Odana Sasthi Festival – Iskcon Dwarka
On Odana Sasthi Festival, devotees exhibit their devotion to Lord Jagannatha by covering his image with a fabric they commissioned from a weaver. Lord Jagannatha is wrapped in a cloth to keep him warm during the winter celebration. Lord Krishna’s disciples do this out of devotion.
What is Odana Sasthi?
As the first day of winter, Odana Sashti is a festival to celebrate the season’s arrival. During the Odana Sasthi celebration, worshipers would drape Lord Jagannatha and Lord Balarama with starched garments. This ritual marks the beginning of providing the Lord with a winter cloak each year. This covering is obtained straight from the weaver and is typically starched immediately after purchase. Before it can be used to cover the Lord, the cloth must be washed to eliminate the starch, as per the Archana-marga. Lord Jagannatha has requested that His attendants outfit Him in clean, ironed garments for this special occasion.
What are the Rituals of Odana Sasthi?
Lord Jagannatha receives his winter shawl on Odana Sasthi. Pundarika Vidyanidhi, in Krsna-Lila Vrsabhanu Maharaja, the father of Srimati Radharani, received some special mercy the year that Lord Chaitanya and His associates celebrated this festival in Puri. His story can teach us all a thing or two. During the first few days of winter, people celebrate with a ceremony called the Odana Sasthi, as described by Srila Prabhupada.
After this ritual, it is customary to drape Lord Jagannatha with a warm winter robe yearly. Rather than going through an intermediary, you’ll buy this covering straight from a weaver. The arcana-marga states that before a garment can be used to cover the Lord, it must be cleaned to eliminate all starch.
What Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Described this Festival?
On the festival of Odana Sasthi, Sri Gaurasundara and all of His devotees paid a visit to Lord Jagannatha. The sound of musical bands with various instruments, such as mridangas, conch shells, bells, and more, could be heard across town. Until the Makara-Sankranti holiday in the middle of January, their Lordships celebrated with various costumes. Witnessing Sri Jagannatha’s various outfit changes kept Sri Gaurasundara and the Vaishnavas there well into the night, overcome with pleasure.
In His role as Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna Chaitanya prayed to and adored the Deity Form of the Lord, Jagannatha. This holy, esoteric secret, which was now being acted out, is beyond the comprehension of mortals unless the Lord blesses them. Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the crown jewel of all sannyasis, bathed in the mellows of bhakti-yoga, arrived for His darsana while the Supreme Lord, Sri Jagannatha, seated in yoga-asana on the altar.
The Odana Sasthi festival is an opportunity to deck the Deities in rich silks and golden jewellery with valuable stones. Even more fragrant seasonal flowers are used to adorn Their Lordships in the form of garlands, bracelets, and earrings.
Why Vidyanidhi Protested?
The objection of Vidyanidhi is, “Lord Jagannatha Deva knows everything. Can they become like Him, though? Do they need to abide by any laws at all?” The two friends spoke happily the rest of the way to their apartment, where they collapsed into sleep.
Later that evening, Vidyanidhi dreamed that Jagannatha and Balarama were furious with him. With a slap to each cheek, they told Vidyanidhi, “Neither my servants nor I belong to any particular caste. The regulations that you believe have been broken were created by me.” Sad, Sri Pundarika Vidyanidhi bowed down at Jagannatha’s feet and said, “Lord, I have received punishment commensurate with my sins. Your kind hand has touched my forehead, making this a day of great good fortune.
Svarupa Damodara visited Vidyanidhi every day, and the two of them made a habit of paying a visit to the Jagannatha Mandira for darsana first thing in the morning. Svarupa Damodara arrived at their customary time that morning, but Vidyanidhi was still in bed. When he asked Vidyanidhi why he was still in bed, Vidyanidhi pulled him close and recounted the incredible dream he had just had.
We can learn from Odana Sasthi that even the most experienced devotee is not immune to the Lord’s chastisement for committing an offence against one of His servants, even if just in thought. The lesson here is that a pure devotee accepts the Lord’s chastisement of them with great joy, seeing it as a sign of the Lord’s mercy, of His love and care for His devotees, both the perpetrators and the victims of such offences. His heart is filled with joy as he expresses gratitude to the Lord for redeeming him and keeping him from future transgression.
On Odana Sasthi Festival, worshipers would drape Lord Jagannatha and Lord Balarama with starched garments. This ritual marks the beginning of providing the Lord with a winter cloak each year. The cloth is obtained straight from the weaver and is typically starched immediately after purchase. The Odana Sasthi festival is an opportunity to deck the Deities in rich silks and gold jewellery with valuable stones. Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bathed in mellows of bhakti-yoga, while the Supreme Lord, Sri Jagannatha, was seated in yoga-asana on the altar. Pundarika Vidyanidhi had an incredible dream in which he was slapped by Sri Jagannatha and Sri Balarama.