The devotees and Trust at Nemala have recently launched a website to facilitate information. Interested readers may visit the pages for exact information. Although this is an independent effort, we are glad to link it here as Shri Achyuta's heritage is too vast. A lot of coordinated as well as independent efforts are required, if we were not to forget our glorious heritage of spirituality and literature.
Nemala (Nemalo, aka. Lemalo), Padma Vana Pitha Karma Khsetra and Samadhi Pitha of Mahapurusha
The village of Nemala, a small place with less than a few thousands of inhabitants, is relatively unknown in India but well-known to the people of Odisha, as every year during Snana Poornima (bathing ritual of Lord Jagannath), the place witnesses thousands of devotees of Shri Achyuta. The place sets an example of "Sarva Dharma Samannoya" - "Integration of all religions". As per the legends, the perepheral of the present Seat has been witness to the Sadhana and Ashramas of many Rishis in the old eras, including Shuka, Sanaka, Angiraa, Pulaha, Poulasta, Kaalinjana, Bhrugu, Markanada and Vashishtha. As per the scripture Pataa Madaana by Sisu Ananta, in Dwapar Yuga, Guru Sandipani had his Ashram near this place. Also during the Angyata Vaasa of Pandavas (one year living in hiding by the Pandavas), they stayed in this place for 2 months and the Akhyasya Tunira (The Unlimited Quiver) was also kept here (Siddhartha Darpana, by Mahapurusha Achyuta).
Mahapurusha Achyutananda was born in the village of Tilakana. After spending several years in different places, as directed by the Lord, he established Nemala as his primary Seat, until he took Shunya Samadhi here at an age of over a hundred years. Achyuta spent his childhood days in his birth place Tilakanā, close to PadmaVana Nemala. His childhood name was Agaṅi (ଅଗଣି) and he used to spend his days very unattached because of past samskaras until he met his Guru Shri Chaitanya in Puri. On various occasions, Shri Achyuta has mentioned about this place to his disciple Ram Das in the context of importance of the place. Below are a few extracts from his writings.
This very Padma Vana is the Golaka Bhumi, none could comprehend this secret fact
Listen Ramachandra, offspring of Gopalas, named the place as Padmavana, Achyuta
Beyond Padmavana is Virata, thus this is the land of lotus forest.(Bata Samhita)
Padma Vana is my place, entouring all of Bharat, Shri Krushna came here
After being briefly seated, he left for Neelanchal, visiting 88 places he disappeared
Hence, my stay is in this place, Rama Chandra look towards the North again.
(Guru Bhakti Gita)
Nemala is situated in the Delta of two Rivers: River Chitroptala and River Luna. The place is shrouded with legends and Puranic significance as well, in addition to the historical significance because of stay of Shri Achyutananda. Within a short distance of the main Seat, in all the four directions, there are several deities worshipped since times immemorial. The well-know Shakti (form of the divine mother) and temples in the four directions include, but not limited to:
The Goddess Mother Durga, along with other deities, such as Ganesh, Kartikeya, Brahma and Sun. The form of the Goddess here is believed to create Awareness (to create Jagaran), hence is named as Jagulai (The Awakener). Also present nearby are temples of Sareswar Mahadev, Dhabaleswar Mahadev, Ashta Shambhu and Hanuman Jiu.
Shashimukhi serves in the Eternal sport (Mahanitya Rasa), who secures the West side. She is a form of Mother Mangala. Along with her, present here are temples of Ishaneswar Mahadev and Ananteswar Mahadev.
A small forest (woods) named as Kanyeswari Vana is present to the North of the main Seat. The presiding Shakti here is Mother Bhagawati. Also present nearby are temples of Chandrashekhar Mahadev, Rameswar Mahadev, and Somanath. As per the known verbal records, Ram Das (Baba Buddhanath Das) after having met Shri Achyuta in a nearby place known as Tripura Village, stayed in the Kanyeswari Vana.
To the south, flows the River Chitroptala. Here serves and protects Goddess Mother Champavati In addition, there are temples of Vakreswar Mahadev and Rudreswar Mahadev.
Why in Nemala did Shri Achyuta stay and take Samadhi - the folklore and stories behind
As already stated above, extracted from Guru Bhakti Geeta:
Padma Vana is my place, ...
Hence, my stay is in this place...
