jagannAtha as puruShottama

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This article is to be read in conjunction with the previous article on how the wooden God was initially considered as narasiMha.

In quite a few Sanskrit works on the temple,we find the Lord of Puri being referred to as puruShottama. One might ask,what is the origin behind this name and why this particular name has been linked with jagannAtha historically? I am summarizing GC Tripathi’s work here

Early sAtavata conception

The early sAtavata conception of this term is noted in the 15th chapter of the Gita embedded in the Mahabharata,where kR^iShNa is identified as puruShottama,as beyond the kShara and akShara puruSha,and having an identity with them. Also the shloka that goes “…atō.smi lōkē vēdē ca prathitaḥ puruṣōttamaḥ৷” is indicative of Krishna-Vishnu being identified with the puruSha concept even in vaidika terms. In ritual that is extant even today,the puruSha sukta is used for worshipping viShNu in pUjAs that require 16 upAchAras(each of the mantras of the sukta being used for a particular upAchAra). That the fact this ritual is old is attested in the Bombay recension of the Skanda Purana.

puruShottama as used in early literary records and epigraphy of the Jagannath temple

  1. anargharAghava of murAri(circa 900s CE):puruShottama is described as being on the salt ocean and drawing patterns on the breasts of kamalA with paste of musk and His yAtrA.
  2. prabodhachandrodaya of kR^iShNamishra(was written between 1060-70CE) where the kShetra of puruShottama is referred to
  3. puruShottama mAhAtmya of the skanda purANa(1300s CE)
  4. mahApuruShavidyA(1600s CE?)
  5. Maihar inscription at a sarasvatI temple(middle of the 10th century)
  6. Dasgoba Copper plate grant of Rajarajadeva,recording the construction of the new temple of Jagannath Chodagangadeva.

 

puruShottama in tAntrika literature

Now that we have noted the earliest literary and epigraphical references to that term puruShottama,we should now turn to the tAntrika literature which has been influential in the usage of this term(and which has influenced the ritualism of the shrImandira) to understand what did the people in those eras mean when they said puruShottama(as already noticed in the anargharAghava,the deity is already alluded to as having an erotic component and is in play with lakShmI)

The aspects of puruShottama can be noted under the following headings in the shAradAtIlaka according to Tripathi

  1. puruShottama-trailokyamohana
  2. shrIkara-puruShottama
  3. kAma-puruShottama
  4. kR^iShNa gopijanavallabha

In later works like kramadIpikA of keshavabhaTTa(which has been influential on most of the existing pUjAvidhis of jagannAtha) and the gautamIya-tantra(one of the most influential Agamika texts on the worship of kR^iShNa) puruShottama is noted as puruShottama-bhuvanamohana  and puruShottama-trailokyamohana and invoked in the former in a highly erotic form with the yonI of lakShmI getting wet due to amorous excitement and the divine couple being surrounded by thousands of damsels of devas,nAgas etc intoxicated and languid due to the effect of love,and the gautamIyatantra’s description of the couple has shrI embracing Him tightly seducing Him with amorous gestures(sakAmalIlAya devam mohayantI). In these texts,it is puruShottama alone who is referred to as jagannAtha,which facilitated the name interchangeability. Whereas,in earlier texts like the shAradAtIlaka,trialokyamohanA whose link with kAma is obvious in His gAyatrI,and the dhyAna as elaborated by rAghavabhaTTa who notes that lakShmI embraces(dakShiNena Ali~Nganam) Him,and His eyes are enlarged and languid,due to the effect of liquor:And worshipping Him grants the 4 puruShArthas of life;in the later two texts,kR^iShNa becomes prominent and the puruShottama aspect becomes reduced to usages in special rites,while the jagannAtha epithet of puruShottama acquired more and more popularity amongst even literature in the vernacular and the masses.

The testimony of the skandapurANa’s puruShottama mAhAtmya

The puruShottama mAhAtmya refers to subhadrA as lakShmI at three incidents(two of which are being cited here),and interestingly,when referring to events cited as happening in the hoary past.

