Offering Bhoga to the Great Lord Jagannath

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By Dillip Kumar Samantary for Orissa Review.

The kings who were ruling over Orissa since the Ganga Rule (13th century A.D. onwards) were considering themselves as the servant (Rautta) of the great Lord Jagannath. The same paraphernalia as is found in a royal household is also discernible in the temple of Jagannath Mahaprabhu with much splendour and magnificence. The items of Bhogas that are offered daily to the Deities are many and varied and they are offered with royal dignity and ceremonial purity.

Bhogas are of two kinds: – (i) Those that are cooked and prepared inside the temple kitchens are called “sankhudi”. They are prepared out of rice, black gram and other vegetables (ii) Those that are prepared outside the kitchen but inside the temple specified for the purpose are called Nisankhudi Bhogas. These constitute Bhogas made out of flour, wheat, ghee, candy etc. This divine kitchen of Lord Jagannath is one of the biggest and most splendid kitchens of the world which can feed one lakh people at a time.

There is a popular proverb that:

“Sada rasa vyanjana nana yati | chhapana Bhoga lage dinarati”

“Multifarious dishes of six-fold tasters, fifty-six bhogas are offered day and night”

The Bhogas which are being offered to the Mahaprabhu daily are illustrated below as such:

#Jagannatha Vallabh, Khaja, Gaja, Pheni, Luni Khuruma, Sweet Khuruma, Bada Poori, Kakatua Jhilli or Bada Jhilli, Bada Naadi, Sena Naadi, Kakara, Hansa Keli, Candra kanti, Bada Kadamba, Vasanta Arisa, Paga Arisa, Maricha Ladu, Magaja Ladu, Amalu, Dalimba, Parijataka, Mandua Vallabha Kora, Gopal Vallabha, Amruta Rasabali, Bada Kanti, Mathapuli, Papudi, Bundia Khiri, Khechudi, Plain Arna, Dal, Dalama, Kanika, Ghee Arna, Mahana Bhoga Jenamani, Suji Gaja, Balibamana Muga, Suara Pitha, Podapitha, Makhana, Khali rooti, Khua Manda, Chhenapitha, etc.

The Bhogas are offered to the Deities prepared by the Suaras very deliciously in season times accordingly.

1. During Baisakh and Jyestha, (in April, May and June) the Deities are offered the following Bhogas like – (i) Dahi Pakhala (watered rice with curd), (ii) Saga, (iii) Chhena Mandua, (iv) Biri pitha (cakes prepared out of black gram) (v) On pana or Visuba Sankranti day the Gheuties made of flour, curd, cheese and molasses) is offered in the morning and delicious drink in the evening.

2. During the month of Asadha (during Car Festival, June-July) the Deities are offered a special drink called Adharapana (Adhara means lips) as the drink sweetens the divine lips.

3. During the month of Sravana (Jhulan Yatra i.e. July-August) the Deities are offered Amalu and Khiri.

4. During the month of Bhadraba, (Janmastami i.e. August to September) the Deities are offered the same food as mentioned above.

5. During the month of Kartika (October-November) The Deities are offered Lunilia (salty parched paddy) early in the morning which is called Bala Bhoga.

6. During the month of Pausa (December)the Deities are offered Pahili Bhoga, i.e. the First Food offered rather early in the morning. It is a delicious Khechedi preparation. The episode runs that as Mahalaxmi, the divine consort moves to her father’s house, Yosoda, the mother of the Lord herself prepares this delicious Khechedi to the utmost satisfaction of her Son.

7. On Baula Amavasya day the Gaintha cake, new mango blossoms, powdered rice fried with ghee and Nadi mixed with ghee are offered.

8. During Makara Sankranti day, on 13th or 14th January the Deities are offered Makara Chaula (i.e. fresh uncooked rice well moistened and mixed with milk, ginger, black pepper, candy, coconut, cheese, camphor, raisin, ripe banana, etc.

During Dolayatra, in the month of February-March the Deities are offered Chhena gaja,

Khanda Vari, Canaladi (Ambakasi) Dahana chori, Arisa and Kakara.

Dhupas (Divine Meals) Morning – For morning refreshment, the Deities are offered the following platters: Gopal Vallabha, Fried Paddy, Sugar coated Coconut, butter, Khuamanda, Papudi, fruits like Banana, Guava and Coconut chips, etc.

For morning meals, which is called Raja Dhupa, the Deities are offered as following: Kakatua Jhilli, Kanti, Enduri, Ginger tonic, fried green leaves, fried rice, dal and curries.

Forenoon – The Deities are offered Bhoga Mandap Dhupa. It includes Rice, Vegetable curries and cakes.

Midday-afternoon – They are offered Oriya cooked Ghee Arna (made of rice, salt, ghee and orange juice), Dal, curries (Besara Mahura) cakes, sweet Kakara, Arisa, Maricha Ladu, Pomegranates, Bada, a drink prepared out of black peeper, banana, etc.

Evening – The Sandhya Dhupa consists of cooked rice, and watered rice, Mathapuli, Kantipuli, Jenamani, Parijataka, Mandua, Rasavali, Suaridal and other curries etc.

Evening – The platters are called Badasinhara Dhupa or Sayana Dhupa. It consists of sweet watered rice, Banana bada, plaintain fry, Bhoga Kshiri (a liquid made of rice, milk, sugar and spices) Chadhei neda green coconut and bettle (sandal paste instead of lime and without tobacco).

This type of food which is offered to the Deities (Mahaprabhu Jagannath, god Balabhadra, goddess Subhadra) and after Naibedya, the devotees take His prasad and distribute it to others who become very happy. It gives us pleasure, peace and harmony, because in the acceptance of prasad by the devotees, there is no partiality and it creates mellow feelings. This great and traditional system is called Shree Shree Jagannath Cult, in which we create among ourselves friendship and universal brotherhood. As a whole, Shree Shree Jagannath Mahaprabhu is the symbol of love, peace and equality.



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