Part-2

PARVATI RECEIVES ARUNCHALESHWAR'S GRACE

Goddess Durga then went to the place where goddess Parvati was still doing penance. She held Mahishasur's head in one hand and a sword in the other.Goddess Parvati said---'O Vindhyavasini! You have accomplished an impossible act. If it were not for you I would not have been able to accomplish my own penance. Now, you should get rid of this skull and create a holy spring bathing in which would destroy your sin acquired by killing Mahishasur.'

Goddess Durga hit ferociously at a huge rock breaking it into pieces. A large pit was created which was soon filled up with underground water. She then took her bath in it by chanting NAMAH SHONADRINATHAY.

In the meantime, an amazing incident took place. While goddess Durga was taking her bath with Mahishasur's skull in her hand, a Shivalinga, which was struck in Mahishasur's throat fell down. This Shivalinga later on became famous as 'Papanashan Shivalinga'. She then released the skull and came out from the pond.Arunachaleshwar (Lord Shiva) became pleased by Parvati's devotion and appeared before her. Lord Arunachaleshwar then made Parvati to sit by his left side. The next moment Parvati's identity mingled with that of Lord Arunachaleshwar. The place where this incident took place, there is situated a grand temple of goddess Apitastani and Lord Arunachaleshwar.

LORD VARAH SATISFIES PRITHVI'S CURIOSITY

Sutji then narrated the tale of Lord Varah to the sages, which he had heard from Sage Vyas---

Once, while Narad was wandering about, he reached Meru mountain where he saw the abode of Lord Brahma. He also saw a giant sized entity, just next to Brahma's abode. The person possessed four arms and his face resembled a boar. The person held a conch and a chakra in his two hands--The remaining two hands were in the postures of giving blessings. Narad was very surprised to see that divine person being surrounded by Sages like Vashishth, Atri, Markandeya and Bhrigu. After paying his eulogy to him, he stood in a corner.In the meantime, Prithvi (earth) arrived there with her two companions--Ila and Pingla. She was curious to know about the identities of various mountains, which Lord Varah had established on her.Lord Varah told Prithvi about the prominent mountains---Mountains like Sumeru, Himavan, Mandarachal, Vindhyachal, Pariyatrak, Mahendra, Malay, Sinhachal and Gandhamadan are situated to the north of Himalaya.

The mountain ranges situated to the south of Himalaya are Arunachal, Hasti, Gridhachal and Ghatikachal. Sages believe that in Satyayuga Lord Vishnu had his abode at Anjan Mountain, while in tretayuga, dwaparyuga and Kaliyuga he has his abode at Narayangiri, Sinhachal and Shrivenketachal respectively.Lord Varah and Prithvi flew away towards Venkatachalgiri mounted on Garuda.

LORD VARAH MANTRA

On their way, Prithvi requested Lord Varah to reveal the sacred mantra, chanting of which makes him pleased.

Lord Varah said--'The secret mantra that pleases me to no limits is ---OM NAHAM SHRIVARAHAY DHARANYU UDDHARNAY SWAHA. This mantra is capable of liberating a man and also brings all sort of worldly accomplishments to him.In the first Krita yuga, a Manu named Dharma had realized me by continuously chanting this mantra. Even Indra regained the control of heaven by chanting it. Anant--the lord of all serpents, chanted Varaha mantra and as a result became capable of holding the earth on it's hood.'

MANIFESTATION OF PADMAVATI

Lord Varah then narrated the tale of Padmavati's manifestation to Prithvi. He also revealed to her that Padmavati was the reincarnation of Vedavati and had manifested so that she could become his (Vishnu) consort.Lord Varah said---Once upon a time there lived an emperor named Akash. One day he ordered his men to get the land situated at the bank of Arani ploughed so that a grand yagya could be organized there.As the land was being cultivated, the plough suddenly struck against something. People ploughing the field dug up that place and were surprised to find an infant girl, crying loudly.The news of girls' manifestation spread like a wild fire. The emperor became extremely happy since he had no progeny. He brought up that child as his own daughter. This way the baby girl was brought up like a princess. She was named Padmavati. Padmavati proved very lucky for the emperor, as the emperor, who was still sonless till then was blessed with a son. This male child was named Vasudan.

