Bandhu Mohanty  

Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimad Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!

This true story of Bandhu Mohanty was recorded in Madala Panji, the temple record book in the year 1818 AD.

Bandhu Mohanty was from Jajpur, which is in between Cuttack and Balasore in Orissa. He was a great devotee of Lord Jagannath. Being very poor it was hard for him to take care of his wife and two sons. But he was always assuring his wife that he had a great friend who would take care of him.

Bandhu Mohanty had no regular means to maintain his family except by begging. Once during a harsh famine period, they spent two days without any food. Aggrieved by the cries of her hungry boys, his wife asked that why he was not going to his rich friend of whom he was so proud. The friend about whom Bandhu Mohanty mentioned was Lord Jagannath, but his wife did not realize the essence of what her husband was saying all the time. So his wife compelled him to go to the house of the friend whosoever he was. Bandhu Mohanty did not know what to do and finally thought to take his family to Lord Jagannath’s temple in Puri.

In those days, tt was very troublesome to travel from Jajpur to Puri which is more than 140 km away. They had to walk through the thorny jungle path which takes more than 4 days. Somehow they were able to reach the holy abode of Lord Jagannath in Puri by the arrangement of Lord Jagannath.

It was night already. Their two little sons were crying for food. They came just near the temple. Bandhu Mohanty consoled his wife saying. "My friend's palace is so big. He is very rich but it is not right to disturb him now that it is so late in the night. We will go tomorrow."  He told everyone to go to sleep and they would go in the morning to the friends’ place to ask for some help. All slept, being weak, hungry, tired and sad. But his wife did not sleep.

After a while a tall dark-complexioned but beautiful man came with a large try loaded with plenty of food and gave it to the wife and disappeared from her vision. She fed her sons and when Bandhu Mohanty woke up and heard everything from his wife, he was ecstatic with the feeling of love and reverence for Lord and told her that it was none other but the Lord himself.

Early the next morning, Lord Jagannath’s pujaris opened the temple doors. Everybody was busy with their individual services. When they opened the store room they discovered the golden plate of Lord Jagannath was missing. The plate had been stolen! The pujaris reported the theft to temple management and the police arrested all the pujaris and beat them up, thinking that it could only have been a pujari who had stolen the plate from inside the store room.

It happened that by chance some people saw one person along with his family sleeping near the south gate of the temple. They could see the golden plate wrapped in his cloth. The plate was dazzling in the sunshine. Immediately several people caught hold of Bandhu Mohanty. They bound him with ropes, beat him severely and took away the golden plate.

Bandhu Mohanty and his wife both explained how brahmin gave them this plate filled with prasada in the middle of the night. After eating he went to return the plate to the brahmin but could not find him, and that was how the plate ended up with in his belongings. Bandhu Mohanty and his wife appealed to the police: “We are not at fault. Why are you all beating us without any fault?” But nobody cared for what they said. He was arrested and put in prison.

In the prison, Bandhu Mohanty fixed his mind on Lord Jagannath and started to offer prayers: “Dear Lord Jagannath, I am the greatest sinful person in this universe. You are an ocean of mercy. There is no one as sinful as me, and there is no one like You, the great deliverer of the fallen souls. Whatever You wish to do with me, please do it. I have no other shelter than You.” Thinking like this he meditated upon the lotus feet of the Lord.

That night the benevolent Lord Jagannath appeared in the King’s dream and ordered him to release Bandhu Mohanty immediately and take care of his family and give them His service. The Lord said to the King “he is my devotee and now my guest. Respect him with all hospitality”.

Next day King bowed down to Bandhu Mohanty and begged forgiveness for his offense. He was then given royal reception and also the service of Lord as a cook in the temple kitchen.

Even now, descendents of Bandhu Mohanty are the main cooks in the kitchen of the temple and they daily offer food to Lord Jagannath on a golden tray.


Jai Jagannath !!

Jai Gurudev !

Jai jai Shri Radhey Shyam !