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June 6, 2020, 12:23 p.m. by Dr Gayatri Mohapatra ( 408 views)

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Alarnath Temple|Karuwakispeaks

Alarnath temple, in Brahmagiri, Puri district is a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

The great saint, Sri Ramanuja visited this temple & Lord Vishnu is worshipped as Alarnath. According to folklore, in Satya yuga, Lord Brahma did Tapasya & pleased Narayana who agreed to give his grace to the temple in the form of Vishnu.

Alarnath Temple|Karuwakispeaks

Lord Vishnu is worshipped here as Alarnath & the deity has four hands holding shankha, chakra, gada, and padma (conch shell, disk, club, and lotus.Alarnatha’s consorts, Sri, and Bhu accompany the Lord. At the feet of the Lord is Garuda with his hands folded in prayer. There are also small Deities of Rukmini and Satyabhama here. The temple was built by King Madan Mahadev in 1128 AD.The hill was also named Brahmagiri in honor of Brahma.

Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu(1610 AD) the great saint, stayed at Alarnath, during an anasarca period of Lord Jagannath, which commences immediately after snana jatra.

Alarnath Temple|Karuwakispeaks

It is said, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was disappointed when he found that Lord Jagannath had retreated into "anasar griha" and he could not have darshan at the Puri Shrine. Lord Jagannath, directed him to go to Alarnath.

When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw Jagannath himself in the black stone deity, he prostrated himself lying down and it is said that such was the ecstatic bhakti fervor that the stone on which he prostrated himself formed marks which can still be seen today.It is known as "Premashila".Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spent a long period in worshipping the deity there.

Alarnath Temple|Karuwakispeaks

It is believed that devotees have darshan of Lord Jagannath at Alarnath during the "anasar period". The temple servitors offer Kheer(rice pudding sweetened by jaggery) to the lord.

A beautiful story of bhakti is behind this offering of "kheer prasad".

The poor temple priest, ketana had to leave on some urgent work, so he instructed his young son, madhu to do the puja rituals.However the young boy was more inclined to play with his friends. He would place a bowl of kheer in front of the deity. The innocent childwould tell the deity to eat quickly & would rush out to play. On returning, he would find the bowl empty.

After three days, when the priest returned home and heard about it, he refused to believe his son, thinking the young boy was lying and eating the kheer himself.

Alarnath Temple|Karuwakispeaks

Accompanied by his father, Madhu went in front of the Deity and placed the food as usual. He told the Lord to accept it and then went out. Ketana who was hiding at the altar saw that Lord Alarnatha was personally taking a cup of sweet rice. As he rushed to the Lord and grabbed his arm, to prevent him from taking it, the hot sweet rice spilled out and fell on the Lord’s body causing burns. Ketana said to the Lord, “How will we eat if you eat all the offerings? We have never heard of a Deity that eats physically. Being a Deity of stone, how can you eat and talk?”

Alarnath Temple|Karuwakispeaks

The Lord said that He was pleased by Madhu’s simple devotion. Moreover, he is never pleased with any offer, no matter how opulent, if it lacks devotion.

Lord Krishna had expounded this form of bhakti to Arjuna "Whoever offers me with devotion, a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I accept that...The pious offering of the pure in heart"(Bhagavad gita.Ch.9-26)

The burnt marks manifested by Lord Vishnu on his body can be seen to this day on the deity.

Alarnath Temple|Karuwakispeaks

The Alarnath temple is God's way of staying connected to his devotees.Close to the temple is the Sri Brahma Gaudiya Math which was established by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, ISKCON.

The syncretism of many religious creed's & philosophical thoughts has made Jagannath unique & universally accepted and the numerous stories & festivals of the temple draw the devotees from far away.

Alarnath Temple|Karuwakispeaks

(NOTE:Photos from internet for Illustrative purpose)

Comments (4)

AnonymousUser 2 weeks ago
Liked reading the intricate details of the deity . Refreshed my memories of last visit some 25 yrs back. Nice compilation- BKS
AnonymousUser 1 week, 2 days ago
Enjoyed reading!
AnonymousUser 1 week, 1 day ago
Nice article.
AnonymousUser 1 week ago