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Orissa Review June - 2004

Daru Brahma Sri Jagannath

Balakrushna Dash

D aru otherwise means wood. Brahma is the

mystic expression of the Lord. It is the
cosmic cause and comic result of the universe.
Krishna, Rama, Shakti, Ganapati, Jesus,
Mahammad, Surya and so on. He is regarded
as the Lord of the people, of democracy, whose
It means ever expanding and endless. Thus devotees come to see him without distinction
Daru Brahma or Daru Devata is the supreme of caste and creed, haves and have nots.
power of the Universe. We know Lord Whatever may be the apotheosis; Lord
Jagannath and other three Jagannath holds a unique place
images seated on the not only in the history of Orissa,
Ratnasinghasan are made of but also in the lives of its people.
wood. The wood is not any To the millions of Hindus of
ordinary wood; it is neem- Orissa, He is their kith and kin. Far
wood and neem-wood is also away some remote villages in
called Daru in the interior parts of Orissa on the occasion of a marriage or in
Orissa. an important function in the family, the
Likewise the name Jagannath house-hold will never forget to first send
connotes the Lord of the Universe, the world a cocoanut, arecunuts, sacred threads
usually covers, different sects, smeared with turmeric paste and a small
races and religions. All these potful of dryrice to Lord
races and religions reflect on Jagannath as a token of
Lord Jagannath. It is needless invitation, so that the Lord
to mention here that if one may be pleased to attend the
sees out-wardly he can see ceremony to bless the
the four dominating colours of the four occasion. Even to-day when faiths are giving
respective icons, that is black of Sri Jagannath, way to misan- thropy, this custom prevails in
white of Sri Balabhadra, yellow of Devi Orissa. He may be the Lord of the universe,
Subhadra, and red of Sri Sudarsan, represent the highest supreme deity, the Purusottam, to
the entire mankind all over the globe. He is the countless millions of the Hindus, living in
usually regarded by all religions and appears India and outside, but his relationship with
before his devotees according to their faiths in Orissa and Oriyas is almost homely, humanly
the forms of Vishnu, Shiva, Buddha, Jina, and overwhelming.

Orissa Review June - 2004

As per Skanda Puran Lord Jagannath is only under a special royal impact.
believed to be Krishna himself. Krishna as Unique and enigmatic are the images of
regarded as the full incarnation of Mahavishnu Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarsan
or Brahma himself. With the end of Dwapara without any parallel in any Hindu shrine. They
Yuga Lord Balaram (Sankarsan) and Lord are not built according to the injuctions in
Krishna left the world for their heavenly abode. traditional silpasastras. In fact there is no
Skanda puran denotes King Indradyumna of foundation in traditional sculptures for the
Malava came to know about the great God construction of image of Gods and Goddesses
Nilamadhab, the other shape of Sri Krishna in wood. And thus the four-fold images of
from Vidyapati one of his Brahmin ministers; Daru-Brahma stand apart of all the other icons
who was sent to Udradesa (Orissa). When he in the temples situated even in the campus of
came and searched for the Lord, he could not the great temple. They are all of traditional
be able to get the trace of Him but heard a types by and large human in form and built
voice from the heaven to perform Yajna, at the according to scriptural descriptions. And yet
Sea-shore to get sacred tree having four this strange descriptions Chaturdha Murty or
branches, out of which he would get Lord four-fold deities is the centre of the Jagannath
Neela Madhab in the shapes of Lord cult and has dominated Orissan life, art and
Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra, Lord Jagannath culture and in the sense it synthesises all the
and Chakrasudarsan and to worship them major cults of India.
constructing a gigantic temple of paramount
beauty at Neelachala. As such we see Lord It is not out of place to mention here that
Krishna as Lord Jagannath, Lord Balaram as Neela Madhab in his primitive shape is now
Lord Balabhadra, Godess Yogamaya as Devi being worshipped on the hill-top Brahmadri
Subhadra, and discus (Chakra) as Lord or Brahmachala on the bank of river Mahanadi
Sudarsan at Srikhetra Puri on the Ratna at Kantilo in Khandapara Police Station of
Singhasan. Nayagarh district.
Madala Panji observes, Neela Madhab References :
became Jagannath subsequently and was 1. Skanda Puran
worshipped originally alone. Devi Subhadra 2. The Madala Panji (by Satyanarayan Rajguru).
was subsequent addition upon the resurgence
3. The Cult of Jagannath and Tradition of Orissa,
of Shaktism. At some point of time the figure by Eichman, Kulki.
of Lord Balabhadra was added to satisfy saivas
4. A History of India by Dr. Rotherman, H.Kulki.
to the existing couple Lord Jagannath and Devi
Subhadra. The discus Sudarsan was also a 5. Puranik Encyclopaedia.
subsequent addition to satisfy the Ganapatyas
and Sauras. This could only have taken place
over the process of Krishna conscioussness
was well advanced and given the political Balakrushna Dash lives at Brahmanasahi,
importance of the cult after Chodagangadev, Khandaparagarh in Nayagarh district.