HDG Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja would sometimes speak on the glories of Bhubaneswar dhama. He would relate various pastimes that are told in sastra relating to this sacred place. To preserve it's original flavour the following transcription of one of these discourses, which first appeared in Krishna Balarama Temple, Bhubaneswar, Construction Fund Newsletter issue 4 in 1992, appears here in it's largely unedited form. see www.ananda-samvada.org

by His Divine Grace Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Maharaja

This lecture was given by his Divine Grace Sri Srimad Gour Govinda in Bhubaneswar on the 25th of April 1991; he speaks from Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Adi lila 7;157. In his discourse Sri srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja describes the glories of Sri Bhubaneswar dhama, reading from Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat. We haven't included the Bengali quotes used by His Divine Grace.

“We should not disrespect the demi-gods. Though the demi-gods are not the Supreme Lord, they are the servants of Krishna. So Mahaprabhu has taught this thing. And especially Lord Siva, “Vaisnavanam yatha sambhu," Siva is a bhakta. Therefore, Sriman Mahaprabhu visited, paid respect. And Sivaji is "ksetra-pala," he who guards the ksetra.
In Vraja Mandala you'll find nine Ksetrapala Mahadeva murtis are there. In Vrndaban there is Gopesvara Mahadev, in Kamyavan you'll find Kamesvara Mahadeva, in .. you'll find Chakresvara Mahadeva, in Nandagram you'll find Nandisvara, and in Mathura you'll find Bhutesvara , Gokarnesvara, Chaklesvara and Rangesvara. Besides that, in Mathura there are many, many other Siva Temples.

In the Varaha Purana it is mentioned that Lord Visnu said to Sivaji, in Mathura you'll become Ksetrapala, who guards ksetra, My ksetra. If someone will pay you respect, have your darshan, he'll get the result of visiting My home. Those who do circumambulation, parikrama, Vrndaban parikrama at the end they visit Bhutesvara Siva in Mathura. Because 'vaisnavanam yatha sambhu,' Siva is a great Vaisnava, do you understand?

This is also Siva's dham. Here this Bhubaneswar ksetra is also Siva's dham. It is said there, in Caitanya Bhagabat, Sri Vrndaban das Thakur has mentioned Bhubaneswar. When Sriman Mahaprabhu came here, while he was going to th Puri Dham He passed through this Bhubaneswar. So Sriman Mahaprabhu visited that Temple, and that Bhubaneswar Lingaraja is a very dear serviant of Anantadeva, therefore Mahaprabhu came here.
In Caitanya Bhagabat, it is mentioned, 'Sriman Mahaprabhu with his devotees, chanted and danced before Lord Siva here in Bhubaneswar Temple.' So following in the footsteps of Sriman Mahaprabhu all Vaisnavas came here and visited Iswara Siva, and chanted and danced there.

In Skanda Purana, there it is mentioned about this ksetra, Bhubaneswar ksetra. "Once in Kasi, there was a king who was a great devotee of Lord Siva. But his desires were not fulfilled. That king underwent very severe penances to conquer Krishna.He was in tapasya trying to satisfy Lord Siva, and he had that desire he would conquer Krishna. But one cannot understand the behaviour of a Vaisnava. Even the demi-gods can't understand, what to speak of the human beings. So Sivaji became satisfied, pleased with his tapasya. At that time Sivaji told him, "alright, you go and fight against krishna, I'm following you, I'll support you, I'll help you."
So that king then started for battle and Lord Siva with all his followers followed him, that raja, king. Then Krishna - Vasudeva, Devaki-nandana the Son of Devaki - could understand all these things, so He released His Sudarsana cakra. That Sudarsana cut off the head of the king, first. After that, also that Sudarsana cakra cut off the heads of all the Siva bhaktas in Kasi. This Varanasi became a crematorium ground, all dead. So Lord Siva became very angry and released his pasupatastra. But what he'll do, pasupatastra in front of Sudarsana? Couldn't do anything. So at last Siva also became very much terrified, frightened, and tried to run away, but where will he go?
Then Siva could understand except for Krishna nobody can save me now. So he surrendered unto the lotus feet of Krishna, Govinda. He offered many prayers. Lord Siva offered prayers to Krishna, Govinda. Siva says, "O Lord of my heart, I have one prayer. I am always very puffed up. I have great false ego, but now I understand I can not leave you, I can not stay anywhere else, please tell me where I shall stay." According to Skanda Purana (Sri Vrndabandas Thakur has written that thing in Sri Caitanya Bhagabat.)

