The Story Of Lord Jagannath

By Subodini Menon

Lord Jagannath, or the Lord of the whole world, is a mighty deity as per the Hindus. He is worshipped as a form of Lord Krishna. He, along with his siblings, Balabhadra and Subhadra are the prime deities of the Temple of Puri.

The all-mighty and all-powerful Lord of Puri is the result of Lord Krishna's leelas. It is the living example of how devotion can make even a God move.

lord jagannath

The Rath Yatra of Jagannath Puri is a homage to the trio of deities that call the Puri temple their home. Huge chariots are constructed for the three deities.

On the day that the Ratha Yatra commences, devotees pull the ropes attached to the chariot and take the deities to the Gundicha temple, which is considered as the deities' maternal aunt's home. Did you know that the English word Juggernaut has its origin in the name Jagannath?

The word "Juggernaut" means an irresistible force in a destructive way. It is called so because the huge and heavy wheels of the chariot have crushed many people on their way. This shows how important this festival is. Huge crowds throng Puri to witness the Rath Yatra.

This year, the Ratha Yatra will commence on the 25th of June and end on the 3rd of July. On this occasion, we bring to you the story of Lord Jagannath. Read on to know more and be blessed by the Lord.

The Story Of Lord Jagannath

King Indradyumna and Lord Krishna
The story of Lord Jagannath starts with King Indradyumna. The eVdas mention that at some point, the King Indradyumna ruled the whole of the world. He resided at a city called Avantipura which was his capital.

The King had everything that a mortal could desire for but he had no interests in the material world. What he wished was to see Lord Krishna and spend all of his life in Lord Krishna's service. But it is not so easy to meet the Lord. Even the yogis who are steeped in devotion and have renounced the world fail to see the Lord. How can a King who is deep in the materialistic pleasures achieve something like that?

Indradyumna And The Pilgrim
One day, King Indradyumna happened to meet a pilgrim. He claimed that he had seen the Lord in the form of Nila Madhava who resides atop the mountain Niladri. The mountain was hard to find and the deity was only worshipped in secret means. Hearing this, the King ordered his Brahmin priest Vidyapati to search for the Nila Madhava.

Vidyapati And Vishvavasu
Eventually, Vidyapati got to the peak of Niladri. There, he found that the Nila Madhava was not accessible to anyone other than the chief of the tribals who was named Vishvavasu. Vidyapati then married the chief's daughter and made her force her father to reveal Nila Madhava to him.

Vishvavasu agreed on the condition that Vidyapati will have his eyes closed on the way. Vidyapati carried a handful of mustard seeds that he used to leave a trail. Vidyapati saw the Nila Madhava and was mesmerised. He informed the King about the whereabouts and the King prayed to Lord Krishna that if he could see him in the form of Nila Madhava, he would lay the whole world at his feet.

The Disappearance Of Nila Madhava
When this announcement was made, Vishvavasu dreamed of Lord Nila Madhava. The Lord told him that he can no longer be confined just to him.

He needed to be available to the whole world and therefore wanted to go to the King. Vishvavasu was very upset about this. The next day, Vishvavasu and the King both were surprised to see that the deity had vanished from the place.

Nila Madhava's Appearance As Lord Jagannath
Lord Narada arrived and told the perplexed Vishvavasu, Vidyapati and Indradyumna that the Lord would reappear as Lord Jagannath for the good of all.

The Lord appeared to Indradyumna in a dream and told him that he would only appear after a temple was built for him. Lord Brahma himself appeared to help King Indradyumna to complete the temple. But the King had to make a lot of visits to Brahmalok.

When he came back, he saw that the world he knew had completely changed and that there was no one who recognised him. When the temple was complete, he got another dream where the Lord told him that he would appear as a log from the Kalpa Vrksha tree.

One day he saw a mighty log floating in the sea. Even the armies could not budge it. A Sabara entered the water and easily pulled the log ashore. This Sabara was the reincarnation of Vishvavasu.

The Carving Of The Kalpa Vrksha
A lot of artisans tried carving the log but their tools shattered on contact. Then, an old man came and offered to carve the log on the condition that he would do it in seclusion and should not be disturbed for three weeks. He went into a building, closed the door and started his work.

For two weeks, the sounds of the tools could be heard and then, one day, it suddenly stopped. King Indradyumna got curious and forced the door open. He found that the log had been carved but was incomplete. It only had a face and trunk without hands or feet.

The old man too was nowhere to be seen. The king was in despair, as he had caused the deity to be incomplete. Sage Narada consoled him and said this happened only due to the Lord's wish and that the image should be installed as such.

Installation Of Lord Jagannath
The idol of Lord Jagannath was installed by Lord Brahma himself amidst huge celebration, pomp and show.

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