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What countries will you never visit again?
The number one country I won't visit ever again would have to be the UAE (United Arab Emirates). For those of you wondering, it’s located in the Persian Gulf.Whenever someone mentions cities within the UAE, such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, etc., the first images that come to mind are that of skyscrapers and glorious beaches, as well as other unique modern landmarks that can be seen:(All images are taken from Google)Looks wonderful, doesn't it?However, what most people don't realize is that these massive buildings, which have granted this country its modern civilization, are mostly constructed and built by workers, the majority of which are expats in the UAE, and which have been denied their respective wages for months by the companies they're working for.The process of recruiting these workers is simple; companies would typically post ads or contact foreign recruitment/employment agencies based in multiple countries (Mostly Southeast Asian countries; i.e. Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, The Philippines, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, etc.) to recruit workers for them. The agencies would act as the middlemen between the two; they would find those interested in working abroad, or in the tempting offers and swaying promises made by the construction companies. The recruitment agencies would help the workers fill in their application forms and necessary documents for the job and the visa, and assist them in booking their airline tickets once their visa has been approved. Ultimately, they would get a fee from the workers and a percentage from the company.The unsuspected laborers would take off to their destination in the hopes of being paid a high salary; and making a fortune to support their families back home.Unfortunately, once they land in the UAE, they are given a lengthy contract to sign with the company, taken to their accommodation, and their passports are stripped away from them and kept by their employers. This makes them unable to leave the country unless they obtain their passports back somehow. Some of them never do, and are trapped for years.If that wasn't bad enough, the workers are made to stay in terrible accommodations. The places they are kept in are unhygienic and filthy for people to live in. Some of them are kept in old buildings, just on the outskirts of the city they helped build.The issue generated some controversy and international attention by the media when a couple of journalists investigated the situation. Here are some pictures that have been taken by an Iranian investigative journalist who did an article about the mistreatment of these expats:(Due to lack of proper cooking facilities, workers cook in unhygienic conditions)(Some workers are paid so little, but are forced to stay in horrible conditions)(Source: 0ss0.com)The workers are forced to share a room, sometimes 7–8 workers share one room to sleep in.They are not offered running water for showering or cooking, and they aren't offered proper cooking facilities either. Which means that, for most of the time, they are forced to find unconventional means to cook for themselves.Due to the lack of sufficient plumbing, the men’s living compartments are engulfed by a river of sewage.Some are paid as little as €150 a month, some are paid nothing whatsoever. Most are unable to protest because they are unable to leave, due to not having their passports, and are forced to stay and complete their contract work agreement.Most are in debt back home because they had to take loans and borrow money to pay the agencies and buy an airline ticket, and their minimum wage income isn't helping them to pay off their debts or to support their families back home or themselves.The working conditions themselves are atrocious. Workers are forced to work for as long as 12 hours per day, sometimes more. They are made to work during day shifts. Even when the temperature outside reaches 50 Celsius, workers have to work under the sun.The UAE government officials have been criticized for allowing such treatment to take place. However, the government’s response was to deny such accusations and ensure all the migrant workers in the UAE are treated well and are taken care of by their employers. Even if reality revealed otherwise.A lot of this is termed as “modern slavery.” A mini documentary made by Vice has been uploaded to YouTube ,in which reporter Ben Anderson poses as a British tourist and exposes the mistreatment of migrant workers in the UAE. I know it's a bit outdated, but this remains a pressing issue that's still going on to this day.Slaves of DubaiI'm not bashing the people of the UAE. I'm sure there are wonderful people there. On the plus side: the food was great, and it was a lovely getaway. The hospitality we recieved was great. On the down side: it was incredibly expensive, and I'm not entirely sure the cost was entirely worth it for the tourist experience you're looking to get.However, unfortunately, the government doesn't care about making a reform or changing the laws to protect the rights of the migrant workers that seek a better life and are kept in the dark about the circumstances that might