Jag"an*nath (?), Jag`an*na"tha (?), n. Also Jug"ger*naut. [Hind. Jagan-nath lord of the world, Skr. jagannatha.]
A particular form of Vishnu, or of Krishna, whose chief idol and worship are at Puri, in Orissa. The idol is considered to contain the bones of Krishna and to possess a soul. The principal festivals are the Snanayatra, when the idol is bathed, and the Rathayatra, when the image is drawn upon a car adorned with obscene paintings. Formerly it was erroneously supposed that devotees allowed themselves to be crushed beneath the wheels of this car. It is now known that any death within the temple of Jagannath is considered to render the place unclean, and any spilling of blood in the presence of the idol is a pollution.
© Webster 1913.