Lord Jagannath is the title of a book authored by Dr Prasanna Kumar Patasani. It is a collection of free flowing poetry and prose which expresses the author’s deep devotion and gratitude towards Lord Jagannath. The book is interspersed with lot of photographs representing the symbols and emblems associated with Lord Jagannath, and also Lord Jagannath’s brother Lord Balabhadra and their sister Goddess Subhadra.
Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and their sister reside in the holy abode of Puri (Dham) in Odisha, the eastern Indian state lapped by Bay of Bengal. Puri is famous for the ‘festival of chariots’- when the deities of the temple emerge out of the temple and move in a chariot procession – a time where moksha can be achieved. The author mentions:
‘Puri, where my Lord resides,
is one of the Char Dham pilgrimages,
a scared tirtha,
where the lord is splendidly
manifested in a spiritual form of timber.
My dusty journey terminates
in elation today.’
The book has photographs of Lord Jagannath Daru features found in the nature such as in creatures and in the trees: Shankha (conch), Chakra (wheel), Gada (mace), Padma (lotus), Chaksu (eye), Singha (lion), Devi (goddess), Mangalik (Shiva Mandir), Termite (nest), Tarun gaha (tree), Bel tree, Ulluka (owl) Gaja (elephant), Sarpa (snake), Trishula (trident), Kasturi Mriga (deer). The opening verse of the book is:
‘O Lord Jagannath
When Life seems unfair and uncertain,
Somehow I get the ability to ease
the pain and get an astonishing
amount of vigour that carries me
through the difficult times and
a wonderful sense of pride turns my agony into smiles.’
The Hindu Indian religious belief is that Lord Jagannath is the glorious lord of the universe. Dr Prasanna Kumar Patasani evokes his devotion to the lord and the faith in Him to ease him through the rough and tumble of life.
‘In the warmth of the ascending sun,
I have grown many branches
spread on all sides,
with leaves sprouting in every place.
A feeling of contentment prevails
as I look at my enormous trunk,
so great, standing upright, gallant and bold
with my arms open wide
to sacrifice my life and fall to the Earth
in silent submission,
my heart blossoms with gratitude.’
The free verses of the poet teases out the beauty around human beings and how the poet rejoices with contentment:
‘A grateful heart is all that I need
To let you know that I’m rejoiced.
Lord, no one else in the world could
have given me this solace, tranquility.
‘I lie with pride, adorned with
If not for my Lord,
where would I be…
…You have blessed me
I’m thankful that in my heart lives
life’s greatest treasure.’
By writing this book, Dr Prasanna Kumar Patasani also completes his inward pilgrimage which he mentions in the last two verses:
‘The Lord has entered my soul.
I make a pilgrimage within myself.
I am purified.
‘You found me proficient
and let me lose myself in you.
My pilgrimage is made,
I am cleansed and pious.
You won’t find the truth by just
crossing your legs and
holding your breath.
I have surrendered to my Lord
who glanced at me, with
his large radiant eyes.’
Dr Prasanna Kumar Patasani is a philosopher, author, poet, yoga expert and a politician. He was consecutively elected to the state legislature in Odisha and to the Lower House of the Indian Parliament from 1998-2019. He was born on 27 April 1946 in Khurda, Odisha, India.