await them. I'm not in support of that.I realize that such activities go on, and do happen, in different countries across all of the continents. The only difference between the UAE and other countries is that most countries have laws against such actions and reward migrant workers with their proper rights. I understand migrant workers from everywhere might face discrimination and racism while they're working in different countries, but at least their legal rights are preserved and they are protected. The UAE workers are not, because the UAE doesn't grant them their legal rights. On top of that, in case the workers attempt to escape their forced labor, once they're caught by authorities, they are rejoined with their abusive employers despite any protests.A lot of the workers who succeed in running away spend years hiding from the authorities. During that period, they try to gather as much money as possible to be able to afford a return ticket back home, since the government won't legally deport them or ask the company they work for to pay for their return ticket, either.https://strawberryjamm.com/
What languages are spoken in surprising places?
Malagasy in MadagascarHuh?No, I kid you not. While Malagasy language is indeed native to Madagascar, it has no relative in the nearby Africa.Here, take a look at this African language families map:See? Malagasy, spoken in the island of Madagascar, is the only Austronesian language spoken in the whole continent.So where is exactly its closest relative?Well, Malagasy is part of the East Barito branch of Malayo-Polynesian. This branch includes about a dozen languages, originated in southeastern Borneo, today part of Indonesia.The closest language to Malagasy with significant number of speaker is Maanyan language, spoken by about 150,000 in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan). They share more than enough lexical and grammatical similarities to be classified in the same branch, although their phonologies have diverged very far.Now, again, it is a Bornean language spoken in an island off-coast Africa. It is separated from its siblings by nearly 7800 kilometres! Of ocean!But what makes it more surprising is that, none of these Bornean languages speakers have seafaring traditions. They almost never migrate to other region by themselves. In fact, many aspect of spiritual and material culture of Malagasy cannot be linked to those of Bornean-speaking Dayaks of Barito.Here is an excerpt taken from Borneo as a Cross-Roads for Comparative Austronesian Linguistics, a paper written by linguist K. Adelaar:Some of the Malagasy are wet rice cultivators, while Dayaks are as a rule dry rice cultivators. Some Malagasy use outrigger canoes, whereas Southeast Barito Dayaks never do. The Malagasy migration to East Africa presupposes navigational skills which are found with some Indonesian peoples but which can hardly be attributed to Dayaks, who, as we know them today, are as a rule forest dwellers. Some of the Malagasy musical instruments are allegedly very similar to musical instruments found in Sulawesi, and Malagasy funeral cults are reminiscent of the Toraja funeral cults. Certain aspects of administration and statecraft of the Merina are in striking agreement with those of the Indianized Malays and Javanese, and rather unlike what has been described for the Maanyans in the Southeast Barito area. Some see a resemblance between the metallurgic practices of the Malagasy and those of the inhabitants of Nias.However surprising it is, recent genetic studies suggest that this migration of Borneans to Madagascar did happen, confirming the earlier linguistic connection.As to how, there are some theories, but I will just explain the most widely accepted one.A group of Malayo-Polynesian seafarers are thought to reach the Madagascar early in the first millenium. Considering the little Indian influence in Malagasy compared to other Indonesian languages, the first wave of migration must’ve been occured shortly after Indianization began in Indonesia. By this assumption, colonization of Madagascar should have began no later than 5th century CE.Majority of this group should be of Bornean descent, particularly Proto East Barito speakers. But as I have stated before, they weren’t (and still aren’t) seafarers. It is unlikely that they themselves went to Madagascar in order to colonize it. Most plausible explanation is that they were brought as subordinates (slaves, ship crew, labourers) by Malays. Malays were seafarers, and probably they’d sailed across Indian Ocean, with several stops before arrriving in Madagascar.Adelaar noted in his paper:If some of these subordinates were left behind in Madagascar, and if the Southeast Barito speakers among them formed a majority or a nuclear group (the first group to be left behind and to form a society), their language would have constituted the core element of what later became Malagasy. In this way their language may also have absorbed elements of languages of other subordinated Southeast Asians.A certain amount of cultural mixture may have taken place through contact with subordinates from elsewhere in Indonesia, although the language of the resulting mixed community remained predominantly Southeast Barito. The members of this community would initially