Jagannatha Puri Guidebook is humbly dedicated to my eternal guide and loving friend, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. Thirty-four years ago,
my most merciful master introduced me to Lord Jagannatha, the Lord of the Universe, and engaged me in the service of assisting Sriman
Jayananda Prabhu in building the Ratha carts in New Jagannatha Puri, San Francisco, U.S.A.
Recollecting his childhood circa 1905 in Kolkata, Srila Prabhupada once said, “Every day of my boyhood I used to think, ‘How to go
to Jagannatha Puri?’ At that time the train fare was four or five rupees. So I was thinking, ‘When shall I go?’ I took the first opportunity to go to
Jagannatha Puri.” (Prabhupada Lilamrta) At the age of twenty-four, the same age as Mahaprabhu when He first visited Puri, Srila Prabhupada
fulfilled his long-cherished desire to visit Jagannatha Dhama.
In 1967, Srila Prabhupada inaugurated the western world’s first Jagannatha Ratha-yatra in San Francisco. At that time, he also
introduced the prayer; jagannathah swami nayana-patha-gami bhavatu me, “O Lord of the universe kindly he visible unto me.” I pray that Srila
Prabhupada will be pleased with this book, and kindly bless me with the vision to someday see the big, beautiful lotus sweet eyes of the Lord of
the universe. Jagannatha Swami ki jai!
Jagannatha Puri Guidebook is an all new, greatly expanded, easy to use, “pilgrim friendly,” edition of my original guidebook to Puri published in
1988 entitled, Seeing Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Jagannatha Puri. This informative book will help pilgrims derive the full benefit of their visit
to this most celebrated holy place of India. The book’s many quotes from the Puranas, different Vedic texts and His Divine Grace Srila
Prabhupada will help the reader uncover the true identity, history, glories and transcendental significance of Sri Purusottama Ksetra as
Jagannatha Puri is called in ancient books. Seeing Jagannatha Puri via our limited material eyes is valuable, but seeing through the eye of
scriptural authority (sastra-caksus) will give us the clearest conception and ultimate benefit. Deep spiritual realization and fulfillment will
naturally manifest within the pilgrim who approaches Lord Jagannatha’s holy abode in this way.
Besides describing the temple and Deity of Lord Jagannatha, the book focuses on the holy places in Puri associated with Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu and His eternal associates. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is non-different from Bhagavan Sri Krsna Him-self, appeared 523 years
ago (1486-1534) in West Bengal, India. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu spent half His manifested pastimes living in the holy dhama of Jagannatha Puri.
During the day, Sri Caitanya distributed pure love of God, krsna-prema, to the masses through the simple and sublime process of chanting the
Hare Krsna maha-mantra: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. In the darkness of
midnight, however, Mahaprabhu privately experienced the most confidential ecstasies of love in separation from God, Bhagavan Sri Krsna.
The divine raptures relished by Sri Caitanyadeva are both extraordinary and inconceivable. Nevertheless, by His causeless mercy Sri
Caitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited the unlimited happiness and variety of experien-ces that can be found on the spiritual platform of pure loving
devotion to the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna. Let us take shelter in the words of the author of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami,
who said: “Just try to hear these topics with faith, for there is great pleasure even in hearing them. That hearing will destroy all destroy all
miseries pertaining to the body, mind, and other living entities, and the unhappiness of false arguments as well.” (Cc. 3.19.109).
A special feature of this book is the “Day Trips” chapters which list and describe all the holy places located in one particular area of
Jagannatha Puri. You can easily see each group of these sacred places in four or five hours by auto rickshaw. The location descriptions
accompanying each holy site and a street map listing the holy places in the back of the book will help you to find them. The author prays that all
the readers will experience both the wonderful celestial taste of Lord Jagannatha’s maha-prasadam, and the inner heart’s satisfaction that come
from a devoted pilgrimage to Sri Purusottama-ksetra.
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