The Savior Of The Worlds, Captured In A Painting

Jagannath is an amalgamation of the words ‘jagat’ meaning world or worlds, and ‘natha’ meaning Lord. Thus, the Lord of the worlds is a rescuer, one who welcomes refugees with open arms and puts their suffering to rest. The most common association of the word Jagannath is with the shrine in Puri.

 Legend has it that a king offered severe penance for a vision of the Lord Vishnu and to attain moksha, relief from the cycle of birth and death. The king was instructed to go to the Eastern seashore of modern-day India, and find a log that would then be converted into three idols, one each for Krishna and his siblings Subhadra and Balarama. It is said the Lord Vishnu himself appeared in the guise of a carpenter and offered to make the idols. He had one condition though. No one was to unlock the sanctum or disturb him until he was done. The anxious queen couldn’t’ resist, especially when she could hear no sound inside for weeks on end.

Upon doing so, she realized her folly, for there was no sculptor to be seen and the idols had all their features in place, except their hands. However, the king went ahead and installed them in a temple that is today thronged by thousands of devotees and believers. This quaint, beautiful story is captured in a pattachitra painting by our artisans. The features come as close to the original idols as possible, assuring us that our greatest gift is the belief we place in a higher force. Find more details of the painting here: