NABAKALEBAR

Navakalevara - Information about the Ritual
Navakalevara - Collection of Daru (Wood) for new Deities
Navakalevara - Cutting of Daru (wood) for new Deities
Navakalevara - Carving of new Deities & Burial of old Deities
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CARVING OF NEW DEITIES & BURIAL OF OLD DEITIES

From next day of the bathing ceremony the Deities are carved out of the wood by the skilled carpenters called Biswakarma in secrecy, under the strict supervision and guidance of Daitapatis. The three oldest Biswakarmas will be the main sculptors for the deity of Lord Jagannath . The images of Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra & Sudarshana are simultaneously carved by other two teams consisting of three carpenters each. More than 50 carpenters work as assistant to the main carvers. The work is done with utmost privacy and not even the head priest of the temple is allowed to visit the place of work. There is a special enclosure inside the temple premises where the carving of the Lord is done. The enclosure is open on the top but is attached with very strong doors. The carpenters are not allowed to eat, drink or smoke inside the enclosure. The carvings are completed in 21 days and during these 21 days the carpenters are not allowed to leave the temple premises. They would sleep in the temple premises in the night and eat Mahaprasad. Devotional songs & shlokas from the Vedas chanted continuously outside the Koili Baikuntha day and night during these 21 days.

Before Asadha Chaturthy night the new Deities are made completely and are carried inside the inner sanctum only by descendants of the Daitapati family of the Jagannath Temple and placed in front of the old deities facing them. This ritual is also done with supreme privacy and nobody is allowed to go inside. On this specific night at midnight hours the Brahma Padartha (The Supreme Matter) is transferred from old deity to new one by hereditary functionary of the temple who is made to be completely blindfolded, his hands and feet too wrapped with thick layers of silk cloths so that the transferee can neither see nor feel anything about it.

There is a curiosity among all to know what this Brahma Padartha is and how does it look like. There are different religious stories on this. The Buddhists say the Brahma Padartha (The Supreme Matter) mysteriously hidden inside the body of Lord Jagannath is told to be the tooth of Lord Buddha. The Vaishnavas say it to be the Live Shalagrama (a pebble with natural symbols) which fell from heaven into the Gomati river of Nepal. Shabaras have an interesting story to tell as destined, Zara Shabara pierced an arrow into the feet causing death of Krishna at Mahendragiri. Arjuna instructed the crying Zara to cremate. But Zara could not burn Krishna's body completely and the navel portion remained unbrunt and the same was kept inside the initial deity worshipped by the tribals as Nilamadhaba. This element is transferred from old deities to new ones in the dead hour of the night by hereditary functionary of the temple who is made to be completely blindfolded, his hands and feet too wrapped with thick layers of silk ribbons so that the transferee can neither see nor feel anything about it. Since now no one has seen the Brahma Padartha till now, the mystery relating to this topic is still unraveled.

A special Bhog is offered to the old deities before transfer of the Brahma Padartha, known as Sarbanga Panti Bhog. This is the last ‘Bhog’ of the old deities. As per tradition the rights of the Great Transformation are permitted only to the Daitapatis as they are considered to be the descendants of the Daitapati who was the first worshipper of the Lord Jagannath. To finish the installation, the Brahma Padartha must be transferred from the old deity and placed in the heart region of the new deity. The secret ritual is performed on Amavasaya (dark moon) in the total darkness of midnight in the temple surrounded by the town of Puri , which is completely devoid of any electric light at this time because the government cuts off the electric supply.

As soon as the Brahma Padartha is taken out of a deity, the corresponding deity is considered to be dead. The deity is then loaded in the same cart in which the corresponding new deity transported and immediately carried to Koili Baikuntha which is considered as the burial ground of the old deities. Koili means "burial ground" and Baikuntha means "Heaven". At Koili Baikuntha a deep pit is kept ready to bury the old Deities. After burial, the Deities join the dust and become part of it. It was never discovered any remaining of the previous burial. During this time not only the old Deities are buried but also all the subsidiary Deities (Parswa Devatas) of the three chariots are also buried here and new subsidiary deities are made for next Car Festival.

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