One day, Narad visited the palace and met both the children. He was impressed by Vasudan's intelligence but Padmavati appeared to be shy and absorbed in her own thoughts. Narad lovingly called her and instructed her to spread her left palm. Narad was amazed to find signs, which predicted Padmavati's marriage to Lord Vishnu. Everybody living in the palace became happy after getting this news.Narad then went away.

PADMAVATI BECOMES LORD HARI'S CONSORT

Continuing with the tale, Lord Varah said-- One day, while Padmavati and her companions were playing in the garden, they saw an equestrian approaching them. He held a bow and arrows in both his hands.The stranger asked all the girls whether they had seen a wolf. Apparently the stranger was on his hunting spree. Padmavati angrily reminded the stranger that hunting was strictly prohibited in that area and hence he should go back home.The stranger was stunned by Padmavati's beauty and said--'I am Ananta from Venketachal mountain. People also call me Veerpati. Can I have this beautiful lady as my wife.'

Padmavati's companions angrily rebuffed Anant who then galloped back on his horse. These unfortunate girls were unable to recognize Lord Vishnu who had come disguised as Anant.After reaching his palace, Anant found it very difficult to concentrate on his work. His mind was occupied by the thoughts of Padmavati. One day, while he was sitting in a thoughtful mood, Vakulmalika (a maid servant) arrived there and requested him to come down for lunch. But, Sri Hari (Anant) was lost in the thoughts of Padmavati. On being asked by Vakulmalika, Sri Hari narrated the following tale to her ---

In treta yuga, when I had incarnated as Ram, Ravan had deceit- fully abducted my consort--Sita. But fortunately she was not Sita but Agni's consort Swaha. Before this incident could occur,Agni had already taken Sita to Patalloka and kept his own wife 'Swaha' in her place. Indra's act had special purpose behind it--to avenge Swaha's death,who was Vedavati in her previous birth and who had committed suicide after being touched by the same demon.Actually, Agni's consort 'Swaha' was 'Vedavati' in her previous birth. So, in reality Ravan had abducted Vedavati instead of Sita. Later on, I thanked Agni and promised him that I would make Vedavati my consort in Kaliyuga. The same vedavati has taken birth as Padmavati. You must go and convince Padmavati to become my consort.Vakulmalika went to Narayanpur and informed the king about Sri Hari's desire. Emperor Akash was extremely delighted at the prospect of having Sri Hari as his son-in-law. An auspicious day was chosen for the marriage and thus, Lord Sri Hari got Padmavati as his consort.

KING PAREEKSHIT

Once, Sutji narrated the tale of king Pareekshit to all the assembled sages---

Pareekshit ruled over Hastinapur. One day he went into a forest on a hunting spree. He saw a deer and managed to injure it with his arrow. But the injured deer disappeared from his sight. Pareekshit chased the injured deer in the direction it had disappeared.He reached a place where sage Shamik was engrossed in his meditation. Pareekshit enquired sage Shamik if he had seen that injured deer. Bur sage Shamik being in deep meditation did not respond to Pareekshit query. This made Pareekshit extremely angry and he wrapped a dead snake around Shamik's neck as a punishment for not having answered his question. But, it made no difference to Sage Shamik and he continued with his meditation. Pareekshit went back fuming in anger.

Shringi was the son of Sage Shamik. When he saw a dead snake coiling around his father's neck, he cursed--'Whoever has tried to insult my father will not live to see the seventh day because a takshak nag would bite him to death.'

When sage Shamik learnt about his son's curse, he reproached his son and sent a disciple named 'Daurmukh' to inform Pareekshit so that he (Pareekshit) could take some preventive measures. Daurmukh went and narrated the whole incident to king Pareekshit.Pareekshit became very scarred and he started living on a canopy that had been constructed in the middle of river Ganges on his instructions. Now he felt secured and safe.Meanwhile a poor brahmin named Kashyap came to know about the curse that poor Pareekshit had received. He knew how to cure a person bitten by snake. So he thought that it was an excellent opportunity for him to receive monetary awards from the king. So, he proceeded towards the place where Pareekshit was staying.

