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Jagannath Lila at battlefield for his devotee King

There was a great devotee king named Purusottama Deva (1467-1497) who ruled over the state of Orissa. The King was supposed to be married to a beautiful princess Padmavati of a kingdom south of Kalinga. It was the time of Ratha-yatra, which was a favorite time of year for the King. The marriage proposal added to his happiness.

 

The father of the princess King Saluva,  had sent his minister to Odissa during that time. Every year during the festival, Purussottama Deva would personally sweep the road in front of the chariot for the pleasure of the Lord. The visiting minister, however, did not understand the greatness of the service. He considered this behavior an insult to a king, as sweeping the road was the duty of the Chandala.

The minister immediately left Puri and informing the King Saluva of all he had witnessed, especially how Purusottama Deva engaged in the behavior of a Chandala. The King objected to his daughter marrying the King of Puri because Purusottama Deva was merely a street sweeper.

This news saddened Purusottama Deva and naturally got offended. So he gathered his troops and went south to teach King Saulva a lesson. Unfortunately, King purusottama Deva was badly defeated during his first attempt.

While the King was returned to Puri with his army in a depressed mood, they stopped at a simple cottage of Saikatacarya, a great ascetic householder devotee of Lord Jagannatha. Hearing what happened, Saikatacharya pointed out that the King had forgotten to ask permission from Lord Jagannatha before he went to attack. The King returned to Puri and visited the temple.  He cried over his defect and was asking Jagannatha, Why the Lord allowed it. He spent entire night in the temple. Before the night came to an end, the Kind heard a voice. The King was instructed to go again and fight and the two brothers, Jagannath and Baladeva would go along to fight on the King’s behalf.

King Purusottama Deva started his journey to South to fight for the second time. This time Lord Jagannath and Balarama personally went with him to fight on his behalf. Disguised as soldiers, Jagannath rode a black horse and Baladeva rode on a white horse.  They stopped to quench Their thirst at a small village near Chilika Lake. They noticed one old cowherd lady carrying a pot of buttermilk on her head. Her name was Manika and she was devoted to Jagannatha of Puri . Both the Lords desired to drink the buttermilkfrom there devotee, so they stopped the old lady and drank to Their hearts' content. When they finished, They prepared to leave and continue Their journey. The old lady Manika was very concerned that Jagannath and Baladeva were not going to pay for the buttermilk, so she stopped them and asked them for money. They said They had no money. Instead, They gave her a golden ring and told her to give it to King Purusottama Deva, who would give her money.

The old lady Manika stood on the roadside awaiting the King’s arrival. After some time she saw him approaching with his army. Manika stopped the King to give him the ring and ask for payment for the soldiers who drank her buttermilk. When the King saw the ring he was very surprised: it was no ordinary gold ring, but Lord Jagannath's diamond ring. King regained his confidence that Their Lordship had certainly come with him. As a payment, the King gave her the whole village, which is still named Manika patna.

After this, The King and his troops were victorious over the King Saluva. Purusottama Deva Captured Princess Padmavati. To teach lesson to King Sailuva for cancelling of his marriage to the princess, planned to marry her to a chandala road sweeper. He called for his minister and ordered him to look for one chandala boy to marry Princess Padmavati. King Purusottama's minister was very clever. He kept Princess carefully protected until Ratha-yatra.

On the day of Ratha-yatra, the streets were full, and Lord Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra Devi were already sitting in Their chariots. The King of Puri walked to the front of Jagannath's chariot, carrying in his hand a golden broom to sweep the road for the pleasure of the Lord. He swept with great pleasure, his heart filled with devotion for Lord Jagannath. When Purusottama Deva finished sweeping, the clever minister brought forth beautiful Padmavati and said “You ordered me to marry Princess to a street-sweeper; today you are the street sweeper. Please accept her as you had also desired to marry her". The King gladly accepted Princess Padmavati as his queen, and appreciated the minister for his wisdom.

A famous painting depicting this pastime now adorns the Jagannatha temple complex. And After winning the battle the deity of Ganesh was brought to Puri from King Saluva. The same Ganesh can be seen in Jagannath temple complex.

 

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