Pastimes of the Lord with devotees in Rajapur
For reasons mysterious to most, the Lord appears and disappears according to His own sweet will. Indeed He himself states that one who understands the mystery of His appearance and activities does not take birth again in the material world. Legend has it that after the demise of Jagadish Ganguli, the Lord being dissatisfied with the standards of His worship, which was almost totally neglected, decided to close His manifest pastimes. Appearing through a dream He said a typhoid epidemic was imminent and that everyone should leave the village, which they did, save for the temple priest and his family, who all became infected and died. For long time the temple was forgotten until about 60 years ago, when the Lord who once again desired to be worshiped called for Jaimini Ghosh.
Jaimini Ghosh was only 15 years old at that time and he recalled:
One evening I was passing along the nearby road on my way to Nabadwip [town] when a bamboo tree crashed across the path. Feeling an uncanny presence, I suspected it the work of some ghosts and I knew that if I stepped over the tree, something would happen to me. Gripped by fear I crouched to the ground and in that terrified condition I lost consciousness.
He awoke to an assuring voice saying, “It’s alright. Now you may proceed. There is no more danger.” Opening his eyes he found himself to be just outside the temple.
Jaimini asked, “Why did You did that to me?”
“I didn’t,” replied the unembodied voice, “I saved you. I am your friend.”
Suspiciously Jaimini replied, “If You saved me, if You are really my friend and want to help me, then help me get to my uncle’s house at Nabadwip [town].”
As if he was being carried, young Jaimini effortlessly sped down the jungle path, then along the main road, then across Ganga (without a boat) and arrived safely at his uncle’s house.
Shortly after that, the same voice spoke to him, revealing Himself to be Lord Jagannatha and told Jaimini to begin his worship by offering milk, Ganga water and fruit. With the permission of Phatik Chandra Chatterjee, the owner of the temple, Jaimini began to worship Them. He recalled:
The Deities were almost half-buried by an anthil, but day by day as I worshipped Them, They gradually rose up and became more and more visible.
Jaimini begged money from the local villagers, repaired the temple and built a boundary fence but after that no one was willing to give him any more. So he appealed to Lord Jagannatha and explained his plight. That night two huge branches of a nearby tree fell. He sold that wood and the money provided for the seva for a few months.
When it was all finished, he again approached Lord Jagannatha and said, “Oh Lord, I cannot maintain You anymore. You will have to maintain Yourself.”
From that day onwards, he would find just enough money to pay for the day’s puja inside the temple, beside the altar.
One day, Jaimini fell asleep outside the temple and when he awoke, to his surprise, he found himself at Jagannatha Puri. This was during the Ratha-yatra festival and so he enjoyed the festival for some days.
Then, he became anxious for his parents who would be terribly worried about him, not knowing knowing his whereabouts. He decided to return but he didn’t have any money for his fare. He approached some pandas at Jagannatha Puri and explained his situation. “If Lord Jagannatha brought you here, then go before Him and ask Him to take you back.” So he did that and the next morning he woke up to find himself back at Rajapur, Simantadvipa. (Jaimini Ghosh left this world a few years ago.)
Some brahmanas from a local village felt that they could offer Lord Jagannatha a better standard of worship and they wanted to worship Him in their village. Therefore one day they came and stole Lord Jagannatha.
While carrying the Lord across the fields they all suddenly felt the need to answer nature’s call, so they put Lord Jagannatha down and went to pass water. But upon returning they found that they could not lift Lord Jagannatha anymore, so they went and brought some more men to help them but try as they may, they just could not budge the Lord. Then they realized that He didn’t want to leave His village Rajapur at Simantadvipa, so they came back and sorrowfully told the priests, “Your Deity is out in the field and wants to come back”. Two of our pujaris came, picked Him up and carried Him back home