At the end of each of the four yugas, Lord Shree Mahavishnu descends to Earth to restore righteousness and order, known as Dharma. When Lord Mahavishnu incarnates, He is accompanied by His five companions, Panchasakha, who are born from His plenary portion and take different mortal bodies in each yuga. The Panchasakha assist Lord Mahavishnu in institutionalizing Dharma on Earth. Once the task of re-establishing Dharma is accomplished, Lord Mahavishnu returns to His eternal spiritual abode in Golok Vaikuntha. The Panchasakha also return to the same abode. These Panchasakha (five friends) of Lord Vishnu take birth on the earth every time in the cycle of four yugas (eras), i.e., Satya, Treta, Dwapara, and Kaliyuga.
Taking birth in all four yugas (ages), the ‘Panchsakha’ have been propagating devotion to the Supreme Lord. In all the four Yugas, their names were as follows:
- SATYA YUGA => Kripajal, Narada, Markandeya, Gargava, Swayambhu
- TRETA YUGA => Nala, Neel, Hanuman, Jamwant, Sushena
- DWAPARA YUGA => Sudama, Dama, Subala, Subahu, Shreebacch
- KALIYUGA => Achyutananda Das, Balaram Das, Jagannath Das, Jasobanta Das, Sishu Ananta Das
सत्य जुग रे ऋषि कृपाजल, त्रेतया सखा टी अटई नल।।
द्वापरे सुदाम सखा टी होई, कली जुग रे अच्युत बोलाई।।
गर्गब ऋषि सत्य जुगे हेले, त्रेतया जांबेब नाम बहीले।।
द्वापरे सुबाहु ब्रज होंती, जशोबंत नाम कली रे घेती।।
सत्य जुगरे स्वयंभू सुजाण, त्रेतयारे होए सेहू शुषेण।।
गोपे श्रीबत्स दुआपरे जात, कली जुगकु से होए अनंत।।
सत्य जुगे सेहु नारद ऋषि, त्रेता रे नील नामकु प्रकाशी।।
दाम गोपाल द्वापर जुग रे, बलराम दास सेहु कली रे।।
मारकंड जेहू से हनुमान, सुबल सखा से द्वापरे जान।।
जगन्नाथ दास कली रे हेले, पंचासखाए जेन्हे प्रकाशीले।।
– पंच सखा उदय कहानी : प्रथम सुरस, अच्युतानंद दास
satya juga re rṣi krpājala, tretayā sakhā ṭī aṭaī nala ।।
dvāpare sudāma sakhā ṭī hoī, kalī juga re acyuta bolāī ।।
gargaba rṣi satya juge hele, tretayā jāṁbeba nāma bahīle ।।
dvāpare subāhu braja hontī, jaśobanta nāma kalī re ghetī ।।
satya jugare svayaṁbhū sujāṇa, tretayāre hoe sehū śuṣeṇa ।।
gope śrībatsa duāpare jāta, kalī jugaku se hoe ananta ।।
satya juge sehu nārada rṣi, tretā re nīla nāmaku prakāśī ।।
dāma gopāla dvāpara juga re, balarāma dāsa sehu kalī re ।।
mārakaṇḍa jehū se hanumāna, subala sakhā se dvāpare jāna ।।
jagannātha dāsa kalī re hele, paṅcasakhāe jenhe prakāśīle ।।
(Source – Paṅca Sakhā Udaya Kahānī :1st chapter, Mahāpuruṣa Acyutānanda Dāsa)
According to the Bhavishya Malika and other Puranas, the Panchasakha in Satya Yuga were known as Narada, Markandeya, Gargava, Swayambhu, and Kripajala. After completing their ordained tasks at the end of Satya Yuga, the Panchasakha returned to Golok Vaikuntha.
Again, in the Treta Yuga, to assist Lord Shree Rama in re-establishing Dharma, the Panchasakha were reborn and were known as Nal, Neel, Jambawant, Sushena, and Hanuman. Despite being an Avatar of Rudra (Shiva), Lord Hanuman became one of the Panchasakha and helped Shree Ramachandra to re-establish Dharma in Treta Yuga. Once again, after completing their ordained task, they returned to Golok Vaikuntha.
Then, in the Dwapara Yuga, the Panchasakha were reborn as Dama, Sudama, Subala, Subahu, and Shreebacch to assist Lord Shree Krishna in re-establishing Dharma.
