LORD JAGANNATH

hara tvam samsAram druta taram asAram surapate |hara tvam pApAnAm vitatim aparAm yAdavapate ||
aho dIne nAthe nihita caraNo nishcitAm idam |jagannAthaH svAmI nayana patha gAmîIbhavatu me ||

O Lord of the demigods, please quickly remove this useless material existence I am undergoing. O Lord of the Yadus, please destroy this vast, shoreless ocean of sins. Alas, it is certain that Lord Jagannatha bestows His lotus feet upon those who feel themselves fallen and have no shelter in this world but Him. May that Jagannatha Svami be the object of my vision.

 

Jagannath is a combination of two words, Jagat (Universe) and Nath (Lord). Therefore Jagannath is considered as the Lord of the Universe. In the Puri Jagannath temple and all the Jagannath temples in the world, Lord Jagannath is worshipped with his elder brother, Balabhadra, sister, Subhadra and the mighty Sudershan Chakra. These four deities are otherwise known as the Chaturdhamurti. Ma Laxmi is the concert of the Lord Jagannath.

According to Puarans, the Shabaras (a Dravidian tribe) were worshipping Jagant (name of the God in the Shabar language) made of dried wood in the Nilagiri mountains in Puri. King Anang Bhim Dev brought the Daru Murti to the Puri temple in the 12th Century. Roughly every twelve years (when there are two Ashadha months in a Hindu Calendar), Jagannath discards his old body and takes a new form or Nava Kalevar.

The color of the four deities are Black (inscrutability) for Lord Jagannath, White (enlightenment) for Lord Balabhadra, Yellow (goodness) for Ma Subhadra and Red for Lord Sudershan. Social anthropologists interpret these colors to represent the four races in the world. This is another representation of the universality of the Lords. The deities have bright big eyes without any eyelids. This signifies that the Lord is always awake to take care of his devotees.

Every year, Rath Yatra is celebrated on “Ashadha Sukla Dwitiya”, the second day of the bright fortnight in the month of Ashadha (June –July). During this event, Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudershan are brought from the Puri temple to the huge wooden Chariots assembled outside. The chariots are pulled by millions of devotees from all over the world to the Gundicha temple (their aunt’s place) about 2 km from the Jagannath temple. On the ninth day, on the day of Bahuda (Return) Dasami the chariots with the deities are brought back to the temple.

Jagannath cult signifies universal brotherhood, love, tolerance and equality. One can find that various castes, creeds, customs, communities and sects have been assimilated in Jagannath Dharma. Our temple is patterned after the temple in the town of Puri, Orissa state in India.