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CC Madhya 13.8

Text

baliṣṭha dayitā’ gaṇa — yena matta hātī
jagannātha vijaya karāya kari’ hātāhāti

Synonyms

baliṣṭha dayitāgaṇa — very strong dayitās, or carriers of Jagannātha; yena — as if; matta hātī — drunken elephants; jagannātha — of Lord Jagannātha; vijaya — departure; karāya — cause; kari’ — performing; hātāhāti — hand to hand.

Translation

The very strongly built dayitās [carriers of the Jagannātha Deity] were as powerful as drunken elephants. They manually carried Lord Jagannātha from the throne to the car.

Purport

The word dayitā refers to one who has received the mercy of the Lord. Lord Jagannātha has a number of stalwart servants known as dayitās. These servants do not come from very high-caste families (brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas or vaiśyas), but because they are engaged in the service of the Lord, they have been elevated to a respected position. Thus they are known as dayitās. These servants of Lord Jagannātha take care of the Lord from the day of the Snāna-yātrā up to the time the Lord is carried from the throne to the Ratha car. In the Kṣetra-māhātmya these dayitās are said to come from the śabaras, a caste that keeps and sells pigs. However, among the dayitās there are also many who come from the brāhmaṇa caste. Those dayitās coming from the brāhmaṇa families are called dayitā-patis, or leaders of the dayitās. The dayitā-patis offer food such as sweetmeats to Lord Jagannātha during the anavasara, the resting period after Snāna-yātrā. They also make the early-morning offering of sweetmeats daily. It is said that during the anavasara Lord Jagannātha suffers from fever and that the dayitā-patis offer Him an infusion of drugs represented by fruit juice. It is said that in the beginning Lord Jagannātha was worshiped by the śabaras and was known as the Deity Nīla Mādhava. Later, when the Deity was established in the temple, the Lord became known as Jagannātha. Because the Deities were taken from the śabaras, all the śabara devotees were elevated to the position of dayitās.