have lived in a state of diglossia with their leaders, who spoke Malay (and Javanese?). At some point in time, Malay was superseded by Malagasy, but its earlier prestigious position is still witnessed by the great impact it had on the Malagasy lexicon. Compare, for instance, the Malay and Javanese influence on terms for body-parts, a semantic domain which is susceptible to reflexification with prestige vocabulary. In some cases these two languages also affected the morphology of Malagasy.Malay borrowings are evident in terms related to body parts, such as sofina ‘ear’, from Malay cuping—compare it to Maanyan silu’, a native Bornean word. Also tratra ‘chest’ from Malay dada, molotra ‘mouth’ from Malay mulut, and tanana ‘hand’ from Malay tangan. (See also Jawad Yuwono's answer to To what degree can Malay, Indonesian and Filipino speakers understand Malagasy?)The Indonesians still remained in contact with the Malagasy years after the first migration, probably until early Indonesian Islamic period (15th century). This is evident in the writing system used by the Malagasy—the Sorabe alphabet. Sorabe, despite being descendant of Arabic script, most likely was not introduced by Arabs. It was probably derived from Pegon script, a form of Arabic used to write Javanese. They are strikingly similar, especially regarding the use of special dal and ta characters—with dot in bottom, initially to denote retroflex consonants in Javanese.For me, Austronesian dispersal is really an interesting historical phenomenon. Long before Europeans started their conquest, Austronesians have voyaged across two big oceans, spreading their culture and languages with them.I mean, from Madagascar to Easter Island, that is almost 25,000 kilometres—more than half of Earth’s circumference!Some other answers mentioned that outside Indonesia, Javanese is also spoken in Suriname—completely at the other side of the globe. But that’s not the only place with a sizable Javanese-speaking community.Meet New Caledonian Javanese.There are approximately 7,000 people of Indonesian ancestry in New Caledonia. At least 3,851 people self-identified themselves as Indonesians in 2014 census. That is merely 1.4% of all New Caledonians. But there used to be more of them in the past.Indonesians (mostly ethnic Javanese) were brought as contract labourers in several waves of immigration. French New Caledonia was previously a penal colony, established by Napoleon III in 1854. The majority of convicts transported there were political prisoners from the Paris Commune. In 1894, the French Governor of New Caledonia, Paul Feillet, abolished penal immigration and replaced prison labour with Asian immigrants, mainly from Japan, Java and Vietnam, who came to work in the mines and on the plantations.The first wave of Javanese emigrants comprised of 170 contract labourers, who arrived in Nouméa in 1896. Initially, they were sent to work in agriculture. But beginning from 1899 the Javanese began working in the mining industry, which offered better pay but more difficult conditions. They were expected to work long hours with pick and shovel and to put up with demanding French employers. Once their contract term had ended, some returned to Java. But there were many of them who chose to remain in New Caledonia.The second wave of Javanese immigration happened shortly before WWII. At the time, New Caledonian economy faced a chronic labour shortage with a boom in nickel and coffee production. Between 1933 and 1939, over 7800 Javanese left Java for Nouméa. Many of these had been signed on to five-year contracts by recruiting agencies. When they arrived they found employment in agriculture and mining, as well as in domestic labour.Distance between Java and New CaledoniaLater after Indonesian independence, large number of New Caledonian Javanese repatriated to Indonesia. This exodus gave decline in Javanese population in New Caledonia. Some of them, though, feeling little connection to their supposed home, returned back to New Caledonia. The latter group is referred to as wong baleh, or “people who go back (to home)” in NC Javanese.The third significant wave of Indonesian immigrants occured between 1967 and 1972, when approximately 600 Indonesians came to work on renewable annual contracts, mainly in the construction industry. This last group was not homogenous, aside from Javanese, there were many Bataks as well.Both Javanese and Indonesian are still spoken to some extent there. Although mostly are restricted to older generations, descendants of immigrants from the two early waves. Most of younger generation speak French instead.What is unique from New Caledonian Javanese, compared to other Javanese? Well, their languages are almost exactly the same. Even some of the elders are still able to speak in Krama (High) Javanese. But what makes it unique is the (old) spelling. NC Javanese is a spoken language for the most part, it has no official orthography. There was little need to write it down. When it is needed to be written, they use French orthography. This resulted in pseudo-French name of them, for example Vaquijot for Wakijo, Bou di Mane for Budiman, and Saricone for Sarikun.Footnotes Ma'anyan language - Wikipedia East Barito: Who Were the Malayo-Polynesian Migrants to Madagascar? Pegon script - Wikipedia Austronesian peoples - Wikipedia Indonesians speaking French - Inside Indonesia Indonesian’s Traces in New Caledonia Kisah Orang Jawa di Kaledonia Baru (Nama Wakidjo Diubah Jadi Vaquijot)