  1. The incident of puNDarIka and ambarISha;two mahApApIs who could visualize jagannAtha as being with lakShmI who is offering Him a betel-leaf(5th adhyaya). Later too SHe is described as shrI standing between viShNu and shesha
  2. The 19th adhyaya explicitly pleads for the identification of the female deity as shrI(lakShmI),and not any fraternal identity

The testimony of the mahApuruShavidyA

This mahApuruShavidyA(also called puruShottama mAhAtmya) is a text which,according to Tripathi has been composed by shAkta brAhmaNas of the Sasana villages near Puri,who are also with a great affinity towards the Jagannath cult sometime around the 1500s. In this text,the female deity is almost invariably identified as lakShmI even under the mere name of subhadrA

vAmA~NgarUpiNIM lakShmIM tasya dakShiNapArShvagam|
apashyad divyayA dR^iShTyA subhadrArUpadhAriNIM||

And She sports with Her lord like an ordinary human being in the cave of the nIlAchala mountain(nIlAchalaguhAmadhye naralIlAvihAravAn…)

The actual temple layout and aspects of ritual

  1. The garbhagR^iha has space for two(and only two) deities[implying that yes,balabhadra was added later,this is a matter that will be dealt with in a future article] representing puruShottama and lakShmI
  2. These two deities were represented by (kAma)-puruShottama and lakShmI
  3. In existing ritual at the shrImandira:the pIThashaktis of kAma-puruShottama reappear as the mates of bhUvaneshvarI(the current identity of the deity known as ‘subhadrA’). The artificial form of the names of these deities signify that these were originally meant for the worship of kAma-puruShottama and not bhuvaneshvarI initially,and were readapted into Her yantra here at a later date. Also when lakShmI is considered to be of golden complexion when She is in union with puruShottama in the shAradAtIlaka,the same bodily complexion of the deity identified as subhadrA today,the possibility of the female deity having being considered as the sister of viShNu is unlikely to have been the historical conception of the deity initially.
  4. The yantra for pUjA for jagannAtha Himself is a mixture of the yantras of trailokyamohana-puruShottama and shrIkR^iShNa gopijanavallabha in the sense that a sexagon is central,but an 8-petalled lotus is involved,rather than the standard 10 petalled lotus for shrIkR^iShNa.

 

namo gopIjanavallabhAya|

On worldly usages of Krishna mantras as seen in the 3rd rAtra of the Narada Pancharatra

The 3rd rAtra of the Narada Pancharatra(of the Krishna centred stream) gives various Krishna mantras and their dhyAnas and kAmya usages

  1. 18 and 20 akShara:smR^iti medhA mati balam labdhvA sa kavi vAgbhavet+mukundacharaNa lAbha
  2. bAlagopAla(11 akShara)[seated on yashodA]:gaining one’s desireSh
  3. puntanA-nAshaka(30 akShara):Relief from afflictions like bhUtas,bAlagrahas,loss of memory
  4. shakaTAri dhyAna[as the one who upturned shakaTAsura’s cart]:For vighnanAshana
  5. bAlagopAla(another dhyAna):For AyuH and Arogya
  6. puruShottama(10 akShara):For long life
  7. Krishna(30 akShara):For long life
  8. Poison eradicating mantras and dhyAnas:As dancer on kAliya’s heads
  9. govardhananAtha dhyAna+gopIkrIDA in yamunA dhyAna: For controlling rain
  10. kR^iShNa as the saviour of sandIpani muni’s sons:apamR^ityu nAsha
  11. putralAbha is also referred to
  12. A dhyAna regarding the vanquishing of enemies [Him emitting fire from His mouth,mounted from Gaurda,and also being referred to as the vanquisher of Rukmi]
  13. Krishna as pulling Kamsa from his throne:Destruction of enemies(even those who have taken amR^ita)
  14. Krishna as pArthasArathi on ratha with hand in vyAkhyAna mudrA/vishvarUpa dhyAna:For dharmavR^iddhi/explaining all shAstras respectively.

