Puri: “Janami thili mun Shri Gundicha dina, marantiki mun bahuda re” (I was born on Rath Yatra and I aspire to die on Bahuda)” is a popular song which reflects the sentiments of the devotees associated with the auspicious occasion.
In Hinduism, there is a staunch belief that if a person dies on this occasion, he attains Moksha (salvation) or is liberated from the cycle of births and rebirths.
The Ratha Yatra is the age-old traditional journey undertaken by Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra. This Yatra’s descriptions can be found in Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, Skanda Purana and Kapila Samhita.
The Holy Trinity visits their place of birth, the Gundicha Temple and stay there for seven days. On the ninth day, the grand return journey Bahuda Yatra takes place.
It is believed that a person is very lucky if he is born on Rath Yatra, as he commences his journey on earth signified with the start of Lord Jagannath’s journey. Ratha Yatra is also called the Jeevan Yatra. Life starts with the Lord and will also end in Him. So there is nothing like returning to God’s home on Bahuda which coincides with the Lord’s return to His abode. So if someone dies on Bahuda, he becomes one with his creator and attains Moksha.
Such is the day’s significance that in Hindu mythology, too, a number of devotional songs have been written for this day.
Legendary Banikantha Nimai Harichandan, a Padma Shri Odia singer’s bhajans reflected the total submission to the divine. His moving hymns to Sri Jagannath revealed the endearing familiarity of Odias with the three deities. He bade farewell to this earthly abode on the day of Bahuda in front of Jagannath Temple and even today, people believe that he attained Moksha as he was the voice of Odia piety.
Till the nineteenth century, there was a belief that death by getting crushed under the wheels of Lord Jagannath’s chariot along the Grand Road was a guaranteed method of reaching heaven and attaining nirvana.
However, this practice was stopped and the district administration made elaborate arrangements during the car festival to avoid such deaths.