Mahaprasad of Lord Jagannath

Sage Narada once visited Vaikunta to have darshan of his beloved Lord Narayana and His consort Lakshmi. Pleased with his devotion, Sri Lakshmi told him to ask whatever he wanted and she would fulfill it for him. Narada had seen Lakshmi serving food to Narayana and desired to have the food (prasad) served to Narayana. Lakshmi told him that was not possible because she had promised the Lord that food offered to Him would not be given to anyone. Narada insisted saying that she had promised to give him whatever he wanted. 

Goddess Lakshmi was in a dilemma. When she was serving food the next time, she narrated everything to the Lord and asked Him for a solution. The Lord understood the situation and told Lakshmi that He would relax the restriction just for one day and she could give the naivedya prasad to Narada. Lakshmi was very happy and she gave the prasad offered to Narayana to Narada. The moment Narada partook of the prasad, he went into an ecstatic mood. He totally forgot himself and started singing and dancing. He danced his way through all the fourteen worlds and finally reached Kailasa!

Lord Shiva was surprised to see Narada in this never before intense blissful state, and enquired of him the reason for his ecstasy. Narada replied, “It is all the glory of the Mahaprasad of Lord Vishnu”. Sankara immediately asked Narada if he had brought some prasad for him. Narada said he hadn’t, but suddenly saw a small particle of the prasad still on one of his fingers. Very happily, he gave the grain of prasad to Lord Shiva and he joyously relished it. The moment Sankara partook of the prasad, he too got into an ecstatic mood and started dancing his tandava! 

All the gods were now worried. The Lord’s dance can initiate an untimely deluge. At this point of time, Uma, Shiva’s consort came along and seeing Narada and Shiva in such a joyous state, asked them for the reason. When she heard that it was the greatness of the Mahaprasad of Lord Vishnu, she felt left out and became angry that she had been deprived of the prasad. 
All the gods now rushed to Vaikunta, and narrated what had happened in Kailasa and requested Lord Vishnu to calm down Sankara and pacify Uma. Lord Vishnu came riding on his Garuda vahana. On seeing the Lord, Sankara and Narada calmed down. But Parvati was still angry. Lord Vishnu consoled her and promised her a share of His prasad. Parvati, the Mother of the universe told Vishnu that not only she should get the prasad, but the Lord should make His prasad available to all living beings and they should equally be benefited by it. Only then she would be happy and satisfied. Vishnu promised her that in future when he takes up his abode in Nilachaladham (Puri),  Parvati will also be there as Devi Bimala in the same courtyard and the naivedyam offered to him will in turn be offered first to her. Only then it will become Mahaprasad and will be distributed to everyone alike, without any distinction. 

Mahaprasad at Puri

Even to this day, after the naivedyam is offered to Lord Jagannath, it is first taken to Devi Bimala’s shrine. After it is offered to her it becomes MAHAPRASAD. Sri Jagannath temple is famous for the Mahaprasad. Every day all the devotees who reach the temple partake of the Lord’s Mahaprasad. Even to this day, neither there is a shortage of the prasad nor is there too much extra on any day, irrespective of the number of devotees reaching the temple. That is the glory of Lord Jagannath’s Mahaprasad!

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]

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