Know About Patitapabana
The term Patitapabana indicates the lord of the lower section of the society. The earliest reference to Patitapabana Jagannath is found from the Mahabharata of Sarala Das of 15th Century A.D. In this Mahabharata Sarala Das does not refer to the relief of Patitapabana of the Lion Gate of the Jagannath Temple at Puri. He refers to Patitapabana-Jagannath in the Ratnasimhasana. In the Purusottama Khanda of the Skanda Purana, Kapila Samhita and Niladri Mahodaya Devadideva Jagannath has been described as Parama-pabana but not as Patita-pabana.
It makes clear that Parama-pabana Jagannath has not been accepted as Patita-pabana by the Brahmanic sections of the society in the 14th - 15th century A.D. The concept of Patitapabana was known in the Pre-Sarala Das period. Late Kedarnath Mohapatra gave an evidence of the worship ofPatitapabana Jagannath in the 13th Century A.D. Of course Late Mohapatra borrowed this evidence from the work of Radha Charana Panda. Mr. Panda writes: µAntarvedi Matha is situated near Tribeni Ghat on the bank of the Prachi river. In a thatched house near the Matha the image of Patitapabana is worshipped. It is doubted that an image of Jagannath of the 13th century A.D. could have been worshipped near Tribeni Ghat as Patitapabana in the post Sarala Das period.
During the Suryavamsi Gajapati period, Paramapabana Jagannath was popular as Patitapabana. Patitapabana Jagannath had the power to liberate the Patitas (fallens). At that time low caste people in Bengal became Muslims because of their detachment from Hinduism. Therefore a powerful section of Odishan Society became conscious about this trend in Bengal and declared Jagannath as Patitapabana to discourage the low caste people in accepting the Islam. It is well known that the Khurda king Ramachandra Dev- II (1727-36 A.D.) came in contact with a Muslim girl.
As a result he lost his religion and position as the first Sevaka of Lord Jagannath. Specially his right of entrance into the temple and the ritual duty in connection with Jagannath cult was denied to him. In order to allow Ramachandra Dev- II (who was deprived of this privileges) to worship and have a Darshan of Lord Jagannath, the relief of Patitapabana was consecrated in the Gumuta of the Lion gate of the temple. This worship of Patitapabana was duly highlighted in the Jagannath Charitamrita of Dibakar Das. This Patitapabana worship in the Gumuta of Simhadwara could be possible for the willing support of the king to some of the Sevaks who desired it much against the Brahmanic power which was not in favour of this type of worship. For this reason in the Brahmanical texts like Niladri Mahodaya this event has not been described.
Even the composer of Rajabhoga of Madalapanji was silent about it. The worship of Patitapabana could be very much popular in Odisha after 16th - 17th century A.D. The deity gained extraordinary popularity in Odisha for the Gundicha and Snana Yatra on which occasion Jagannath could be seen and touched by all. It was the precious moment for the devotees to be purified from all their sins after a Darsan of the Lord. Hence the Yatra was associated with the name of Patitapabana. Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja has fittingly described this aspect in is work Kotibrahmanda Sundari.
Another important cause for the popularity of Patitapabana in the Odishan religious thought sphere in the 17th - 18th century A.D. has been pointed out by H.V. Stietencron. He states that the continuous and the dangerous presence of the Muslims in Odisha had induced the Hindus to isolate themselves and to lay stress on orthodoxy. The god began to be cut off from the majority of his devotees. So they began to erect temples for Patitapabana as this aspect of Jagannath was then declared and appreciated in Odishan villages. By this way the influence of Patitapabana Jagannath was strongly felt in the Odishan religious thought sphere. In the beginning, Patitapabana was worshipped as an image (Vigraha) in the Gumuta of the Lion Gate of Srimandir. But after the period of Divyasimha Dev (1688 - 1716 A.D.) the relief of the same god was worshipped in the same place. The attempt of Aurangzeb the Mughal king to destroy the Jagannath temple resulted only in removal of the wooden image of Jagannath from the Gumuta of the Lion gate.
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