Thoughts on Sri Jagannath – Symbolism in Puri Jagannath Murti

Symbolism in Puri Jagannath Murti by Yogavidyavachaspati Pandit Ramakanta Kar Published in the Orissa Review of June 2004


Sri Jagannath is the Lord of the Universe.

The Murti of Lord signifies both Purush (Male) and Prakruti (female). Sri Jagannath, Sri Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra are imagined by trantriks as Dakshinakali, Tara and Bhubaneswari

Vaishnavas think Sri Jagannath, Sri Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra are Vishnu or Krishna, Shiva and Brahma respectively.

Sri Jagannath was also known to be worshipped as Shiva (Purusha) and Shakti (Prakriti), His lower part resembling Shiva Linga and the upper part as omnipotent Goddess Durga. So Sri Jagannath is imagined as Dakshinakali, the deity of destruction.

In the 15th century Adikavi (the first poet of Orissa) Sarala Das has mentioned in his "Sarala Mahabharat", that the image of Sri Jagannath, Sri Balabhadra and Subhadra were built out of the unburnt and imperishable body turned Daru (wood) of Sri Krishna by Sri Vishnu himself in the guise of an old carpenter under orders of the mythological King Indradyumna and his wife Gundicha. So Lord Jagannath is called as Darubrahma or Parambrahma.

His two lid-less, big round and white lotus-like eyes indicate that He is omniscient of all that happens in the world and that nothing is hidden from his eyes. He has no ears but can hear all the hymns or prayer of his devotees. He has no eye lid but he can see every portion of the universe and his mouth is closed
but He is eating 56 Pautis of Prasad daily. This is the specialty of Lord Jagannath.

Source - Orissa Review June 2004