History is wittness – Whenever the devotees have prayed , Lord Jagannath “The God of the Universe” is always there with him .The great Jagannath culture is a unique unifying system that assimilated and incorporated in its fold the influences of divergent religious creeds and sects. Lord Jagannath, the very source of existence for the Hindus and specially Odia’s in particular, is never a sectarian deity.Beginning as a tribal god, he has in course of time become a part of the Aryan culture and has been held in high veneration by the Buddhists, the Jains, the Saivites, the Saktas, the Vaishnavites, and the Ganapatyas and even by the Sikhs and the Muslims. Where else the world needs example of a Hindu deity having a Muslim disciple- the example of ‘Bhakta’ Salabega comes first. He is the one among the greatest disciple of Lord Jagannath.People offer prayers by chanting Salabega’s devotional poetry. Bhakta Salabega was born to a Muslim father and Brahmin mother. He wrote many prayers glorifying Lord Jagannath which are most heart touching. He was not allowed to enter the temple of the Lord in Puri because he was a Muslim. However, this did not stop him thinking of Lord day & night. He eagerly waited for the Ratha Yatra (The Car Festival) when Lord Jagannath will come out of the temple to meet his devotees to have a glimpse of him.
Once during the car festival, Salabega was out of town and could not reach in time to see the Lord on the chariot.He prayed to Lord Jagannath to wait inside the chariot until he could come and that’s what Lord did.It is also said that Lord Jagannath had also waited all year long for this moment too. How could he move without seeing his dear devotee Salabega? Another such event occurred in Balasore, a city in Odisha.Salabega was coming from Delhi to Puri through Balasore and was staying near the temple of Shyamsundar.During evening prayers Salabega wanted to see the Lord inside but was not allowed to do so since he was a Muslim.One evening the priest found that the Lord was missing from his throne.The same night the king of Balasore had a dream that a great devotee of the Lord was waiting outside to have a darshan of Lord. He then made arrangement for a hole to be drilled in the wall so that Salabega could see the Lord. As soon as he stared at the throne of the deities, the deities reappeared.
” Naaham teesthaami vaikunthe, yoginaam hridaye na cha Madbhaktaa yatra dhyaayanti tatra teesthaami naarada-
Neither have I stayed in the heaven nor even in the heart of saints. I reside in that place where my devotees pray / worship. “
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