(Last Updated on : 22/02/2011)
The Utkal Vaishnavas believe that Lord Jagannath is the supreme god having supreme soul. According to them Puri
, which is known in the religious world as Purusottom Kshetra is the supreme pilgrim centre and all other religious places in the country are subordinate to it. The doctrine or the religious principle which the followers of Utkal section of Vaishnavism fellow is called Sidhanta Gyan Bhakti or the religious tenet of holy five friends (Panch Sakha Dharma). The five fellows are Achutand Das, Jasobanta Das, Ananta Das, Atibadi Jagannath Das, and Mata Balaram Das. They are known as five friends Pancha Sakha and represent principal followers of Utkal Vaishnava or Gyan Mishra Vaishnava sect.
There are some mathas which fall to this sect and of them the Bada Oriya Matha
is only of Rajangila category. The matha was recognized as a Rajangila Matha during the reign of the Gajapati king Prataprudradev. It was founded by Atibadi Jagannath Das, the author of Bhagabat.
One of the five great religious preceptors of Utkal Vaishnavas who are known as five friends (Pancha Sakha) was Atibadi Jagannath Das. He was believed to be the incarnation of Radha and was a great devotee of Lord Jagannath
. Just as any divine being he was capable of performing miraculous feats which made him a famous ascetic in the world of Vaishnavism. Atibada Jagannath Das was an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna
right from his childhood. He was a well known scholar both in Sanskrit and Oriya.
It has been said that there were five figures known as Pancha Sakha who were well known personalities among the Utkal Vaishnavas. They were Shri Balaram Dasa, Shri Jasobanta Dasa, Shri Acheutananda Dasa and Shri Ananta Dasa.
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