by Bhakti Vichar Vishnu Maharaja
Before taking sannyas, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked one of His devotees Srila Jagadish Pandit to go to Nilachala to preach Krishna-bhakti and the religious practice of the age, Sri Harinama-sankirtan. The son of Sri Nanda Maharaj, Sri Krishna and the son of Sri Jagannath Mishra, Sri Gaurasundara, are the same supreme divinity as Lord Jagannath.
When Srila Jagadish Pandit arrived in Sridham Puri, he went for Lord Jagannath’s darshan and melted with love when he saw Him. On his way back to Bengal, however, he felt extreme separation from Lord Jagannath. Thousands and thousands of people go on pilgrimage to Puri every single day. All of them take darshan of Lord Jagannath, but how many of them are overcome by feelings of separation when returning home? Perhaps once in a while some fortunate individual is able to feel such emotions. If one truly feels such pangs of separation, then this is a sign of Lord Jagannath’s mercy; if not, then one has not truly received the grace of the Lord.
Lord Jagannath Dev saw Srila Jagadish crying and so mercifully appeared to him in a dream and told him to take His vigraha and serve the same. Simultaneously, He appeared to the king of Orissa and ordered him that at the time of the nava-kalevara, when the wooden deity of Lord Jagannath is renewed, the outgoing form should be given to Srila Jagadish Pandit. As a result of this dream, the Maharaj considered it to be a great honor to give Srila Jagadish Lord Jagannath’s outgoing form, which is known as the samadhi-stha-vigraha.
Srila Jagadish prayed to Lord Jagannath, asking Him just how he could possibly carry the heavy figure of the deity all the way back to Bengal. Lord Jagannath answered him that for his sake He would become as light as a cork. Then Srila Jagadish was to cover Him with a new cloth and then carry Him suspended on the end of a staff. Lord Jagannath further told him that he would have to make permanent arrangements to stay wherever He was set down on the ground. Srila Jagadish enlisted the aid of two Brahmins, and they took turns carrying Lord Jagannath as far as the village of Yashora on the banks of the Ganges, near the town of Chakdaha. Srila Jagadish left Lord Jagannath with one of the Brahmins and went to take his bath in the Ganges and to perform oblations of Ganga water. While he was gone, the Brahmin found that Lord Jagannath was suddenly becoming very heavy and that he was no longer able to hold Him up. When Srila Jagadish Pandit came back from his bath, he saw Lord Jagannath sitting on the ground and realized that the Lord wanted to stay in that very spot.
Chakdaha is a historical site and an ancient holy place. During the Puranic age, it was known as Rathavarma. Sri Pradyumna killed the demon Sambara there during Sri Krishna’s avatar at the end of the Dvapara age and thus it was known as Pradyumna-nagar. Prior to that, when Sri Bhagiratha was bringing down the Ganges in order to save the Sagara dynasty, the wheel of his chariot got buried here. Thus the town was also given the name Chakradaha, which in time has been corrupted into Chakdaha.
When the local people heard that the Lord Jagannath from Puri had come to stay in Yashora, they flocked there in thousands to seek His darshan. Srila Jagadish Pandit then decided to remain in Yashora rather than return to to his home in Mayapur.