About this Blog

This Blog is a collection of excerpts from talks given by Sri Swami Vishwananda. Please note that this Blog does not focus on dates, background and the exact original way of how Swamiji delivered the speech. We edit the talks slightly, presenting them in a kind of “poetic” format. This means we choose certain paragraphs from a talk which reflect a particular theme.
Read them as pieces of Divine Wisdom, meditate upon the words and just feel how Swamiji is addressing you with His words.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The rich merchant and Lord Jagannath

Sri Swami Vishwananda: There is a story of a very rich merchant.
In India, there is a place called Puri, and there is a temple for Lord Krishna in the form of Jagannath.
He is an aspect of Krishna, a funny one.
Every year, there is a big festival where they bring the Deities out and carry them in the street.
Millions of people gather there.
All the people, even the King, would go and help to clean the street where they would be bringing the chariot of the Lord.
It happened that one day, a very rich merchant came to Jagannath and, seeing the Lord together with his brother Balaram and sister Subhadra, he said to himself “This is just a mere wooden statue with big eyes and a big smile; it´s just a black statue.”
Then he said, very proudly, “I will show how wealthy I am and I will give one hundred thousand rupees.”
So he went to the priest and said, “Priest, I will donate one hundred thousand rupees to the temple to feed the Lord, but I have one condition: you have to use all this money for the food.”
Prasadam for Lord Jagannath
The priest thought, “How will I use one hundred thousand rupees only for the food? Even if I use the best ghee and all the best ingredients to make the prasad for the Lord, still the money will not be finished.”
So, all the priests gathered together and started discussing “How could we finish one hundred thousand rupees for the prasad of the Lord?”
Finally the high priest came to a conclusion: he said “OK, it seems that we can’t take any decision, but let Lord Jagannath Himself, Let Krishna Himself take the decision.”
They went to the merchant and said “Listen, we haven´t come to a conclusion, but we will let the Lord Himself decide which kind of prasad He would like to have. Meanwhile, please stay with us until the Lord Himself tells us what kind of prasad He wants.”
Three days went by and then the high priest had a dream.
In this dream, Lord Jagannath appeared to him and told him what to say to the merchant.
Of course, the Lord knew the pride which was inside the merchant and in which way he was offering the prasad to Him.
So, finally, the priest went to the merchant and said to him “The Lord has come in my dream and said what kind of prasad He would like to have.”
The merchant said very proudly “Yes, tell me.”

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu doing Puja
The priest said “The Lord has demanded some betel leaves with some paste inside.” Then the merchant said “What? He wants only these leaves. But this is nothing.”
So the priest said “Wait, I am not finished. The Lord has asked that inside these betel leaves there should be pearl powder. They should be smeared with the finest
ground pearl powder.”
And the merchant said, “Still, this is nothing for me.” But the priest said, “Yes, but the Lord said another thing also, these pearls that you will use should not be just ordinary pearls, they have to be pearls which come under the skin of the
forehead of an elephant.”
Then the arrogant merchant started to think “Yes, but how many elephants will I have to buy to be able to get just one pearl? I am offering one hundred thousand, but it will cost more than that.”
He realised that he could not offer to Lord Jagannath what He was asking.
At that moment he threw his very expensive turban at the feet of Jagannath, kneeled down and said to the Lord “Please, forgive me. Out of pride, I tried to bribe you. I know I can’t give you anything which is in the outside, but I offer you my heart.”
And he changed completely.
A few days later the Lord appeared to him in his dream and said “I am very pleased with your heart and this is the only thing that I want: a heart which is full of love and devotion.”

If you would like to read more inspiring stories containing a deep spiritual message, you might be interested in the following book: Just Love

In this video you get a glimpse of the famous Ratha Yatra, the wagon procession, in which the devotees carry  Lord Jagannath , which was held in Orissa in the year 2007: click here . There are also more videos online.

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