The Mystical Journey of the 22 Steps at Jagannath Temple Puri


Unveiling the Secrets of Jagannath Temple Puri : A Spiritual Journey through 22 Steps

Every year, millions of pilgrims come to the holy town of Puri in Odisha, to undertake a spiritual journey. At Jagannath Temple, a place revered for its deep spiritual significance and unique traditions. One of the most respected aspects of this pilgrimage is the ritualistic climbing of the 22 steps (baisi pahacha in Odiya)that lead to the main entrance of the temple. Each step is believed to represent a different characteristic of spiritual evolution, making this incline a deeply transformative experience for devotees.

Beyond Steps: A Spiritual Sojourn at Jagannath Puri Temple's 22 Mystical Stages

The First Step: Surrender

The first step of the spiritual journey at the Jagannath Temple Puri is surrender, a deep act of letting go and placing trust in the divine. They are encouraged to release all burdens, worries, and attachments, recognizing that true peace comes from relinquishing control and surrendering to a higher power. This act of surrender opens the heart and mind to divine guidance, paving the way for a deeper connection with the spiritual kingdom. It is a humbling experience that sets the tone for the entire pilgrimage, reminding devotees of the power of surrender in their spiritual practice.

The Second Step: Humility

As devotees ascend the second step of the Jagannath Temple, they are called to represent humility, an integrity that lies at the core of spiritual growth. Humility is the quality of being humble, of recognizing one's limitations and imperfections in the grand scheme of the universe. It is about acknowledging that there is something greater than oneself and being open to learning from others and from life itself. The second step reminds us that true greatness lies in humility, in the ability to approach life with a sense of wonder and openness, ready to receive the wisdom that comes from a humble heart.

The Third Step: Gratitude

Gratitude is the heart of the third step on the spiritual journey at Jagannath Temple. As devotees climb this step, they are reminded to cultivate a deep sense of appreciation for all the blessings in their lives. Gratitude is not just about being thankful for the good things; it is about recognizing the inherent goodness in every moment, even in the face of challenges. It is a transformative practice that shifts our focus from what is lacking to what is great, filling our hearts with joy and contentment. The third step teaches us that true happiness comes from within, from the simple act of being grateful for the gift of life itself.

The Fourth Step: Forgiveness

The fourth step on the spiritual journey at the Jagannath Temple is forgiveness, a profound act of releasing the burdens of the past. As devotees climb this step, they are encouraged to let go of irritations, grievances, and judgments that weigh heavy on their hearts. Forgiveness is not about favoring the actions of others; it is about freeing oneself from the chains of anger and resentment. It is a liberating practice that opens the door to healing and inner peace. The fourth step reminds us that forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, but of strength, and that by forgiving others, we free ourselves from the shackles of the past, allowing us to move forward with a lighter heart and a clearer mind.

The Fifth Step: Love

As devotees ascend the fifth step on their spiritual journey at the Jagannath Puri Temple, they are immersed in the deep significance of love. This step symbolizes the boundless love that permeates the universe and connects all living beings. It is a reminder to cultivate love in our hearts, not just for those close to us, but for all beings. Love is the most powerful force in the universe, capable of exceeding boundaries and transforming lives. The fifth step teaches us that true love is unconditional, compassionate, and inclusive, and it is through love that we can truly connect with the divine and with each other.

The Sixth Step: Service

Ascending the sixth step at the Jagannath Puri Temple, devotees are reminded of the importance of selfless service, or "seva." This step symbolizes the act of giving back to society and serving others without any expectation of reward. Service is seen as a way to express gratitude for the blessings one has received and to contribute to the well-being of the community. The sixth step teaches us that true fulfillment comes from serving others and making a positive impact on the world around us. It is a call to action, inspiring devotees to embody the spirit of service in their daily lives.

The Seventh Step: Devotion

Climbing the seventh step at the Jagannath Puri Temple, devotees are invited to deepen their commitment to the divine. Devotion, or "bhakti," is the heartfelt expression of love and reverence towards the divine. It is a deeply personal and spiritual practice that involves surrendering oneself completely to the divine will. The seventh step symbolizes the persistent faith and devotion that devotees have towards Lord Jagannath. The seventh step serves as a reminder to devotees to nurture and strengthen their devotion through prayer, meditation, and selfless service.

The Eighth Step: Patience

As devotees climb the eighth step on their spiritual journey at the Jagannath Temple, they are reminded of the purity of patience. Patience is the ability to endure difficult circumstances with calmness and without complaint. It is a quality that allows us to remain responsible beliefs and goals, even in the face of challenges and obstacles. The eighth step teaches us that patience is not just about waiting for things to happen, it is about how we behave while we wait. It is a reminder to trust in the divine timing of events and to have faith that everything will unfold as it is meant to. Patience is a purity that allows us to maintain inner peace and serenity.

The Ninth Step: Silence

Climbing the ninth step at the Jagannath Temple, devotees are immersed in the deep power of silence. This step symbolizes the practice of inner silence, or "Mauna," which is a state of deep inner peace and stillness. Silence is not just the absence of noise, it is a state of being that allows us to connect with our innermost selves and with the divine. The ninth step teaches us that in silence, we can find clarity, insight, and spiritual renewal. It is a reminder to devotees to cultivate moments of silence in their lives, to quiet the mind, and to listen to the wisdom that arises from within. Silence is a powerful tool for spiritual growth and self-discovery, and the ninth step invites devotees to embrace the transformative power of silence in their spiritual practice.

