Puri: Jagannatha Temple: Relics

Mary Storm umadevi at SFO.COM
Sat May 2 18:37:24 UTC 1998

Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:
> Mary Storm <umadevi at SFO.COM> wrote:
> >I just recently came across a 19th c. reference to relic bones in the
> >Jagganatha Temple in Puri, which are supposedly associated with Krsna.
> Read "The Cult of Jagannath and the regional tradition of Orissa" (eds.)
> Anncharlott Eschmann, Hermann Kulke, Gaya Charan Tripathi; New Delhi:
> Manohar, 1978, for a very comprehensive set of articles on the subject.

> >Considering the pollution associated with death and the body in
> Hinduism
> >this would seem to be  highly unusual, not to say unlikely.
> No pollution is associated with the death of a sannyAsin. The body is
> buried, and a memorial structure is usually built over the site. Erosion
> by the sea constantly damages these structures, which exposes the buried
> remains. It should be remembered that Puri has also been a major center
> for sannyAsins of various traditions, and not all of them are associated
> with the Jagannatha temple. If specific body relics have been found,
> they need not always be of Buddhist origin, nor necessarily associated
> with the Jagannatha temple tradition.
> Vidyasankar

Many thanks for the ref. to "The Cult of Jagannath..." I shall look it
Your comments about the "relics" being associated with a sannyasin
burial are interesting and shall be pursued.

 I think, however all types of death related matters are to some degree
polluted, not just the death of a sannyasin. Numerous rites, rituals and
customs keep matters of death and the dead body at a distance, e.g . the
purification associated with fire. the cremation grounds on the edge of
a village, particular segregated indidviduals who work on the cremation
ghats,  etc..

Thanks again,

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