Bhakta Salabega (1607/1608 – unknown; Oriya) was an Odia religious poet of India in the early 17th century. Great devotee Bhakta Salabega was born in a Muslim family and was the son of Lalbega. Lalbega was a leading warrior in the Mughal army and on those days the Mughals were always trying to capture the Sri Mandira to demolish it. Once when the Mughal warrior Lalbega was returning from Puri near Danda Mukundapur locality of Puri he found a Beautiful young Brahmin widow returning from the Bathing Ghats. So he kidnapped the lady and finally by compulsion married her who latterly came to be known as Fatima Biwi. Salabega was the son of Fatima Biwi and Lalbega. From childhood he listened about Lord Jagannatha, Lord Krishna, And Lord Rama from her mother. He got attracted towards them.
Bhakta Salabega was born to a Muslim father and Brahmin mother. He wrote many prayers glorifying Lord Jagannatha that is the most heart touching. He was not allowed to enter the temple of Lord Jagannatha in Puri because he was a Muslim. However, this did not stop him thinking of Lord day and night. He eagerly waited for the Ratha Yatra when Lord Jagannatha will come out of the temple to meet Lord’s devotees to have a glimpse of Him. Once during Ratha Yatra, Salabega was out of town and could not reach in time to see the Lord on the chariot. He prayed to Lord Jagannatha to wait inside the chariot until he could come and that’s what Lord did. Actually Lord Jagannatha had also waited all year long for this moment too. How could he move without seeing his dear devotee Salabega?
Bhakta Salabega with Lord Jagannath
Another such event occurred in Balasore, a city in Orissa. Salabega was coming from Delhi to Puri through Balasore and was staying near the temple of Shyamsundar. During evening prayers Salabega wanted to see the Lord inside but was not allowed to do so since he was a Muslim. One evening the priest found that the Lord was missing from his throne. The same night the king of Balasore had a dream that a great devotee of the Lord was waiting outside to have a darshan of Lord. He then made arrangement for a hole to be drilled in the wall so that Salabega could see the Lord. As soon as he stared at the throne of the deities, the deities reappeared.
After the death of Fatima Biwi when Bhakta Salabega was a kid once he got stricken by a severe disease and all the doctors left the hope that Bhakta Salabega can’t survive. One day when he was on bed he heard the Bhajan’s and thought the great Lord Jagannatha who is the God of world will be able to cure me. Then he started praying lord Jagannatha and finally got cured. After that he became a great devotee of Lord Jagannatha. But for that reason he was discarded from his own house. Then he started moving here to there uttering the name of lord Jagannatha all times. Finally he went to Puri. It was the car festival time and the chariots were getting pulled Salabega was not allowed to see lord Jagannatha on the chariot as he was the son of a Muslim.
So resided on a house which is very nearer to Sri Mandira. When the chariot of Lord Jagannatha came nearer to his house he started weeping. Suddenly the chariot stopped there. And Salabega watched the God happily and there after all the things were made known to the priests.The place where the cart remained stationary to give darshana to Salabega was later used by Salabega for composing his many bhajans in honour of Lord Jagannatha. His body was cremated there after his death. The samadhi of this great devotee is still standing on the Grand road in Puri and his bhajans will be forever sang, and remembered by the devotees of Lord Jagannatha. Then he got the respects of a great devotee by the blessings of the lord Jagannatha.
Once, as a child or young man, Salabega became very ill,and the attending physicians thought he would die. Salabega miraculously recovered when he heard some devotees singing bhajanas (devotional songs) about Krasna and Jagannatha and he began chanting Jagannatha’s names.This was a pivotal moment in his devotional life. He remembered his mother’s description of Visnu’s rescue of Gajendra,the king of the elephants, when chased by a crocodile. Like Dhruva Maharaja and Sri Prahlada,Salabega had intense childlike faith in the mercy of the Lord.
Prayer Of Bhakta Salabega :-
Aahe Nila Shaila; Prabal matta Varan
mo aarata nalinee bana ku kara dalana!
Gajaraja chinta kala thai ghora jalena,
Chakra peshi nakra nashi, uddhrile aapana!
Ghorabane mrugini ku padithila kashana,
Kede bada beepatti ru kariaccha tarana.
Kurusabha tale suni Draupadi ra janana,
Koti bastra dei hele lajja kala barana!
Ravana ra bhai Bivishana gala saran,
Saran sambhali tanku, Lanke kala raajana.
Prahlada pita se je bada dushta daruna,
Stambha ru bahari taku bidarila takhana.
Kahe Salabega hina jaati re mu jabana,
Sriranga charan tale karuachhi janana.
Eka to bhakata jeevana mean “Your Life is Only for Your Devotee”
Your life is only for your devotee.
Only for your devotee the symbol of conch and disc.
The devotee is your father, your mother
The devotee your friend.
It is only because of your devotee
That you are called the ocean of compassion.
After the cow Kamadhenu the calf runs for milk.
Similarly are you to be found behind your devotee.
My father is a Moughal soldier, my mother a Brahmin.
I am born such, no Hindu drinks water from my hands.
Tells abject Salabega of Muslim caste
I know nothing other than the feet of Sriranga.