All the above are to be learned by sadguru to be effective,and I apologize if I have been misleading or anything wrong has been done.

The backdrop to puruShottama:shrI nIlamAdhava [A very brief note]

[I am summarizing HV Stietencorn’s work over here]. I am also assuming that the readers are familiar with the legends and lore surrounding indradyumna and puri

The indradyumna legends,like a lot of other ones of our plays and purANas is a stellar example of telescoping of multiple rulers into the activity of a single figure. Here,the activities of three rulers are telescoped into this indrdadyumna period:

  • A conqueror who builds a temple(yayAti I)
  • Settles down with his ministers in coastal Odisha(yayAti II)
  • Decay of the temple of puruShottama/nIlamAdhava(late somavaMshi period)
  • A [new] conqueror comes,finds this tradition decayed and builds a new temple for puruShottama(anantavarman choDagA~Ngadeva)

About this first temple(build between 949-959CE),we now discuss on the possibilities of the mUrti installed,which are:

  • A shilAmaya(sculpted in stone) image of nIlamAdhava standing(mostly) alone
  • A shIlAmaya image of kamalA-puruShottama(also occasionally called nIlamAdhava)
  • A dAru-rUpi(wooden) vigraha of puruShottama alone
  • A dAru-rUpi vigraha of puruShottama and shrI
  • A dAru-rUpi vigraha of puruShottama,balabhadra and subhadrA

It is found that the deities described as dAru-rUpi start appearing in literary descriptions around ga~NgA period from the 1200s onwards(passages in the skAnda and brahma purANa,tantrayAmala and mAdaLA pA~njI),which leaves us with the first two as possibilities. And out of the first two,it is the first image which is the image most likely to have been established in the first puruShottama temple of Puri,as it is the image of this type which is noted in literary sources(and plastic evidence of such images carved in bluish-black muguni stone also exist). This original nIlamAdhava is described in the brahma purANa thus

pItavastram chaturbAhuM sha~NkhachakragadAdharaM||
vanamAlAvR^itoraskaM padmapattrAyetekShaNam|
shrIvatsoraHsamAyuktam mukuTA~Ngadashobhitam||

He’s also described in the padma purANa as 4 armed,with attendants,but without any brother or sister.

An example of such an image,as in the general template above has been given from that same work to illustrate of a template to concieve of the original nIlamAdhava in the first temple to puruShottama at Puri.

shrIchakrapANaye namaH|

Brahmā’s praise of Nārāyaṇa to take up Hayagrīva rūpa to kill Madhu and Kaiṭabha from the Mahābhārata(Śāntiparvan)

unnamed

Hayagrīva slaying an asura(Kalighat painting)

brahmovāca।
oṃ namaste brahmahṛdaya namaste mama pūrvaja ।
lokādyabhuvanaśreṣṭha sāṅkhyayoganidhe prabho ॥
vyaktāvyaktakarācintya kṣemaṃ panthānamāsthitaḥ ।
viśvabhuksarvabhūtānāmantarātmannayonija ।
ahaṃ prasādajastubhyaṃ lokadhāma svayaṃbhuvaḥ ॥
tvatto me mānasaṃ janma prathamaṃ dvijapūjitam ।
cākṣuṣaṃ vai dvitīyaṃ me janma cāsītpurātanam ॥
tvatprasādāttu me janma tṛtīyaṃ vācikaṃ mahat ।
tvattaḥ śravaṇajaṃ cāpi caturthaṃ janma me vibho ॥
nāsatyaṃ cāpi me janma tvattaḥ pañcamamucyate ।
aṇḍajaṃ cāpi me janma tvattaḥ ṣaṣṭhaṃ vinirmitaṃ ॥
idaṃ ca saptamaṃ janma padmajanmeti vai prabho ।
sargesarge hyahaṃ putrastava triguṇavarjita ॥
prathamaḥ puṇḍarīkākṣaḥ pradhānaguṇakalpitaḥ ।
tvamīśvaraḥ svabhāvaśca bhūtānāṃ tvaṃ prabhāvana
tvayā vinirmito’haṃ vai vedacakṣurvayotiga ।
te me vedā hṛtāścakṣurandho jātosmi jāgṛhi ।
dadasva cakṣūṃṣi mama priyo’haṃ te priyosi me ॥

