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Jagannatha in Historical Perspectives

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Item Code: NAO556
Author: R. N. Dash
Publisher: Pratibha Prakashan
Language: English
Edition: 2008
ISBN: 9788177021882
Pages: 303 (29 Color & 66 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 11.0 inch x 9.0 inch
Weight 1.20 kg
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Book Description
About the Book

Through different phases of history, Jagannatha culture has attracted not only the pilgrims and the believers, but also has been a focal point of research in terms of historical antecedents, processes and cultural ramifications. Eclectic as well as syncretistic by nature, the Jagannath culture cannot be understood in terms of one single cult. This has been emphasized in the present monograph in various papers written by scholars of history, archaeology, anthropology and Sanskrit literature etc. Critical use of different kinds of sources - archaeological, epigraphic, literary and archival - is an important aspect of this volume.

Emphasis bas been put on the influence of Vaishnavite, Saivite, Jaina and Buddhist traditions in the making of Jagannatha culture. Besides, issues relating to other shrines in Jagannath temple complex, management of the temple in different periods, and various rituals followed are also discussed. An account of various Jagannatha temples in West Bengal and importance of Jagannatha among Assamese Hindus imply the pan-Indian network of the Jagannatha culture.

Thus, this volume tries to incorporate multiple historical perspectives associated with the Jagannatha culture.

About the Author

Dr. Rabi Narayan Dash (b.1935-) is a versatile scholar who has contributed significantly to Orissan archaeology, anthropology, history, philosophy and Oriya literature. An M.A. in Anthropology from Utka1 University, he worked in Orissa State Museum in various capacities retiring in 1994 as its Superintendent. His research on neolithic cultures of Orissa earned him Ph.D. from Utka1 University. Recipient of Sanskruti Samman from the Institute of Orissan Culture and Sarasvata Samman from the Dwarakanath Das Smriti Pratisthan, Dr. Dash has been felicitated also by Kedarnath Gavesana Kendra, Bhubaneswar and Konark Museum. He is a Life Member ofUtka1 Sammilani, an adviser of 'The Tribal Tribune', General Secretary, Pandit Nilakantha Smriti Samiti, and the Founder Secretary, Centre for Heritage Studies, Bhubaneswar. He has published both in English and Oriya


The present volume 'Jagannatha in Historical Perspectives' is jointly published by our Museum, Pandit Nilakantha Das Smriti Samiti, Bhubaneswar and Pratibha Prakashan, Delhi. Edited by Dr. R.N. Dash, Formerly Superintendent of Orissa State Museum, at present Secretary, Pandit Nilakantha Das Smriti Samiti and a well known culture historian of Orissa, this monograph contains papers showing the multifaceted nature of research relating to the Jagannatha culture. The use of different types of sources - archaeological, art historic, epigraphic, textual (Persian and Sanskrit) and archival - has enabled different authors to historicise different dimensions of the Jagannatha culture. The Saivite, Vaishnavite, Buddhist and Jain influences, as discussed by various authors, demonstrate the fact that the complexities of Jagannatha culture are too elusive to be appreciated through the prism of one single cult. Besides, the papers on West Bengal and Assam imply the pan-Indian network of this tradition.

Our museum has been in the forefront in documenting different aspects of intangible cultural heritage of India. Accordingly, our photographic and video-graphic units have documented the Rath Yatra ofPuri and Baripada in Orissa. Besides, we have a unique collection of Pattachitra of Orissa depicting the stories associated with the Jagannatha temple.

While I congratulate Pandit Nilakantha Das Smriti Samiti for agreeing to publish this monograph jointly with us, it is sincerely hoped that the edited volume would be useful to archaeologists, historians, anthropologists, and other social scientists to appreciate Jagannatha culture not from a narrow sectarian point of view.


The Pandit Nilakantha Smrti Samiti decided to hold a Seminar on the cult of Jagannatha to pay due respect to Pandit Nilakantha Das who first made his attempt to throw light on the Jagannatha Cult after the colonial authorities. So it was unanimously thought to hold a seminar on the Jagannatha Cult. For the same the I.CH.R authorities were approached who sympathetically allotted a sum of Rs.30,000/- only for the purpose. The seminar was held on 21st-22nd June 2003. The present book is the oueeome of the seminar.

The antiquity of Jagannatha is an unsolved mystery. Scholars from Orissa, India and abroad have tried in their own way to provide solutions to this problem, but that could not be accepted unanimously. The colonial historians were looking to Jagannatha and the people of India devoted to Him as emotional frenzy wrapped in superstition. Besides, Thomas Bruton, who visited Puri and stayed therein between 5th to 8th November 1635 or a little late had the opportunity of receiving hospitality from a Brahmin, which speak itself of the liberality of Puri and Jagannatha culture al- though he has expressed his hatred to the deity Jagannatha.