Again, in Kali Yuga, about 500 years before the end of the Yuga, Lord Mahavishnu’s five companions, the Panchasakha, took birth as Achyutananda Das, Shishu Ananta Das, Jasobanta Das, Jagannath Das, and Balaram Das. On the instructions of the Supreme Lord, the Panchasakha collectively compiled the divine Bhavishya Malika.
Lord Shree Mahavishnu, Himself instructs the Panchasakha:
“Whenever the burden of sins and crimes on this Earth increases, there is a decline in righteousness, and thoughts of mercy, tolerance, peace, love, and other noble thoughts in the peoples’ minds are replaced by thoughts of violence, hatred, anger, lust, and envy. At that time, I descend Myself on this Earth to end the misfortunes of my pure devotees, re-establish truth, peace, compassion, mercy, and love, reduce the burden of unrighteous actions on Mother Earth, and destroy the wicked and protect the virtuous people. Towards the end of Kali Yuga, before I descend and take birth as Kalki, you, Panchasakha, will compose the Bhavishya Malika, which will guide and unite my devotees of all the four Yugas who have again taken birth on Earth and empower them to leave the path of corruption & dishonesty and embrace a path of honesty and righteousness.”
Therefore, Mahapurush Achyutananda Das has written –
“हेतु रसाइबा पाईं कि अच्युत साहास्त्र पुराण कले।
कलि काल ठारु बलि काल जाएं हक कथा टा लेखिले“
Purport: To arouse the dormant consciousness of the devotees, Mahapurush Achyutananda has earnestly described all the events that will occur during the transition period from Kali Yuga to Sangam Yuga and then to Satya Yuga in Bhavishya Malika. On reading the Bhavishya Malika, the devotees will have their quiescent consciousness awakened and begin their search for Bhagwan (Lord Kalki) to seek shelter under His protection.
The devotees of the Lord who appeared as ‘Tapis’ (sages or seers) in Satya Yuga, ‘Kapis’ (monkeys with Lord Rama) in Treta Yuga, ‘Gopis’ (beloved companions of Lord Krishna) in Dwapara Yuga and, ‘Bhaktas’ (honest and pious devotees of the Lord) in Kali Yuga have again taken birth during this time in Ananta Yuga. The Panchasakha have composed the Bhavishya Malika to awaken the Bhaktas’ dormant sub-consciousness and to guide them in fully realizing the Sanskar (culture/beliefs) of Golok Vaikuntha so that they realize that the time has come to participate in Lord’s/Prabhu’s Leela (divine play). No matter where they reside in the world, on hearing and reading the Malika, the Bhaktas’ dormant consciousness will be fully awakened, and they will become cognizant of the Lord’s descent on Earth, seek Lord Kalki, and take refuge under Him. After that, they will contribute towards the task of ‘Dharma Sansthapana’ (re-establishing the Dharmic order, i.e., religious order according to Vedic principles). After knowing about the whereabouts of Lord Kalki, the Bhaktas will propagate the rules and regulations of Satya Yuga as promulgated by Lord Kalki throughout the world. They will also disseminate the Lord’s name, brilliance, and glories and engage themselves in the task of ‘Dharma Sansthapana.’
In this respect, Mahapurush Achyutananda writes,
“भकते उदे होइबे, गां गां बुलि मेलि करिबे, रामचन्द्र रे। हरि चरणे भजिबे, रामचन्द्र रे”
“Bhakate ude hoibe, Gaan Gaan buli meli karibe,
Rāmacandra re hari caraṇe bhajibe, Rāmacandra re”
Purport: Wherever the Bhaktas go, they will interact, integrate, and perform bhajans and kirtans (sing and chant devotional songs in praise of the Supreme Lord) and preach about Dharma to all.
Introduction of Panchasakha
Around 600 years ago, the five closest friends and devotees of Lord Krishna, popularly known as the ‘Panchsakha’, were reborn in Odisha, the holy land of Lord Jagannath. Among other things, they are credited with writing numerous scriptures containing detailed prophecies about future events. Meticulously written on palm leaves, these prophecies are turning out to be uncannily accurate to date.
