BHUBANESWAR: Everyone knows a thing or two about the elaborate ‘56 Bhoga’ offered to Lord Jagannath. How many have actually seen them all together?
Though devotees have had the opportunity of experiencing many ‘beshas’ of the holy Trinity, ‘Raghunatha Besha’ is something people have only heard of. Last time the deities were adorned in ‘Raghunatha Besha’ was in 1905. So grand and expansive are the nitty-gritties associated with the Lord’s daily life, rituals and festivals that myths and legends abound. Come January 9 and the Sri Jagannath Sanskruti Parishad will to bring to public a whole gamut of authentic information about the deities, their rituals, festivities and worshipping as coded in religious scriptures such as Skanda Purana through a six-day festival called Sri Jagannath Mahotsav in the City.
A first of its kind event, the Mahotsav will showcase various facets of Jagannath Culture at Shivananda Centenary Boys High School near Khandagiri. It will be inaugurated by Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati with Puri King Gajapati Dibya Singh Deb in attendance.
The first two days will see convergence of spiritual leaders and religious scholars from across the country to deliberate on unification of Jagannath Temples at a national conference. Senior officials of the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration, sevayats, religious gurus of Mukti Mandap and scholars from 500 temples will attend the conference and exchange ideas about how to bring uniformity on the ritualistic codes.
There will be an exhibition on ‘56 Bhoga’ as visitors and devotees will be given a first hand knowledge about what the deities are actually offered for ‘maha prasad’.
Another exhibition will showcase the various ‘beshas’ of Lord Jagannath and his divine siblings and people can actually form an idea about ‘Raghunatha Besha’ which is believed to be a very expensive affair.
A photo exhibition on Nabakalebara and books on the deities will also be highlight of the Mahotsav. “We all know Jagannath through the legends. This event will present how the religious texts present the deities, the aim being universalising Jagannath Culture,” president of Sri Jagannath Sanskruti Parishad Gopinath Mohanty told mediapersons.
The five days will also see Baba Sachchidananda Das Maharaj, head of Jhanjipita Mutt, Puri delivering in Odia the ‘Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya,’ a part of Skanda Purana. Similarly, Sri Jagannath Bhakti Sarita will be recited by Swami Madhabananda Saraswati of Ranchi-based Chinmay Mission.