Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!

By Sukhvinder Sircar

From the Harmonist January 2002

Alarnatha Temple or Allalnath as it is also known, is a ancient shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is located in Brahmagiri which is 24km away from Puri. It is not a big tourist destination but a famous religious place for all Krishna devotees.

in Satya Yuga, Lord Brahma worshipped Lord Vishnu here on top of a hill. One day Lord Vishnu appeared and said, "I am very pleased with your worship. Make a four-armed Deity of Me holding shankha, chakra, gada, and padma (conch shell, disc, club, and lotus). The Deity should be made from a single piece of black stone. Also install a deity of Garuda". Lord Vishnu also said, "This place will be called Brahmagiri (Brahma's hill) because you have worshipped me here"

Devotees flock to the temple during the dark fortnight in the month of Ashaadh, after the Snana Yatra when Lord Jagannath is taken "ill" can’t be seen in Puri. During this period, popularly known as Anasara or ‘Anavasara’ literally meaning 'no opportunity' (to see the Lord of Puri), instead of having darshan in Jagannath Temple, people believe that Lord Jagannath during this time manifests as Alarnath Dev, at the Alarnath temple in Brahmagiri.

A deity of Lord Chaitanya is also found inside the temple. There is a stone slab in the temple which bears the impression from Lord Chaitanya’s body when He prostrated in deep devotion in front of Lord Alarnath, the stone below Lord Chaitanya melted from His blissful touch.

Baba tells the story

While staying at Nilachal, Mahaprabhu was served by several exalted devotees who had surrendered their all in return for a chance to serve His lotus feet.

Even by merely remembering these great disciples and their devotional service rendered with unflinching dedication, our hearts will be purified and our sins washed away. Many of these pure souls were kings, noblemen and high ranking ministers possessing untold wealth, prestige and power.

Such was the magical influence of Sri Chaitanya that on having received His grace, these material enjoyments and privileges turned into dust and these associates of the Lord gladly embraced a life of strict austerity and complete devotion.

What was this enigmatic pleasure that they experienced that wealth and power could not substitute?

Among these associates, Mahaprabhu had some very confidential devotees. While staying at Gambhira in Puri, He was absorbed in a divine madness most of the time, steeped in the deep emotions of separation which Sri Radha experienced for Sri Krishna.

These special devotees were popularly known as a team of ‘three and a half’. They were Srila Swarup Damodar, Ramananda Rai, Sikhi Maity and Madhavi Dasi. Madhavi Dasi, although a Vaishnavi of great learning and spiritual prowess, was counted as “half” because she was a woman. Murari Maity, Sikhi Maity and Madhavi Dasi were brothers and sister.

One day, during an interesting discussion on Mahaprabhu in the Kolkata ashram, a devotee asked Baba, “We know that Sikhi Maity and Madhavi Dasi were exalted devotees, but very little is known about their brother Murari Maity. Can you tell us something about him?”

Baba narrated a story that is as fascinating as it is true. He said that Murari Maity was the priest officiating at the temple of Allalnath, which is an hour’s drive from Puri. Allalnath is a specially revered place for Vaishnavas, as Mahaprabhu used to stay there during the period between Snan Yatra and Netrotsav of Sri Jagannath dev when the doors of the Puri temple would remained closed.

One day Murari Maity had to go away on some business for a day so he entrusted the responsibility of the worship of the Lord to his young son in his absence. The young boy, as instructed by his father, offered the midday bhog to the Lord and with folded hands, prayed to Him, “Dear Lord, my father has asked me to offer you this Prasad. I do not know any elaborate prayers to offer you. Please come down and take this offering or else my mother will scold me.”

He now came outside, shut the temple door and waited. After a while, he opened the door and saw with satisfaction that the Lord had eaten all the Prasad offered to Him. He removed the empty plates and cleaned the temple. After completing everything as instructed by his father, he took the empty vessels to his mother who looked at him incredulously and asked what had happened to all the food.