On his way, Kashyap met a brahmin who in reality was takshak in disguise. Takshak was on his way to kill Pareekshit. He asked Kashyap about the reason he was going to meet Pareekshit. Kashyap revealed to Takshak that he could neutralize the influence of poison in any person bitten by a snake. Takshak wanted to examine the authenticity of Kashyap's statement, so he inserted his poisonous fangs into the trunk of a huge tree. A man was sitting on the branches of that tree. The tree as well as the man was charred to death within no time.

Kashyap, really brought the tree and that man back to life. Takshak was stunned by this unbelievable act. He asked Kashyap how much he expected as reward from the king. Kashyap revealed the amount, which he expected from Pareekshit in lieu of giving him a fresh lease of life. Takshak gave lot of wealth to him as a bribe and Kashyap went back home satisfied.Takshak then summoned all his companions and instructed them to go to the place where Pareekshit lived, disguising themselves as hermits. All the serpents went to meet Pareekshit impersonating as hermits and offered fruits to him. According to his plan,Takshak had hidden himself within a plum fruit. He bit Pareekshit as soon as he got a chance. Pareekshit died instantly.Janmejaya was crowned as the next king. Meanwhile, people started criticizing the treacherous conduct of Kashyap, which had resulted in the death of king Pareekshit. He decided to make a pilgrimage to Venketachaleshwar so that he became liberated from his sin.

KRISHNA TEERTH

Sutji narrated a tale to all the assembled sages--During ancient times, a brahmin named Ramkrishna did an austere penance at Venketachal mountain. He remained immobile during the entire course of his penance resulting into the development of mole hills all over his body.Indra was scarred by Ramkrishna's penance and caused a heavy downpour for a week. All the mole hills were washed away from Ramkrishna's body.Lord Srinivas became pleased and appeared before him. He blessed Ramkrishna by saying--'This holy place, where you have performed a great penance will be named after you as Krishna teerth. Anybody who makes a pilgrimage to this place will be liberated from all the sins.'

Eulogizing Lord Venketashwar, Sutji says---

'A man, who has the good fortune of seeing the divine appearance of Lord Srinivas even for a moment, attains salvation.

SOME OTHER PLACES OF PILGRIMAGE ON VENKETACHAL MOUNTAIN

All the sages then requested Sutji to tell about some other places of pilgrimage situated on Venketachal mountain.

Sutji replied---There are about one hundred and eight holy places situated on Venketachal mountain. Among all these holy places, six are considered to be capable of bestowing salvation---Swami pushkarini, Akash ganga, Papvinashan, Panduteerth, Kumar dharika teerth and Tumbu teerth.

ANJANA'S PENANCE AT AKASHGANGA TEERTH

Describing how Vayudeva had once assured Anjana that he would take birth as her son, Sutji told the sages---Anjana, being issue less even after a long married life, decided to do penance in order to beget a son. Sage Matang advised her to go to Akashganga teerth where her wishes would get fulfilled. Sage Matang also described the geographical location-- 'At a distance of ten yojans towards south is situated Dhanachal mountain, which is believed to be the abode of Lord Nrisimha. Brahma teerth lies in its vicinity. At a distance of ten yojans south of Brahma teerth, flows river 'Suvarnamukhari'. Venkentachal mountain is situated to the north of this river and the holiest place called Swamipushkarni is situated among its numerous peaks. You should visit that place and take a holy dip in its water. After that you should seek the blessings of Lord Varahaswami and Lord Venketeshwar. You should then go towards north of Swami teerth and you would reach Akashganga.'

Acting as per Matang's instructions, Anjana went to Akashganga teerth and did her penance. Finally Lord Vayudeva appeared before her and promised to incarnate as Hanuman.

LORD VISHNU ADVISES LORD BRAHMA TO GO TO PURUSHOTTAM KSHETRA

The Sages asked---'O revered sage! We would like to know more about Purushottam Kshetra, where there is a majestic wooden idol of Lord Vishnu.'

