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Shunya Samhita – Associated With Jagannath Of Puri

Shunya samhita is a philosophical treatise written in Odia by Saint Achyutananda Das of the 16th century. Shoonya Samhita, the metrical text, partly biographical, is a code of conduct for the initiates. The text elucidates specific forms of meditation in a cryptic language. Available in different recensions, it contains more than twenty chapters.

The treatise looks upon Bhagavan Jagannath of Puri as Shunya Purusha, probably for the obvious reason that the icon of Jagannath does not conform to the set iconography of the Hindu pantheon. In the meditation-formulae specific stress has been laid on profound concentration. The treatise, while narrating fascinating episodes concerning Radha and Krishna in Nitya Vaikuntha (the Eternal Abode), dwells at length on its esoteric import.

The text is an amalgam of Vedantic concepts interwoven with Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Achyutananda became a legendary figure and has left a very large following. He is revered among the rural folk. His followers meet on various occasions and perform rasa-lila as propagated their master. He is said to have composed 100,000 texts, which include Yoga, medicine, Tantra, astrology and numerous songs in various meters. The esoteric yantras devised by Acyuta are quite innovative. In recent times, urban people throng the various spiritual centers of Acyuta, Nemala, Kakatpur, Balakati, etc., to know their future from the palm-leaf manuscripts which are said to contain all solutions to their varied problems.