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I have heard that the heart of Lord Krishna which was unburnt is kept inside the idol of Lord Jagannath in Puri. Is it True???? Probably the heart is termed as 'Daru Brahma'. Does anyone know the true story behind?

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As we know that the idol of Lord Jagan Natha is reconstructed before every 19 years. This wooden covering is outer shell which is called "Kalevara/kalebara".

Hence during every new wooden body there must be the transfer of "core inner material" from old to new wooden shell (nabakalevara).

This happens in very secret manner in the dark new moon midnight. Only selected priests are allowed during this ritual. Some of them cover their eyes with a cloth.

The inner substance is called "brahma padartha". This is the core of the idol. There are many possible candidates for this brahma padartha as per many folktales and myths.

This is a secret ritual. The deities have been given 'Golaka Bishrama' (eternal rest), after their 19 years play (leela) in universe in 'Koili Baikuntha' (Burial ground cum garden of the temple), followed by 'Brahma Paribartana'. It is also called 'Ghatantara' (change of body) because 'Brahma Padartha' (Supreme matter) has already been transferred to the newly carved deities from the bellies' of old deities. In the dead of the night, the 'Badagrahis' (particular servitors assigned with this special task) had performed this strictly confidential rite. Besides, all the used utensils and materials associated with the deities and their rituals such as cots, beds, pillows, Sarathis of old chariots, Dwarapalas (Body Guards), Ghotak (horses), Parswa Devata (deities placed at sides), Sua (parrots) and Dhwaja Danda (Flag bearing clubs) have also been given final respite in the burial ground. The deities have taken their eternal rest in the 'Mahagarbha' (great hole, specially dug for this purpose in the garden) in the temple premises.

Before 'Brahma Paribartan', "Purnahuti" (ultimate offering) in the Yanja (fire sacrifice) which was continued for last 11 days in 'Koili Baikuntha' had been performed by Gajapati Maharaja of Puri (The king of Puri, the first servitor of the Lords). The king entered the Yanja Pedestal in 'Koili Baikuntha' through the south gate of the temple, accompanied with other servitors who were assigned to work as 'Bidyapati', 'Biswabasu' and 'Brahma' etc in the process of "Purnahuti". Followed by a series of rituals and conventional worships, the temple was made 'Sodha' (Cleansed) and then the 'Brahma Paribartan' was started. During the process, four walls of the temple were closed and nobody was allowed to remain present, except the assigned and authorised servitors. Energy supply was also stopped, while shops and markets were closed to make the process entirely invisible. 'Deula Karana' watched the situation with sword in his hand, standing at the 'Gumuta' (small pathway for entry) where 'Patitapabana' (representative of Lord Jagannath) is placed. The deities in 'Anasara' (hibernation) were offered Bhoga. Daitapatis made a 'Mahasnana' (great bath) of 'Chaturdhamurtis' (four idols, newly built). Then the new images are given 'Khandua' and 'Senapata' (dressing and decoration) and were brought to the 'Anasara Pindi' (temporary pedestal). Only four selected servitors performed the secret rituals of 'Brahama Paribartan', being made completely blindfolded, their hands and feet wrapped with layers of thick silk ribbons, so that they could not see or feel the matter. The supreme matters were brought from the old deities and were placed on a silver pot which was stationed on a 'Khatuli' (small cot). The supreme matter was offered perfumes, sandalwood paste, musk and other fragrant flowers. Finally it was placed in the bellies of newly carved idols. Followed by the 'Brahma Paribartan', the old idols were brought to 'Koili Baikuntha' for 'Patali' (sacred burial) in 'Mahagarva' (great hole).

Any unsolved mystery inevitably gives rise to speculations, myths as well as absurdities. There are several theories regarding the identity of ‘Brahma padartha’, several of them based on myths. Many believe ‘Brahma padartha’ to be the mortal remains of Lord Sri Krishna. This belief is rooted in an episode in Odia Mahabharat written by Adikabi Sarala Das. Some western researchers have also quoted this theory. According to this belief, the body of Sri Krishna did not burn up completely despite repeated efforts. Legend has it that the unburnt mortal remains of Sri Krishna were flown in the sea and reached the Puri coast to be used as ‘Brahma padartha’ of ‘daru’ idols. But this belief has no historical basis and is completely based on mythology. Moreover, it is quiet illogical to accept that something thrown into sea near Dwaraka on the western coast of India could circumnavigate around the Indian peninsula to reach the Puri coast on the eastern side.

Some others claim ‘Brahma padartha’ may be a tooth of Goutama Buddha. As per Buddhist history, a tooth of Buddha collected from his funeral pyre by a ‘ther’ named Kshyema. This tooth had reached Kalinga where it was worshipped in a city named Dantapura. Historians say this tooth is now being worshipped at the ‘Dantamandir’in Kandy in Sri Lanka. Kalinga had faced several invasions because of this tooth. Its king Guhashiva had been killed in battle. His daughter Hemamala and son-in-law Dantakumar had managed to escape to Sri Lanka along with the tooth of Buddha. So, this tooth cannot be the ‘Brahma padartha’.

Some claim ‘Brahma padartha’ is actually a ‘shaligram’. To escape the devastation caused by sea waves and attacks of Raktabahu, the idols of Sri Jagannath temple had been whisked away to Sonepur area in western Odisha. Idols were buried deep down the ground. Later king Jajatikeshari had recovered remnants of these idols and new idols had been constructed to replace them. On the instructions of Sankaracharya, a monk named Bharati Acharya had visited Nepal to procure two shaligrams. These are thought to be ‘Brahma padartha’. But analysts of rituals of Sri Jagannath temple are of the opinion that worship of shaligram does not need ‘prana pratistha’ or invocation of life. But ‘prana pratistha’ is an integral ritual for deities of Sri Jagananth temple.

Another myth regarding ‘Brahma padartha’ is related to Sati and Lord Shiva. Shiva was doing tandav carrying corpse of Sati on his shoulders. Lord Vishnu cut down Sati’s body into many parts by his Sudarshan chakra. Its naval portion fell at Jajpur and was carried by river to sea. It was collected from Puri coast and was divided into four parts to become ‘Brahma padartha’ of four idols. This again has mythological overtones.

Several other objects have been assumed to be ‘Brahma padartha’. They include mercury kept in small caskets, miniature idol of a couple in sleeping position, tulsi leaves crafted from gold or ‘ashtadhatu’ alloy.

Another assumption based on circumstantial evidence claims the ‘Brahma padartha’ inside idol of Sri Jagannath is shaligram and a Shri Gopal Yantra drawn on gold leaf. Idol of Sri Balabhadra does contain gold Shivalinga along with ‘Shaiva Yantra’ as ‘Brahma padartha’. Core material in Devi Subhadra is a ‘Bhuvaneswari Yantra’ drawn on gold plate and ‘Brahma padartha’ of Sri Sudarshan is a shaligram and ‘Sri Nrusimha Yantra’ made up of gold.

Overall, it is not possible to say what exactly is the brahma padartha. But from majority of claims and stories it looks like it is a combination of special "shaligram" along with a sacred "yantra" (sigil).

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