In the holy land of Kalinga (Orissa) many
saints, mystics, and devotional souls
have taken birth, from time to time, and have fortified the
culture and the spiritualism. The land is witness to most of the
important Hindu traditions and spiritual movements. Jewelled by sacred
Buddhist monuments to temples of Shakti (the supreme female power),
Shiva (the supreme male power), and Jagannâth Vishnu (Lord of the
Universe), the state is unique in itself. Most important spiritual
rituals have been extensively practised here by several seers -
including Buddhist ceremonies, Devi
"Tantra" (tanric rituals involving
worship of Shakti), Shaiva Marg (the path followed by devotees of
Shiva), and Vaishnava Marg (the path followed by devotees of Vishnu).
Hardly there is any "Sadhak"
who would not pay a visit to the Shri
Jagannâth temple once.
the various great souls, the most prominent (in the domain of the known History)
are the Panchasakhaa
(=Five friends) who have deeply influenced both the Oriya Spiritualism
Literature. These five
friends lived between 1450 to
1550 AD and enriched the spiritualism in a way that normal man can
also understand and benefit out of that. These great souls are: Achyutânanda
Das, Jasovanta Das, Jagannâtha Das,
They popularly were called as Panchasakhaa
means five and Sakhaa means friends -The great spiritual leader and
naamayogi avataar Chaitanya Mahaaprabhu
has referred to these five of his disciples as Panchasakhaa
that the Panchasakhaa
are like his Pancha Atma, i.e., five souls (Atma-Tattva) and are in no way lesser than some of the
of Vishnu. Shri Chaitanya was the first to establish the
Marga (the path of chanting the holy name with proper feelings and
faith); before him this method
was not so popular or well-known even if the path is partly described in
the ancient Vedas. He first introduced this method for all the
simple-minded people and made many realize that God-realization can also
be achieved by simpler method of pure devotion without undergoing
difficult method of austerities. It is he who first disclosed the
importance of the
The Panchasakha converted ancient Hindu texts into prose (of
simple language) easily
understood by the people of Udra Desha (Orissa). Shri Achyutananda Das was the most prolific writer of the Panchasakhas and has written
numerous books (called as Pothi's), believed not in one life but in many successive lives.
He is known as the Mahapurusha,
which means - a great man. Mahapurusha
Achyutânanda was a shunya sadhak
and had acquired immense knowledge about almost every aspect, i.e.
spiritualism, Ayurveda (Indian healing medical science that uses only
natural resources and herbs), various other sciences, and social regulations.
For details please look at the "Literature Pancha-Sakha" topic.
There is an interesting belief (school-of-thought) about the origin of
which relates them to the Mahabhârat
and is also stated in Shunya Samhitâ
written by Mahapurusha Achyutânanda. Here, Mahapurusha describes, Panchasakhâ literally means "five mates
or friends". Towards the end of Mahabhârat era when Lord
Krusna was leaving the
mortal body, Nilakantheswara Mahadeva (another name of Lord Shiva, residing in
Puri, with a blue-colored neck caused by intake of poison to save the world)
appeared and had a conversation with Lord Krusna. He revealed that the Lord's
companions Dâmâ, Sudâmâ, Srivatsa, Subala, and Subâhu
would reincarnate in the
and will be known as Ananta, Acyutânanda, Jagannâtha, Balarâma,
and Yasovanta, respectively. Thus, the believers of the Panchasakhâ
consider that these five saints were the most intimate friends of
who came again in
to serve Him. They are also instrumental to perform the crucial and much-awaited Yuga-Karma of destroying the sinners and saving the saints, according to
the Sanatana-Hindu beliefs.
To describe briefly the
individual ways and specialties of the Panchasakhaa, it is told that :
Panchasakhaa e mora pancha mahanta.
