We might have seen many pictures of Lord Jagannath having Hathi Besha or elephant head like Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva. It looks so different. What could be the reason behind Hathi Besha of Lord Jagannath?
Specially on the day of Snana Yatra, Lord Jagannath is decorated as Gajanana or Hati Besha. His face is decked up as having an elephant head.
Lord Jagannath is extremely merciful and fun loving. He is known for many sweet pastimes which delights all. He goes extra mile to please anyone and everyone.
The Lord took the Hathi Besha because he wanted to satisfy the desire of a person who visited his temple in Puri.
A devotee of Ganesha visits the temple
Ganapati Bhatta was a devotee of Lord Ganesha. Once he came to Jagannath Puri. He had heard a lot about the temple in Puri and the different festivals which are conducted in the temple. He had come during Snana Yatra time and went to the temple to participate in the bathing ceremony of the Lord. He was excited.
But when he saw Lord Jagannath was not having an elephant head like Ganesha, he became disappointed.
He left the place. He had given his heart to Ganesha and wanted to worship only Ganesha.
Lord Jagannath resides as paramatma within everyone’s heart. He immediately understood the desire and the cause of dissatisfaction of Ganapati Bhatta.
Jagannath took the form of a brahmana
The Supreme Lord took the form of a brahmana. He went to Ganapati Bhatta. Meanwhile the devotee of Ganesha was planning to leave Puri.
As a brahmana, the Lord tried to convince Ganapati Bhatta to again visit the temple. He was reluctant. But the Lord persuaded him. So, he agreed. He decided to visit the temple in the evening.
The Lord had planned something special for him that day.
As promised to the brahmana, Ganapati Bhatta went to the temple in the evening.
Ganapati Bhatta sees Hathi Besha of Lord Jagannath
As he saw the Lord he began dancing in joy.
It was unbelievable. It was so surprising.
Lord Jagannath was having an elephant head, Hathi Besha, like Ganesha. He saw his beloved Lord Ganesha and he saw all merciful Lord Jagannath.
To please Ganapati Bhatta, Lord Jagannath appeared in this form. The Supreme Lord was having a big smile on his smile.
Ganapati Bhatta’s heart cried in joy. He bowed again and again to the Lord.
The Supreme Lord is the source of all the demigods
He now understood that Lord Jagannath is the Supreme Lord. Everything comes from him. He is the source of all the demigods. The demigods are not independent but are parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord. All the powers which they have come from the Supreme Lord only.
Srimad Bhagavatam 4.31.14 says, “As pouring water on the root of a tree energizes the trunk, branches, twigs and everything else, and as supplying food to the stomach enlivens the senses and limbs of the body, simply worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead through devotional service automatically satisfies the demigods, who are parts of that Supreme Personality.”
When we worship Krishna, we satisfy all the demigods
This pastime of Lord Jagannath clearly tells us that if we worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna or Lord Jagannath then there is no need to worship any demigod because Krishna is the original source of everything. During the Govardhan pastime also Lord Krishna had demonstrated that demigod worship is not required.
Śrī brahma-saṁhitā 5.1 says, “Kṛṣṇa who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.”
In fact, the demigods too get pleased when he sees that we are worshipping the Supreme Lord Jagannath or Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna and Lord Jagannath are the same.
Lord Jagannath is supremely merciful and magnanimous. He fulfils everyone’s desire. He has millions of devotees but to satisfy one devotee he took Hathi Besha form.
We should always approach the Lord with spiritual desire and not material desire. Material desire even if fulfilled will not bring happiness in our life.
But if our desires are devotional then it will bring us closer to the Lord and give us unlimited happiness.