Suna Besha

By: Bijaya Ketan Sahu
Glorious history of Odisha behind the ritual “Suna Besha” or golden attire of Lord Jagannath.
“Suna besha” means Golden attire of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. Their Lordships are dressed with Golden costumes. Suna Besha is a special ritual of Lord Jagannath during Rathayatra festival. In Suna Besha the Trinity (Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra) are dresses-up with golden ornaments, weapons even not only that, in this festival, all the devotees can see incomplete hand and legs of Lord Jagannath with completed golden arms, palms and feet. It is a glorious history lies behind this Suna Besha (Golden outfit of Lord Jagannath).
Historical name of Odisha was Kalinga. The great Kalinga empire which was geographically situated from river Ganga in North to river Godavari in South and from Mahoudadhi (The bay of Bengal) in East to Amar kantaka hilly area in west. Once (1434-1466 A.D) the king of this empire was Sri Kapilendra Dev of Surya dynasty. This very powerful Odia king was also founder of Gajapati dynasty in Odisha. Since Kapilendra Dev to his grandson Pratap Rudra Dev, it was a golden period in history of Odisha which gave a golden shape to economy and literature of Odisha.
This very powerful Odia king Kapilendra Dev, when took over throne, at first Muslim Sultan of Bengal attacked Odisha. Defeating Sultan, Kapilendra Dev conquered Bengal. Then serially he saved Odisha from attacks of Reddy Kings of Andhra and Devray Kings of Vijaynagar Empire (Karnataka). Odishan King Kapilendra was able to spread his kingdoms , which crossed the boundaries of original Kalinga region (Odisha) He had won the entire Andhra paradesh, all most all regions of Tamilnadu, Vijaya Nagar empire(Now in modern Karnataka and Telengana state). Not only that, the parts of Bengal which were under rule of Kalinga (Odisha) empire Kapilendra Dev protected those kingdoms from the attack of moguls (Muslim Kings) further and saved Sanatan Dharma (Hindu religion).
He had got his victory over these states so he was honored with the title “Goudeshwar Nabakoti Karnata-Kalabargeswar”. The title honored to Kapilendra Dev states that the land from Gouda (Bengal) to Karnata (Karnataka) was his under rule. He was writer of many books one of them was namely “Kapil-Samhita” which describes the glorious history of Kalinga-Utkal (Odisha) of that time.But he had no pride for his victory. This great king had never declared himself as the ruler of Kalinga empire. He himself had declared that actual ruler of Kalinga is Lord Sri Jagannath Mahaprabhu. He himself was only representative of Lord Jagannath. He was only his servant. So after winning entire Dakshinatya (Southern Kingdoms) he had brought huge amount of golden and diamond ornaments by sixteen elephants to offer Lord Jagannath. On first day it self when he returned back to kalinga after completion his journey of victory, he offered those huge amount of gold and diamond ornaments to Lord Jagannath and ordered to priest of Puri to make the golden coustume (Suna Besha) of the lord the day after the Bahuda Yatra (Returned day of Ratha yatra) on the chariot itself. So from that day Lord Jagannath with brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra was dressed up with golden costume on the chariot itself at the end day of Ratha-Yatra (The day after Bahuda Yatra). Sitting in the chariot the lords give darshan to devotees in golden outfit (costume). It is said in a Sanskrit sloka that “Rathe tu Baman drustwa punar janma na lavyate”. Who will have darshan of lord Jagannath on chariot never has to rebirth.
Today it is a matter of sad that the previous glory of Odisha is lost now. Today’s modern Odisha is lagging behind the previous great Kalinga empire not only geographical area but also culture, tradition and wealth. When Odias would overcome this degradation of a race…???

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