The Tenth Step: Meditation

As devotees climb the tenth step on their spiritual journey at the Jagannath Puri Temple, they are invited to adopt the practice of meditation. Meditation is a powerful tool for quieting the mind, cultivating inner peace, and deepening one's spiritual connection. The tenth step symbolizes the importance of setting aside time for meditation, sitting in silence and stillness, and turning inward to explore the depths of one's consciousness. Meditation is a practice that helps us to transcend the limitations of the ego and connect with the divine essence that lies within us. The tenth step teaches us that through meditation, we can access a state of profound peace, clarity, and spiritual insight, leading us closer to the divine presence within us.

The Eleventh Step: Knowledge

As devotees climb the eleventh step at the Jagannath Temple, they are cultivated to seek knowledge and wisdom. This step symbolizes the importance of spiritual knowledge in one's journey towards enlightenment. Knowledge is seen as a guiding light that illuminates the path of the spiritual seeker, helping them to understand the true nature of reality and their place in the universe. The eleventh step teaches us that true knowledge is not just intellectual, it is experiential and transformative. It is a reminder to devotees to seek knowledge not just from books and teachings, but also from their own direct experiences and inner wisdom. Knowledge is a key that unlocks the mysteries of the universe and leads us toward a deeper understanding of ourselves and the divine.

The Twelfth Step: Faith

Climbing the twelfth step at the Jagannath Puri Temple, devotees are immersed in the deep significance of faith. This step symbolizes the tireless belief and trust in the divine. Faith, or "shraddha," is the foundation of the spiritual journey, guiding devotees through life's challenges and uncertainties. The twelfth step teaches us that faith is not blind belief, but a deep knowing that comes from the heart. It is a reminder to devotees to have faith in themselves, in others, and the divine plan. Faith is a powerful force that gives us strength, courage, and hope, and the twelfth step invites devotees to embrace the transformative power of faith in their spiritual practice.

The Thirteenth Step: Surrender 

As devotees climb the thirteenth step, they are once again reminded to surrender themselves to the divine, letting go of all doubts and fears.

The Fourteenth Step: Detachment

As devotees climb the fourteenth step at the Jagannath Temple, they are reminded of the goodness of detachment. Detachment, or "vairagya," is the practice of letting go of attachments to material possessions, desires, and outcomes. It is about cultivating a sense of inner freedom and liberation from the constant craving for worldly pleasures. The fourteenth step teaches us that true happiness and fulfillment come from within and that by letting go of our attachments, we can find peace and happiness in the present moment. Detachment is not about leaving the world, but about developing a balanced and healthy relationship with it. It is a reminder to devotees to live in the world but not be of the world and to find joy in the simple things in life.

The Fifteenth Step: Peace

As devotees climb the fifteenth step at the Jagannath Temple, they are engaged in the purity of peace. Peace, or "Saanti," is the state of mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in difficult situations. It is about maintaining a balanced mind and a steady heart, regardless of the circumstances. The fifteenth step teaches us that true stability comes from a deep understanding of the impermanent nature of the world and a recognition of the divine presence in all beings. It is a reminder to devotees to cultivate a sense of inner peace and calm and to remain immutable in their spiritual practice, regardless of the ups and downs of life. Peace is a quality that allows us to navigate the challenges of life with grace and dignity, and the fifteenth step invites devotees to embody this virtue in their daily lives.

The Sixteenth Step: Understanding

As devotees climb the sixteenth step at the Jagannath Temple, they are invited to welcome the goodness of charity. Understanding, or "karuna," is the ability to feel empathy and understanding for the suffering of others and to take action to alleviate that suffering. It is a fundamental principle of many spiritual traditions, including Hinduism, and is seen as a key to spiritual growth and enlightenment. The sixteenth step teaches us that true compassion is not just a feeling, but a way of life. It is about recognizing the interconnectedness of all beings and acting with kindness and empathy towards all. Compassion is a transformative force that can heal wounds, mend relationships, and bring about positive change in the world. The sixteenth step invites devotees to cultivate compassion in their hearts and to spread love and kindness wherever they go.

The Seventeenth Step: Service

As devotees climb the seventeenth step, they are once again encouraged to dedicate themselves to serving others.

The Eighteenth Step: Gratitude 

The eighteenth step symbolizes gratitude, reminding devotees to express gratitude for the blessings in their lives.

The Nineteenth Step: Love 

Devotees are encouraged to deepen their sense of love and compassion as they climb the nineteenth step.

The Twentieth Step: Forgiveness (Again)

The twentieth step symbolizes forgiveness, reminding devotees to forgive themselves and others.

The Twenty-First Step: Humility

As devotees climb the twenty-first step, they are once again reminded of the importance of humility.

The Twenty-Second Step: Divine Union

As devotees climb the twenty-second and final step at the Jagannath Temple, they reach the pinnacle of their spiritual journey: divine union. This step symbolizes the ultimate goal of spiritual practice to merge with the divine and realize the oneness of all existence. It is a state of complete surrender and absorption in the divine presence, where the individual self merges into the universal consciousness.

The twenty-second step teaches us that divine union is not something to be achieved through effort or striving, but through letting go and allowing the divine to flow through us. It is a state of being rather than doing, where the boundaries between self and other, subject and object, dissolve, and we experience the unity of all life.

Divine union is the realization of the spiritual journey, the realization of our true nature as divine beings. It is a state of bliss, peace, and unconditional love, where we are one with the divine in every moment. The twenty-second step invites devotees to let go of their identity and merge with the divine, experiencing the ultimate reality of existence.

Unveiling the Spiritual Journey through 22 Steps - Jagannath Temple Puri

In conclusion, the climbing of the 22 steps at the Jagannath Temple is not just a physical climb but a spiritual journey of self-discovery and transformation. Each step serves as a reminder of the virtues and qualities that are essential for spiritual growth, guiding devotees toward a deeper understanding of themselves and the divine.