Mahapurush Sri Achyutananda Dasji was born in 1485 to his father, Deenbandhu Khuntia and mother, Padmavati, in the village ‘Tilakana’ (also known as Tripura) in the Kendrapara district of Odisha. The great sage Mahapurush Achyutananda Das composed 1,85,000 books. One year, on Jyeshtha Shukla Ekadashi (considered a very auspicious day), he sat in Nemal Peeth and went into ‘samadhi’ (a deep meditational trance) and on ‘Poornima’ (full moon) day by his own will, gave up his mortal body and disappeared into the void. (i.e., he returned to where he came from – from nothingness to nothingness).
Mahaprabhu ‘Anadi Aadikand Hari’ (The Supreme Lord who is without beginning or end), Lord of the Universe Shree Jagannath, appeared in dream and told Achyutanand Das that he will receive a garland of lotus flower on his doorstep. Lord further instructed him that the spot where all the flowers in the wreath will wither and fall off, that spot shall be his place for meditation. On Lord Jagannath’s instructions, after wandering through various regions, when he reached the banks of the Chitrotpala river at Nemal village in Kendrapara district in Odisha, the last flower left in that garland withered and fell to the ground. As per the shastras, in Satya Yuga during the ‘samudra manthan’ (churning of the ocean), the lotus emerged from ocean fell to the Earth at this very spot; therefore, this spot is also known as ‘Padma Vana’ (Lotus Forest.)
Mahapurush Achyutananda Das commenced his meditation at this spot. In this spot, with his mind focused, he composed lakhs (hundreds of thousands) of manuscripts to help uplift the ‘bhaktas’ (devotees) of the four Yugas. This exact spot was later revealed to the commoner as ‘Siddha Sthal’, where Mahapurush Achyutananda attained enlightenment. With his mind centered on the lotus feet of the Lord, he has written about the Siddha Sthal as:
“श्री अच्युत दास नेमाले निवास पद्म बने तांक स्थिति,
प्रभु न्क आज्ञा रु अनुभव करि लक्षे ग्रंथ लेखिछंति।
छतिस संहिता बास्तरि गीता वंशानु सप्त बिन्स रे,
उपवंशानु द्वादस खंड बेनी भविष्य सप्त खंड रे “
“Srī Acyuta Dāsa Nemāle nivāsa, Padma Bane tānka sthiti,
Prabhu nka ājñā ru anubhava kari, lakṣe grantha lekhichanti
chatisa saṁhitā bāstari gītā vanśhānu sapta binsa re,
upavanśhānu dvādasa khanḍa benī bhaviṣya sapta khanḍa re”
Purport: Mahapurush Achyutananda authored over 100,000 manuscripts in this auspicious location. Some of his notable works comprised of 36 Samhitas (Vedic hymns/prayers), 72 songs, 27 Vamsa charitra (Lineage History), 24 Upa Vamsa Charitra (Sub-lineage History), and over a 100 Malika books. Other than him, the other Panchasakha, Sishu Ananta Das, Jasobanta Das, Jagannath Das, and Balaram Das have also written many more Bhavishya Malika books. Despite writing so many books, the Panchasakha announced that they have not authored any but only penned down the spoken words of the Lord on Mahaprabhu’s instructions with the sole purpose of the welfare of humanity.
Amongst his books – Harivamsa Purana, Gopalanak Ogala Laudi Khela, Baramasi Gita, Shunya Samhita, Anakara Brahma Samhita, Manibandh Gita, Jugabdhi Gita, Beej Sagar Gita, Abhed Kabach, Ashta Gujjari, Naba Gujjari, Sharan Panjara, Stotra, Bipra Bachak, Mana Mahima, innumerable bhajans, Patala, Raas, Janana, Chautisa (poems starting with 34 alphabets of Odia language comprising of 34 lines),Tikka,Malika etc. are some of his notable works that number in lakhs.
Mahapurush Shishu Ananta Das was born in 1488 to father Kapilendra, and mother Gaura Devi in Balipatna village near Bhubaneshwar in the Puri district of Odisha. He composed many texts and books, out of which Hetu Udaya Bhagavata, Bhakti Mukti Dayaka Gita, Shishu Beda Tika, Shunya Nama Bheda, Artha Tareṇī, Ude Bakhara, Thika Bakhara, many bhajans (hymns), Chautisa, Malika Grantha, etc, are prominent.
