Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 45, 2008

Philosophy of Religion

Timoschuk Alexey
Pages 27-31

Unity and Diversity Principle in Jagannatha’s Worship

Xenophanes claimed that God is a ball, which means that he is a perfect body. This idea is well developed in Jagannatha worship, who is a central Deity in Orissa, India. It’s a round form of Krishna, who is usually depicted in a human like form. Jagannatha, his brother Baladeva and sister Subhadra are justified as round forms because of their specific manifestation of ecstasy, that, according to aesthetical theory (rasa tattva) happened to them. Yet there are many other explanations of the Jagannatha’s roundness. Round form personifies unity and diversity principle in Jagannatha worship, whose image was dear in Orissa during long historical period to different religious groups: Vaishnavas, Shaivaites, Jains, Buddhists and even some Muslims. Orissa also has a blending of different cultures, sub-cultures and traditions. Even now, it has 62 distinct tribal groups, that makes a largest collection of diverse tribes in a single state. As the legend goes, Jagannatha made His first appearance in the tribe of Savaras thousands of years ago. Up until now, there are cooks in the Jagannatha kitchen that are called sauviras. In worship of Jagannatha we find the model of axiological globalism, when the difference in the vision of the reality does not obscure the interior mood of wholeness, unity.