The word Jagannath means the Lord of the Universe. So Lord Jagannath is the lord of the Universe. Therefore there are many Lord Jagannatha Temples found in various countries in the world. Lord Jagannath is the incarnations of Krishna and the symbol of Love, Brotherhoodness and equality. Lord is worshiped in Puri as per his own wish. At present there are seven deities sitting in Ratna Sinhasan the Jewel Pedestal. They are Balabhadra, Subhadra, Jagannath, Sudarshan, Basudevi, Sridevi and Madhab. Bhudevi and Sridevi are placed in both the sides of Lord Jagannath. Madhab is a small replica of Jagannath. All of them are made from wood except Bhudevi (Prithivi Mata) and Sridevi (Mahalakshmi) who are metal idols.
Lord Jagannath is parmatma, he is known as Brahma, Daru Brahma as he is made from log of wood but he does not have any specific forms like Rama or Krishna, rather he is the embodiment of all forms. We find that the Lord Jagannath is invoked and worshiped by virtually all the diverse religious sampradayas, each in their own way. The great acharyas and founder of the different vedic sampradayas, namely Bhagvatapada Adi Shankaracharya, Shri Ramanujacharya, Shri Madhavacharya, Shri Nimbarkacharya, Shri Vishnu Swami, Shri Ballavacharya and Shri Chaitanya all of them visited Puri and invoked Lord Jagannath according to the tradition of their own sampradayas. Even the founder of the Sikh religion Guru Nanak and also Sufi saint Kabir visited Puri and invoked Lord in their own tradition. Lord Jagannatha is also worshipped by Buddhists, as for nearly seven hundred years, Buddhism was a prominent religion of Orissa. There is also a view that the sacred tooth relic of Buddha was kept in Puri. Moreover in the Dasavatara panel inside the Jagamohan of Shri Jagannatha Temple, Lord Jagannatha is depicted as the ninth incarnation of the Lord in the place of Buddha.
As per Rigveda
-Ekam sat viprah bahudha vadanti (Truth is one the wise speak of it in various names).All the definitions of Brahma are attributed to him. The deities are present here from time immemorial and unaffected by creation or destruction of the universe as they are the main architect behind the show. This question relating to Lords appearance in Puri or Jagannath Puri still unanswered. Along with this question there are many other questions also unanswered like why the lord taken this type of shape? Who has done so? How old the present temple is? Who has constructed the temple? Whether the deities were in this form from the very beginning? When did the famous Car Festival started? All these questions puzzle human minds. We normal human being cannot see our own eyelashes or the distance heaven it is useless to find out these answers, we have to just believe that Everything happened or happening in Jagannath Puri is the wish of the Lord Jagannath. Without his wish nothing will possible.
The offerings of the deities are known as Mahaprasad. It is prepared in a most scientific manner. The rice Prasad is free from spices. It is good for health. It is prepared in earthen pots by putting nine pots at a time. Mahaprasad is so sacred that people of every section of society partake it without any consideration. Various purana’s also speak the glory of the Mahaprasad. Mahaprasad in the form of Nirmalya (dried Prasad) can be preserved for a longer period and can be transported to distant places. One has to utter the name of the deities at the time of partaking it.
It is indeed this ‘great harmony’ which the tradition of Lord Jagannatha so clearlely represents: and this is the vital wisdom message the world humanity is in dire need of today. When much of the strife and conflict around the world is prompted by communal or religious differences, the underlying principles of the tradition of Lord Jagannatha, that God is one and that he can be invoked in myriad, infinite ways and that irrespective of differences in caste, colour, religion, nationality etc. We are all children of the One Divine Father (Vasundhara Kutumbakam) and co-travellers on the path to Divinity – these verily are the eternal and fundamental truth that have to be well understood and imbibed by the mankind today, if peace, harmony and prosperity is to reign on this beautiful planet of ours.