Sage Jaimini replied--The sacrosanct place of Purushottam Kshetra is graced by the presence of Lord Jagannath. During ancient times, Lord Varah had rescued Prithvi from the clutches of Hiranyaksha--the mighty demon who had abducted her to Rasatala. After Prithvi had been established in its original position, Lord Brahma commenced his creations. Lord Brahma wondered about the means by which human beings could get liberated from three major types of sorrow---Adhyatmic (spiritual), Adhidaivik (deities wrath), Adhibhantik (related with this world). He sought the help of Lord Vishnu who eulogized the greatness of Purushottam Kshetra and advised him to go there. Lord Vishnu said-- 'Purushottam Kshetra is situated at the sea-shore, to the south of river Mahanadi. This sacroscant place of mine does not get affected by deluge. I dwell at this holiest place as 'Lord Purushottam'. There is a holy pond called Rohin in the vicinity. Anybody who takes a holy dip in that pond gets absolved of all his sins. O Brahma! You must pay a visit to Purushottam kshetra where spending a day bestows virtues greater than all the austerities combined together.'
This way,Lord Brahma went to Purushottam kshetra as per the instructions of Lord Vishnu.

MARKANDEYA EULOGIZES VISHNU

Lord Brahma soon after reaching Purushottam kshetra sat down and started meditating. He was so engrossed in his meditation that he remained in that state for a very long time. This resulted into total chaos as Yamaraj found that his power of causing death had no effect on people living in Purushottam kshetra. Worried as he was, Yamaraj rushed towards Neelachal mountain and sought Lord Vishnu's intervention in the matter.

Lord Vishnu smiled and signaled goddess Laxmi to say something. Goddess Laxmi said--'O Suryanandan! Anybody residing at this holy place is freed from the vicious cycles of birth and death after becoming absolved of all his sins. This is the reason why you are experiencing this unusual problem. The whole world except this holy place will come into your jurisdiction.'

Yamaraj was amazed by this revelation so he asked Laxmi--'I would like to know why such a privilege is being given to this place?'

Laxmi replied--'O Ravinandan! At the time of deluge when the whole world was submerged in the water sage Markandeya was struggling to find a secure place for his survival. Although he was blessed with an unusually long life of seven kalpas but still he needed a place to live in. He started swimming and finally managed to reach Purushottam kshetra, which had remained unscathed by the turbulence of the deluge. There he saw a divine tree called 'Akshay Vat'. Markandeya continued to swim along the coast wondering how that place had managed to remain unaffected by deluge when the whole world had been submerged. Suddenly he heard a voice, which appeared to be coming from the direction of the Akshay Vat--'O Markandeya! Don't worry! Take my refuge and you shall be protected.'

Markandeya was very surprised and looked all around. He kept on swimming and saw Lord Vishnu, who was engrossed in his yoga nidra in ksheer sagar. I (Laxmi) was also present there. Markandeya eulogized Vishnu in the following way--'Salutations to the supreme lord- the source of all creations! O Jagannath! Protect me from getting drowned.'

Lord Vishnu opened his eyes and found Markandeya gasping for breath. On realizing the gravity of the situation he said--'Raise your head and look at the top of this Kalpa Vat. You would find an infant sleeping on a leaf of the Kalpa Vat. The infant is none other than Kaal himself. You should enter inside his (Kaal's) body through his opened mouth and live peacefully as there is no other place for you to live in.'

Markandeya entered into Kaal's body as per the instructions given by Lord Vishnu and was amazed by the expanse of his belly, which appeared like a bottomless pit. He also saw all the fourteen Bhuvans existing within Kaal's belly including all the creatures-deities, sages, siddhas, gandharvas, etc. Markandeya wandered all over the place and after getting tired came out through Kaal's opened mouth. He found Lord Vishnu was still present there accompanied by his consort-Laxmi. Markandeya made salutations to both of them and narrated his experiences he had inside Kaal's belly.Lord Vishnu blessed him and made a revelation--' The place you had visited few moments ago is beyond the limits of creation or deluge. The name of this holiest place is Purushottam kshetra and it is my permanent abode for I do not leave it even for a moment.'Markandeya was very impressed and requested Lord Vishnu to allow him to live there. Lord Vishnu replied--' O Brahmarishi! I shall remain at Purushottam-kshetra till the end of this kalpa. I shall also create a sacrosanct place, which would enable you to become immortal.'