Is Lord Jagannath the incarnation of Lord Vishnu? What is the real story of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra in the Puri Jagannath Temple?
Jai Jagannath!The story of appearance of Lord Jagannath is fascinating and heart melting. The form of Lord Jagannath is unique and extraordinary. In almost all other Avataras, Lord Hari has a conceivable and definite form. For example, Lord Ram’s form is very human, Lord Krishna’s form is very human, Lord Nrsimha’s form is not exactly human, but it is still a very definitive and conceivable form. If we look at the the form of Lord Jagannath, His form is very distinctive. He doesn’t have hands, well there are very very tiny hands, but no fingers on it and He doesn’t have legs, He only has a big face and the remaining body is very small. His eyes are big and His smile stretches from one part of His beautiful face to the other part. Same is the case with the forms of Lord Baladeva and Subhadra Devi that manifested along with the form of Lord Jagannath. Moreover, this is possibly the only Avatara in which Subhadra Devi is worshiped along with Her chivalrous brothers - Krishna and Balaram.How did this extraordinary form manifest? This is a very confidential pastime of the Supreme Lord that is described in great detail in Puranas like the Nrsimha Purana, Narada Purana, Vishnu Purana, Padma Purana, etc. But, it is described most elaborately in the “Purushottam Kshetra Mahatmya” chapter of the Skanda Purana.Picture: Beautiful deities of Lord Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra Devi at my local Temple (ISKCON Connecticut)The narration of the Purushottam Kshetra appears in the “Vaisnava Khand” of Skanda Purana. It starts with Sage Jaimini’s description to a group of sages who have all gathered in a forest to hear the glories of the Supreme Lord. The information of the divinity of Purushottam Kshetra (current day Puri) was given to Lord Brahma by Supreme Lord Vishnu just before Lord Brahma was about to unfold the creation.Lord Neel Madhava and Lakshmi Devi resided on the Neel Mountain in the Purushottam Kshetra and the appearance of the Supreme Lord in the form of Lord Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra (in the Swarochish Manvantara during the reign of King Indradyumna) was prophesized by Lakshmi Devi to Lord Brahma and Lord Yamaraj.The story of Lord Jagannath has two parts. The first part of the story starts in Dwarka, it goes back to Vrindavan before it comes back to Dwarka again. The second part of the story is the part where Lord Jagannath’s Deity manifested. So here is how the story goes.Part 1 - The background behind the unique and most munificent form of Lord Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra DeviThe distinctive pastimes of the Lord in VrindavanaThe pastimes of the Lord in Vrindavana are very distinct from His pastimes at other places and in other forms like Varaha, Nrsimha, etc.The most distinct feature of the pastimes in Vrindavana is that the Lord forgets His Godhood in Vrindavana and He also covers His Godhood from His devotees in Vrindavana.He performs very sweet and enchanting pastimes in Vrindavana. He steals butter, plays and lovingly irritates His Mother Yasoda, He plays just like an ordinary boy with His friends. To relish all these loving pastimes, He makes others forget that He is God.The Acharyas have very skillfully glorified His pastimes in Vrindavana. He not only plays with His friends, but surprisingly He also gets defeated at times and He also gets chastised by His friends. He appears to run away when He is about to be defeated in various games, and when His friends tell him that now that you are about to be defeated you are trying to run away, we will never ever play with you again, He gets fearful and He comes back and plays again. Such astonishing pastimes. When His Mother calls Him back home while He is still playing, He wouldn’t listen and then His Mother would threaten that a demon is about to come since it is night time. He would apparently become very fearful and run and jump in His Mother’s lap and go back Home with her.Even the Gopis would think that Krishna is just an attractive and lovable cowherd boy. They wouldn’t know that He is actually divine. Not just divine, He is actually the Supreme Divinity.Yes, He does perform miraculous and super human feats like lifting of Govardhana and fighting with the deadly serpent Kaliya, but He expertly conceals His supreme position through the agency of Yoga Maya.Once (after the Govardhana pastime), the inhabitants of Vrindavana gathered and were discussing about Krishna’s super human activities. Many of them said that both Krishna and Balarama are divine, they are not of earthly realm. Some said they are Gods. When they presented their doubts about Krishna and Balarama to King Nanda, he laughed out loudly. He said, how can Krishna be God? He steals butter from the houses of people and if He doesn’t find butter, He would urinate over there. When lightning strikes, He would run and hide into the lap of His Mother. He would skate on His belly