In the present times, prejudice and disharmony rule the world. The story of Bhakta Salbeg stands as a testimony to the universal values of love, peace and tolerance.
Salbeg’s mother was a Brahman widow. A Muslim soldier married her forcefully. Salbeg grew up to become a soldier like his father and joined Aurangzeb’s army.
Once he was severely injured in battle. His mother nursed him while continuously chanting the name of Lord Jagannath.
After regaining his health, Salbeg became an ardent devotee of Lord Jagannath and began composing and singing bhajans in praise of the Lord. He settled down in Vrindavan.
Once desirous of seeking the blessings of his Lord he went to the temple at Puri but was not allowed to enter since he was a Muslim. Sometime later he again left for Puri to catch a glimpse of his Lord when he came out on the streets during the annual Rath Yatra. Salbeg fell ill on the way and prayed to the Lord to wait for him so that he could get his divine darshan. The chariot of the Lord waited till Salbeg arrived. Only after the great devotee got the darshan of his master and touched the ropes of the chariot did it move.
Even to this day the chariot stops at exactly the same point where it had halted for Bhakta Salbeg long ago. Another tribute to the great disciple’s devotion is the fact that the bhajans composed by Bhakta Salbeg are an integral part of the Rath Yatra celebrations.
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