One Unique Tradition – BALADHUPA at Shri Jagannath Temple – Kartika Masa
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As per Hinduism, Sri Jagannath is the supreme power. He generates the universe as a creator, operates as operator and destoys as destroyer. Though he is an eternal being without any form, still he exists at Nila Kandar ie. in Puri and plays in different acts and roll with their devotees. The devotees feel satisfaction being witnessed various festivals observed in Sri Mandir during the whole year in different days. In Sri Mandir, though different rituals are observed in each month have its emphasis in zodiac cycle, still the Kartik Month (October and Novermber) bear special emphasis. That is why it is said that no month is as auspicious as the month of Kartik. The devotees start congregated in Puri as well as in Sri Mandir from commencement of Kartik Month. During this month special Bhogas (offerings) Vesha (special atires adorned by deities) and Brata (special rituals) are being observed in Sri Mandir. During this months an additional special offering to deities are offered called Bala Dhupa (Bhoga).
There is a folk tale in connection with Bala Bhoga in Sri Mandir observed in Sri Mandir from eleventh day in the bright fortnight of Aswin to Full moon day of Kartik. Once King of Odisha felt illness and could not able to had a visit (Darshan) of Sri Jagannath for consecutive four days. He suddenly arrived in Sri Mandir on the fifth day. At that time the deities were in Abakash. No flower garlands adorned on the body of deities during Abakash Besha rituals. On sudden arrival of King one servitor namely Balabhadra Puspalak without getting any way gave the flowers to the King as Prasad from his head. But the King found a piece of hair on the flower given to him as prasad. He became angree seing a hair and asked the servitor regarding presence of hair collected frodm the heads of deities. Being seen the anger of the King the Puspalak servitor became don found. He told the king your highness, there are hairs on the heads of deities. In reply, the king told that he had never come across hairs on the heads of God. If the servitor fail to prove its truth, he will be penalized severely. The deities went to sleep after completion of different rituals. But servitor Balavadra could not able to sleep. He prayed Got who can only save him from the trouble arised on false utterance committed by him. He wept all the night praying to God for his salvation. The God came into the dream of Puspalak and ordered that there are hairs on the heads of Trident deities. On sudden wake up from dream the Puspalak prayed God in folded hands and felt peace in mind. On the early morning the King arrived in the Temple to know the truthiness about hair on the heads of deities. When the servitor replaced the flowers adorned on the heads of deities, bunch of hairs came accross and covered the eyes of deities. The King put in dilemma and thought that the servitors arranged to plant artificial hairs on the heads of God.He ordered the servitors to check whether the hairs are original or false. The servitors hardly pulled the hair and it was so happen, blood oozed from the heads of God. The King became frightened and fell down unconsciously before the God. He felt himself as a sinner and wept before God. On the prayer of servitors, the oozing of blood stopped. The King returned to his palace with moroseness. During the night, the God ordered to King in dream to start a special Bhog namly Bala Bhoga (Hair Offerings) on the next morning. The King presented himself before deities and committed for a special Bhoga to be started from the first day of Kartik month namely Bala Bhog all time to come. Till doday the practice is continuing . Traditionally, some monasteries are arranging Balabhog along with some public Donners.