This is the time when the Lord of the Universe comes out of his abode to visit his aunt’s place, which is also his birth place. It is known as the Gundicha temple. As per the legend, when Maharaja Indradyumna and Rani Gundicha entrusted the task of carving out the images of the trinities to an old carpenter, he demanded a period of 21 days. However, on the 16th day, Indradyumna, on the insistence of Gundicha opened the door in a haste, only to find out three incomplete images. The deities came to be known as came to known as Lord Jaganntha, Debi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra. We, Odias, irrespective of our caste, religion, ethnicity, values and beliefs get united by this grand phenomenon known as “Shri Jagannatha”, a name which is not just confined to any single entity- it has so wide a connotation that you probably haven’t come across any such community in the world. A community whose spirit lies in the amalgamation of different cults, faiths and religions, all of which have merged into Jagannatha culture. Shri Jagannatha stands as the epitome of diverse concepts, cross-cultural phenomenon and various ideologies in regards to God and religions.
While the Lord is proceeding for his nine-day long voyage, the legend of Landi Mata, who adored Lord Jagannatha as her son stands as a testimony of the glorious human affairs of the lord of the universe.
The legend says, everyday, an elderly woman (known as Landi Mata) used to come to the lion’s gate of Shrimandira carrying a stone bowl which had some bitter tasting food items in it. If anyone inquired, she used to tell that, she brought this food for her son who after having “chhapana bhoga” might not be feeling well. This bitter thing (pita in Odia) would help to relieve his stomach problem. No one ever doubted, she used to refer to Lord Jagannatha as her son. Why would anyone? But one day, after knowing this astonishing fact, the temple administration did not allow her to come near the Lion’s gate and asked her to refrain from doing this. The poor lady went back to her home with a heartache. That night, Lord Jagannatha, came in the dreams of the Puri Gajapati, and informed him that without having “pita” he was not satisfied with the chhapana bhoga offerings. Lord Jagannatha, insited the bitter food be offered by the old lady everyday in his offering. The next morning, as per King’s request, Landi Mata prepared “pita” and offered to her son, the lord of the universe with all her devotion, care and adoration.
In memory of Landi Mata, pita is offered to Lord Jagannatha everyday.This saga glorifies how the Lord surrenders Himself to his pure devotees.
Pumpkin: 250 g(diced)
Yam: 100 g(cubed)
Coconut: 1 cup(grated)
Sweet potato: 1 cut into cubes
Pointed gourd (diced)
Spices and condiments
Black pepper : 10 nos.
Fennel: 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Split chick pea: 25 g
Fenugreek seeds: 1 tsp(dry roasted and powdered)
Asafoetada(1 g) mixed in 1Tbsp water
Sugar: 15 g
Ghee: 2 Tbsp
Cumin seeds: 1tsp
First clean and cut all the vegetables into small cubes. Make a fine paste of black pepper, fennel, mustard and chick pea. In a deep bottomed vessel (preferably an earthen one) layer the cut and diced vegetables starting with pumpkin and yam. In between put the ground spices, salt, turmeric and grated coconut , asafoetida- water mix and sugar. Put the vessel in a lower flame and add 1/2 cup of water when the vegetables start getting cooked.Mix all the ingredients by stirring in a ladle and add water if it needs to be cooked for more time. The vegetables should be mushy and properly cooked. Now, in a tadka pan, heat ghee and temper it with cumin seeds. Mix the tempering with the cooked vegetables. The most important step in preparing this bhoga is adding the roasted fenugreek seeds powder in the cooked vegetables. This actually adds the bitter taste in the dish and the prepared bhoga comes to known as pita.
Adding powdered fenugreek is done outside the premises of the Roshaghara or the Lord’s Kitchen, as bitter ingredients are prohibited in the kitchen.
While, my article has ended, but the legends of Shri Jaganntha lingers on my mind and I can hear this song,
ଗୋଡ ଯୋଡିକ ଥାଇ ବୋଇଲେ ସତ ମୋ ବଚନ , ରାମା ସତ ମୋ ବଚନ
ମୁଁ ତ କ୍ଷେତ୍ର ଯିବି………
Wishes on #RathaJatra.
Jagannatha Swami, nayana patha gami bhabatu me.