Jagannatha ( Skt. जगन्नाथ , Jagannātha IAST , “Lord of the Universe”) is a deity whose cult is most widespread in the Indian state of Orissa . In Vaishnavism, Jagannath is revered as one of the forms of Vishnu - Krishna ,   in Shaivism - as one of the aspects of Shiva , Bhairava ; in Jainism - as one of the Tirthankaras , the Jinapath.
Jagannath is worshiped with his brother Balarama and sister Subhadra in the form of wooden statues. The center of the Jagannatha cult is the temple in Puri in Orissa, where once a year during the Ratha Yatra festival, statues of deities are taken out into the street in large, decorated chariots. This holiday is also celebrated in many other cities of India and beyond. According to scholars, Mr. Puri was once the center of an autochthonous cult, which later merged with the cult of Krishna, which at the same time assumed the name of the local deity - Jagannatha.
The History of Jagannatha in Skanda Purana
King Indradyumna and Vidyapati
The righteous king Indradyumna was a devoted worshiper of Vishnu . Despite all the wealth and glory that he possessed, the king was unsatisfied - he strove for the highest perfection of life - to see God face to face. Once, a wandering Vaisnava appeared at the king’s court and told him about the Nila-Madhava - the murti Vishnu of extraordinary beauty. The wanderer’s story made a great impression on the king, and when he wanted to get the darshan of the Nile-Madhava at all costs, he ordered him to be found and sent out for this purpose the brahmanas throughout India . However, the search was in vain, and the brahmanas returned with nothing to the capital - all but one brahmana named Vidyapati. Having visited many holy places, Vidyapati entered the land of the Shabar tribe, which was located on the ocean in the area of the modern city of Puri , Orissa . He found refuge in the house of a Shabar leader named Vishvavasu, who had a daughter of extraordinary beauty named Lalita. Vidyapati fell in love with Lalita and soon received permission and the blessing of her father, married her.
Vidyapati receives darshan of Nila-Madhava.
Living in the house of Shabar, Vidyapati noticed one strangeness in his behavior. Every night Vishvavasu left somewhere and the next day around noon he returned, smelling of camphor , musk and sandalwood . Vidyapati began to question his wife, and she said that her father went to worship the murti of the Nila-Madhava, whose existence, apart from her and Visvavasa, no one knew. The father forbade Lalita to disclose this secret to anyone, but at the insistence of her husband she was forced to violate this ban. The joy of Vidyapati knew no bounds, he immediately felt an urge to see Nila-Madhava and asked Lalita to persuade his father and allow him to receive the darshan of Nila-Madhava. After much persuasion, Visvavasu agreed on condition that his brother-in-law go blindfolded and would never attempt to find the location of the Nile-Madhava in the future. When they were ready to hit the road, Lalita secretly hid a handful of mustard seeds in the rim of her husband. All the way, Vidyapati quietly threw grains. When they finally came to Nila Madhava, the sabar removed the blindfold from Vidyapati's eyes. Seeing the incomparable beauty of the Nile-Madhava, Vidyapati began to dance in ecstasy and offer enthusiastic prayers. When he calmed down a little, the sabar left him near the deity, and he himself left to collect edible roots and flowers in order to offer them to Nila-Madhava later.
Jagannath Temple Construction
While there was no shabar, Vidyapati witnessed an amazing event. A sleeping crow fell from a branch into a nearby lake and drowned. At that moment, she assumed the four-armed form inherent in the inhabitants of Vaikuntha and ascended into the spiritual world. Seeing this, Vidyapati climbed a tree and was about to follow the lucky crow to jump into the lake, in order to gain liberation too, when he suddenly heard a voice from heaven telling him to tell King Indradyumne the whereabouts of Nila Madhava. Soon the Sabbath returned, carrying forest flowers and roots in his hands, and proceeded to his daily puja . Suddenly, Nila-Madhava spoke up: “For so many years I have been taking forest flowers and roots from you, I’m tired of them already, now I want my great devotee, King Indradyumna, to render the most magnificent service to me!” These words saddened Visvavasa and he thought, that now he will lose the opportunity to serve Nila-Madhava. In a fit of despair, he decided to tie Vidyapati and not let him go from his house so that he could not return to King Indradyumna and tell him about the location of the Nile-Madhava. However, after some time, yielding to Lalita’s requests, he released Vidyapati and allowed him to go home.
