Mrunal Manmay Dash

Jagannath culture is an amalgamation of many cults. It's a melting pot of several religions. Whoever comes to see the Lord, basks in his devotion and becomes an eternal devotee.

One of the four dhams in Hindu culture, Srikhetra in Puri is considered as the place where Lord Vishnu eats as Lord Jagannth, the Lord of the Universe. As the epitome of Hindu culture and devotion, and to keep its sanctity intact, the expansive complex of Srimandir is reserved for Indian Hindu devotees only.

On the other hand, he is also revered as the Lord of the Universe and every living thing on the earth and beyond. To prove the reverence, he along with his brother Lord Balabhadra and sister Devi Subhadra step out of their abode once in every year during Rath Yatra so that others could avail his darshan and blessings too.

There are numerous such examples in the history books. However, one example that stands out is of Salabega. The muslim devotee of the Lord and a magnificent devotional poet. As per the ancient scriptures, the Lord was so fond of Salabega, his Chariot Nandighosh didn't budge until he arrived in Puri for the Rath Yatra. And he is the only devotee who was buried on the Grand Road so that Lord Jagannath's chariot would go over his burial site every year.

Though not exactly like Salabega, a similar sight was witnessed during this year's Rath Yatra in Sundargarh. Drenched in the love of Lord Jagannath, a Muslim devotee, Mohammed Dawood, also known as Mastan Baba was seen dancing to the tunes of Jagannath Janana on Friday.

When OTV got hold of him, he was in a trance. Unable to say something, he was engulfed in the spirituality and the electrifying atmosphere of the Rath Yatra.

Mastana hails from Madhya Pradesh and as it turned out he is a staunch Jagannath devotee.

“I was passing by and saw the Chariot of Lord Jagannath being pulled on the road. Could not hold my emotions and sang the bhajans I know,” Mastan said while speaking to OTV.

“I have no grudges against any religion. Be it Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity or Islam, I respect all. I am not concerned about who hates whom or any hate crimes. I love Hinduism and Lord Jagannath,” he added.

As per his claims, he had even undertaken the Amarnath Yatra in Jammu and availed darshan of Lord Amarnath in his shrine.

Mastan’s reputation as a Hindu aficionado is widely appreciated. Vouching for his Hindu believes, a local of Kanika village, Mushtaq Ahmed said, “He has been residing here in Kanika since a few years. Over any religious believes, he considers humanity as the best Dharma.”