“The Lord ate it, mother” said the boy innocently. The mother got very angry and retorted, “Do not try to fool me; the Lord does not eat. You must have eaten it all yourself.”The family had to go without their midday meal that day as there was no prasad left over.

As soon as Murari Maity returned the next day, his wife recounted the whole story. Murari called his son and asked him sternly what had happened to the Prasad. Once again, the boy truthfully narrated the entire incident.

Murari now became very angry and gave his son a good beating, accusing him of having eaten all the Prasad by himself. No matter how much he threatened the boy, he would not change his story.

“If what you say is true, offer the Prasad again tomorrow. Let us see if your Lord eats it” said Murari finally. The little boy was totally perplexed at the behaviour of his elders. “How strange they are” he thought. “They cook an elaborate meal for the Lord, ask me to offer it to Him and then they say that He does not eat.”

The next day, the boy was once again told to offer the midday meal to the Lord. With tears in his eyes, the boy told the Lord to please come down and partake of the Prasad, as no one in his house believed that He could eat.

He came out, shut the temple door and waited awhile. When he again opened the temple door, sure enough, the Lord had enjoyed the meal, leaving not even a morsel in the plate. The boy was delighted and ran to report to his father. His father boxed his ears and said, “What! You have again eaten all the food! The Lord is only a deity made of stone, so do not fool me with stories that the Lord has eaten the food.”

The boy was heart-broken at his father’s disbelief and still insisted that the food was eaten of by the Lord. Now Murari hit upon a scheme. Once again, the meal was prepared and he asked his son to offer it to the Lord as before.

Unknown to the boy, Murari hid himself behind a pillar in the temple to catch the thief in the act. The boy looked at the Lord with large innocent eyes and with his naïve and childlike faith said, “Dear Lord, I have got repeated beatings from my father because he does not believe that you have accepted the Prasad. I don’t know how to convince him. He has asked me again to offer you this Prasad. Please accept it and show your kindness to me.”

Saying this, he stepped out of the temple and shut the door. Now Murari Maity watched keenly from behind the pillar, hoping for the mystery of the missing Prasad to be finally solved.

As he looked at the Lord, his eyes opened wide in astonishment as he saw the Lord step down from his pedestal, sit on the mat laid out for Him and enjoy the meal. A sweet dish of rice kheer had been prepared for the Lord. Just as the Lord reached for the bowl of hot kheer, Murari leapt out from behind the pillar and grabbed the Lord’s hand.

“Oh so you have been eating up all the Prasad. If you continue to eat all the food, we will have to die of starvation. As it is, we have not had our meals for the last two days” he exclaimed.

Startled by Murari’s sudden appearance, the bowl of kheer, which was still very hot, spilt and a few drops fell on the Lord’s hands and face. Blisters appeared on the hand and face of the Lord, where the pudding had spilt.

The Lord now addressed Murari Maity, “O unfortunate soul, you are indeed devotion-less and ill fated. As you have committed a grievous offence, you have forfeited the right to serve me. Because of your offence, you and your entire family will perish. Only your son, Sikhi Maity and Madhavi will survive.”

Sure enough, within fourteen days, the family of Murari Maity passed away; only his innocent and pious son, his brother Sikhi and sister Madhavi lived on, serving Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with utmost love and devotion.

Those of you who are fortunate to have visited Allalnath, would have noticed the very special ambiance and spiritual energy of the place. Some of us had the good fortune to visit the place with Baba. Baba himself pointed out the blister marks on the Lord’s face and hand where the hot kheer had scalded the Lord.

Even today, these marks bear testimony to the story of the pure faith of a little boy who could call the Lord down from His pedestal with his unsophisticated prayers and naïve devotion.

The kheer prasad in Alarnath Temple is very famous and is taken in potfuls by devotees.


Bhagawan Allarnath ki jai !!

Jai Jai Sri Radhey !!

Jai Guru !!