Devotees pray for trinity's good health - Special medicines offered to fever-ridden deities as high temperature refuses to recede

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  • Published 23.06.11

Bhubaneswar, June 22: The temperature of the deities does not seem to reduce despite various treatments. But Lord Jagannath’s servitors know what step they must follow to free their deity from sickness.

With faith in their heart and prayers on their lips, the daitapatis (chief servitors) of the Puri temple continue trying various methods prescribed for the cure of the fever-affected deities.

Due to ill-health, owing to an annual fever attack, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and their sister Goddess Subhadra are currently resting in a secret place where they are being treated by their servitors. This hibernation, known as Anabasara, will be on until Amavasya, the day prior to rath yatra until the deities are treated completely.

“The treatment procedure and the special services for the deities during this period have been prescribed in the mythological texts of the temple to be kept secret. Thus all the services are called atyanta gopaniya seba or closely guarded secret services,” said expert on Jagannath culture expert Suryanarayan Rathasharma.

“Just after the Snan Purnima, a health inspection of the deities is first done and on finding that they have acquired infection, they are shifted to a secret place. Here they are silently worshipped devoid of any gong, conch or bell sounds or any loud prayers,” he said.

The deities are also not offered the usual tulasi and are decorated with fragrant white flowers. On the fifth day of their illness, the fever-ridden deities are treated with a special medicinal oil, phuluri.

This sesame oil lotion is prepared with herbal flowers, barks and roots. It also includes sandalwood powder, rice grains and camphor and is made by members of the Bada Oriya Matha.

“We use extracts of flowers such as kia, ketaki, malli, champa and boula and also a variety of medicinal herbs and roots. This lotion is prepared one year back on the fifth day of the rath yatra to be used for the next year during the hibernation,” said the mahanta of Bada Odiya Matha, Bamsidhara Das Goswami. This lotion was applied to the deities on Monday.

However, since the fever is not receding, the hereditary vaidyas of the deities are continuing the treatment.

“The unique element of the deities of the Jagannath temple is that they live like any other mortal and get affected with fever. So, they are also treated by their doctors (vaidyas) from the Vaidya Ratna Lane of the city,” said Rathasharma.

“All the servitors are full of grief concerned about the deities’ health during this period. The lords do not take any rice based food during this fever and are offered cream, fruits and pana,” he said.

The deities will recover the on Nethra Utsava (the day prior to rath yatra) and give darshan to devotees in the sanctum after a process of banaka lagi wherein the idols are freshly painted.