Puri : The Purushottama Khetra

Puri Jagannath temple

Puri: The Purushottama Khetra

Puri(Sri Khetra) literally means “city”, and so it defines this holy place as the royal capital city of Jagannatha, His personal residence and the centre of His kingdom.The glories of Sri khetra(Puri) are mentioned in many scriptures such as Matsya Purana, Brahma Purana, Narada Purana, Padma Purana, Vishnu Purana, Kapila Samhita, Niladri Mahodaya and Utkala khanda of Skanda Purana
and many more.
 Mahalaxmi in the entrance gate”Singhadwar” of Sri Mandir



Skanda Purana, Utkala kanda:

vishnoh kalevare tasmin kshetre sri purushottame
antar vedi maha punya vishnoh hridaya sannibha
 
“This Purushottama Kshetra(the entire city of Puri) is Vishnu’s body, and the Antar Vedi (Ratnasinghasana) is His heart.”
etat kshetra varanchasya vapur bhutam mahatmanah
svayam vapushman yatraste svanamnakshapitam etat
 
“This Kshetra is the body of Mahavishnu, the Supreme Lord Himself is physically present here(in Puri), and the name of the place is Purushottama after His name.”
svetadvipe yatah vishnu bhoga bhumau nijalayah
jambudvipe karma-bhumau nija-sthanam idam smritam
 
“As Svetadvipa is Vishnu’s own bhoga-bhumi, similarly in Jambudvipa Purushottama kshetra is Vishnu’s own karma-bhumi.”
Mulayatana metadhi srishti palana samhritehe
atra batirjya bhagavan prayatyam atra karyatah
nishpadya krityam prityaham punaratreva tisthati
ato dasavataranam ato darsanadyestu yat phalam
tat phalam labhate martyo drishtva sri purushottamam
dasavatara sangyasya kathita putra te maya
“This Purushottama Kshetra is the root place for creation, maintenance, and destruction. Vishnu appears in his avatar at this Kshetra, then fulfils the purpose of His incarnation and finally, after completing his work, he returns to this Kshetra. Whatever blessing one can get by having Darshana of the ten avatars, one can get from Darshana at Purushottama kshetra, so the other name of this holy place is Dasaavatara kshetra.”
Padma Purana foretells that in Kali yuga a spiritual revolution will start from Purushottama kshetra in
Orissa (hy uktale purushottamat) and says (7.11.3-6):
lavanambho nidhes tire purushottama samjnakam puram tad brahmana sreshtha svargad api
sudurlabham, svayam asti pure tasmin yatah sri purushottamah purushottamam ity uktam tasmat tan nama kovidaih, kshetram tad durlabham vipra samantad dasa yojanam tatrastha dehino devair drisyante cha chaturbhujah, pravisantas tu tat kshetram sarve syur vishnu-murtayah tasmad vicharana tatra na kartavya vichakshanaih.
 
“This city of Purushottama, on the shore of the ocean, is more wonderful than Svargaloka, the heavenly planets. It has been suitably called Purushottama because the Supreme Personality of Godhead selected it as his capital city and resides there. When the gods look down on this extraordinary Purushottama Khetra, which is ten yojanas wide, they see that everyone who lives there has a four-armed form. Even those who simply visit that land takes on spiritual forms like that of Vishnu. Therefore one should be careful to never commit offences against its residents.”

 

Ramayana (Uttara khanda, 108.29) explains that the family Deity of the Ikshvaku dynasty is 
Jagannatha as Sri Rama Said “aradhaya jagannatham ikshvaku kula daivatam aradhaniya manisham devanam basavai sahah” and Sri Rama recommends to His devotee Vibhishana to travel to Puri to worship Jagannatha. It is also said in Vamana Purana that Prahlada visited Puri.
Mahabharata (Vana Parva, chapt. 114, slokas 22-24), speaks about the vedi (“platform”) near the sea in Kalinga, where the Pandavas arrived after crossing the Vaitarani river, on the banks of which stands the holy city of Jajpur, where now the Mother Goddess Viraja resides with Yagya Varaha. On that occasion, Lomasa Rishi told them the story of a sacrifice performed by Visvakarma and presided by Kashyapa, and in which the land was given in charity. Mother Earth did not like the idea and so she sunk away. Only after Kashyapa’s great penance, she accepted to appear again as the raised platform near the ocean, where Jagannatha’s temple is built.
 
Vishnu Purana mentions that the ayatana (holy place) of Purushottama was visited by Kandu Rishi who wanted to purify himself from the material desires generated from his relationship with one Apsara:sa capi bhagavan kandu ksine tapasi sattamah, purusottamakhyam maitreya visnor ayataman yayan. 
“The Lord revealed Himself to Kandu Rishi, who had performed very great austerities. The Lord told him that the holy place of Purushottama Kshetra(Puri) is very dear to himself(Vishnu).”
 
It was all about the greatness of the holy Purushottama Khetra(Puri) as mentioned in various scriptures.
 
To be continued…..

Click here to read the other part of the article THE LAND OF LORD JAGANNATH

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