So Lord Vasudeva says, "My ksetra is there, Purosottama Ksetra, so in the north of that ksetra there is Ekamra Kanana. That place, Ekamra Kanana is a very very auspicious place, which can give bhukti and mukti, a very nice beautiful place. So you'll stay there and you'll be noted as "Bhubaneswar." "So I give you that Ekamra Kanana, you go and stay there and you become guard of that ksetra, 'Ksetra Pala'."

So this is Bhubaneswar. It is known as 'Hemacala' and 'Svarnadi Ksetra' also. In this ksetra crores, crores, koti lingum, crores.of Sivajis are here. Asta Tirtha, the famous eight tirthas are also here. It is superior to Varanasi, this Bhubaneswar, and this is more dear to Lord Siva than Varanasi, this Bhubaneswar.
In Svarnadi Mahadev Grantha, we'll find once Vyasadev came here. This is Vaisnava ksetra, Ekamraka Kanana, and Vyasadev has described its glories, it is mentioned in Svarnadi Mahadeva Grantha.

There it is mentioned once Devi Bhagabati, this means Goddess Parvati, was hearing the glories of this Ekamraka Kanana from the lips of Lord Siva, Sambhu. So Bhagabati devi came here to see this ksetra. She saw Maha-linga, do you understand "linga?" Siva is worshipped in Linga form. And that Linga has the complexion of half white, half black, sitasita varna, Maha-Linga,and Devi also offered puja to that Linga. Once Devi saw that from a lake hundreds of cows were coming out, and they were pouring milk from their udders onto that Maha-Linga, circumambulating that Maha-Linga and then going away. Devi saw this thing.
Another day also she saw the same thing. Then Devi assumed the form of a gopali-ni, a cowherd girl, and followed those cows. At that time there were two demon brothers named Kriti and Vasa. They were very much enchanted by the beauty of Parvati devi, so they approached her and expressed their desire that they wanted to have her as their wife. So Bhagabati devi disappeared from that place and went to Lord Siva and narrated everything before her Lord. Lord Siva then assumed the form of a gopa, a cowherd boy, and went there. Then Lord Siva could understand the history of those two demons.
Lord Siva revealed that those two demons Kriti and Vasa were the sons of Drumilla Raksasa. So that Drumilla worshipped many demi-gods, they were very much pleased and gave him one boon that his two sons couldn't be killed by any weapon. Then Sivaji said, "Now they will be killed by you, O Devi. You kill them. They won't be killed by any weapons, so I can't kill them."
So getting the instruction from Sivaji, Devi, who was in the form of a cowherd girl, gopalini, came in front of those two demons and said, "Alright, I'll fulfill your desires, but I have one condition, if one of you carry me on your shoulder or head I'll be his wife."
Bhagabati Devi manifested her potency and placed one of her feet on the shoulder of one demon, and the other on the shoulder of the other demon, and crushed them, they were killed. At that time Bhagabati assumed the form of Visvambari, Visvambari rupa. Visva means universe, she expanded as Visvambari and crushed them. So from this day, this Sambhu, "vaisnava pravara sambhu," and Devi Bhagabati stayed here in this ksetra of Ekamraka Kanana.

After killing these two demons Krit and Vasa, Bhagabati devi became very tired and was also very thirsty. She wanted water, so Siva with his trident, trishula pierced a hill top and a great well was created that's known as "Sankar Vampi"(?)
But Devi said, "I want water from a great tank, sarovara, pond, which will be eternally there."
So Sivaji ordered his bull carrier, Nandi, to install that sarovara. All tirthas came there, and all the holy rivers, like Kaveri, Gomati, Krishna, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Gandaki, Rishikulya, Mahanadi, all holy rivers came here. Again from the heavenly planets and from Patala came the Mandakini and Ksirodaka, all came here. When Lord Siva saw all those holy rivers had come, with his trident he pierced that hill top and asked all those holy rivers and all the tirthas to please pour water drop by drop here. (Drop means 'bindu'.) So they did it and Lord Brahma installed that sarovara. And that sarovara is known as 'Bindu sarovara.' Mahaprabhu took bath in that Bindu sarovara.

