About Lord Jagannatha

|| श्री जगन्नाथ स्तोत्र || 

अथ श्री जगन्नाथ प्रणामः  

नीलाचलनिवासाय नित्याय परमात्मने । 

 बलभद्रसुभद्राभ्यां जगन्नाथाय ते नमः ।।1।।  

जगदानन्दकन्दाय प्रणतार्तहराय च ।  

नीलाचलनिवासाय जगन्नाथाय ते नमः ।।2।। 

Who is Shree Jagannath 

Shree Jagannath is a deity worshipped in regional traditions of Hinduism in India and the subcontinent. Shree Jagannath is considered a form of Supreme Lord Vishnu. He is part of a triad along with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. Jagannath is an abstract representation of Lord Krishna for most Vaishnava; he is a symmetry-filled tantric representation of Bhairava for some Shaiva and Shakta; he is a symbolic representation of the Buddha in the Buddha-Sangha-Dhamma triad for some Buddhists; his name and his festive rituals are derived from Jeenanath of Jainism tradition as well. Shree Jagannath is worshiped by all major panth and sampradays of Hinduism.  

Belief and Story of Shree Jagannath 

The Skanda Purana and Brahma Purana have attributed the creation of the Jagannathpuri during the reign of Indradyumna, a pious king and an ascetic who ruled from Ujjain. According to the second legend, associated with the Vaishnavas, when Lord Krishna ended the purpose of his Avatar with the illusionary death by Jara and his “mortal” remains were left to decay, some pious people saw the body, collected the bones and preserved them in a box. They remained in the box till it was brought to the attention of Indrdyumna by Lord Vishnu himself who directed him to create the image or a murti(idol) of Jagannath from a log and consecrate the bones of Krishna in its belly. Then King Indradyumna, appointed Vishwakarma, the architect of gods, a divine carpenter to carve the murti of the deity from a log which would eventually wash up on the shore at Puri. Indradyumna commissioned Vishwakarma (also said to be the divine god himself in disguise) who accepted the commission on the condition that he could complete the work undisturbed and in private. 

Everyone was anxious about the divine work, including King Indradyumna. After a fortnight of waiting, the King who was anxious to see the deity, could not control his eagerness, and he visited the site where Vishwakarma was working. Soon enough Vishwakarma was very upset and he left the carving of the idol unfinished; the images were without hands and feet. The king was very perturbed by this development and appealed to Brahma to help him. Brahma promised the King that the images which were carved would be deified as carved and would become famous. Following this promise, Indradyumna organized a function to formally deify the images and invited all gods to be present for the occasion. Brahma presided over the religion’s function as the chief priest and brought life (soul) to the image and fixed (opened) its eyes. This resulted in the images becoming famous and worshipped at Jagannath Puri in the well known Jagannath Temple as a Kshetra (pilgrimage centre). It is, however, believed that the original images are in a pond near the temple. 

Identical representation of Shree Jagannath 

The icon of Jagannath is a carved and decorated wooden stump with large round eyes and a symmetric face, and the icon has a conspicuous absence of hands or legs. The worship procedures, sacraments and rituals associated with Jagannath are syncretic, and include rites that are uncommon in Hinduism. Unusually, the icon is made of wood and replaced with a new one at regular intervals.  

The icon of Jagannath in his temples is a brightly painted, rough-hewn log of neem wood. The image consists of a square flat head, a pillar that represents his face merging with the chest. The icon lacks a neck, ears, and limbs, is identified by a large circular face symbolizing someone who is anadi (without beginning) and ananta (without end). Within this face are two big symmetric circular eyes with no eyelids, one eye symbolizing the sun and the other the moon, features traceable in 17th-century paintings. He is shown with an Urdhva Pundra, the Vaishnava U-shaped mark on his forehead. His dark color and other facial features are an abstraction of the cosmic form of the Hindu god Krishna, states Starza. 

Worships & Festival 

Jagannath is considered a non-sectarian deity. He is significant regionally in the Indian states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Gujarat, Assam, Manipur and Tripura. He is also significant to the Hindus of Bangladesh. The Jagannath temple in Puri, Odisha is particularly significant in Vaishnavism, and is regarded as one of the Holy Char Dham pilgrimage sites in India. The Jagannath temple is massive, over 61 metres (200 ft) high in the Nagara Hindu temple style, and one of the best surviving specimens of Kalinga architecture aka Odisha art and architecture. It has been one of the major pilgrimage destinations for Hindus since about 800 CE. 

The annual world-famous festival called the Ratha yatra celebrated in June or July every year in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Gujarat, Assam, Manipur and Tripura states of India is dedicated to Shree Jagannath. His image, along with the other two associated deities his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, is ceremoniously brought out of the sacrosanctum (Garbhagriha) of his chief temple in Jagannath Puri. They are placed in a chariot which is then pulled by numerous volunteers to the Gundicha Temple, (located at a distance of nearly 3 km or 1.9 mi). They stay there for a few days, after which they are returned to the main temple. Coinciding with the Ratha Yatra festival at Puri, similar processions are organized at Jagannath temples throughout the world. During the festive public procession of Jagannath in Puri, lakhs of devotees visit Puri to see Lord Jagganath, Balabhadra and Subhadra in a chariot. 

श्री जगन्नाथ प्रार्थना 
रत्नाकरस्तव गृहं गृहिणी च पद्मा 
किं देयमस्ति भवते पुरुषोत्तमाय । 
? अभीर?वामनयनाहृतमानसाय 
दत्तं मनो यदुपते त्वरितं गृहाण ॥ १॥ 
भक्तानामभयप्रदो यदि भवेत् किन्तद्विचित्रं प्रभो 
कीटोऽपि स्वजनस्य रक्षणविधावेकान्तमुद्वेजितः । 
ये युष्मच्चरणारविन्दविमुखा स्वप्नेऽपि नालोचका- 
स्तेषामुद्धरण-क्षमो यदि भवेत् कारुण्यसिन्धुस्तदा ॥ २॥ 
अनाथस्य जगन्नाथ नाथस्त्वं मे न संशयः । 
यस्य नाथो जगन्नाथस्तस्य दुःखं कथं प्रभो ॥ ३॥ 
या त्वरा द्रौपदीत्राणे या त्वरा गजमोक्षणे । 
मय्यार्ते करुणामूर्ते सा त्वरा क्व गता हरे ॥ ४॥ 
मत्समो पातकी नास्ति त्वत्समो नास्ति पापहा । 
इति विज्ञाय देवेश यथायोग्यं तथा कुरु ॥ ५॥ 

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