Sage Markandeya then dug up a reservoir with the help of Vishnu's chakra. He did an austere penance to please lord Maheshwar as the result of which he was indeed blessed with immortality. In course of time, this reservoir became famous as 'Markandeya kund'.

HOLY PLACES IN THE VICINITY OF PURUSHOTTAM - KSHETRA

Dwelling in length upon the majesty of Purushottam kshetra, goddess Laxmi said--Purushottam kshetra resembles a conch in shape and is graced by the presence of lord Shiva. Towards its north is situated a temple of lord Neelkanth. A famous shiva linga named Kapal mochan is also situated in the vicinity. One who makes a pilgrimage to Kapalmochan becomes liberated from gravest of sins. A temple of goddess Vimla devi is also situated nearby.

Purushottam kshetra is considered to be supreme among all the places of pilgrimage and for this very reason it is aptly named 'Teerth Raj'. A divine pond called Rohin kund is also situated nearby. Anybody who takes a holy dip there is freed from the vicious cycles of birth and death. It is believed that the increased level of water at the time of deluge ultimately recedes and disappears into this pond.

Goddess Laxmi said--' O Dhanraj! This holy place is beyond your jurisdiction because people living there never experience death. It is well protected by eight goddesses from all the eight directions. The names of these eight goddesses are Mangla, Lamba, Kaalratri, Marichika, Vimla, Sarvamangla, Ardhashini and Chandrupa. How can lord Rudra be absent when Rudrani has manifested herself in eight forms, so, he has manifested himself in eight different forms as well- Kapalmochan, Kshetrapal, Yameshwar, Markandeyeshwar, Ishan, Bilveshwar, Neelkanth, and Vateshwar.While describing the majesty of Purushottam kshetra, goddess Laxmi revealed to lord Brahma--' In the coming satya yuga there would be a king named Indradyumna and would be famous for his unflinching devotion in lord Vishnu. Being pleased by the king's devotion, lord Vishnu would ultimately manifest himself from a wooden structure to bless him. Vishwakarma would then carve out four idols (Jagannath, Balbhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan chakra) from the wooden block all of which would be installed by none other than you (Brahma).'

Once, while sage Jaimini was describing the greatness of Purushottam kshetra to the assembled sages, all of them curiously asked him--

' Where is Purushottam kshetra situated ?
Jaimini replied --' Utkal is situated at the eastern coast of Bharatvarsha. At the time of deluge, when everything gets submerged in water Utkal remains unaffected and it is the very place from where the knowledge of the Vedas spread in all directions. The residents of Utkal are not only learned but also very prosperous. There is not a single person in this land who is not a devotee of lord Vishnu. All the people belonging to the four prominent castes (Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra) diligently follow their respective dharma. This holy place never experiences natural calamities of any kind.'

Sage Jaimini then went on to narrate the tale of king Indradyumna to all the assembled sages --

'In satya yuga there lived a noble and virtuous king named Indradyumna, who ruled over the province of Malva. He was a great devotee of lord Vishnu. One day, while worshipping in a temple, he asked the priest-I have a wish, which still remains unfulfilled. I have a deep desire of seeing lord Jagannath with my mortal eyes. Is there any means with the help of which I can get my wish fulfilled?

The royal priest had no answer to the king's query so he kept quiet.Suddenly, he saw a group of pilgrims coming towards the temple. He thought that perhaps one of them might be having an answer to the king's query. When the pilgrims arrived at the temple, the royal priest posed the same question to them. One of the pilgrims answered--' There is a place called Odhra, where is situated a grand temple of lord Jagannath. This sacrosanct place is also famously known as Purushottam kshetra and is situated at the foothills of the Neelachal mountain. There is a holy pond called Rohin situated nearby. At the eastern bank of this pond is situated a majestic temple of lord Vasudev. The idol of lord Vasudev is made of 'Indraneel' diamond. To the west of this temple lies 'Shabardeep' hermitage, from where starts a path leading to Jagannath temple.'

Having said this, the pilgrim disappeared from everybody's sight. Not only Indradyumna but all the pilgrims were equally amazed by his sudden disappearance. Indradyumna was convinced that lord Jagannath had himself come there in the guise of a pilgrim. Now, his desire of visiting Purushottam kshetra became even more intense. Indradyumna instructed his priest to find out the exact location of Purushottam kshetra by sending somebody over there. Later on, the priest went home and sought the help of Vidyapati-his younger brother in this regard. Vidyapati readily agreed to help his brother and one fine day he proceeded on his journey with a select group of his trusted friends.

