GGHS – Jayand Shanbhag speaks on “The Power of Holy Name” through the story of “Salbe – Devotee of Lord Jaganath”
The life of Bhakta Salbeg is one of those rare aspects of devotion which transcended every social and religious barrier practiced in medieval India. Salbeg was the son of the Muslim warrior Lalbeg who served under Raja Man Singh. He carried off a hindu woman and married her.She gave birth to a son who was named Salbeg. From his mother Salbeg inherited a feeling of reverence to Lord Jagannath of Puri. Eventually Salabeg joined in the mughal army and fought many batlles. Fate ultimately led Salbeg,an officer in the Mughal army. He had orders from the Mughal king Jehangir to raid hindu principality of Khurda. He came not as a devotee but as a part of a fresh invasion force directed against Raja Khurda,who had steadfastly opposed continued to fight against the Muslims of Bengal and the Mughals of Delhi. Little did Salbeg know that destiny had ordained that he would from Orrisa come as a devotee of the very idol he set out to destroy. During a severe battle, he was surrounded by the enemy and death seemed to be at hand.
At that time Salbeg remembered his mothers words and prayed to Jagannath. For a muslim it seemed quite rare and extra -ordinary as they pray to allah. Thereafter, Salbeg became the devotee of Lord Jagannath. Being a yavana he coundn’t be allowed in the premises of Puri Jagannath Temple,hence he took darshan of Lord through a hole in the wall. Once Salbeg wanted to see Lord clad in beautiful dress at the time of Rath Yatra, but he fell sick on his way to Srishetra. He was very sad and with tears in his eyes, he implored the Lord.
The Pandas,The Gajapati,and the people were shocked to see the Lord’s Rath stand in one place and not budge even an inch. Hours later Salbeg breached the place where the rath stood firm and prayed to Jagannath. Only then did the Rath move and the people realized the supreme devotion of Bhakta Salbeg.And hence,the legend of bhakta Salbeg was born,who although was a muslim lived the lord and dedicated the rest of his life in the service of Lord Jagannath. Salbeg coined many bhajans in praise of the lord which are popular and loved,One of them is”AHE NILA SAILA PRABALA” still recited by many Odia families who are praying to lord Jagannath.