holding the tail of a calf. How can this Krishna be God or divine by any means. And all of them would laugh and roll on the ground.So whenever there is any discussion about Krishna’s divinity, the Yoga Maya would act expertly and cover the Godhood of Krishna.The Supreme Lord’s opulence in DwarkaContrary to His sweet and spicy pastimes in Vrindavana, Krishna’s pastimes in Dwarka are characterized by extreme opulence and super-excellent royalty.Srimad Bhagavatam describes that once Sage Narada passes over Dwarka and he observes Krishna performing pastimes in Dwarka with His queens. Sage Narada was bewildered to see that each of Krishna’s 16,108 queens have their own palaces and moreover, Krishna is simultaneously present with each of His queen in their palaces in 16,108 forms and doing different and unique activities in each of His form.It was difficult for Narada to comprehend how Krishna could distribute Himself in 16,108 personalities and be present with each of His queens simultaneously. In the morning when Krishna would have to leave the palace to go to the royal assembly, He would start from each of His palaces and just before entering the assembly, all 16,108 forms would become one person - Krishna.While in Dwarka, Krishna was served very opulently by His queens. He would eat royal food and enjoy all sorts of royal comforts.Krishna’s agony and lamentationThe Puranas describe that while Krishna would externally seem to be living and enjoying royal comforts, internally He is agonizing and burning in pain of separation from his beloved loved ones who are equally in agony in Vrindavan in separation from Krishna.He would wake up at night in each of His palaces and look gloomy and in pain. Sometimes while eating, He would suddenly start crying. When His queens would ask Him if there is some problem in their service to Krishna or if He doesn’t like the food, Krishna would lovingly tell them that He is indebted to all of them for their love and sincere service to Him.He would gently tell them that He is not able to get over the love of His dear most associates in Vrindavana. He is not able to get over the love of Mother Yasoda and King Nanda. He misses all His friends and He dearly and utterly misses Gopis who sacrificed everything including their honor for the sake of Krishna.No matter what they did, the Queens would not be able to comfort Krishna in His agony. They helplessly watched their Lord suffering in deep pain and agony in separation from Vrindavana.Curiosity of Krishna’s QueensThe Queens of Krishna became increasingly curious to know about what exactly happened in Vrindavana. They wanted to know why Krishna is not able to get over the memories of Vrindavana despite being served with utmost love and in the most opulent manner. They couldn’t help but wonder about what kind of loving exchanges Krishna had in Vrindavana due to which He is not happy in Dwarka.They discussed amongst themselves about who can satisfy their curious inquiries. They couldn’t find anyone in Dwarka except Krishna and Balarama who was in Vrindavana with them and who is also present in Dwarka. Even their sister Subhadra had never been to Vrindavana. But then they realized that there is one other person who was present in Vrindavana and who is also present in Dwarka. That person was Mother Rohini (Lord Balarama’s Mother).The Queens very humbly and gently approached Mother Rohini and presented their inquiries submissively before her. Mother Rohini was moved to the core to hear their inquiries. But, she had her apprehensions in satisfying their curiosities.Mother Rohini politely but firmly declines to satisfy the curious inquiries of the QueensWhen Mother Rohini was thus approached by the Queens, she admired the loving curiosity of the Queens, but she politely declined to answer them. She said that whenever and wherever their are discussions about Vrindavana, Krishna and Balarama would come running to that place, they just can’t stay away from that place. And if they hear the super-excellent narrations of Vrindavana, their love for Vrindavana will break all boundaries and they will go to Vrindavana forever, never to come back again to Dwarka. She asked the Queens, if this is what they want. The Queens were heartbroken, yet they submitted to Mother Rohini and decided to curb their curiosities.Nevertheless, they were not able to contain their curiosity for long and they again approached Mother Rohini after a few days. But, Mother Rohini again convinced them to not hear the narrations. This happened many times in a row.Mother Rohini obliges the sincere requests of Krishna’s QueensFinally, one day, the Queens came up with a plan and approached Mother Rohini with the plan. The plan was that they all will assemble in a big closed hall and have Subhadra Devi on the door of the hall as the door keeper. Mother Rohini will narrate the Vrindavana stories. Subhadra Devi will keep an eye and if she sees Krishna and Balarama, she will immediately raise an alarm and Mother Rohini will stop the narrations.The plan appeared full proof, but Mother Rohini knew that it won’t work. She reluctantly agreed to this plan, bowing under the pressure of love of the chaste Queens of Krishna.Mother Rohini starts the narration of Vrindavana pastimes of Krishna and