The Story Of a Muslim Devotee SalaBega For Whom NandiGhosa waited for 7 Days
Recently we have been involved in a discussion regarding the entry of “Non-Hindus to the Jagannath Temple”. To conclude this we have an interesting real story which proves God doesn’t have a boundary for any particular religion, caste, or sex & thereby showering his love equally upon all.
It’s was long story about the son of a Muslim father and a Hindu Brahmin mother. They lived in the 16th century where there was a huge gap between Hindus and Muslims because of Muslim invaders destroying a lot of Hindu temples. Many temples were under protection by Kings, many don’t allow Muslims to enter those even now including Puri Jagannath. I had to give this background to explain why the events in the story happened in the way it did. So here it goes:
Muslim Commander Abducting Brahmin Widow:
There is a small pond near Dandamukundapur Puri. A Brahmin widow was bathing in it. Widow’s life was not good during those days, much worse than today’s. A Muslim commander called Balbeg came across the young widowed Brahmin taking bath at Dandamukundapurr. Fascinated by her youthful beauty, Lalbeg forcibly took her away and made her his wife. The lady still missed her Lord Jagannath and kept her devotion secret to all. But she was happy with her new life as well.
SalaBega was the son of the Mughal Subedar, Lalbeg. As soon as he was young enough, Salabega took part in fighting with his father.
Attraction toward Lord Jagannath:
Once he was severely wounded in battle. Battling for life he accepted the advice of his mother; he chanted the holy name of Lord Krishna and was cured miraculously. Feeling greatly indebted to Lord Krishna he tried to know more about Hinduism.
From his mother he came to know that Lord Jagannath is incarnation of Lord Krishna. Amazed and thrilled he went to Puri but was refused entrance into the temple of Jagannath due to his Muslim birth.
Thereafter he went on foot to Vrindavana wherein he lived the life of an ascetic in the association of Sadhus reciting bhajansin honour of Lord Sri Krishna. After one year in Vraja(Vrindavana), he returned to Puri desiring to see the Ratha Yatra festival of Lord Jagannath, but on the way he suddenly fell ill. Feeling helpless and realizing that he would not reach Puri in time to see the Ratha Yatra festival, he offered prayers to Lord Jagannath petitioning Him to wait until he arrived.
On the day of the Car festival, Nandighosa, the car of Lord Jagannath, did not move an inch.
NandiGhosa waited for 7 Days:
People tried to pull it harder, nothing happened! They even got elephants to push the chariot but a devotee’s devotion kept the wheels of the Lord glued to the exact place till 7 days!
By then, the King of Puri and all priests were worried. The head priest got a dream telling him not to worry, the Lord was waiting for his beloved kid! So for 7 days, all rituals of Lord Jagannath, all pujas were done on the Chariot itself!
Shalbeg came at last. This time, nobody stopped him from going closer to the Lord. He went and had his darshan, did puja and soon after just pushed the Chariot it began to move
The place where the car remained stationary to give darshan to Salabega was later used by Salabega for composing his many bhajans in honor of Lord Jagannath.
His devotion was such that even the devotional songs, he wrote are sung as morning prayers in the sanctum sanctorum till date. The famous one’s being “Ahe Nila Saila”. Thus, the title conferred on him is “Bhakta Kavi SalaBega”(Devotional Poet SalaBega).
To repay his love and respect his devotion, the chariot till today also stops at his samadhi during the Annual Rath Yatra Festival. It’s thus seen that God doesn’t have boundary for any particular religion,caste or sex thereby showering his love equally upon all.
Aftab Hussain:Second Salabega
Recently on June 18 2020 Supreme Court objected the procession of Lord Jagannatha, Subadra, and Balarama chariot in wake of Pandemic Covid 19. Aftab Hussain took pride of Odissa heritage and cultural background and twice filed his petition in Supreme Court to allow Chariots procession.