Mahapurush Jagannath Das was born in 1490 to father Bhagwan Das and mother Padmavati in the Kapileshwar village in the Puri district of Odisha. After the Sanskrit Shreemad Bhagwat, he was the first to compose Shreemad Bhagwat Maha Purana in Odia. Later, he also authored many other scriptures and Bhavishya Malika texts. Prominent among his compositions are – Shola Chaupadi, hCari Chaupadi, Tulabhiṇa, Daru Brahma Gita, Diksha Sambada, Artha Koili, Mruguṇi Stuti, Gupt Bhagavata, Anamaya Kundali, Srikrsna Kalpalata, Nitya Gupt Chintamani, Niladrī Bilas, Kali Malika, and Indra Malikā Grantha. In admiration of his scriptural knowledge and devotion to Lord Jagannath, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave him the title ‘Atibadhi’ or ‘Greatest.’
Mahapurush Balaram Das was born in 1470 (some sources indicate the birth year to be 1482) to father Shomnath Mahapatra and mother Mahamaya Devi in Chandrapur village in the Puri district of Odisha. He authored many sacred texts and Puranas, prominently, Dadhyata Bhakti, Dandi Ramayaṇa, Brahmanda Bhugola, Baula Gai Gita, Kamala Lochana Chautisa, Kanta Koili, Lakshmi Puraṇa, Beḍha Parikrama, Saptanga Yogasara Tika, Bajra Kabacha, Jnana Chudamani (Prose), Brahma Tika (Prose) and many other Malika treatises. He ascended to Golok Vaikuntha at Samgara Pat in the Puri district.
Mahapurush Jasobanta Das was born in 1482 (some sources indicate the birth year to be 1486) to father Balbhadra Malla and mother Rekha Devi at Nandigram close to Adhang in the Cuttack district of Odisha. He authored Chaurasi Ajna, Shiba Svaradvaya, Shasthimala, Prema Bhakti Brahma Gita, Tika Gobinda Chandra (this poetry filled with mercy and compassion is very popular in Bengal, Assam and in many regions of North India), numerous Shastras, Puranas, and various Malika texts. He gave up his mortal body in the Margashira month, Shukla Paksha Sasthi (also known as Odhani Shashti.)
The Panchasakha were fully endowed with spiritual knowledge and principles. They were constantly in subtle contact with ‘Nirakar’ (the Supreme Formless God), and they ardently penned down the various prophecies that were communicated to them by ‘Nirakar’ in the form of ‘Bhavishya Malika.’ Brahm Gopal, or the great seer and scholar Mahapurush Achyutananda, describes it as follows:
“आगम भाव जाणे यशोबंत गारकटा जंत्र जाणे अनंत
आगत नागत अच्युत जाणे बलराम दास तत्व बखाणे
भक्ति र भाव जाणे जगन्नाथ पंचसखा ए ओडिशा महन्त।
म्लेच्छ पतित उद्धारिबा पाईं जनम लभिले ओडिशा भुईं।“
“Āgama bhāva jāṇe Jaśobanta gārakaṭā jantra jāṇe Ananta
āgata nāgata Achyuta jāṇe Balarāma Dāsa tatva bakhāṇe
bhakti ra bhāva jāṇe Jagannātha Pancasakhāe oḍiśā mahanta।
mleccha patita uddhāribā pāīn janama labhile Oḍiśā bhuīn”
- Mahapurush Jasobanta Das was competent in visualizing the advent of any event in the future.
- Mahapurush Shishu Ananta Das could know the future using mathematical puzzles.
- Mahapurush Achyutananda Das had complete knowledge of the past, present, and future.
- Mahapurush Balram Das had full knowledge of the scriptures and all the universal laws and principles.
- Mahapurush Jagannath Das had complete knowledge of the Astadasha Purana’s Bhakti Tattva (the essential reality of the path of devotion as mentioned in the 18 Puranas).
The Panchasakha, through the medium of the Bhavishya Malika, have prophesied the events of the future under divine instructions of Lord Shree Jagannath or the Supreme Formless Lord, to emancipate the Bhaktas, enable the union between Bhagwan and Bhakta (devotee and Lord), destruction of the wicked and the commencement of the divine Satya Yuga. All those books are precious for human society and, in the present turbulent times, are like ‘Mrityu Sajeevani’ (one that infuses life). During the current time, i.e., at the ‘Sandhya’ (twilight) period of the Yuga, there is no other recourse from the imminent danger but following the Bhavishya Malika sincerely and taking refuge in the holy name of the Supreme Lord.