The festival of the first appearance of the Lord Jagannath before his devotees is called `Netrotsaba or `Nava Yaubana (new youth). On the sixteenth day, the images in their new form after renovation become ready for public view.
People congregate for Nabajoubana Darshan or to set eyes on the youthful idols on the first day of second fortnight of Asadha. On the eve of the Ratha Yatra, the deities are gorgeously dressed and decorated and give darshan to the visitors. They put on very charming robes and look like persons at the commencement of their youth (Nava Jauvana). According to popular belief the devotee washes away all his sins if he gets a vision of the Lord on this day.
The ‘Shilpa Sastras’ and Agamas testify that the images become suitable for worship only after the performance of the rite of ‘Chakshyu Unmilana’ (Opening of the eyes). Hence after the Snana Yatra, the images are kept away from public view for fifteen days for treatment for which specific rituals are performed . This period of isolation is called ‘Anabasara’ or ‘Anasara’ meaning improper time for worship. During this period, the daily rites of the temple remain suspended and the images, disfigured due to the ceremonial bath, are given a fresh coat of paint.
(Sujata Singh is based in Bhubaneswar. Please click here to read her earlier blogs in `The South Reports’)