Biography of Atibadi Jagannath Dash

In this article I have explained about the the great poet of ours who is well known in every corners of our state as Atibadi, his monumental work 'Bhagwat' is daily read in almost all the families of Odisha. This article contain the information how he struggled against the caste division in society and the birth of the Bhagwat.

Atibadi Jagannath Dash is well known in everywhere of Odisha and in some of the neighbouring districts of other states thro Atibadi Jagannath Dash ugh his monumental work"Bhagawat" which is daily read and recited in almost all the families of Odisha. He brought about a new revolution in the literary circle of the 16th century Odisha and inspired hundreds of poets who typically imitated and followed his style of writing. His pioneering role in Odiya literature, his role in the field of reforms in Odisha can never be underestimated in the history of Odisha. He advocated social equality and respect for every human being. Hence he had his dialectical struggle with the so called great leader of his time and the Gajapati King Prataprudradev of Odisha. As a result, he had to pay dearly for his convictions in life but he never bowed down before the injustice meted out to him and the people by those mighty persons, who had been advocating the continuous of caste and class division in society.

According to his biographies and the writers of 'Jagannath Charitram' and 'Dardhyata Bhaktirasamruta' he was born to humble Brahimn family in a remote village named 'Kapileswar Sasan' of Puri district in the year 1492 AD. Right from the beginning of his life, he was shocked and horrified seeing the cast system and the feeling of inequality during the contemporary society.His soul revolted against such man-made injustice and he vowed to fight against this. His informal way of education, his deep study of scriptures and Indian philosophy provided him with immense strength of mind to proceed on his mission to preach the doctrine of equality of mankind.

At the age of eighteen, while he was composing his 'Bhagwat' in odiya in the premises of Lord Jagannath at Puri, he had the rare fortune of meeting Sri Chaitnya Dev, the founder of Nec-Vaishnavite movement. Sri Chaitnya Dev was so deeply moved by the deep erudition, love for mankind and his faith in Bhakti cult that he openly conferred Jagannath Dash the title of Atibadi or the Very great. After this historic meeting Jagannath Dash derived divine inspiration from Sri Chaitanya Dev and his moral staength helped him to raise his voice against society inequality. This young Brahmin boy after being initiated in to Vaishnavite faith achieved spiritual perfection and he went on working with zeal and vigour, He had a large number of followers who prepared large number of copies of his Bhagwat and other works which supported the doctrine and philosophy of Atibadi Jagannath Dash. His followers being inietiated into the fold of 'Atibadi Sect' as named after him, made xtensive tour into the then political boundary of Odisha which stretched as far as Singhbhum in the North and Midnapur in the North West Odisha and the bank of Godavari river in South and the Raipur region in West. The people organised public libraries called as 'Bhagwat Tungi' in almost all the village of Odisha. Their campaign subsequently became the centre of propagation of the doctrines of Atibadi Jagannath Dash. Through these centres the ideas of social equality and justice spread from one place to another. The great mission of Atibadi Jagannath Dash acquired great momentum in the common men were deeply touched by the work of the mission and joined in the social strength and courage to fight against the evils of society. The followers of Jagannath Dash among the women and downtrodden people of society.

High caste Hindu leaders enjoying the privilege of royal favour became jealous and made fictitious allegations against Jagannath Dash and the integrity of his conduct was questioned because of his contact with women folk. The king imprisoned him, and finally when on the day of the trial Jagannath Dash refuted the charges and was acquitted He was declared holy and was granted the freedom to preach his philosophy. The king became very happy with the religious and social activities of the great saint and his followers.


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