In Devanagari

ब्रह्मोवाच।
ॐ नमस्ते ब्रह्महृदय नमस्ते मम पूर्वज ।
लोकाद्यभुवनश्रेष्ठ साङ्ख्ययोगनिधे प्रभो ॥
व्यक्ताव्यक्तकराचिन्त्य क्षेमं पन्थानमास्थितः ।
विश्वभुक्सर्वभूतानामन्तरात्मन्नयोनिज ।
अहं प्रसादजस्तुभ्यं लोकधाम स्वयंभुवः ॥
त्वत्तो मे मानसं जन्म प्रथमं द्विजपूजितम् ।
चाक्षुषं वै द्वितीयं मे जन्म चासीत्पुरातनम् ॥
त्वत्प्रसादात्तु मे जन्म तृतीयं वाचिकं महत् ।
त्वत्तः श्रवणजं चापि चतुर्थं जन्म मे विभो ॥
नासत्यं चापि मे जन्म त्वत्तः पञ्चममुच्यते ।
अण्डजं चापि मे जन्म त्वत्तः षष्ठं विनिर्मितं ॥
इदं च सप्तमं जन्म पद्मजन्मेति वै प्रभो ।
सर्गेसर्गे ह्यहं पुत्रस्तव त्रिगुणवर्जित ॥
प्रथमः पुण्डरीकाक्षः प्रधानगुणकल्पितः ।
त्वमीश्वरः स्वभावश्च भूतानां त्वं प्रभावन
त्वया विनिर्मितोऽहं वै वेदचक्षुर्वयोतिग ।
ते मे वेदा हृताश्चक्षुरन्धो जातोस्मि जागृहि ।
ददस्व चक्षूंषि मम प्रियोऽहं ते प्रियोसि मे ॥

Copypasting Ganguli’s translation(since I’m very short on time): http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m12/m12c047.htm

“Brahma said, ‘I bow to thee, O heart of Brahman. I bow to thee that hast been born before me. Thou art the origin of the universe. Thou art the foremost of all abodes. Thou, O puissant one, art the ocean of Yoga with all its branches. Thou art the Creator of both what is Manifest and what is Unmanifest. Thou treadest along the path whose auspiciousness is of inconceivable extent. Thou art the consumer of the universe. Thou art the Antaralock (Inner Soul) of all creatures. Thou art without any origin. Thou art the refuge of the universe. Thou art self-born; for origin thou hest none that is not thyself. As regards myself, I have sprung through thy Grace. From thee have I derived my birth. My first birth from thee, which is regarded sacred by all regenerate persons, was due to a fiat of thy Mind. My second birth in days of yore was from thy eyes. Through thy Grace, my third birth was from thy speech. My fourth birth. O puissant Lord, was from thy ears. My fifth birth, excellent in all respects, was from thy nose. O Lord, My sixth birth was, through thee, from an egg. This is my seventh birth. It has occurred, O Lord, within this Lotus, and it is meant to stimulate the intellect and desires of all the beings. At each Creation I take birth from thee as thy son, O thou that art divested of the three attributes. Indeed, O lotus-eyed one, I take birth as thy eldest son, made up of Sattwa the foremost of three attributes. Thou art endued with that nature which is Supreme. Thou springest from thyself. I have been created by thee. The Vedas are my eyes. Hence, I transcend Time itself. Those Vedas, which constitute my eyes, have been taken away from me. I have, therefore, become blind. Do Thou awake from this Yoga-sleep. Give me back my eyes. I am dear to thee and thou art dear to me.

