit elements of existence I took for granted, the tremendous potential of my mind to detect differences from established route, the impermanence of time and it's presence as a stage of events in sequential order, and of course the order of the universe that banks on my "nature" to be what I am...

And while I live now, while I am here I look at my son, the smile on his face when he says "Jagannath is very very big" makes me want to relive that innocence and sacred bewilderment that I have been blessed with, for what ever good deed in the past.