An exposition in three parts on Sri Sudarshan

Sri Sudarshan belongs to the pantheon of “Chaturdhha Murti” in the cult of Lord Jagannath. Brahma Purana and Skanda Purana are eloquent on the worship of Sri Sudarshan as the divine weapon of Lord Jagannath. In the Grand Temple at Puri, Sri Sudarshan is seated on the left side of the Lord. As described in Skanda Purana, Sri Sudarshan is the embodiment of a unique divine luminescence. His image resembles the form of a short post made of wood. In the physical form, his colour is lilac red.

How did Sri Sudarshan emerge in the cosmic creation? Again, what is the background of his emergence in the pole-like form in the Grand Temple, Puri? There are different spiritual expositions on this score.

Chakraraj Sudarshan, as per Matsya Puruna, was created out of the cosmic sparkle of the sun-god. This was fostered under a special circumstance as per the divine wish of Lord Narayan/Vishnu. Once the Sun-god prayed to Sriman Narayan imploring, “Hey Prabhu, the redresser of the cries of the distressed, if thyself is really kind to me, then be pleased to reduce my excruciating luminescence which is unbearable not only to me but also to all the creatures of the universe.” Lord Narayan was moved by the Sun’s fervent prayer. Pleased with his humble prayer, the Lord reduced the unendurable effulgence of the Sungod and created with the estranged divine glow, three weapons — namely a disc for Himself, a trident for Lord Siva and above all, the most powerful thunder for Lord Indra. This is how the disc of Sri Sudarshan was created for Lord Narayan.

Brahma Purana has another story in this regard, as follows: Once, the gods of the kingdom of heaven, upset by the constant battle calls of demons, met Lord Narayan in the Milk-Ocean, where the Lord was deeply immersed in divine slumber. They prayed to the Lord with profound devotion to save them from the atrocities of the demons. When the Lord woke up, the gods made a very humble appeal stating, “Hey, Prabhu, the protector of the helpless and the vulnerable, thou art the Lord of the universe. We know well that thyself is aware of our tormenting concern. We are very often troubled by the demons. We therefore pray for Thy intervention in our case to humble the demons with Thy uncommon prowess”.

The all-merciful Lord was immensely pleased. He immediately consoled the gods, saying, “Oh, the gods of heaven, you are blessed with myriad divine powers. Your powerful weapons conjointly used in a composite form can annihilate the demons from earth. What I suggest in this connection is that all of you should together part with some portions of your divine power and create a composite divine weapon, which would be not only very powerful but also far-reaching in its magnitude. We may use this weapon to humble down the wicked demons in a ruthless way”.

Hearing the kind words of the Lord, the gods were greatly pleased. They immediately parted with portions of their divine power, with the help of which the Lord created Chakraraj Sudarshan. However, the Lord preserved it under His possession. He wielded it only when it was necessary to annihilate the evil.

In Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Sudarshan is described as the king of all stars. He is present in the all-pervading space. He represents the moon; he is water and air in the universe. In the same way, he is the earth and the sky. Sri Sudarshan is also described as Jagnya. He exists as soul in all living beings. He represents the supreme luminescence of the Supreme Purusha as described in the Vedas.

In Premabhakti Brahma Gita of Yossabanta Das, he is portrayed as a great void representing the divine effulgence of Brahma. He is devoid of feet, head, nose and ear. Yet he is all vibrant in the cosmic creation. According to Balaram Das, Sri Sudarshan is the divine form of Atharva Veda, while Sri Balaram is described as the representative of Sama Veda, Ma Subhadra as the representative of Rig Veda, and Lord Jagannath as the divine form of Yajur Veda. Sri Sudarshan is embracive of all weapons like Conch, Disc, Pasa, Ankusa, Shula, Bajra, etc. In his divine appearance, he has eight hands and three eyes. He is in the form of wild and tumultuous fire. He is the avenger of all enemies and all evil forces. He is the symbol of immaculate divine force with the soaring effulgence of the great Lord. In that way, Sri Sudarshan is a very sturdy weapon of Lord Narayan.

In the books of idols, Sri Sudarshan is christened in the holy name of Chakraraj, the king of all weapons in the cosmic creation. There is a unique anecdote in scriptures about his remarkable services to the Lord and his matchless love for the devotees of Sriman Narayan.

Once upon a time, there was a good and pious king. His name was Ambarisha. He was a good devotee of Lord Vishnu. He considered his daily services as humble offerings to Lord Vishnu. On one occasion, he made up his mind to observe a spiritual austerity by an institution of special worship of Lord Vishnu on the 12th day of every lunar month for a period of one year for his spiritual uplift. He and his wife performed the ritual together with utmost devotion. When the completion of one year duration arrived, he celebrated the concluding ritual in pomp and ceremony. Just on that day, Maharshi Durbasa came to his palace with his followers. The pious king and his wife offered their hospitality to the great saint and invited him and his followers to the afternoon meal on the occasion of their concluding ritual. The saint with his followers went to Jamuna River for ablution. While taking bath, he remained immersed in the thought of the Lord and skipped the lunch time, which caused a great hardship to the king. The king was supposed to conclude his ritual in time or else it would act against him in a reverse way. He consulted his Brahmins. They advised him to conclude the ritual in proper time by breaking his fasting by taking at least water, as he was to wait for the arrival of Marharshi Durbasa. He followed the instructions of his Brahmins.

Maharsi Durbasa with his followers returned to the palace of Ambarisha after bath at a very late hour of the day. On arrival, when he came to know what the king had done by then, he got very wild and by creating a demon called Krutya, he ordered him to destroy the pious king in anger. The king was unperturbed at the impending danger and he prayed to Sri Sudarshan for help. King Ambarisha was not at fault under any circumstance. Sri Sudarshan instantly appeared at the palace to save the king from the impending catastrophe. At first, he killed the demon and then he followed the Maharsi to equally punish him for his audacious curse. Durbasha ran from pillar to post for help. Even the Lords, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva could not save him from the danger.

Vishnu at last advised the Maharshi to approach king Ambarisha for necessary help because it was Ambarisha who alone could save him from the wrath of Sri Sudarshan. At last the saint approached the king for help. Ambarisha, by offering the fruits of all his past religious achievements, prayed to Sri Sudarshan to calm down and save the life of the Maharshi. Sri Sudarshan, was immensely pleased with the King’s humble submission. At last, Sri Sudarshan saved the life of Durbasha. So it is said that Sri Sudarshan is kind to the devotees of the Lord to this extent. One can get his help when one is in danger and prays to him for his blessings.

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