AskDefine | Define juggernaut

Dictionary Definition

juggernaut

Noun

1 a massive inexorable force that seems to crush everything in its way [syn: steamroller]
2 an avatar of Vishnu [syn: Jagannath, Jagannatha, Jagganath]
3 a crude idol of Krishna

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From Hindustani जगन्नाथ / (jagannāth) < Sanskrit जगन्नाथ (jagannātha) "lord of the universe", a title for the Hindu deity Vishnu's avatar Krishna, as incorporated in a recent Christian myth - British colonial era - describing the huge annual processional wagon of the idol of lord Krishna in Puri, Orissa. Pulled with ropes by hundreds of devotees, the wagon reaches quite a momentum and becomes unstoppable.

Pronunciation

  • italbrac RP: /ˈdʒʌg.gə.nɒt/
  • italbrac US: /ˈdʒʌg.gɚ.nɑt/

Noun

  1. A literal or metaphorical force or object regarded as unstoppable, that will crush all in its path.
  2. A large, cumbersome truck or lorry, especially an artic (typically used somewhat disparagingly).
  3. An institution that incites destructive devotion or to which people are carelessly sacrificed.

Translations

A literal or metaphorical force or object regarded as unstoppable, that will crush all in its path
A large, cumbersome truck or lorry
An institution that incites destructive devotion or to which people are carelessly sacrificed

Quotations

  • 1895— H. G. Wells, The Wheels of Chance, ch XII
    Anon Mr. Hoopdriver found himself riding out of the darkness of non-existence, pedalling Ezekiel's Wheels across the Weald of Surrey, jolting over the hills and smashing villages in his course, while the other man in brown cursed and swore at him and shouted to stop his career. There was the Putney heath-keeper, too, and the man in drab raging at him. He felt an awful fool, a- -what was it?--a juggins, ah!--a Juggernaut.

Extensive Definition

A juggernaut () is a term used to describe a force regarded as unstoppable, that will crush all in its path.
The word is derived from the Sanskrit Jagannātha (meaning "Lord of the universe") which is one of the many names of Krishna from the ancient Vedic scriptures of India. One of the most famous of Indian temples is the Jagannath Temple in Puri, Orissa, which has the Ratha Yatra (chariot procession), an annual procession of chariots carrying the murtis/statues of Jagannâth (Krishna), Subhadra and Baladeva (Krishna's elder brother). During the British colonial era, Christian missionaries promulgated a fallacy that Hindu devotees of Krishna were lunatic fanatics who threw themselves under the wheels of these chariots in order to attain salvation. Such a description can also be found in the popular fourteenth-century work "The Travels of Sir John Mandeville." In rare instances in the festival's past, people had been crushed accidentally as the massive 45 foot tall, multi-ton chariot slipped out of control, with others suffering injury in the resulting stampedes. This sight led the Britons of the time to contrive the word "Juggernaut" to refer to examples of unstoppable, crushing forces.
In modern times, the government officers and temple priests managing the festival take elaborate precautions to protect people from injury during these processions.
The Ratha Yatra festival has become a common sight in most major cities of the world since 1968 through the Hare Krishna movement. Its leader A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada successfully transplanted the festival which now happens on an annual basis in places such as London, Paris, Toronto and New York.

References

juggernaut in German: Juggernaut
juggernaut in Spanish: Juggernaut
juggernaut in Italian: Juggernaut
juggernaut in Dutch: Bierkaai
juggernaut in Japanese: ジャガーノート
juggernaut in Russian: Джаггернаут
juggernaut in Swedish: Jagannath
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