Vidyapati returned to King Indradyumne and spoke about his discovery. In great joy, the king gathered the army and went to the land of Shabar, hoping to finally receive the darshan of the Nile-Madhava. By that time, mustard seeds, once scattered by Vidyapati, had sprouted and blossomed in bright yellow, showing the way to the king and his retinue. However, when they arrived, they did not find the Nile Madhava there. A distressed Indradyumna besieged the Shabar village and captured Vishvavasa. But then a voice came from heaven, which ordered the king to free the sabar, build a temple on the top of the Nilachal hill and install the wooden murti of Daru Brahman there. The voice also informed the king that no one was destined to see the Nile-Madhava.
It is described that the holy monastery of Purushottama-ksetra is in the shape of a shell , and at the base of the shell the king laid the city of Puri and built a temple there. The magnificent temple went into the ground at six cubits and towered one hundred and twenty cubits above the ground. The top of the temple was crowned with a round pointed turret on which a chakra was installed. The king decorated the temple with gold and, when everything was ready, went to the abode of Brahma - the planet Brahmaloka - in order to invite Brahma to consecrate the temple. But since every moment on Brahmalok is equal to six earth months, when King Indradyumna returned to earth, many years have passed. The temple, which was located near the ocean, was covered with coastal sand, and several kings were replaced on the throne and one of them, named Gala Madhava, discovered a temple buried under the sand. Gala Madhava declared that it was he who built the temple. The dispute between the two kings was resolved by the talking raven Bhusandi, who lived for several centuries near the temple on an old banyan tree, constantly chanting the name of Rama . From his nest in the branches of the banyan tree, he observed the construction of the temple and confirmed that it was built by King Indradyumna.
Indradyumna offered prayers to Brahma and asked to consecrate the temple and the surrounding lands, after which Brahma placed a flag on the top of the temple and proclaimed that in the future, anyone who sees this flag from afar and will prostrate reverently will certainly find moksha .
The History of the Murti Jagannath
After a while, King Indradyumnu was overcome by despondency from separation from the Nila Madhava. Deciding that his life was spent in vain, he lay on a bed of kush grass with the firm intention of dying. After several days, Jagannatha appeared to him in a dream and informed him that the king could find him in the sea near the town of Bankimuhan in the form of Daru-Brahman, a log of kalpa-vriksha, the tree of desires from the spiritual world. The king, accompanied by his soldiers, went to the indicated place and saw a log on the seashore marked with the signs of a conch, disk, club and lotus . However, despite all the attempts, many people and elephants could not even budge him. Then an old man from the Shabarov tribe appeared, who easily moved the log to the right place. That same night, in a dream, Jagannatha informed the king that this old man was in his past life none other than Visvavasa, who had served the Nila-Madhava for many years.
In order to carve the Jagannatha murti from the Dara-Brahman, the king called many skillful sculptors, but none of them could even touch the Dara-Brahman. At the first attempt, their incisors broke and crumbled into small pieces. The king was extremely puzzled and did not know what to do, but soon an architect from the heavenly planets Vishvakarma came to him, disguised as an old craftsman, who said that none of the mere mortals could sculpt the murti . Then Indradyumna asked Vishvakarma to complete this work, to which he agreed with one condition - no one should see the murti until he has finished it completely. He should be allowed to work behind closed doors for twenty-one days. The king agreed to the conditions and immediately made all necessary preparations. At the direction of the old sculptor, the remaining craftsmen engaged in the construction of three chariots. And Visvakarma brought Dara Brahman to the temple and locked the doors, securing the promise that he would be left alone before the deadline.
After fourteen days, the king’s wife, named Gundicha, was troubled by the fact that not a single sound had been heard from Vishvakarma's workshop for many hours in a row. She convinced the king that something must have happened to the old sculptor. At the insistence of his wife, the king opened the door of Vishvakarma's workshop and, to his horror, discovered that the old sculptor had disappeared, as promised, and instead of Daru-Brahman there were three unfinished murti: Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra . Realizing all the consequences of failure to fulfill his promise, the king decided to fast to death. But after some time, Jagannatha appeared in his dream and said: “I am always in Nilachal, on the ocean, in the form of Jagannatha. I have no material arms and legs, but with my spiritual feelings I accept everything that my devotees offer me. You broke your promise, but that was part of my plan, which was to appear in the guise of Jagannath so that all people in Kali-yuga would worship me in this form. ”
Hearing the words of Jagannatha, the king offered a prayer in which he asked Jagannatha so that the descendants of the sculptor could take part in the construction of the three chariots of the Ratha-yatra from century to century, and that the descendants of Vishvavasa, who served him as Nila Madhava, would be prepared from generation to generation for jagannath food in the temple. After Jagannath agreed to satisfy these two requests of the king, Indradyumna asked for another blessing, so that the doors of the temple would be closed only for three hours a day, and the rest of the time, pilgrims would be welcomed so that all inhabitants of the universe could receive darshan of Jagannath.
