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  • ‘Purpose of my life on this earth has been fulfilled’: Woman beggar donates Rs 1 lakh collected over years to Jagannath temple in Odisha’s Phulbani

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    In a rare gesture, a 70-year-old beggar who sits outside a Jagannath Temple in Phulbani town in Odisha donated Rs 1 lakh she saved over the years to the management committee of the temple. She handed over the money to the president of the Temple Management Committee, Sunasir Mohapatra, and other members. 

    According to reports, the woman, Tula Behera, a Phulbani native, gave the temple Rs 1 lakh on the occasion of Dhanu Sankranti on Friday. The temple administration committee felicitated her for the warm act. A video of the temple authorities honouring her is being widely shared on Twitter.

    As per local media, the lady has been begging for aid on the streets of Phulbani, the headquarter of Kandhamal district, for years. Together with her physically handicapped husband Prafulla Behera, who passed away a few years ago, she initially went door to door begging.

    After her husband’s death, Tula continued asking for alms by sitting in front of the Jagannath and Sai temples and other shrines in Phulbani town as no one was around to inquire about her whereabouts. She has also adopted a girl who she found abandoned on the streets of Kandhamal. The two of them are now supported by the alms given to them by pilgrims who visit the Jagannath temple in Phulbani and other temples in the town.

    Tula, a devoted follower of Lord Jagannath, has been considering making a donation to the temple for a very long time. She has been deposing some of the money she earns from begging in a post office savings account. She recently made the decision to contribute her funds to the renovation of the Lord Jagannath temple in the town after the officials informed her that they had reached Rs 1 lakh in the account.

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    “I owe my existence and survival to Jagannath, the Lord of the Universe. I am on the last leg of my life. What will I do with the money, so I gave away all of it to the Almighty,” the woman said after making the donation.

    “I was saving the money for years by begging for alms. I neither have any parents nor any children. Even I am at the last stage of my life. I do not need any money. In fact, if I could do any service for Lord Jagannath, I will feel the purpose of my life on this earth has been fulfilled,” the 70-year-old told OTV. “I have surrendered myself to Lord Jagannath for long. I do not want anything more. He has brought me this far, I am sure he will take care of me,” Behera added.

    Initially the temple management was hesitant to accept the donation from such a poor person, but after she insisted, they agreed. A member of the Temple Management Committee said, “When she approached me, I was reluctant to take the money from her. But she insisted and the Committee finally accepted it from her on the auspicious day of Dhanu Sankranti.”

    Meanwhile, Sunasir Mohanty, President of the temple management committee informed that “the money will be used for the development of the infrastructure of the temple. We have decided to provide prasad to Tula for lifetime as recognition of her contribution to the temple.” 

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