The greeting of Odias should be Aum Jagannath in place of Jai Jagannath. Recently, I was giving a talk in Delhi where I mooted AUM and it was well taken.
Jagannath is the Lord of the cosmos and MahaVishnu. One interpretation of MahaVishnu is that since the first sound of existence emanated from Ratna Singhasan or the seat of the Lord, in the sanctum sanctorum of the Puri temple, the Lord is all and so he is MahaVishnu.
Aum, the primordial sound, rose from Him. Jagannath hence is an avataree and not an avatar – the highest and only is not a manifestation. Jai Jagannath is ‘glory to the Lord’ and this address has no depth in it. Over a period of time, it is being used flippantly. There is no gravity in singing the glory of MahaVishnu, without reminiscing the original hum of existence.
Every time you say Aum Jagannath, it cleans you from inside. With Jagannath, we need to attach a meaningful and pristine explanation. The adjective has to have insight, divinity and panache. Om or Aum has all of that. I don’t have to sing the glory of the Lord or supplement to His glory. He is everything and every no-thing. So, what is this glory we are talking about? And Jai could also mean victory. What victory of the Lord? Is He fighting? Rather, the word Jai reduces the glory of the Lord. Every time you say Aum Jagannath, it touches the nerve of Jagannath benediction. If you are alert, you would realise that the word Jai is flat. It lacks the intensity that should be accorded to the Lord of Existence. How do we bring in a new wave of Jagannath consciousness if we do not form our invocation in a manner in which we touch the essence? The essence is Aum. Without diluting the core Jagannath elements, the address should help in developing resilience in consciousness. Because in Odisha, Jagannath consciousness is the state culture’s wherewithal and capacity to maintain and develop a distinct cultural identity, knowledge and practices.
He is Purna Brahman: In Jagannath Charitamruta, a work of post-Panchasakha period, (1470-1550 A.D), Lord Jagannath has been described as the Supreme Lord or Purna Brahma, or the “whole” of the cosmos. Purna Brahman means the absolute, which engulfs everything, which we call creation. There is no truth superior to Him. He is Avataree: Sarala Dasa, has expressed that all the avataras or the descents of Vishnu manifest from Lord Jagannath and merge into Him after their cosmic plays.
Achutyananda Das in his Sunya Samhita writes that all the ten incarnations emanate from this Daru Brahma and are again dissolved in Him. He is Avataree and MahaVishnu. Ramanuj Acharya in the twelfth century preached the doctrine of visista advaitavad and regarded Lord Jagannath as Maha-Vishnu. He is Sunya Purusha – void personified or a whole, which is existential and non-existential.
According to the Panchsakhas, Jagannath is Sunya Purusha, Nirakar (formless) and Niranjan (mystic) – The Lord of the universe is both Adi Sankara’s Advaita Brahman and Mahayanic Sunya. The Lord is MahaVishnu and he is also Mahabhairav. In the Tantric tradition, the Lord is worshiped with the bija mantra or the root incantation “klim” and sits on the Kali yantra as Daksina kalika. He is considered the Bhairava of Vimala, who is the Bhairavi: विमला सा महादेिीजगन्नाथा तूभैरिा There are innumerable references, citation, descriptions, statements, hymns, all trying to decipher the Lord of the Lords and the Lord of the Cosmos and His mystic ways. He remains ineffable and indescribable. Lord of the cosmos is everything and every nothing and He belongs to all, enshrined in enigma. Odisha has what the world covets for and why are we handling them superficially? सर्बरहस्य पुरुसोत्तमस्य देि न जानातत कुत मनष्ुय II “Sarba Rahasya Purusottamasya Deva Na Janati Kuta Manusya.” Kapila Samhita the mystery of Lord Jagannath is unfathomable to the Devas; and what to speak of man! He is the Centre: The Lord is the epicentre and he rests at the navel of the conch, the Sankha Khetra, which is a daksinavarta sankha (a special Lakshmi conch shell with the hollow part on the right side) with some part submerged under the sea. The Lord being at the navel is meaningful. Navel is the area of the body which represents the Manipura Chakra (which means “lustrous gem.”). Chakra is the Sanskrit word Chakra, which literally translates to wheel or disk.
In yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, this term refers to wheels of energy throughout the body. This invisible energy, called Prana, is vital life force, which keeps us vibrant, healthy, and alive. The navel or the Manipura chakra functions as an energy generator and radiates the energy. He is Aum: The Ratna Singhasana, is the ‘seed’ of the universe, the core. The core is always silent and hence Mahapurusha Vidya refers Ratna Singhasana as the Primordial sound, the Aum or the Pranava. Mmm, the humming sound of a bee, is the Pranava mantra. This is believed to be the sound of our Pranan or breathing. Therefore, it is called Pranava – the sound of breathing. And Pranava is the root mantra of Aum. The whole universe is created from “Aum.”
After the deluge at Bata Krishna, when the Lord again decides to create, “Aum” is heard. Thus, everything has its origin in “Aum.” The syllable Om has significance not only in Hinduism but in other religions and cultures, including Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, besides Indonesian and Nepalese cultures.
Before creation, there was an empty void, which was then filled with the vibrations of the sound of Aum, believed to be a manifestation of the Supreme Lord. There is complete ‘quietness’ in Ratna Singhasana or Ratna Vedi and this is a unique situation where a throne and primordial sound co-exist with the blessings of the Lord. Amidst the ‘surround’ of silence and the absoluteness of Aum, Ratna Singhasana is the lotus. Let us get centred in life. To be consciously centred is to be in Jagannath. Let’s value our blessed birth and our possession of the only precious benediction of the universe – Jagannath.
(The writer is an author and policy expert)
(Disclaimer: The views by the author are his own and do not necessarily represent that of the website)