Yasovanta knows the
things beyond the reach
Yantras using lines and figures are known to Ananta
Achyuta speaks the past, present, and future
Dasa is fluent in tatwa (ultimate gist of anything)
Ultimate feelings of devotion are known to
These five friends are my five
[direct translation might result in
slight loss of information]
The birth/origin of the Achyutânand
is described as:
khasilaa Pavane misilaa, anaakare helaa thula
bhangigale athule misiba, rahijiba anaahata !!
"Mahapurusha Achyutânanda", is belived to have been born with special mercy or divine
intervention from "" which is symbolic for
Jagannâth himself ("Vibhuti
Yoga, Shrimad Bhagavat Geeta"). Hence the name of
Mahapurusa is Achyuta ("A + chyuta": A= Shri Visnu; Chyuta = created from). Occasionally, "Mahapurusha
Achyutânanda" is also referred to as "Achyuti",
which literally means "who has no fall ("chyuti nahin
in Oriya language)".
Sri Achyuta Das was born to
Dinabandhu Khuntia and Padma devi in a village called Tilakona in
Orissa in about 1510 AD on a "Magha Sukla Ekadasi"
(a specific time described in Oriya calendar). His parents were childless for a long time and were
praying to Lord Jagannâth
for a child. One
night his father had a vision that Garuda (the bird of Vishnu, an Eagle)
gave him a child. Next morning he rushed to the temple and prayed at
the "Garuda Khamba" (a pillar in front of the Jagannâth
temple) thanking the Lord for his mercy. At this
point there are two different beliefs: some are of the opinion that he (Dinabandhu Khuntia)
found a newborn divine child there and he is Achyuta
("A + chyuta"). Some others believe that, soon after this incident (vision), Padma devi was
booned with a divine child.
Mahapurusha Achyutânanda had established various
spiritual energetic centers
called 'Gâdi's distributed throughout east India (former states known as Anga, Banga, Kalinga,
Magadha) and some in Nepal. These 'Gâdi's
were host to most of the spiritual actions, discourses,
penance, and provided various services to the seekers. Examples are, Nemal,
(a river bank in Cuttack) etc. During this brilliant
era of Panchasakhâ,
another seer His holiness Arakhsita Das
(the presiding seer of Olasuni near Paradweep)
who was not among the Panchasakha but was a revered saint, once found a
divine child and handed over the newborn child to
child was known as Ram Das
who is the disciple of Mahapurusha Achyutananda, Panchasakhaa,
and Arakhsita Das
together. The PanchaSakhaa were called as Pancha Guru (five
Gurus) and together with Shri Arakhsita Das they were known as Sada-Goswami (six
Lords). Shriguru Arakhsita Das, a great Shunya Sadhak, is the patron saint and
seer in the Olasuni hills.
Olasuni hill is located near the border of
Cuttack and Jajpur district, adjacent to the Daitari- Paradip Express Highway
near the Ratnagiri and Laitgiri hills. The Gobari river also flows nearby.
Olasuni hill was the place of Sadhana where Shri Arakhsita Das performed
austerities in a cave (Olasuni gumphaa) before attaining salvation.
The annual nine day
Gumphaa festival of Olasuni is very famous. There is also the temple
Goddess Olasuni, near the tomb of Saint Arakhit Das. Baba Buddhanath Das sings
in a song that Goddess Olasuni is the mother of Shri Arakhsita Das, one of the
greatest ShunyaVaadi sadhakas. He is extremely merciful and accepts every
offer, irrespective of any other factor, when they are offered with feelings.
Subsequently the Pancha Sakhaa and Arakhsita Das, in Samaadhi,
could know that in the 13th birth (also the last birth) of
this child (Ram Das), all their souls (Atma-Tattva) will remain in Ram
Das and he will perform Yuga Karma on behalf of his Gurus during the
transition from Kaliyuga to Satyayuga. The devotees
and followers believe
that His holiness Baba Shri
Das is the last incarnation of Yogi Ram Das
and is enlightened by the conscious of his six Gurus.