The story of the celebration of Margashira Guruvar puja is a classic tale that espouses caste and gender equality.
Once Goddess Lakshmi visited an area inhabited by untouchables. Lord Balabhadra was furious and convinced Lord Jagannath to banish her from the house.
Having nowhere else to go Goddess Laksmi went to Puri beach. She then requested Lord Vishwakarma, “O’ divine architect, I have been rendered homeless. Please construct a beautiful palace which would be suitable for me so that I can stay in comfort.”
The Goddess then spoke to Nidra Devi. “O’ Goddess of Sleep, I am asking you for a favour which I know is a rather strange one. Please put Lord Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra to deep slumber.”
After Nidra Devi had carried out her request Goddess Lakshmi ordered her servants to go to the abode of her husband and his elder brother and plunder it in such a way that it was left completely bare of all essentials.
The two brothers, having no other recourse, began roaming the streets, singing bhajans and begging for alms. Goddess Lakshmi requested Goddess Saraswati, “O’ Goddess of learning and wisdom cast such a spell on the people of this land that not a single soul would give alms to the divine duo. Saraswati weaved her magic and the brothers had to return empty handed from each and every house.
At that point the siblings came to know that there was a big palace on the beach and they would get food there. They went to the palace but were told it belonged to an untouchable. They asked for provisions and vessels and decided to cook their food on the beach. Goddess Lakshmi then approached Agni Dev. “O’ God of Fire please do not light up.” Agni Dev did her bidding and as a result the two brothers could not cook.
Desperate they went back to the palace and asked for food even if it was offered by an untouchable. Goddess Lakshmi, still remaining incognito, cooked the favourite meal of Lord Balabhadra and Lord Jagannath.
Lord Jagannath, realizing that the benediction was being bestowed on him by none other than his wife, went to her. “You were right and I was wrong. Everyone should be treated equal whether man or woman, low caste or high caste. I have learnt my lesson. I hereby ordain that all devotees of mine should keep in mind this ethos of equality for all times to come.”
Lakshmi went back to her husband’s abode and happiness reigned supreme.
The opinions shared by the writer are personal.
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