Puri: At a time when Odisha government is planning to spend nearly Rs 900 crore for developing Puri into ‘World Heritage City’, Lord Jagannath and his siblings, the presiding deities of crores of Odia, are being neglected in Shreemandir. The deities known for their opulence and prosperity worldwide are being offered ‘prasad’ in brass utensils daily. It sounds strange, but true.
Though the presiding deities of four crore Odias own two gold and three silver utensils, which are kept in the storeroom or ‘Bhandar Ghar’ of the Shreemandir, they are being offered ‘prasad’ in brass plates, said sources. Question arises, as to why the practice of offering ‘prasad’ to deities in gold and silver utensils has been stopped. Has the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) forgotten about the ‘Bhandar Ghar’? Or these precious utensils have been missing from the store room.
As per traditional beliefs, the Lords used to eat ‘prasad’ in three gold utensils when the Shreemandir affairs were being managed by the Puri Gajapati. As one of these gold plates were damaged after a piece of stone fell on it several years back, the practice was stopped and offering was made in brass plates. No effort was made to repair or replace the plate made of the precious yellow metal. Instead the damaged gold utensil was transformed into a ‘Chakra’ of the deities.
Unable to see the disrespect to the Lord Jagannath and his siblings, one Bhagaban Suara (Kanduri Mahasuara) servitor donated three silver utensils to Shreemandir of around Rs 15 lakh value then. For a few days, the deities were offered ‘prasad’ in these silver plates, but the practice was stooped citing one reason or the other.
Sources said money was demanded from the servitor as donation to which he obliged for a few days. But when he showed his inability to donate more money to Shreemandir, the practice of offering bhog in silver utensil was discontinued.