After a long and arduous journey all of them reached 'Ekamravan' forest, situated at the foothills of Neelachal mountain. The thought of being so near their destination made everybody extremely excited. But, despite their best of efforts they could not find Shabardeep ashram. Being tired, all of them decided to take rest for a while and then recommence their efforts to find out the location of Shabardeep hermitage. Finding a huge tree, all of them took rest under the shade of that tree. Suddenly, they heard a heavenly voice, which appeared to be coming from the western direction. They followed the voice and reached Shabardeep ashram in a short time. There they saw a large gathering of devotees. One of the devotees, whose name was Vishvavasu, curiously asked Vidyapati--'It is not easy to reach this place. From where are you coming and where do you intend to go? You must be tired--wait, till I return with some refreshment for all of you.'

Vidyapati was not in a mood to waste his time, as he was aware that Indradyumna was eagerly waiting for him to return. He told Vishvavasu-- I have a difficult mission to accomplish so, I am not in a position to waste my time. I am the younger brother of the royal priest of king Indradyumna. The king has vowed not to have a single morsel of food till he makes a pilgrimage to Purushottam kshetra. He has sent me with a specific purpose of finding the exact location of Purushottam kshetra and the easiest route leading to it. So, help me reach the temple of lord Jagannath as soon as possible.'

VIDYAPATI EULOGIZES LORD NEELMADHAV

Vishvavasu told Vidyapati--' I have heard this prophesy of Indradyumna's possible arrival at Purushottam kshetra in the near future. Not only that, I have also heard that Indradyumna would become so impressed with Purushottam kshetra that he would settle down there for good after renouncing everything.'

Vishvavasu then requested Vidyapati to follow him and started negotiating the steep heights of Neelachal mountain. Vidyapati followed him through the curvy and arduous paths of the mountain. Having walked for sometime, Vishvavasu pointed towards a pond and said--This pond is famously known as Rohin kund. The kalpa vat that you see towards the east of this pond is considered to be so sacrosanct that a sinner becomes liberated of all his sins once he comes under its shade. Lord Jagannath's temple is situated between Rohin kund and the kalpa vat. Go ahead and have a darshan of lord Jagannath for whom you have undertaken such an arduous travel.

Vidyapati's joys knew no bounds as he had been waiting for this moment for a long time. First he purified himself by taking a holy dip in Rohin kund and then went inside the temple to worship lord Jagannath. He worshipped lord Jagannath by chanting the sacred pranav mantra.After the worship was over, Vishvavasu requested Vidyapatito visit his place which was nearby. Vidyapati agreed and accompanied Vishvavasu to his place. Vidyapati was given a royal treat by his host, which made him wonder as to how could Vishvavasu arrange all the luxurious things at such a remote place. He could not control himself and asked Vishvavasu-- Even a king would have found it difficult to treat his guest as lavishly like you! I am amazed how you could make arrangements for all these things at a remote and secluded place like this! How do you manage this?

Vishvavasu replied-- It is not as difficult as you believe. Since Purushottam kshetra is a sacrosanct place and it is frequently visited by the deities who make divine offerings to lord Jagannath. I collect the residuals of whatever is offered to Jagannath from the temple and bring it home. So, I really don't have to make any special efforts to accumulate divine food stuffs. On account of eating these divine food stuffs, not only we have been blessed by eternal youth but also we are never troubled by old age.Vidyapati was very impressed and requested Vishvavasu to become his friend. He also reminded Vishvavasu that he wanted to return as soon as possible so that the king could go on a pilgrimage to Purushottam kshetra. But, Vishvavasu made a shocking disclosure to Vidyapati and said-- King Indradyumna will never be able to have a divine glimpse of lord Jagannath as the lord is soon going to disappear. But, don't disclose this fact to the king otherwise he would get disheartened and abandon his plan of making a pilgrimage to Purushottam kshetra. Finally, when the king in his utter frustration would try to end his life after not being able to have a divine glimpse of Neelmadhav, the most gracious lord will appear in his dream and instruct him to get constructed four wooden idols of Jagannath, Balbhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan chakra.

