TODAY -

Lord Jagannath - the legend about His form

S Balakrishnan *



Ever wondered why the holy trinity of Puri - Lord Jagnanath, His brother Balabhadra and His sister Subhadra – appear unfinished and mysterious ?

Those were the times when Lord Jaganta (Jagannath) originally lived among the Saora prople (also called Sora, Saura, Savara or Sabara) of Munda ethnic group in southern Odisha and north coastal Andhra Pradesh in the Blue Hills.

Jaganta was served by Visvavasu, a hunter of birds of Saora tribe. Lord Jagannath was happy but maybe He needed a change from living in the wild and accepting the wild fruits offered by the simple tribal people. Maybe He desired the rituals and offerings that were offered to the new Gods (of the Aryans) in the towns and cities. Maybe Jaganta wanted to gain supremacy over the new Gods.

So he appeared in the dreams of Indradyumana, king of Malwa. [Malwa is a region of west-central India; the Malwa Plateau generally refers to the volcanic upland north of the Vindhya Range.] The king was called to come in search of the One God.

The king ordered his men to go to the four corners of the earth, only to return with the God. But they could not succeed in locating the God’s earthly residence. Indradyumana did not give up that easily; he did years of penance and offered lots of sacrifices in prayers.

The king’s devotion drew Jagannath to his dreams once again. The divine meaning of king’s dreams, as interpreted by the court priests, led them to Odradesh’s (the present Odisha) Blue Hills. As the King and his entourage reached the simple shrine there in the hills, it was announced that the God would appear when His abode was constructed by the water.

Searching for a suitable location by the waters for the temple, the king located Puri, a fishing hamlet on the eastern coast. Though the king employed best artisans in building the shrine, it could not be built. Then the king again had dreams that were transferred into sketches for the temple. It is said that Lord Jagannath Him-self designed the Sri Mandir, His new abode.

On completion of the temple God drifted in the sea waters as a block of wood (daru). The divine voice commanded that 'God Himself would carve His image out of this daru.'

The voice asked the king to leave only Visvavasu with the daru in a locked up room. The Universal God would appear be-fore the king when the moon has fulfilled its quarter.

Accordingly, Visvavasu was left alone with the daru in one of the sealed rooms of the temple. But the queen could not contain the suspense and the room was opened before the specified period.

Or, was it the king who thought Jagannath was taking advantage of him ? Some suspect that it was the 'new gods'.

Whoever it was, the doors were opened before the moon fulfilled its quarter, and before the ordained time. And so the three images of Lord Jagannath,

His brother Balabhadra and His sister Subhadra appear unfinished to this day. Jagannath and Balabhadra have only two stumps for arms and Subhadra none at all.

So they re-main even to this day but continue to entice the devotees from all over the world. [Puri ratha yatra is on 1st July 2022]


* S Balakrishnan wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at krishnanbala2004(AT)yahoo(DOT)co(DOT)in
This article was webcasted on July 04 2022.



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