RYAN ALTMAN

❤️‍🔥 The Unstoppable Force of Love

I want to share with you the fascinating roots of one of the most powerful words in the English language:

juggernaut.

You’ve likely heard the word before.

A juggernaut is an unstoppable force.

It’s anything that mercilessly moves forward without any regard for what’s in front of it.

It yields for nothing, and destroys everything in its path.

Of all the words in the English language, I’ve always found this word to hold a lot of power.

If you call someone or something a juggernaut, you know it’s not to be messed with.

I first heard the word juggernaut as a kid reading comics.

The Juggernaut was one of my favorite supervillains in the X-Men and Spider-Man comics.

His powers gave him superhuman strength, near invincibility, and unstoppable power.

True to his name, he could use buildings as weapons and easily overpower heroes with his super strength.

Although you likely know the word, you may not know its spiritual roots.

The word juggernaut comes from a festival that celebrates the Hindu god Jagannath.

Jagannath is an avatar of Vishnu, the cosmic preserving force of good in the Hindu trinity of creation, preservation and destruction.

The name of the festival honoring Jagannath is called Ratha Yatra, which translates as ‘chariot procession.’

In the festival, special chariots are crafted that are ornately decorated, massively heavy, and take hundreds of people to pull.

The supervillain Juggernaut next to his namesake, a giant chariot temple made for Ratha Yatra.

English colonists witnessed the massive temple chariots used for worshiping Jagannath as they were pulled through the streets during Ratha Yatra, and coined the word juggernaut from them.

They saw that whatever came in the path of these behemoths was instantly crushed under its wheels.

It’s from the procession of these giant temple chariots that we get the English word juggernaut.

After I learned the etymology of the word, its meaning became even more powerful to me.

The word juggernaut doesn’t just mean a force that mindlessly demolishes everything in its path–it means something much deeper.

In its deeper meaning, a juggernaut is an unstoppable spiritual force of love and good.

Gandhi called his power of nonviolent change satyagraha, or soul-force.

His nonviolent resistance and similar movements like those lead by Martin Luther King Jr. embody the true meaning of the word juggernaut.

Jesus similarly channeled the power of love in unstoppable ways.

Even though their movements were resisted by some of the most powerful forces of hatred and oppression in history, nothing could stop them.

Their movements were unstoppable forces that demolished ignorant, old ways of being that stood in the path of justice, peace and freedom.

The unstoppable force driving these movements was love.

When we’re looking to make change in our lives, or in the world at large, a violent force never works for long.

Violence may work for self-defense, but as a tool for personal and social change–it never lasts.

A dictator may win control of a country through violence, but after a period of time he’s inevitably overthrown.

His reign is brief and bloody.

We may suppress a wounded or shadow part of ourselves, but until we embrace it with self-compassion it’ll always return to cause us pain again.

Reflecting on the creative power of love reminds me of a quote from Napoleon, who knew first hand the limitations of force:

“Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at to this day millions of men would die for him.”
Love may be humble, yet all yields to it in the end, like a small river carving out a deep canyon.

Love is the juggernaut of juggernauts.

The most unstoppable of all forces.

It’s the hidden, cosmic force within all life and creation.

Love may falter, it may fail, but it never ceases.

Our path of transformation should be the same.

Sometimes the hardest thing of all is to love ourselves.

I know it’s certainly the case for me.

Although love is our natural way of being, it gets clouded over by attachment, conditioning, and wounding.

Our task is to clear away the blockages that prevent our love from moving in its natural flow.

It takes work.

It takes daily practice.

It’s not enough to just exercise or take care of your wellbeing with a good diet and stress management.

It takes a spiritual practice, because love is a spiritual force.

Through your own heroic efforts, may you churn into motion the unstoppable force of love within you.

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