Having accomplished his mission, Vidyapati proceeded on his return journey and once again he visited Purushottam kshetra, which fell on the way. He picked up a garland, which had been offered to Neelmadhav by some deity.Finally, when he reached Malwa he found king Indradyumna eagerly waiting for him. After presenting the garland to the king, he narrated his experiences he had at Purushottam kshetra--' O king! Lord Jagannath's idol is made of Neelmani diamond and is very ancient. Even the deities have deep regards and undiluted reverence for lord Jagannath and are frequent visitors to Purushottam Kshetra. The garland, which I have given you, was in fact had been offered to Lord Jagannath by the deities- these flowers do not wither and have fragrance lasting for eternity. Purushottam kshetra remains untouched by old age, sorrow or disease and gives salvation to anybody, who goes on a pilgrimage over there.'

INDRADYUMNA LEAVES FOR PURUSHOTTAM KSHETRA

Indradyumna had been waiting for this moment for a long time- the moment when he would get a chance to go on a pilgrimage to Purushottam kshetra. Revealing his great plan to Vidyapati, he said--' Now, the time has finally come for me to go on a pilgrimage to Purushottam kshetra. I also intend to develop that holy place as a prominent place of pilgrimage. I would shift my subject to that holy place and perform one hundred Ashwamedha yagyas once I reach there. I also intend to devote rest of my life in the worship of Lord Jagannath.'

While the conversation was going on, the ever wandering sage-Narad, arrived there and informed Indradyumna how pleased were the deities after learning of his holy intention of developing Purushottam kshetra into a major place of pilgrimage. Narad also dwelt on length on the virtues of Jagannath's worship. Indradyumna, thinking that Narad might prove to be of great help during the course of pilgrimage because of his vast travelling experience, requested him to accompany him to Purushottam kshetra. Narad readily agreed to accompany the king and said--' O king! I shall reveal to you the importance of all the holy places that we come across in the course of our pilgrimage.'

Finally, king Indradyumna left for Purushottam kshetra followed by a large procession, that consisted of his subject, all the ministers and army officers. The entourage touched the bank of river Mahanadi by evening. Deciding to take rest and spend the night there, king Indradyumna first took his bath and then worshipped Lord Jagannath. After the king had taken his bath, all the rest of the people also took their bath and then everybody sat down to have their dinner. After the meal was over, while Indradyumna was busy discussing with his ministers on the future course of action, somebody came with the news that the king of Utkal had arrived. Indradyumna ordered the messenger to bring the esteemed guest with all the honour and respect. The king of Utkal arrived and broke a disturbing news-- ' Indradyumna, I am afraid your intention of having a divine glimpse of Lord Jagannath is not going to fructify as lord Neelmadhav has presently concealed himself beneath a huge heap of sand caused by a ferocious sandstorm. The fallout of this inauspicious incident has been extremely adverse on my kingdom-- as my people are experiencing acute famine.

Indradyumna was shocked, especially the thought of not getting a chance to have a divine glimpse of lord Neelmadhav made him dejected- he saw all his efforts going in vain. But, Narad consoled him by saying --' Don't worry! Lord Neelmadhav is extremely merciful and he will certainly give you an opportunity to have his divine glimpse.'

INDRADYUMNA REACHES 'EKAMRACHHETRA'

Continuing with the tale of Indradyumna, sage Jaimini told all the sages--' Next morning, Indradyumna and his entourage crossed Mahanadi on boats and reached Ekamrachhetra where they worshipped lord Purushottam. After that they worshipped on their onwards journey and reached Kotishwar Mahalaya where they worshipped lord Tribhuneshwar with appropriate rituals. Lord Tribhuneshwar appeared after becoming pleased and blessed Indradyumna that his wish of seeing lord Jagannath was soon going to be fulfilled. Lord Tribhuneshwar then instructed Narad--' O great soul! After reaching Purushottam kshetra, help Indradyumna perform one hundred yagyas as per the instructions given by lord Brahma. I along with goddess Durga, dwell at the entrance of conch shaped Purushottam kshetra. Although, presently lord Jagannath has concealed himself beneath a heap of sand yet very soon he is going to manifest himself. Indradyumna should get constructed a magnificent temple of lord Jagannath at the same place, where once existed his idol and presently which is hidden beneath the heap of sand. Later on, Vishwakarma would then carve out four idols from a single piece of wood, which would subsequently be installed by Lord Brahma himself. Finally, Indradyumna's wish of seeing lord Jagannath would get fulfilled.

