Lord Jagannath Tales: Experience of Goswami Tulsidas
The experience of Goswami Tulsidas, the great devotee of Lord Rama.
Goswami Tulsidas was a great devotee of Lord Rama. He had heard that Sri Jagannath was an incarnation of Lord Rama. Once he decided to visit the Jagannath Temple to have darshan of his Lord Rama in the incarnation of Lord Jagannath. However, when he entered the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and saw the three deities, he was filled with a sense of disappointment. He could not sense the presence of Rama and came out with a feeling of disenchantment. As he was descending the steps of the temple known as Baishi Pahacha (Twenty-two Steps), a monkey came jumping and snatched away the shawl which covered his upper body.
Goswami did not know what to do. It was quite dark and he could not see anyone. Suddenly a person appeared, apparently out of nowhere. His face was glowing and his presence seemed divine. He asked the monkey to return the shawl to Goswami. The monkey promptly did so and the creature and Goswami’s benefactor disappeared. Goswami just stood there amazed at the incident. The entire sequence of events had left him searching for answers.
At night Goswami had a dream in which he heard his Lord’s voice. “I am surprised that you came back from the temple disappointed. How did you not feel my presence in the image of Lord Jagannath? He and I are one and the same. The monkey who took your shawl was none other than Hanuman who just wished to give you a little shake-up whereas the man whom the monkey obeyed was none other than Vibhishana.
It is believed that even now, every night Vibhishana and Hanuman visit the temple of Lord Jagannath.
Next day Goswami Tulasidas returned to Sri Jagannath temple and sure enough he saw the presence of his Lord in the sanctum sanctorum.
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