BalaramaFinally, the day comes when Mother Rohini was to narrate the pastimes of Krishna and Balarama in Vrindavana. They all assemble in a big hall and Subhadra Devi stands as guard on the door. Mother Devaki also joins to hear the pastimes as she never had the fortune of directly experiencing Krishna’s and Balarama’s nectarian childhood pastimes.Mother Rohini starts narrating the pastimes, right from the first day of Krishna and Balarama in Vrindavana. Mother Rohini’s narration was so enchanting and powerful that all the Queens and Mother Devaki became mesmerized. While she was thus narrating the pastimes of Krishna and Balarama as babies, it is said that her narration was so potent and so loving that Krishna appeared in the hall in His baby form, or so the Queens and Mother Devaki saw. They could visibly see Krishna in His baby form right in the center of the hall. The Lord’s vision was so fascinating that Mother Devaki started lactating (as she never had the opportunity to breast feed baby Krishna) and so did all the Queens. All the queens suddenly felt a Motherly affection towards the form of the Lord. Mother Devaki in the meanwhile fainted in sheer ecstasy of loving emotions. (This same form was later made in a Deity form and is now installed in Udupi in Karnataka, India)Mother Rohini continued with her narration, she was so much absorbed in narrating that she couldn’t sense anything else at all, so were all the queens. Their most cherished wish of hearing the pastimes of the two Lords had come true and they were so engrossed in hearing that they lost sense of everything else.Subhadra Devi overcome by loving ecstasyUnfortunately, Subhadra Devi who was standing as a guard outside the door also got engrossed in hearing so much that she lost sense of everything else. She suddenly was overcome by a rush of ecstatic emotions. She manifested a broad smile on her face, her eyes became really big in ecstasy, she started crying tears of ecstasy, her body started trembling and her two legs were no longer able to withstand the weight of her body. She fell on the ground, her body started manifesting divine emotions. Her limbs started quivering. Her hands and legs suddenly became really big, and they contracted inside her body in the next moment. She manifested a broad smile stretching from one ear to another and she fainted with her eyes open wide and really big.Nobody knew inside the room what happened to Subhadra Devi. They were still engrossed in hearing the nectarian pastimes of the two Lords.Krishna and Balarama appear at the sceneWhile all this was happening, Krishna and Balarama realized through the agency of Yoga Maya about the discussions of their Vrindavana pastimes. They couldn’t resist themselves and came rushing to the scene. They saw the condition of Subhadra and were positively intrigued to know what’s happening in the hall. They put their ears on the door to hear. As soon as they hear the loving and attractive narrations of their pastimes from the Lotus like mouth of Mother Rohini, they slipped into ecstasy. They started exhibiting Maha Bhava (transcendental loving emotions) and the ‘Ashta-Vikara’ (eight kinds of transcendental transformations) started manifesting in their bodies. They started sweating profusely and started crying tears of ecstasy. They manifested a broad smile on their faces, their eyes became red and really big in ecstasy, their bodies started trembling and their two legs were no longer able to withstand the weight of their bodies. They fell on the ground, their limbs started quivering. Their hands and legs suddenly became really big, and they contracted inside their bodies in the next moment. They manifested a broad smile stretching from one ear to another and then fainted with their eyes open wide and really big.Thus, Lord Krishna, Balarama and Subhadra Devi manifested the form of Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra Devi.Sage Narada observes the forms of the LordsWhile all this was happening, sage Narada happens to visit Dwarka to see his worshipable Lord. When he came there and saw the munificent form of the Lordships, he suddenly started manifesting divine emotions. He experienced a rush of loving ecstasy towards the Lordships and his devotion started flooding his heart. He immediately came near the Lordships and tried to bring them out of their transcendental trance. The Lordships came out of the transcendental spell and saw sage Narada.Sage Narada immediately offered obeisances to the Lordships and requested them that they grant him a boon. The Lordships agreed. At that time Sage Narada requested that they kindly appear in this very form that he saw on the planet earth. He clarified that just by seeing this form he had a feeling of loving devotion towards the Lord, if the Lord kindly manifest in a deity form in this form then people in general will be very attracted to this form and thus they will be purified. Just by looking at this form they will become devotees, this form looks so blissful that it will attract the hearts of devotees.Thus, Lord Krishna, Balarama and Subhadra Devi agreed to manifest on planet earth in a Deity form to offer blessings to their devotees.Part 2 - Appearance of the Lordships in the form of DeitiesKing Indradyumna - The emperor of the worldAs