Narad assured lord Tribhuneshwar that all his instructions would be followed in letter and spirit. The procession then left for the place indicated by Lord Tribhuneshwar.

INDRADYUMNA EULOGIZES LORD NEELMADHAV

After reaching the temple of Neelkanth-Mahadev, all of them worshipped Mahadev and Durga. They then visited the temple of lord Nrisimha, situated under a sandalwood tree at the foothills of Neelachal mountain.King Indradyumna was anxiously waiting for the moment he would have a divine glimpse of lord Jagannath. He requested Narad to take him to the place where Jagannath had hidden himself beneath the heap of sand. Narad took him near a Banyan tree and said--' Look at this huge Banyan tree that is two yojans in height and whose trunk is spread in the area of one yojan. To the north of this Banyan tree and to the north of Nrisimha temple lies the place where lord Neelmadhav used to have his dwelling sometime ago but who has presently concealed himself. Now, the time is not very far when you would see lord Jagannath with your mortal eyes.'

Indradyumna bowed in reverence to the place where lord Jagannath was supposed to re-manifest himself in the near future. He eulogized the lord as if he were already present there and this was true as Jagannath's idol was indeed present there albeit hidden beneath heaps of sand. He prayed--' O lord! You are the one in whom every living creature ultimately takes refuge. My only wish is to be able to see your idol, which is presently hidden beneath heaps of sand.'Hardly had Indradyumna finished his prayer when he heard a heavenly voice--'O king! Do not worry! The day is not far when you would see me with your mortal eyes. You just need to follow Narad's instructions and your wish will be fulfilled.

NARAD INSTALLS THE IDOL OF NRISIMHA

Narad told Indradyumna--' Now, we should install an idol of lord Nrisimha near Neelkanth's temple for this is the very place where you will be performing one thousand Ashwamedh Yagyas in the days to come. So, your first priority should be to get constructed a magnificent temple of lord Nrisimha. I plan to stay here for five more days as Vishwakarma will be needing my help in carving out the idol of lord Nrisihma.'

Leaving Narad alone near the Neelkanth temple, Indradyumna went near the sandalwood tree, which was at a little distance from the temple, and was surprised to find Sughat- Vishwakarma's son waiting for him. He requested Sughat to construct a grand temple with its main entrance facing west. Sughat constructed the temple within four days. On the fifth day, Narad arrived there with an idol of lord Nrisimha, which had been carved out by Vishwakarma. An auspicious day was chosen for installing the idol. After the idol had been installed, every body including king Indradyumna, Narad as well as the people accompanying the procession worshipped Lord Narsimha.

INDRADYUMNA PERFORMS ASHWAMEDHA YAGYAS

Sages, who had been listening to the tale narrated by Jaimini with rapt attention till then asked--' What did Indradyumna next do after the idol of Lord Nrisimha had been installed?'

Sage Jaimini replied--' After the idol of Lord Nrisimha had been installed, Indradyumna began making preparations for Ashwamedha yagya. He sent invitations to all the deities, learned brahmins and sages. When everybody arrived, he made a special request to Indra to remain present at the oblation site till the completion of one thousand Ashwamedha yagyas.Indra assured Indradyumna of his full cooperation and advised him to go ahead with his plan of accomplishing one thousand Ashwamedha yagyas. Finally, Indradyumna performed the first yagya under the supervision of learned priests. This way, he was able to successfully accomplish nine hundred and ninety nine yagyas without any problem. Finally, when the last Ashwamedha yagya was being performed, Indradyumna had a divine glimpse of Lord Vishnu while he was engrossed in his meditation. Indradyumna narrated his experience to Narad to which he got a reply that it was a good omen, which proved that the king was going to see Lord Jagannath with his mortal eyes.