Lord Jagannath in Rig-Veda and Ramayana By- Bijaya KetanSahu.
It is a common belief by many people is that Lord Jagannath is the incarnation of Lord Krishna after Dwapar yug. But this conception is wrong. This conception is only written by Orissian poet Sarala Das in “Deula tola” chapter of his holy book Mahabharat. It is a imaginary story by Sarala Das written about Lord Jagannath in 15thcentury in Oriya language. Apart from Sarala Das’s Mahabharat in no other books either in Sanskrit or Oriya it is written that Lord Jagannath is an incarnation of Lord Krishna.
In-fact, Lord Jagannath and Sri Krishna are one. Lord Jagannath is lord Krishna himself in his Maha-bhav prakash (The mood of great ecstasy in divine Love). This concept is accepted by Sri Chaitanya who is Lord Krishna himself in human form in Kali-yug. Both Orissian (Utkaliya) and Goudiya (Bengali) Vaisnav philosophies also accept this conception majorly. Lord Jagannath or Lord Krishna is accepted as Avataree, the source of all Avatars. Unlike the common Hindu belief, the holy epics like ‘Bhagavatam’ and ‘Brahma Samhita’ describe that the two handed (Dwi-bhuja) Lord Krishna is the primay source of four handed (Chatur-bhuja) Lord Vishnu.
Lord Krishna was not the God present in Dwapar-yug only but he is the supreme personality of Godhead who is ever present. Lord Krishna himself descended from Golak Vrindavan (spiritual abode) to this Bhulok Vrindavan (worldly abode) in Dwapar yug as son of Devaki. Similarly, the holy epics like Skanda Purana, Neeladri Mahodaya, Kapil Samhita etc describe Lord Shree Jagannath is not the God of Kali-yug but ever present from immortal age. In many Vedic hymns Lord Jagannath is glorified.
Some persons might argue that here the word Jagannath is described as an adjective like Jagat ki naath (The Lord of Universe) to any God, but there are many hymns used as noun in-order-to glorify Lord Jagannath or Lord Purusottma (The another name of Lord Jagannath and his holy abode Puri). All these hymns are written for Lord Jagannath only, not even to Lord Krishna although Lord Krishna and Lord Jagannath are same. “Purusottama” is the another name of Lord Jagannath and his abode Puri (Puri is derived from the name Purusottama).
On those hymns the name “Purusottama” is also not used as an adjective (Purusheshu jah uttamah sah Purusottamah) i.e not written in a meaning of supreme person, but the hymns are written for Lord Purusottama himself who is Lord Jagannath.
I would like to present here two quotes (hymns) from Rig-Veda and Ramayan (Composed by Balmiki) which glorify jewel deity of Utkal (Odisha) Neelachal (Puri) who is no other than Shree Shree Jagannath Mahaprabhu. It can be noted that Both Rig-Veda and Ramayan (By Balmiki) is written prior to Dwapar-yug.
In Rig-veda it is written:-
“Ado yad daruplavate sindhoh pare apurusam,
Tada rabhasva durhano,tena gaccha parastaram.” (10.155.3 R.V.)
It means:- The exists on sea-shore in a far off place, the wooden image of a deity with name Purusottama(apurusam); Oye, by worshipping that wood so indestructible, attain the supreme place
From the above quote on Rig veda it is clear that The divine Log (wooden image of God) is Lord Purusottama himself who stays at the holy sea shore.
Is Lord Jagannath not gloried here? Is there any wooden divine log named Purusottma (apurusham) apart from Lord Jagannath? Lord Jagannath is only worshiped in his wooden form and He is apurusham and hence his primary name is Purusottama. This hymn(quote) is only for Lord Jagannath, no-one else.
In Ramayan by Balmiki it is written:-
Basabai Sahah ”
It means: Here Lord Rama advised Hanuman and Vibhishan to worship Lord Jagannath who is deity of Ekshaku clan (Surya Vamsham). By worshiping Sri Jagannath, a normal human being becomes eligible to stay with God.
If the word ‘Jagannath’ is used as adjective (Lord of universe) here, then who is that Lord of universe? No name has been specified in this hymn or prior or after this line of hymn who is glorified as Lord of the universe. Here the word ‘Jagannath’ is not used for any other God in a meaning ‘The lord of universe’. In-fact ‘Jagannath’ it self a name who was kul devatha (clan deity) of Iskhaku clan (Surya vamsham). Is this Jagannath not the presiding deity of Utkal (Odisha) or Neeladri (Puri)? This hymn (quote) is also dedicated only for Lord Jagannath (Lord Purusottama) who stays at Neelachal-Puri, no-one else.
In conclusion, It can be only said that Lord Jagannath or Lord Purusottama is not the deity who is established after Dwapar yug at sea shore of Puri as wooden incarnation of Lord Krishna. But he is Lord Krishna himself in wooden form from pre-Vedic age. Lord Krishna in his ecstatic mood of Love is Lord Jagannath. He is Avataree, the source of all avatars who is ever present in his glorious temple (Shree-Mandir) at the bank of Mahoudadhi (the great ocean) and calls to whole universe by his stretching hand to be immersed in his divine ocean of Love.
Jay Jagannath !!! JayJagannath !!! Jay shree Jagannath !!!