Lord Jagannath by Dr Prasanna Kumar Patasani

Lord Jagannath by Dr Prasanna Kumar Patasani

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.

And contentment.’

‘I lie with pride, adorned with

sacred signs,

If not for my Lord,

where would I be…

…You have blessed me

Beyond measure.

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.

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