prophesized by Lakshmi Devi to Lord Brahma and Lord Yamaraj, King Indradyumna appeared during the Swarochish Manvantara. He was the ruler of the entire world, all other Kings had subordinated themselves to the mighty and virtuous King Indradyumna. His wife’s name was Queen Gundicha. King Indradyuman had established Avanti (current day Ujjain, India) as his capital. King Indradyumna was a natural and bonafide devotee of the Supreme Lord Hari. He used to constantly meditate on the Lotus feet of the Supreme Lord.Once, he was hosting a great assembly of powerful sages, intellectuals, poets and many other great personalities from all over the world. During this assembly, King Indradyumna requested the assembly to tell him the most powerful abode of the Supreme Lord in the material world. At the sincere request of the King, many sages instructed him on various powerful places of pilgrimages. In the end, a great sage who used to wander all over the earth stood up and informed him about the divinity of the Purushottam Kshetra. He mentioned to the King that he has wandered all over the earth, but there is no other place, as potent and powerful as the Purushottam Kshetra. Lord Neel Madhava (in His Deity form) personally resides there with Mother Lakshmi. The four handed form of Neel Madhava is extremely merciful and exquisitely beautiful and just by seeing this form, a person can manifest natural devotion in his heart towards Lord Neel Madhava. He informed the King that during his brief stay on the Neel Mountain, he observed that all great Demi-Gods from all over the Universe constantly visit this abode and personally serve Lord Neel Madhava by offering Him various gifts and celestial delights.The sage requested King Indradyumna to visit Neel mountain, which is situated on the eastern sea shore of the country and personally observe the transcendental beauty of Lord Neel Madhava.King Indradyumna was extremely pleased and he made a firm determination to worship Lord Neel Madhava. He ordered his chief minister to immediately send a Brahman who can find the exact coordinates of this place, so that King Indradyumna can then visit there with all the citizens of Avanti.The chief minister of Avanti immediately called his brother Vidyapati and requested him to find out the abode of Lord Neel Madhava.Vidyapati leaves Avanti in pursuit of Lord Neel MadhavaThus being requested by his brother, Vidyapati left Avanti at once and went in the eastern direction. With great difficulty he could reach Neel Mountain after several days of searching. He started climbing the mountain. At this time he started observing some unusual looking people. He understood that this is an indigenous group of people who possibly serve Lord Neel Madhava.He established contact with these people and he was soon brought to the leader of the group. The leader’s name was Vishwavasu. Vidyapati patiently and humbly informed Vishwavasu about his mission. Vishwavasu was pleased and immediately took Vidyapati to see Lord Neel Madhava.Vidyapati observes the transcendental form of Lord Neel Madhava and Lakshmi DeviAs soon as Vidyapati saw the transcendental beauty of Neel Madhava, he became ecstatic with divine emotions of joy and devotion. He offered obeisances to the Supreme Lord again and again and he was not satiated even after hours of observing the Lord. Finally he accepted the Prasad (sanctified food offered to Lordships) of Lord Neel Madhava and was amazed by the celestial taste of various dishes. Upon inquiring he was told that the Bhoga is brought by various demi-gods to offer to Lord Neel Madhava. He considered himself blessed and most fortunate having seen Lord Neel Madhava. He finally decided to go back to Avanti and inform the King about Lord Neel Madhava.Vidyapati reached Avanti and informs King Indradyumna about Lord Neel MadhavaAs soon as Vidyapati reaches Avanti, all the citizens of Avanti got extremely attracted by a celestial fragrance that entered the city. All the citizens rushed out to see where the fragrance is coming from. They all followed Vidyapati being spell bound by the celestial fragrance. All of them reached the assembly of King Indradyumna and King Indradyumna also became ecstatic by the celestial fragrance. He immediately understood that Vidyapati have had the audience with Lord Neel Madhava. Vidyapati narrated the entire incident about his visiting Lord Neel Madhava to King Indradyumna.King Indradyumna leaves Avanti in pursuit of Lord Neel MadhavaKing Indradyumna became extremely pleased and he ordered all of his citizens to immediately leave for Neel Mountain. Right at that time sage Narada appeared over there and informed King Indradyumna that he has kindly come to guide King Indradyumna in his auspicious journey. King Indradyuma considers this as a favorable sign and accepts blessings of sage Narada.All the citizens of Avanti leaves at once with King Indradyumna under the guidance of sage Narada.King Indradyumna receives devastating news of disappearance of Lord Neel MadhavaWhen King Indradyumna arrived in the vicinity of Neel Mountain, he decided to visit the ruling King of that area. He arrived at the palace of the ruling King and informed him about his intentions. The ruling king congratulated King Indradyumna for his most pious desire, but