Jagannathpur temple - Ranchi - anything but Juggernaut.

This is a fortified temple built on a hill in the 17th century, hosting Krishna, Balabhadra and Subhadra as the main shrines. It is a miniature version of Jagannath temple are Puri. A lot has changed in this temple since I last saw it. It was gorgeous when I was a young girl, in school, fascinated with anything that remotely looked like a fort with chambers and gardens, and temples with idols and flags.

We used to regularly visit this temple, every Sunday, without fail. For me it was an outing, always fresh in the mind, always beautiful and full of surprises, much as i always knew what to expect of this temple. We used to drive down every morning, around 9.30 to the temple and park the car way down near a Hanuman shrine at the bottom of the hill.

Climbing this hill was more exciting than tough. Coming to think of it, the hill was pretty small, but the climb was worth all the fun. A mud road led up to a part of the main hill which is rocky and has two kinds of staircases leading up to the main fort. Walking up the mud road was easy, and one always got to see the same old beggars lined up every morning with hope for a meal that morning from a devotee passing by. Most of them were really beggars, with leprosy and all the worlds deseases known to mankind. Apart from the road dotted with these guys, there always stood one very ancient car, the Rath of the Gods.

Painted green, I always wondered whether there was any life left in it. It definitely was not the juggernaut one would expect to see. It permanently stood inclined along its own axis, trying to maintain its center of gravity well within its frame, for it titled so badly, that I really wondered, how the pujari even dared to sit on it while they pulled it up the same hill during the mela (the only time we never visited the temple). This was a task to pull the Rath, in one piece hoping it would not fall apart like a pack of cards, leave alone moving and crushing anything on its way. It gave me no hope that it would withstand the passing of time, the pull of the ropes during the mela, forcing it to climb the inclination of the hill a few feet forward, and of course its own misplaced weight which fell on wheels that inclined a good 45 degrees, making it purely miraculous that the Rath, still stands for another mela, surely making it up the hill once again next year.

We always climbed by the rocky way, thought there was a good staircase in cement on the other side. Rocks always looked more appealing. The climb was always 10 minutes up when one came upto a courtyard, with the wind in the trees, and a stairway leading up to the main gate(picture above). This opened into a courtyard that hosted a small temple, with the shrines inside it. Cant remember too much but I remember having seen, Hanuman inside on one of the niches, and I think Garuda was the vahana outside. Brick walled and whitewashed, the interiors were bare, and dark as one walked into the main shrine lit up in lamp lights revealing the big eyes of the Gods smiling broadly at us every time. Later of course, the main temple tower got the wrath of the Gods, no it was not a canon ball that blew the roof off, but lightening that destroyed the main temple vimana, leaving a smaller one to replace it(below).

Whats interesting about this fort is the subshrines within each of the towers that protrude out of the main fort wall. These housed shrines of Hanuman, Kali and other deities all smeared with vermillion, withstanding the test of time, lightning or otherwise. This temple was worth it all, my introduction to architecture, introduction to fortification, and a remote location that just dreams can bring alive. It had everything, gods, forts, the view of the plains from the rocky hillside to see the oncoming armies march up to the hill and the main tower with the red flag for ever victorious, for ever flying... truly breathtaking!


JC Joshi said...

Recapitulating our knowledge about the relative location of earth in the inert universal void, one would notice that, as an independent Heavenly Body, our earth is making the moon go around it – just like our Sun is making the Solar system go around it, and just as the centre of our galaxy makes the innumerable stars, including our solar system, revolve around it. Thus in the apparent hierarchy, in terms of power, the Centre of our galaxy (Krishna, representing Naadbindu) can be placed at number one, our Sun (Brahma) at number two and our planet Earth (Shiva) at number three, although one could also say that Sun, in reality, is a functional ‘reflection’ of the Centre of our galaxy, and Earth a ‘reflection’ of our Sun, or all three are ‘reflections’ of each other or Naadbindu, i.e., the single individual - Trinity or the Three-in-one - for different physical functions of creation, sustenance and destruction!

A reincarnation of Lord Vishnu the formless Creator of the physical forms in the universe (Brahmand, literally the egg of the Creator), Krishna, in human form as Jagnnath or the Lord of earth - or a model of the universe - is believed to have appeared towards the fag end of Dwaperyuga along with his brother Balram, model of Anantnag or Sheshnag, and sister Subhadra, perhaps a model of Kali or the core of earth. The ‘Hindu’ belief has it that Krishna appears on earth (now over 4 billion years old) from time to time to set the worldly order in right place again, like one decides what machines would still find use and which would need dumping in the junkyard having lost their usefulness. In Dwaperyuga, His specific purpose was to immediately give relief to the masses from the maladministration of King of Mathura, Kansa, his maternal uncle, and later to the people of the world from the rule of Kauravas, who had their Capital in the ancient town of Indraprastha, believably the present day Delhi!

The annual Jagannath Rath Yatra is celebrated at many places in India, as it originated from the town of Puri in Orissa in the 12th century, to mark the eventful journey of young Krishna originally from Gokul to Mathura - for deliverance of the common man from evil rulers from time to time.

It is believed that the word 'juggernaut' was derived from the Car festival, as in ancient times some devotees used to throw themselves in front of the Rath with a belief that they would get Lord's blessings and get a place in heaven!

kavitha said...

the word juggernaut came about as a meaning of "something that is impossible to move". it is derived from the chariot festival or "rath yatra" of lord jagannath since the rath or chariot was too heavy to pull.

