Saturday, 30 April 2016

Kalpabata : The Age Old Wish Fulfilling Tree
at Lord Jagannath Dham, Puri

The word 'Kalpa' denotes two meanings. Firstly, it means tense or time. When added with Bata it
takes new meaning i.e. the age old tree. Kalpabata exists since time immemorial. It is the oldest among many old things those are still remaining in Srikhetra Puri. According to Puranic Sources this sacred tree has been staying in all ages i.e. Satya, Tretaya, Dwapara and Kali. The second meaning that assigned to this tree is due to its ability to fulfill wishes of devotees.In one sentence, we can say
Kalpabata as the wish fulfilling tree. Presently Kalpabata is worshipped in between Satyanarayan Temple and Mukti Mandap of Srimandir complex. A stone and clay pedestal (Mandap) has been
constructed around the steam of Kalpabata. To make it more attractive, many appliques have hanged on branches of the tree. There is a path around the tree to round up by the devotees. It is believed that three rounds around it fulfill wishes of the desired person.

Hoping for son, the childless women worship Kalpabata with special prayer meant for that. The
shadow of Kalpabata relax both body and mind of an individual. Therefore visitors sit under the
tree for time-being. Kalpabata is situated in the centre point (Navisthala) of Sankhakhetra Puri. It is
surrounded by small temples of different deities like Bateswar Mahadeva, Bata Krishna, Bata Balamakunda, Bata Madhava, Bata Ganesh, Bata Mangala, Bata Jagannath and Bata Markandeya.
Jagannath Das, the author of Odiya Bhagabata had spent many times under the Kalpabata and regarded it as the most Sacred place inside the temple complex. From here he was going to see Lord Jagannath through Jagamohana. Near Bata Ganesh there was the historic meet between Sri Chaitanya and Jagannath Das when the later was discussing the verses of Bhagabata. Sri Chaitanya was deeply moved by the scholarly analysis of the great epic. He embraced Jagannath Das and bestowed him the title 'Atibadi'. The Buddhist who considered Lord Jagannath as incarnation of Buddha also compared 'Kalpabata' with Mahaboddhidruma. So the Buddhist in collaboration with the devotees of Lord Jagannath had established the 'Saugata Narayana Statue' under Kalpabata.

Antiquity and Historicity :

It is very difficult to determine the origin of Kalpabata. It is said that during the annihilation of the entire world, Kalpabata was not immersed in the water. Maharshi Markandeya had seen baby Vishnu was floating on a bata leaf at the top of the grand banyan tree. Therefore Kalpabata is worshipped as Vishnu and its four branches are compared with four arms of the Lord. Vyasadeva had given the view that Kalpabata is originated from the body of Lord Vishnu. So the darshan of this tree gives good results. The Skandapuran gives vivid description of this tree and the results of its visit. In Mahabharata Age Kalpabata was known in the name Devanasana bata. Because the auspicious pillar of the Mahabharata war was erected from the branch of this tree. Sarala Das has also specifically described about this tree. As per his description, king Indradyumna was once sitting under Kalpabata with anxiety in mind for construction of grand temple. By that time a stranger reached there and gave him plan in connection with the construction. Later Mahapurusa Achyutananda Das also got enlightenment and super natural power from here.

The tradition of tree worship goes back to the Vedic period in history. By that time the Banyan tree was known and worshipped as Nyagradha. It was considered most sacred and great. The Vedas and Puranas contain eloquent verses glorifying this tree. Gajapati Kapilendra Dev (1435-65) had
conquered many kingdoms of India like Malaya Gouda, Delhi, Karnataka and extended the
boundary of Odisa. He had also collected large wealth from the defeated kingdoms. He
surrendered all these valuable wealth before Lord Jagannath under Kalpabata. The real relation
between Lord Jagannath with Kalpabata is witnessed after Car festival. When Lords return
to Srimandir, after entering into Kurmabedha Shri Jagannath stops for sometime facing towards
Kalpabata. From there the Patimahapatras receive the deity with obeisance. Kalpabata has also link with Kaka Bhusanda. Bhusanda Kaka was cursed by saint Lomasa for which he was sitting worried on Kalpabata. In fact, he was searching the way for liberation from the curse. Rohini Kunda was
situated near Kalpabata. Suddenly Kaka Bhusanda fell into Rohini Kunda, got salvation and turned into four armed Vishnu. Since then he is worshipped as Bata Narayan near Kalpabata.