he also reveals an unnerving news to King Indradyuma. He mentions that a night before, a devastating hurricane had devastated the whole area and Lord Neel Madhava’s abode had suddenly disappeared. They have excavated the whole area in search of Lord Neel Madhava, but He couldn’t be found anywhere.Sage Narada informs King Indradyumna about the next course of actionKing Indradyumna fell unconscious upon hearing the tragic news. He came back to consciousness after a long time and immediately began to lament on his misfortune. Sage Narada consoled the lamenting King and informed him that this is happening according to the Supreme will of the Lord. He asked King Indradyumna to perform 100 Ashwamedha (Horse) Sacrifices.King Indradyumna abide by the orders of Sage NaradaKing Indradyumna ordered his ministers to setup a city overnight and make arrangements for everyone to live at the place for a long period, he asked them to setup suitable infrastructure to perform fire sacrifices and arrange for qualified Brahmanas to perform the Vedic sacrifices.Everything was arranged as per the orders of the King and then the King started performing Ashwamedha sacrifices. He swiftly performed all 100 sacrifices as recommended by Sage Narada.On the night before the last Ashwamedha sacrifice was about to be completed, King Indradyumna saw Lord Vishnu in his dream. He was lying on the bed of Shesha and smiling blissfully.The next morning, King Indradyumna informed Sage Narada about his dream. Sage Narada was happy and informed the King that this is an auspicious sign.The Supreme Lord appears in the Ocean in the form of Daru BrahmaAs soon as the 100th sacrifice was completed successfully, the Supreme Lord appeared in the ocean in the form of a big wooden log. This wooden log is known as “Daru Brahma”. This wooden log had all the signs of Lord Vishnu like Club, Conch shell, Srivatsa Mark, etc.The King and all his associates came running to the sea shore and were amazed to see Lord appearing in the form of a wooden log, they brought the log out of water. Sage Narada informed the King that they will have to craft the Deities from this wooden log and he disappeared.Advent of Lord Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra Devi in their Deity formsThe King engaged many craftsmen to craft a Deity out of the log, but the tools of the craftsmen were incapable of cutting or molding the wooden log. Their tools would break as soon as they would try to hit the log with their tools. The King became increasingly anxious as the best of the craftsmen failed in their attempts.At that time a very old and weak looking craftsman came to the King and told him that only he can make the Deities from this log. This old man was none other than the celestial architect Vishwakarma, he had come in disguise to offer his services to the Supreme Lord. He assured the King about his skills and put a condition for making the Deities. The condition was that the King would construct a workshop that would be used by the old man and no one would disturb the old man at all. If someone comes inside the workshop while the man is working on the Deities then he would disappear. The King unhesitatingly agreed and got the workshop ready as per the specifications of the old man.The old man went inside the workshop and locked the door from inside. King Indradyumna would come everyday and put his ears on the door to hear what’s happening, but he would hear no sound of any kind. Several days passed like that and the King became increasingly anxious. Queen Gundicha shared her suspicion with the King, she was concerned that the old man was really weak and he would have possibly died inside the workshop in absence of any food or water. The King became anxious and he thought that if the old man would have actually died then the King himself would be responsible for his death. He knocked on the door, but no one opened. He tried many ways and finally asked his men to break the door. The door was broken and he was shocked with what he saw inside the door.The old man was not there and he saw three unfinished Deities in the room.The Deities had a big face, very tiny hands with no fingers, the rest of the body was almost invisible, but still the Deities looked very attractive.The King thought that the craftsman left because the King broke his promise and he left the Deities unfinished. He again lamented and fell unconscious. At that time Sage Narada appeared again and informed the King that the Deities are complete, this very form is the real form in which the Lord had to manifest Himself and then he narrated the entire incident of how this form was first manifested by Krishna in Dwarka (discussed in part 1 of the story).The King became really happy and on order of Sage Narada, he constructed a big grand Temple for the Lordships.Sage Narada then asked the King to have the Deities formally installed according to Vedic rituals and have the rituals performed by the original Brahman - Lord Brahma. Accordingly the Deities were installed by Lord Brahma, but the installation happened several centuries after. What transcribed during these several centuries is another story that we can possibly discuss next time :)All Glories to Lord Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra Devi.