At Sri Alarnath
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
In Sri Purusottam Dham, at the shore of the ocean and about sixteen miles to the East of Puri, there is a town called Brahmagiri. Here, Brahma worshipped Lord Vishnu in Satya-yuga. Pleased with his worship, Lord Narayan appeared here.
A very long time ago there were some devotees of Lord Narayan from South India who belonged to Sri Ramanuja Acharya sampradaya. They were great self-realised souls who appeared in South India to preach devotion to the Lord in this world, and they stayed here.
In Bengali we call devotees "bhakta", in English "devotees" and in Tamil language they call devotees "alwara," that is how the place got its name: Alarnath or Alwar-nath, the Lord (nath) of the devotees (alwar).
As I have told before, during the Snan-yatra of Lord Jagannath, Mahaprabhu could not get the Lord's darshan, so, overwhelmed with anxiety, He ran here and there was such a transformation within His body that when He paid dandavat at the temple, the stone that His body touched melted. Such was His devotion and love for the Lord. That stone is still here and you can see it—you can see the places on the stone where Mahaprabhu's body touched it.
There was a time when a brahman from a town in South India settled here to maintain the worship of the Deity. One that that pujari vipra had to go to some place, so he told his small, simple-hearted son to make the offering to the Deity in his absence.
The boy cooked as he could and brought the bhog before the Deity of Alarnath. He did not know the mantras for worshipping, so he said, "O Lord, I am an ignorant little boy, I do not know the mantras. My father has left for some other place, please kindly accept this offering." He closed the door, and then saw some boys on the street and went to play with them.
Soon his mother saw him playing outside. She came to him and asked,
"Where is the bhog? Is it not ready yet?"
"I have given the bhog to the Lord!" said the boy.
"Child, you offer the bhog to the Lord and then must bring it back to the house! After we bring the bhog back to the house, we distribute it to everyone."
The boy went back to the temple to bring back the bhog, following the order of his mother, but he could not find it anywhere. There was no bhog in the temple. The mother did not believe him—she went to the temple too and saw it was not there, but still she did not believe it. She thought, "He is a small boy and very naughty, he must have eaten all of Narayan's bhog!" She chastised him, "Your father has been doing this worship for so long, but the Lord has never taken the bhog from him, and you do not know any rules and regulations how to worship the Deity, you do not know any mantras, any tantras, and the Lord has taken all your bhog?! How can it be possible?"
After a while the brahman returned to the temple, and his wife told him what had happened. The brahmin decided to test his son. He told him to go and make the offering again, "I want to see with my own eyes how Narayan takes your offering!"
The boy went to make the offering again, and the father watched hiding in some place. He could hear his son offering the bhog to Narayan and saying, "O Lord, I do not know any mantra, any tantra, I do not know how to pray to You, but my father is not here now, and I have come to offer You this bhog. Please take it." The boy said it and went away, closing the door. Then the father saw how Narayan started taking the bhog with His four hands! He ate with four hands! He did not believe it at first, but now he could see it himself.
Suddenly the brahmin jumped up and said to Lord Narayan,
"O Lord! If you take all the bhog, what will we eat? You will eat it all and there will be nothing left for us!"
"I am enjoying the love of this little boy," answered the Lord and then asked the brahman, "What boon would you like to receive from Me?"
"What boon can I want? If you eat all the bhog, we will all have to die!"
"All right," said Lord Alarnath, "from today I will not take your prasad, but remember: everything in this world is for My enjoyment."
We have ego and think, "It is my food," "These are my clothes," "It is my Deity," "It is my house," "It is my car," and so on—everything is mine; but when a devotee prays to the Lord, the Lord accepts everything and gives it then back for His devotee. Do you understand? You must believe in it!
The same story happened with Mukunda's son Raghunandan. When he brought back only half of the sweets after offering them to the Deity, his mother did not believe him at first, she thought the child had eaten the bhog.
So, this is Alarnath's temple. The Lord's Deity here is chatur-bhuja murti (four-handed). In His lower right hand He holds padma (lotus), in His upper right hand—chakra (wheel); His left upper hand—sankha (conch); and His left lower hand—gada (club).
Jay Sri Alarnath ki jay!
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