From an Evening Darsana with His Divine Grace Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja
(Originally printed in the Krsna-Balaram Temple Newsletter Issue number 6, 1992)
“…You see that Mango grove there? When I first came here to erect this hut, I stayed there. There was nothing here. It was all dark. No electricity, no residence, it was all jungle. There was a very small mud hut here. I was staying alone, writing by lantern at night, chanting Hare Krsna and cooking my own food. I stayed there in that solitary place. There were many, many ghosts. When I chanted Hare Krsna, all fled. Notice, there are now some houses, but this was all a solitary place then, the whole area. If you chant Hare Krsna, then Krsna is there. When Krsna is there, then gradually everything will be there. One day, my Guru Maharaja came here, when it was still a jungle. For the first time I had brought electricity and one water pipe to that hut. My Guru Maharaja stayed in that mud hut for sixteen days. He did not go to the Government Guesthouse I had arranged; he refused, ‘No, no, I won’t go, I’ll stay here.’ There was nothing here, but he chanted Hare Krsna and spoke krsna-katha for 16 days. Many people came. This land became purified. Sadhu came, and the land became tirtha. So from that day it began to develop. At this time also, my Guru Maharaja said that this would be the centre of the city, now it has become so, you see? He had such foresight, he could see.
A plot of land becomes very, very glorified if a sadhu stays there, glorified land. Vasundhara dhanya, janani krtartha, the mother who has given birth to such a sadhu, who has carried such a sadhu within her womb, is a real mother. In contrast, others are like hogs, producing children who only eat stool. So if you produce children who eat stool, you are a hog, not a mother. Produce a sadhu, carry a sadhu in your womb, then your motherhood is perfect.
I was saying, how in Mayapur, Lord Siva invited my Guru Maharaja, ‘Please come, please come to this ksetra.’ My Guru Maharaja had developed some sort of sulkiness, so he was not intending to come here. Lord Siva, who is a great Vaisnava says:
namasya madr samsada
‘The sadhu who has taken birth in this material world, in the body consisting of five gross elements, he is a very great devotee of the Lord. He is worshipped even by me. I worship such a person, I pay my respects to him.’ Siva says, ‘He is so dear; I am not so dear as he is dear.’ (Brhad-bhagavatamrta 1.3.54)
So when my Guru Maharaja developed some sulkiness, he would not come here. Lord Siva repeatedly requested, ‘Please, O Bhaktivedanta Swami, please come, please come.’ At last he accepted Lord Siva’s request.* So he came here to this Siva-ksetra, which is the entrance to the Purusottama-ksetra. So Bhaktivedanta Swami came to this place. He stayed at the entrance, and thought of building this Krsna-Balaram temple at the entrance of the ksetra.
*It has also been said by His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja that he was personally present when Lord Siva came to see Srila Prabhupada to invite him to Bhubaneswar and to Sri Jagannatha Puri.
The Significance of Bhubaneswar
Now this desire has taken shape, hasn’t it? Anyone who comes to enter this ksetra, he must first visit this temple of Bhubaneswar, ‘O nice temple here!’ First he must pass through the entrance, then he enters Sri Ksetra, the nabhi, the middle portion, and sees Jagannatha. At the entrance Lord Siva is welcoming you, ‘Come, come.’ Siva is welcoming you here. So Srila Prabhupada did not think of opening a temple at Jagannatha Puri, he first thought of building a temple at the entrance. ‘No, I’ll do that first, then the next thing is, Puri in the future.’ First the entrance, a nice gate, ‘See, nice ksetra, let me enter into it.’ This is the significance of Bhubaneswar.
To this place of pilgrimage, tirtha, dhama, Mahaprabhu came. When He came, He first entered here, He visited the Lingaraja temple – Lord Siva. He danced there, did kirtana, took bath in that Bindhu Sarovara. He visited Lord Siva. Lord Siva is a great devotee, he is ksetra-pala – one who guards the ksetra. Before entering the ksetra, you must see ksetra–pala and receive his permission. ‘O Lord, please let me enter.’ ‘All right.’ So devotees are cordially invited, welcomed. Lord Siva with folded hands says, ‘Please come and see Jagannätha …’
All the history of this ksetra is mentioned in the Skanda Purana, in the Utkala-khanda; there is a special volume. Sri Ksetra, Jagannatha, there is everything mentioned about this ksetra. To circumambulate this Sri Ksetra, first you must approach Lord Siva. If you avoid Him, then you will commit an offence. Your dhama-vasa and parikrama will not be fruitful.
So this is a very famous ksetra. This climate is very nice. The water is very nice. Bhubaneswar water is very famous, this Kedar-Gouri water. Srila Prabhupada took everyday the water here. He got some relief, so he stayed here so many days. Also, when he was very, very sick in Vrndavan during his last days, he asked for this water. We sent it to Vrndavan. We brought that water for him every day. Have you seen that place? It is in old Bhubaneswar, where the Lingaraja, the Lord Siva temple is. Many Siva temples are there, but Lingaraja is the biggest and the first temple. Kedaresvara is one of the lingas, and Gouri is his wife. Their temple is known as Kedar-Gouri. The water from the well there is very good for the stomach.
When I came to Orissa, after my Guru Maharaja sent me, I first went to Cuttack, then came here to old Bhubaneswar, where I stayed in two dharma-salas there; one week in one, one week in the other. It was very close to that Lingaraja temple. I came here on foot, such a long way I walked to find a place to stay, to see where to erect a hut, here on this land. You see, just in front of the mango grove, in another mud hut. Then I erected this mud hut. Its shape was not as it is now. Now it is nice looking. Originally the bricks were set up with mud, loose. In that room Prabhupada stayed sixteen days…”