ekAdashI differnces:A conversation

A:So,ekAdashI should not be observed if it is ‘viddha'(mixed with dashami/similar stuff)?
B:Difference of opinion between smArtas and vaiShNavas.vaiShNavas look for shuddha ekAdashI,smArtas do not.
A:What exactly is there to discount the other sides’ opinion?Say,a smArta discounting a vaiShNava opinion or vice versa?Basically how would a smArta view vaiShNava citations or…
B:The citations contradict,so sampradAya wins. It’s simple. IMO it’s a difference in focus.
A:Could you explain?
B:vaiShNava focus is for pAraNa on dvadashi…Making sure dvAdashi is there when fast is broken.
A:smArta focus is on fasting during majority of ekadashi.Neither is wrong per se…Personally I think thesmArta is more correct on balance,since focus should be on fast and not breaking it on subsequent tithi.

On the glorification of hari and hara,arthavAda and their nAma and mantras

This thing came to my mind after reading a commentary on the nArAyaNIyam of bhaTTathiri.

The statements such as these(that shiva is superior to hari or vice versa,or statements like hari is subordinate/stories verses claiming that vaiShNava nAmas/mantras,etc are the sole means to liberation in this yuga should be seen as arthavAda). And what is this purpose of the arthavAda?To stimulate single minded upAsanA of that deity(similar are the functions of paurANika kathAs that glorify a deity at the cost of other deities/by putting down other deities)

Now there are three types of arthavAda that are known in shAstra. They are:

  1. bhutArthavAda:Wherin the existing/real attributes are stated in an exaggerated manner. E.g:Statements like ‘this medicine’s efficacy can revive even a dead man’ are only meant to drive home the point that this medicine is really,very good.
  2. guNavAda:Narrating attributes that are not/may not be really present,but might be feasible E.g:Statements like ‘Have a salt restricted diet for prevention of heart disease
  3. viruddhavAda:To narrate imaginary attributes that are neither present by nature,and are contradictory to valid pramANas,and are illogical.Therefore statements in purANas like ‘goptA viShNu tamomUrtiH vyApAreNa tu sAttvikaH’,’tadadhIno harI sAkShAt’,(viShNu is saturated with tamoguna but sAttvika by action),(viShNu is the servant of hari),then similar statements regarding bhagavatI have been made only to evoke greater interest in devotion to shiva or bhagavatI amongst their respective literature. Or iconography showing shiva as a corpse ridden by tArA or dakShinakAlikA could also fall in that same category:As a feature of mantrashAstra meant to increase the focus on devI primarily and to emphasize her primacy in their scheme of things.

A similar analogy from mimAMsashAstra can be made regarding the statements on when to perform agnihotra:’udite juhoti’ and ‘anudite juhoti’. In the discussion on the importance of the pre-sunrise period,the post-sunrise period has been censured,and similarly during the discussion on the post-sunrise period,the pre-sunrise period has been condemned. One on the basis of this should not stop performing the ritual or perform it only once a day or vice versa,as it would result in the dosha of contrariness,let alone the dosha of not performing nityakarma. Hence,the conclusion of the shAstraj~nas has been that both have to be performed(as per the instructions received in the perceptorial line of ritualists),and it is not that one performs the sacrifice only once a day and condemns the ones who do it at other times too as inferior. Similarly by this logic the putting up of a deity(sometimes even at the cost of others) does not really mean denigration of other devatAs.

A quotation from the Brahma-saṃhitā

This text does not seem to be the popular text beloved by Gauḍīya vaiṣṇavas,but a(presumably lost) text quoted by Parāśara Bhaṭṭar,hence it is of interest to me(and looking at the Catalogue edited by Sadhu Parampurushdas,the other Brahma-saṃhitā seems to be available only in unpublished manuscript fragments featuring about matters relating to prāyaścitta and utsavas)

hṛt-padma karṇikāntasthaḥ puruṣaḥ sarvatomukhaḥ|
sarvajñaḥ sarvagaḥ sarvaḥ sarvam āvṛtya tiṣṭhati||
tasmāt tu paramaṃ sūkṣmam ākāśam bhāti nirmalam|
śuddha-sphaṭikā-saṇkāśaṃ nirvāṇaṃ paramam padam|
tatpadam prāpya tattvajñāḥ mucyante tu śubhāśubhāt||
trasareṇu-pramāṇāste raśmikoṭi vibhuṣitāḥ|
bhūyaste naiva jāyante na līyante ca te kvacit||