JC Joshi said...

I had quoted the popular belief.
The New Webster's dictionary meaning also reads, "Any overpowering and terrible force; any idea, custom, or loyalty demanding blind devotion or terrible sacrifice."

I would also like to add the following:

The importance of hills is that they 'touch the sky'. Like birds, one is able to command greater area from the top of the hills. Forts/ fortresses were constructed at high levels in the past when the population was manageable and man hadn’t yet learnt to fly like birds in airplanes. The enemy used to have infantry and cavalry that could be seen much in advance as it came up to attack the fort. This allowed sufficient time to make necessary preparations for defence of the city within the barricaded area that was stocked with sufficient provisions to last for the estimated period of war.

The ‘Hindu’ mythology similarly has Garuda, the king of birds, as the 'vehicle of Krishna' - the manifestation of the formless Vishnu or Naadbindu in Dwaperyuga, as He Himself remains in ‘yoganidra’ reclining on Anant or Sheshnag, from West to East (the direction in which Himalayas trend, and which also house ‘Shakti Pithas’ or energy centres that are also believed to exist within the human form, believably eight in numbers). Also, Krishna was believably born in confinement (like a Black Hole is born out of a massive star) in a prison in Mathura where King Kansa had imprisoned his parents, for it was predicted that the ‘eighth child’ from his mother, Devaki, would be the cause of his death and therefore he thought that by imprisoning the couple he would easily be able to kill all the new-born babies immediately after their birth. However, as destined, Vasudeva, Krishna’s father, managed to escape with the eighth child and return with a female child - born at the same time in King Nanda’s house in Gokul from Queen Yashoda - as a replacement for it!

Krishna was a lovable, though, naughty kid. He soon taught the people how to get more yield from the cows through music as he 'played on the flute' while taking their care, and also ‘churn out’ butter from milk (like Samudramanthan reportedly helped in prosperity after Lakshami had at one stage departed because of sage Durvasa getting angry at Indra on account of his ego) and thus helped bring prosperity to the inhabitants of Gokul where he was initially brought up, and Brindavan the more fertile region on the banks of Yamuna to which the Gopas shifted later. Krishna had to fight Indra (or reactivate the support of ‘merudand’ or Mooladhar, as he also is the ruler of rain that results in inundation or Pralaya if not acting properly), Agni (misuse of power or energy), and the serpent king Kaliyanag in River Yamuna as it posed a great threat to the populace (perhaps indicating pollution of River water).

Thus it would be seen that the mythological stories indicate the truth of ‘creation’ of the universe, needing reinterpretation in light of the present day knowledge.

Also, just as greater physical heights aid in increasing the area of vision, similarly the 'elevated souls', viz., Vishnu or Krishna, with form, and many other 'Seers' at any other time, reportedly become aware that they possess the 'Supreme Knowledge', i.e., God within, and thus remain unmoved under all circumstances.

JC Joshi said...

As per one of the stories, Vishnu remained in His yoganidra (in super conscious state) even when Brahma - sitting on the lotus flower that grew out of His navel, indicating mother & child like relationship between formless God, i.e., void, and God with form, i.e., our Sun, the direct and indirect source of energy on earth - became panicky, watching demons growing out of Vishnu’s ears and become bigger and bigger. In mortal fear, growing more and more panicky as the demons approached him, Brahma kept on praying fervently to Him, while Vishnu apparently didn’t seem aware and concerned of Brahma’s plight. However, to his relief, at the nick of time Vishnu grabbed the demons with His ‘hands’ (that is, super gravitational pull, like that of a Black Hole).

The above mythological story itself could suffice to the ‘wise’, to know that the ancient ‘Hindus’ had reached the ‘Truth’ of Creation, and could thus help realize that Rama was the model of our Sun in the Tretayuga while Brahma (with 100% efficiency) was its model in Satyuga, in human form. It is the ‘Time Cycle’ or Kalchakra that is believably responsible for fall in efficiency of the models in human form - the most evolved animal life on earth - through different Yugas!

Let us now also see the mysterious character associated with Krishna, i.e., Radha. Obviously it refers to a model of Moon. It is this satellite that was associated in Satayuga with Shiva, as His consort, Parvati, In Tretayuga, it was associated with the then supreme model of our Sun, i.e., as Rama’s wife, Sita, and in Dwaperyuga, as the wife of the five Pandavas, Draupadi, originally wedded to Arjuna, the then best archer as a model of our Sun. In the Mahabharat episodes, Krishna is shown in constant touch with Draupadi, and coming to her assistance in times of need. Particularly, once when she was afraid of the notorious sage Durvasa (who was responsible for Indra becoming pauper once, as indicated earlier) coming to lunch with his team when there was no provision in stock at home. It was Krishna who managed to get her out of trouble by just eating a piece of cooked rice that had stuck to the bottom of the cooking vessel and thereby filling their bellies even when they were at a distance bathing in the river! In another episode, Draupadi ultimately had to pray to Krishna when Pandavas were helpless - Yudhister having lost her to Duryodhan in the game of dice and Dushashan was in the process of disrobing her in public. Krishna believably made her sari attain infinite length such that the Kauravas ultimately failed to do so!

The above incidents indicate how Krishna or Naadbindu remotely controls the human drama, with the present day knowledge that terrestrials always see one face of the moon while the other side remains away from us. This feature also reflects in the story of Tretayuga when Lakshamana (a model of earth) states that ‘he hadn’t seen Sita’s face as he always saw her feet only’!