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June 2021

LORD JAGANNĀTHA’S MORNING ROUTINE

Years ago, Mādhavānanda Prabhu wrote a very nice article about different ways that Lord Jagannātha is worshiped. It is called “The Hidden Identity of Lord Jagannātha.” It is a long article and we will not be able to discuss all the aspects, but we will start by remembering that the devotees, followers of Lord Caitanya, think of Lord Jagannātha as none other than Lord Kṛṣṇa. In fact, this is justified in terms of official texts for giving instructions to the pūjārīs of the Jagannātha temple of how to worship Lord Jagannātha. There are different texts, called pūjā-paddhatis, and they tell the pūjārīs to worship Jagannātha as Kṛṣṇa, and more specifically—and here it gets interesting—how to meditate on Lord Jagannātha as Kṛṣṇa in four different periods of the day. Would you like to know how this meditation goes? 

Let’s start with the meditation on Lord Jagannātha in the early morning. You should conceive of Him as baby Kṛṣṇa, who has soft reddish feet. We have to do this as active meditation because if you look at Jagannātha, does He have any feet? He doesn’t seem to have any feet. But we meditate on Him having soft reddish feet. And one should also meditate on the reddish palms of His little hands. Does Lord Jagannātha have any hands?  Yes? No? Maybe? Any fingers? Are there any fingers there? I don’t see any fingers. But Kṛṣṇa has reddish feet and reddish palms and He is wearing golden ornaments. He has a very sweet smile on His face, and you can imagine that Mother Yaśodā is also there. And what does Kṛṣṇa do? He is crawling around in the courtyard of Nanda Mahārāja’s palace. When a baby starts crawling, what happens?  Mothers know. That is when the trouble starts. Isn’t it? Right? Because at that age babies are exploring, putting everything in their mouth. So, this is Lord Jagannātha…

At this point someone might ask, “And what about Baladeva and Subhadrā?” The pūjā-paddhatis don’t refer to them in this context. But Balarāma is, of course, one year older than Kṛṣṇa. He is also quite young, only a little older than Kṛṣṇa. So, He might be creating even more mischief, and all this is going on in the early morning. Imagine, you are trying to wake up and Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma are already making trouble.

There are three more times of meditation… [To be continued.]

—From a lecture by Krishna Kshetra Swami at Nava Yoga-pīṭha in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on June 17, 2019.