Santh Arakhita Das

Born :- Between 1772 and 1782
Died :- 1835 Magha Krishna Ekadashi
Place of Birth :- Badkhemundi, Ganjam

Mahapurush Santh Arakhit Das, poet of innumerable devotional songs, was born in the royal family of Badkhemundi in Ganjam district between 1772 and 1835. His ancestors belonged to the Ganga dynasty. His grandfather was Shri Bhimdev or the famous Purushottam Anangabhim Dev. His father, Manidev, named him Balabhadra Dev. Manidev ruled the state from 1774 to 1805.

From an early age, Mahapurush Arakhit was inclined towards leading an ascetic life. He left home at the age of 17 in quest of a new life that would emancipate him from wordly bondage. He first ravelled to Kerandimal in Ganjam district and later various caves, mountains and shrines in Odisha to find a suitable place for spiritual practices. At last he found one as a result of his unwavering devotion and determination to attain God. He later visited Shri Jagannath and travelled to various parts of Odisha and spent the last part of his life in the Olashuni cave. With permission from the zamindar of Kendrapada, he set up a cave-hermitage there and kept meditating on the Omkar Brahma. Based on his lifelong practice and experience, he wrote the voluminous ‘Mahimandala Gita’ which contains 96 chapters. He also lit the lamp of devotion in the hearts of thousands of people through his devotional creations like ‘Balyabodha’, ‘Shakabda’, ‘Brahmanda Gita’, ‘Abdhuta Samhita’, ‘Bhaktitika’ and ‘Guptatika’. Even today, the Mahimandal Gita, written by the Siddhapurusha saint Arakshit Das, plays a key role in devotional discourses. The santh was a worshiper of the formless. He realized the unity of life and soul. Although he did not believe in idolatry, he saw both the gods and goddesses of Shri Jagannath, Maa Sarla and Maa Katakchandi as both incarnate and formless. Despite emphasizing the practice of namabrahma, he never entertained the idea of showing off like the Gaudiya Vaishnavites. Since the day of the Mahasamadhi on the eleventh day of the waning moon of lunar month Magha in the year 1935, devotees have been regularly worshipping at the saint’s tomb temple adjacent to the Olasuni cave.  Every year, from the day of his Mahaprayana, a huge fair is organised at Olashuni which runs throughout the week. Olashuni, near the famous Buddhist site of Lalitgiri, is now a tourist destination.


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