It is believed that Jagannatha, Subhadra and Baladeva appeared in this material world to give moksha to all living entities. The Narada Purana says this:
|In this highest abode is the murti of Kesava , the form of which the Lord Himself gave. If people simply see this murti of God, they will open the gates to the abode of the Supreme Lord.|
Krishna in Dvaraka
One day, Narada appeared in front of King Indradyumna. Narada told Indradyumna how fortunate he was to see Krishna in this amazing form - without arms and legs, with huge round eyes and a big smile. He saw this form while visiting the palace of Krishna in Dvaraka , in which he lived with his wives. Once, the wives of Krishna began to discuss among themselves the causeless love that the gopis of Vrindavan felt for Krishna. Not wanting anyone to eavesdrop on them, they put Sister Krishna Subhadra on guard at the door of their chambers. After some time, listening to the conversation of the queens, Subhadra became so carried away that she did not notice how Krsna’s brother Balarama , and then Krishna himself, approached and also began to listen to the stories of the queens. Feeling separation from his beloved devotees in Vrindavan, Krishna fell into ecstasy, his hair stood on end, his arms and legs went into his body, his eyes widened and increased in size - he took the form of Jagannatha. In a spiritual exchange of emotions, Balarama and Subhadra also began to experience ecstatic feelings, and took on the form of Jagannatha as Baladeva and Subhadra.
After the story of Narada Muni, King Indradyumna's affection for Jagannatha became even stronger. The king understood that the unusual appearance of Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra was not accidental: God manifested it because the king experienced a strong sense of separation from Him, and also because he felt the same sharp separation from the king. Until the end of his days, Indradyumna served Jagannath with love in his heart.
Murti , made from logs caught in the ocean, is referred to as Purushottama in the Rig Veda , the earliest piece of Vedic literature.
- Chakakhi - One with round eyes.
- Chakadola - One with round eyes without eyelids (It symbolizes that the Lord is very active and vigilant).
- Chakanayana - One with round eyes.
- Darubrahmam - The wooden deity within which the supreme soul rests.
- Devadhideva - God of the gods.
- Jagadish - Lord of the universe.
- Jagatadhisa - Lord of the universe.
- Jagannath - Lord of the universe.
- Kala Thakura is the Lord of black.
- Mahaabaahu - One who has large palms (symbolizes the fact that the Lord helps everyone).
- Niladrivihari - Nilamadhava (Jagannath served as Nilamadhava leader of the Aboriginal tribe).
- Nilachalia - One who lives in Nilachala.
- Padmalochana - Lotosookiy.
- Patitapavana - One who blesses the whole universe.
- Purushottama - the Supreme Person.
- Rajadhiraj - King of kings.
- Jagannatha Temple in Puri
- Ratha Yatra
Jagannath (right) Balabhadra (left) and Subhadra (center)
Little altar with the murti of Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra
- Rath Yatra // James G. Lochtefeld The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: NZ. - Rosen Publishing Group, 2002 .-- T. 2 . - S. 567 . - ISBN 0823931803 .
- B. Ya. Top. Oriya // Peoples of South Asia: India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Ceylon and the Maldev Islands / Edited by N. R. Guseva, A. M. Dyakova, M. G. Levin, N. N. Cheboksarov. - M .: Publishing House of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1963. - S. 467. - (Peoples of the world: Ethnographic essays).
- Klostermaier, Klaus K. (2007), A Survey of Hinduism (3rd ed.), Albany, NY: State University of New York Press , ISBN 0791470822 , < https://books.google.com/books?id=E_6- JbUiHB4C & printsec = frontcover >
- Questions and Answers about Lord Jagannath
- Russian-language portal dedicated to Jagannath
- Jagannathashtaka - a song about Jagannath that was sung by Caitanya Mahaprabhu (translation by Maxim Meister)
- The Legend of Lord Jagannath and King Indradyumna
- Sidhartha Kanungo “Tantrism in the cult of Lord Jagannatha”