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Monday, 6 January 2020

Margazhi Blogotsavam: Day 21: Jagannatha Hungered for her Khichdi: Ma Karmabai

Jiwanji Dudi was a staunch Krishna devotee, living in Kalwa village of Nagaur, Rajasthan. In 1615, he was blessed with a daughter whom they named Karmabai. Once, Jiwanji had to go outstation and so, he instructed Karmabai to prepare and offer food in the morning for Sri Krishna (bhog or prasad or naivedyam. Only after He had partaken of the offering must she eat, he warned. 

The next morning, Karmabai woke up early. Intent on following her father’s instructions, she immediately prepared khichdi (a dish made with rice and lentils) and offered it to Krishna. However, the bhog remained untouched. Upset about this, Karmabai stayed hungry herself – how could she eat when the Lord had not eaten? After some time, pleased by her devotion, Krishna appeared in front of Karmabai and ate the bhog.

This now became a routine, and every morning, Karmabai would wake up and hurriedly prepare the khichdi, which Krishna would relish. When Jiwanji returned, Karmabai told him all the happenings; he was shocked and refused to believe her. At Karmabai’s request, Krishna appeared in front of them both, and ate the khichdi!

After a few years, Karmabai went to stay at Puri in Odisha. Even there, Lord Jagannath landed on her doorstep to eat His favorite khichdi every morning.

Image courtesy:
Once, a saint came to Karmabai’s house and camped for the night. The next morning, he noticed her routine and he was aghast! How could she prepare bhog without first having her bath, or doing puja, or cleaning the vessels and purifying the kitchen! He explained to her the rules to be followed before preparing and offering bhog.

Next morning, when Krishna called, “Ma, I’m here. Bring me my khichdi”,

“Please wait, I’m having my bath,” came the reply.

After a while, He again called out, “Ma, where is the khichdi?”

“I’m cleaning the kitchen and utensils, just wait a few more minutes,” said Karmabai.

“They’re calling out to me in the temple, Ma, I have to go there soon. Please give me the khichdi,” begged Jagannatha! The Lord of the Universe, for whom 56 items were waiting as bhog, was hungering for the khichdi of a mother’s loving devotion! 

Chappan bhog offered to Jagannatha at Puri
Image courtesy: Iskcon Times
Karmabai rushed out of her kitchen with the bhog. The Lord ate it in a hurry, and rushed back to the temple. When the priest opened up the shrine, he noticed some khichdi sticking to His Mouth and asked, “How did this happen, Lord?”

Krishna narrated the whole story of how He always had khichdi at Karmabai’s house, and how today He had been delayed because Karmabai had followed the instructions of the saint.

The saint was in for the shock of his life when the temple priest arrived with instructions from Jagannath. Karmabai was to prepare the bhog as per her usual routine! The Lord wanted the devotee’s bhog prepared with love, undiluted by the distractions of ritualistic purity!

After a few years, one day, the priest saw tears flowing from Krishna’s Eyes. On being questioned about why He was crying, the Lord replied, “My Ma Karmabai passed away today. No doubt, she has come to Me, but I’m going to miss her khichdi! Who will give me khichdi from now!” wailed Jagannatha!

And so it came to be that from that day onwards, “Karmabai ki khichdi” is the first bhog offered to Sri Jagannatha, even before the famed “Chappan Bhog” of 56 different dishes.

Today is Vaikuntha Ekadashi – a special day when many people fast and offer ritualistic prayers to the Lord of Vaikuntha.

Even as we do these activities, can we remember to go beyond mere routines, to do all our activities with true devotion to the Lord?

Can we do “upavasa” in the real sense – living close to the Lord, staying immersed in thoughts of Him, abstaining from unnecessary chatter both outside and within?

Can we try to do this not just on ekadashi, but every single day?



  1. My heart always had this doubt ..... The cleansing of the body kitchen utensils etc etc but heart filled with dirt ..... What's the point of such devotion and I chant His holy name almost everywhere Everytime then how could I stop it when I do my morning karma's and during the three days and so on and so forth ....
    Forcibly I can stop it from external chanting what to do with my Lord within me and His name within me how can I separate that during such times.....
    Thanks to my Lord again for answering my doubts through this story (past times) leelamaya hey Deva nee thoru days bhava guri kanadidhe jeeva belakaagelo hey Deva πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»πŸ’πŸŒˆ

    1. I'm so happy to know that you got your answer, Archana! Jai Jagannatha!

    2. The last line is the best... Every moment a prayer... Reminded of my amma, my appa and my Krishna mama... Amma and mama always say "shiva, shiva"... Appa offered flowers and salutations to all gods and even when we couldn't see visible pictures.. Pranams

    3. We must aspire to be like these noble souls! πŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌ☺️


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