Bhagavan Janardan and all demigods headed by Brahma all took bath there in that sarovara. So in this way Bindu sarovara was installed.
Then Sambhu paid obeisances to Lord Janardana and The Lord placed Anantadeva on the eastern side of Bindu sarovara. You'll find on the eastern side Ananta Vasudeva is there. Siva became Ksetrapala, and Anantadeva became the controller of the Ksetra. Here Anantadeva stays with His sister, Subhadradevi. He is known as Lord Vasudeva, who has been fulfilling Lord Siva's desires. To fulfill Lord Siva's desires Ananta Vasudeva stayed on the eastern side of Bindu sarovara and has been staying there till now. Have you gone to that temple? So in the front wall of that temple you'll find there is Laxmidevi, and Sudarsana Cakra is also there.
Ananta Vasudeva and Madana Mohana, They are the Lords of Lingaraja Siva. So at the time of Candrana Yatra, Sivaji along with Ananta Vasudeva and Madana Mohana ride a swing, dola, and go to Candana Yatra. They make Candana Yatra in Bindu sarovara. At that time also Candana Yatra will begin from Puri Temple. In Puri there are three famous Sivas, they also come with Madan Mohan to do Candana Yatra. The Madana Mohana here in Bhubaneswar is a four handed form.
In Ananta Vasudeva Mandir Vaisnavi Bhagavati herself cooks bhoga to serve for Ananta Vasudeva. First Ananta Vasudeva will be worshipped, bhoga arati will be there, then that bhoga will go to the Siva Temple and Siva always is in need of that prasad of Ananta Vasudeva, he becomes very pleased. This is the vaisnava process. The vaisnava will first worship Lord Visnu, then he'll offer that prasad to Siva. In this way a vaisnava worships Siva, but if one is not a vaisnava then he'll directly worship Siva. Therefore a vaisnava never accepts such prasad.
The vaisnava will worship first Lord Vasudeva, Visnu, and offer bhoga, then that prasad will be offered to Lord Siva. This system is going on in Jagannath Temple. In Jagannath Temple in the campus you'll find Goddess Durga is there, Siva is there, all are there so Laxmiji is there. So Jagannath prasad goes there, no Siva prasad. That's the vaisnava process, so we accept it.
If someone takes bath in Bindu sarovara then he'll get the result of taking bath in all tirthas, because all tirthas are there. If someone goes to Ananta Vasudeva Temple, and gets darshan of Ananta Vasudeva, then he gets result of darshan of the Supreme Lord.

So Lord Siva by the order of Janardana, by the mercy of Janardana has become ksetrapala. Siva simultaneously is 'Bhakti pradatah,' he is a great vaisnava so he can give you bhakti if he is pleased and also give you the adhikar to serve the dhama of The Lord. Dhama seva adhikar and bhakti pradatah. Lord Siva can give you. Therefore
the vaisnavas go to the temple of Sivaji, because Sriman Mahaprabhu has also gone there, and we follow in the footsteps of Mahaprabhu. The vaisnavas, gaura priya, dear devotees of Gauranga also visit the Siva temples and pay respects to Siva, and pray for the mercy of Lord Siva that let us get Krishna bhakti. Therefore Mahaprabhu visited. "Lord Siva is a vaisnava, 'vaisnava sevana, Krishna pujana,' if a vaisnava is served, then Krishna is worshipped. That is Mahaprabhu's instruction. So Mahaprabhu did that in order to teach us.

devotee - I also heard that the Srimad Bhagavatam was first spoken at Bhubaneswar

Srila Gour Govinda Swami - Yes, in that Ekamra Kanana. Sivaji was speaking to Parvati devi. That we have mentioned in the booklet, brochure that was published at the time of the Temple inaugaration, glorifying this ksetra, Ekamra Kanana, this Bhubaneswar.

Sivaji savs:-
" aham vedmi suko vetti, vyaso vetti na vetti va,
bhaktya bhagavatam grahyam, na buddhya na ca tikaya."
" I know Bhagavata, Sukadeva knows , I don't know if Vyasadeva knows or not. Bhagavata can only be understood by bhakti."

Lord Siva was speaking Bhagavata before his wife, the Goddess Parvati, here in this Ekamraka Kanana. At that time, a parrot was listening, 'suka' means parrot. So at first Parvati devi was listening and was saying, "Hmm, hmm, hmm,(means yes, yes). Then Parvati fell asleep. That suka, parrot, was listening, and the parrot was saying Hmm, hmm, hmm. So Sivaji couldn't understand at first, then at last Sivaji noticed that Parvati had fallen asleep. So he thought who was saying, 'Hmm, hmm, hmm.' He saw a parrot is there, and Sivaji ran and the parrot flew away. That suka then entered into the womb of Vyasadev's wife. That became Sukadeva Goswami. Therefore Sukadeva knows the Bhagavatam.
This is such a famous place, this Bhubaneswar dham, ksetra. This is Vaisnava ksetra.