The English took over Orissa in 1803 A.D and tried to shape its administration in their own way. Although they continued to hate the customs of the Hindus and its beloved god Lord Jagannatha yet they tried to encourage pilgrimage to Puri and levied taxes on them to earn revenue. Since 1805 different missionaries, administrative officers and travelers were reporting about Jagannatha and the annual festival enjoyed by the deity, the car festival and Navakalevara. Even they have tried to collect information on Nilamadhava, Indradyumna, the tortoise and crow stories, the Kalpa tree and the shrines existing on the blue hill, the red-arm attack, etc. Some of them analysed the significance of these stories and others delved on the Orissan history assiduously to find out the effect of history on Jagannatha.

However, from A. Stirling meaningful discussion started basing on literary sources and scanty epigraphic material known to this effect. A. Sterling records about the temple of Jagannatha as 'that mighty Pagoda or Pagod, the mirror of all wickedness and idolatry'. W.W. Hunter says "I propose ... to examine stage by stage that complex growth of enchanting superstitions and of yearnings after truth, which nourished by the pilgrim bones of centuries, and watered by the tears of millions of disciples, now spread itself out of full grown luxuriance upon the Puri sands". In his view the car festival of Orissa and Bengal is "a religion of luxury and systematic indulgence". In a letter to the 'Friend ofIndia', it was written that in spite of attempts by Christian missionaries to 'undermine this baneful idolatry and put out the memory of it for ever the pilgrims increased in number to that of hundred and forty thousand. William F.B. Laurice in his Puri and the Temple of Jagannatha- British connection with the celebrated shrine" has termed the Jagannatha ofPuri as the 'Chief seat in Eastern India of Brahmnical power, and the principal stronghold of Hindu Superstition'. The English colonialists have seen Jagannatha through superior Christian religious eyes as a hateful material content. Their views are devoid of devotion and symbolical presentation of all pervading spirit, the mother spirit and the protective spirit that has made the human beings religious and prayer prone in anxiety for self protection. This has evolved through the idea of trinity and gradual development of powerful religious trends like Saiva, Sakta and Vaisnava dominating periodically. But the visit of Bruton in 1635 A.D has shown the philanthropic aspect of the Brahmins of Puri, who are often regarded as representatives of superstitious idolatry.


Preface (vii)
List of Illustrations (xi)
1Hints on The Significance and History of Jagannatha 42370
2The Temples of Jagannatha in Bengal 17-42
3Jagannatha : A Few Sidelights in Persian Accounts 43-48
4Concept of Jagannath Among the Assameee Hindus 77-89
5Art and Architecture of Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri 90-102
6The Development of Purushottama Jagannath or The Jagannath Cult in The Inscriptions of Orissa (261 BC-1533 AD) Rabinarayan Dash103-105
7Sri Jagannatha : The Upanisadic Brahman106-119
8Purusottamaksetra : A Review 120-122
9Subsidiary Shrines in Sri Jagannath Temple Premises123-127
10The Shiva Aspects of Purusottama Jagannatha128-133
11Purusottama-Jagannatha in Skanda Purana 134-138
12Imprints of Jainism On The Cult of Jagannatha 139-142
13Sri Jagannath Temples in Orissa: A Socio-Cultural Study 146-158
14Management of Jagannath Temple During the 19th Century 146-158
15Niladrimahodaya : A Record of The Traditions and Customs of Orissa 159-163
16Lord Jagannatha and The Great Temple As Reflected in Gangavarnsanucarita Campti 164-169
17Navakalevara Through The Ages 170-175
18Human Elements in The Daily Rituals of Sri Jagannath Temple 176-183
19The Cult of Jagannath : The Round-Eyed Lord of The Universe 184-190
20Evolution of Shri Jagannath Temple Management 191-196
21The Daily Rituals in The Sri Jagannath Temple, Puri 197-201
22Different Names of Lord Jagannatha Depicted in Sanskrit Dramas 202-207
23Jagannath: The Evolutionary Form of Nilamadhava Durgamadhav and Radhamadhava 208-214
24The Sociological and Universal Heritage of Sri Jagannath Cult 215-220
25Sri Jagannath in Oriya Lyric Poetry 221-225
26The Origin, Antiquity and the Evolution of Lord Purusotham Jagannatha : A study through Placenames226-231
27Jagannatha in Art and Paintings 232-261
28Jagannatha in Oriya Prose Literature 262-267
29Shrines Inside the Lord Jagannatha Temple Complex, Puri 268-272
List of Contributors 273-285

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