22 March 2020
Bhubaneswar: In order to explain the need and justification for a lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, Chief Spokesperson of Odisha Government Subroto Bagchi cited instances from history when servitors had locked down Lord Jagannath to save Him from sudden and surprise attacks by enemies.
"According to history and the Madala Panji (daily journal of events of Shree Jagannath Temple) not once not twice but for 22 times Mahaprabhu (Lord Jagannath) had to be locked down. Whenever external enemies had posed some threat to the Lord His servitors (sevayats) had shifted him and had kept Him under complete lock down," stated Bagchi.
Out of the 22 times, the Lord was kept under lockdown twice at the Shree Kshetra (present day Puri), twice at Gurubaigada, twice at Nairihariswar Mandap, twice He was kept as 'patali' (buried) and 'Brahma'(soul of the Lord) had to be shifted twice, he added.
"My purpose behind narrating all this is to tell you that the Lord distances Himself when there is danger and through His divine acts sends a message to all of us. This coronavirus is a surprise external enemy in order to stop it we have to lock down ourselves like the Lord. His servitors had locked Him down, He is present in all of us, you, and me, so you are the Lord and you are the servitor so lock down yourself," Bagchi asserted.
He stated that first phase lockdown announced by the State government is of 8 days and its quite natural one getting perplexed over the idea of staying inside a house for 8 days but we must remember that the Lord had to be locked down for long periods of time not days or months but years together.
"The Lord during 'patali' had to be locked down at Baghapalisudhalipta Mandap for 45 years in Sonepur and in Chaliapahal hills for 99 years, a total of 144 years. So these are the acts of the Lord so we should console each other, encourage each other keep ourselves strong both mentally and physically. Stay at home, stay healthy," said Bagchi giving a hint of the challenging days ahead in the fight against COVID-19 that has killed over 10,000 in the world.