juggernaut |ˈjəgərˌnôt|noun: a huge, powerful, and overwhelming force or institution: a juggernaut of secular and commercial culture; a massive inexorable force, campaign, movement, or object that crushes whatever is in its path: an advertising juggernaut, a political juggernaut. ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: extension of Juggernaut. Juggernaut |ˈjəgərˌnôt| Hinduism the form of Krishna worshiped in Puri, Orissa, where in the annual festival his image is dragged through the streets on a heavy chariot; devotees are said formerly to have thrown themselves under its wheels. Also called Jagannatha. ORIGIN via Hindi from Sanskrit Jagannātha "Lord of the world."
"Of all the threats that have faced capitalist modernity in the past 400 years, none has possessed the lethal potency of climate change. In this most uncertain of worlds, a western civilisation deprived of the certainties of ideology, faith and human identity, there is one thing we can be sure of: our species is already in transit to what the scientist and environmentalist James Lovelock calls 'the next world.' It will be a world dominated by a global climate shift that we cannot yet describe fully, but which is inevitable and approaching fast. And it is not as unknowable as all that. The next world will be very much hotter and drier.... It will be much less conducive to human existence."
The English loanword juggernaut in the sense of "a huge wagon bearing an image of a Hindu god" is from the 17th century, inspired by 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 Balabhadra (Krishna's elder brother).
The first European description of this festival is found in the 14th-century The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, which apocryphally describes Hindus, as a religious sacrifice, casting themselves under the wheels of these huge chariots and being crushed to death. Others have suggested more prosaically that the deaths, if any, were accidental and caused by the press of the crowd and the general commotion.The figurative sense of the English word, with the sense of "something that demands blind devotion or merciless sacrifice" was coined in the mid-19th century. For example, it was used to describe the out-of-control character Hyde in Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The term is often applied to a large machine, or collectively to a team or group of people working together (such as a highly successful sports team or corporation), or even a growing political movement led by a charismatic leader—and it often bears an association with being crushingly destructive.