 

An involutionary scheme(which yudhiSThira underwent according to the bhAgavata purANa)

The scheme of involution(a vaiSNavized sAGkhya scheme,it may be called) runs like this(1st skandha,15th adhyaya,shlokas 41-42)

  1. speech+other sense organs
  2. manas
  3. prANa
  4. apAna
  5. mRtyu(deity of anus)
  6. 5 bhUtas
  7. 3 guNas
  8. singular avidyA
  9. jiva
  10. brahman(identified as nArAyaNa/viShNupAda a few lines later)

Another place where sAGkhya appears in the bhAgavata purANa is in the 3rd skandha

https://bhargavabhashana.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/creation-as-per-srimad-bhagavatam-3-26/

 

 

Some nāma-s that are particularly recommended for constant smarana/japa from the Padma Purāṇa

This is from before its Viṣṇu sahasranāma begins. I’ll post only the relevant ślokas

नामोच्चारणमात्रेण महापापात् प्रमुच्यते।
राम रामेति रामेति रामेति च पुनर्जपन्॥
स चाण्डालो’पि पूतात्मा जायते नात्र संशयः।
कुरुक्षेत्रं तथा काशी गया वै द्वारका तथा॥
सर्व्वं तीर्थं कृतं तेन नामोच्चारणमात्रतः।
कृष्ण कृष्णेति कृष्णेति इति वा यो जपन् पठन्॥
इह लोकं पैर्त्यज्य मोदते विष्णुसन्निधौ।
नृसिंहेति मुदा विप्र सततं प्रजपन् पठन्॥

In IAST

nāmoccāraṇamātreṇa mahāpāpāt pramucyate।
rāma rāmeti rāmeti rāmeti ca punarjapan॥
sa cāṇḍālo’pi pūtātmā jāyate nātra saṃśayaḥ।
kurukṣetraṃ tathā kāśī gayā vai dvārakā tathā॥
sarvvaṃ tīrthaṃ kṛtaṃ tena nāmoccāraṇamātrataḥ।
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇeti kṛṣṇeti iti vā yo japan paṭhan॥
iha lokaṃ pairtyajya modate viṣṇusannidhau।
nṛsiṃheti mudā vipra satataṃ prajapan paṭhan॥

I got this(and the sahasranāma of the Padma Purāṇa) in a book titled শ্রীশ্রীবিষ্ণুর সহস্রনাম published by অক্ষয লাইব্রেরী. The author seems to be a certain দীন ভক্তদাস. Incidentally,this same version of the sahasranāma(with a different introduction) is also found in the North Indian Kṛṣṇa centred Nārada Pāñcarātra. The links to it are below

On swacchata and śauca

(Note:This is not against the Swacch Bharat program or against technologies for public sanitation,etc)

By reducing the component of cleanliness to only just toilets,clean public,etc,one is likely to miss out the other dimensions of śuci.

Just what does this term śauca mean?

śauca means purity at not just the individual level,but at a particular environment and communal and familial level.It is not just physical purity(avoidance of bacteria),but of the surroundings,the body,the sukṣma dēha and the general atmosphere around.

And this is not really separable from our deities(that śloka apavitraḥ pavitrō vā sarvāvasthāṃ gatō’pi vā । yaḥ smarētpuṇḍarīkākṣaṃ sa bāhyābhyantaraḥ śuciḥ ॥ comes to my mind). And it does make sense. Purity and the deva,who is the very embodiment of an āgāmika(deva specific or smārta) temple,are inseparable. It is only with keeping Nārāyaṇa at the centre,as noted in that verse,does one realize the fullest import of what śuci means,and not through secularized stuff,which runs contrary to Hindu frameworks and ideologies).