On different occasions, Shri Achyuta has stated about the spiritual importance of Nemala and his past relationship. Also, he has mentioned that on the command of Lord Jagannath, he chose this place for his Stay and subsequently for his Samadhi. All these stories are not isolated, and joining all the dots it becomes clear that Nemala was meant to be his place, based on the past merit of the place, which was finally directed by Lord Jagannath himself.
Rishi-Munis, such as Markanada, Bhrugu and Vashishta had spent some time here, and so did the Pandavas for some time during their one year period of anonimity. Finally, Lord Shri Krushna had been here before completing his end of the Avatara. The place, hence, has a high spiritual importance and he had some affinity for this place.
As per one folklore, subsequently, when Achyuta spent his years in Neelanchal Puri, their was some imbalance of effects of Dharma and Adharma in Puri because of the presence of Shri Achyuta. As per the folklores, so huge and strong was his presence and spiritual influence that even sinners could get away easily and Yama and YamaDoota (The Lord of death and his messengers) were also concerned about holding the balance of Karmic outcomes of the normal people. The presence of HariNam, Sadhana, ardent devotion, impeccable knowledge, Trikal Gyan added to the divinity of the place and it started to fall off the normal weighing-scale. Also, Nemala was pre-chosen anyway for Achyuta, as the Gupta Brindavan (secret Vrindavan). Hence, the Lord commanded to Achyuta, "Achyuta, take my Padmapushpa AgyanMaala (garland of Lotus flowers) and wherever it falls, know that that is your place.". In Odia language, that translates to, "Ne (take) Maala (garland)" and from these two words, the name Nemala was formed. It is also known as PadmaVana (Lotus forest).
There are a few other folklores related to the relationship between Achyuta and Nemala. Also, metioned are references to 12 forests sorrounding Nemala and many Bata Brikhsyas (Banya Trees), attributed to other four Sakhas (Ananta, Jasovanta, Jagannatha Dasa, Balarama Dasa).
Mahapurusha Achyutananda took Samadhi and left his mortal body in Nemala, after writing ca. 1,46,000 manuscripts. He was a poet, a mathematician and a mystic. Besides the pre-written manuscripts on Palm-leaf, he also devised a number of Shunya (blank) Pothis (of Palm-leaf, Copper, Silver and Gold) and secured them in different places, in order to make them available in the time of Yuga Karma and the Yuga Khela. On many instances, he used to tell his disciple Ram Das, "Rama, one who is already dead, how can death touch him". He also adds, "Yama, the Lord of death, cannot touch a devotee of Sri Hari". After leading a long active life, he announced his death to his disciples and also wrote in the some scriptures, after identifying the death, the moment and the place of his wilfull Samadhi. Legend has it that, Achyuta toook Samadhi in front of some of his disciples and just gradually disintegrated and vanished in the air. Below is an extract from Abheda Kavach, where Shri Achyua announced his day of leaving the mortal body at Nemala.
Bestow Mercy, remove sorrow from my heart and shower your Grace, Oo Hari,
Except your Lotus feet, no other thought can I behold in my Heart,
Only this much I ask, may my body be vanished, Oo Lord by the great Ocean,
On Jyestha Ekadashi, so be it and let my clan be complete (end).
The place is Padma Bana in the village of Nemala, by River Chitroptala,
Achyuta Dasa holds this hope, that my body will go hidden,
In the premises of Padma Bana, my body will vanish, I hold fast to this hope,
For Achyuta Dasa, in every life, is PitaVaasa's (Krishna) own Servant.
Glory to Lord Jagannath, concert of RamaaDevi, who is Gracious to his devotees,
Whose form is Buddha and who is the Kalki Avatar in a wooden BrahmaRup,
Conch, Disc, Mace and Lotus in hands with the symbol of Shakti
Achyuta, by merits of the past, describes the facts of Nigama.
[direct translation might result in slight loss of information]
In recent years, many devotees and researchers have been doing a lot of work to keep the heritage alive and accessible to the public. We came across one such Journal, known as "Padma Vanara Swara (Voices from the Lotus Forest), which is an annual magazine. This work is unrelated to the current web-page, however, from a larger perspective such works are not only necessary but also a pleasure to read for those who are interested in knowing the history and the litertaure of PanchaSakha. Therefore, below, we provide a snapshot of the coverpage of one these volumes and the contact adress. Interested readers may find it on heir own and know more about Shri Achyuta, PanchaSakha and Nemala.
PadmaVanara Swara (Barshika Mukhapatra)
Padmabanara Swara (Annual Research Journal)
Edited, compiled and published by:
Shri Achyuta Sahitya Gavesana Parishad
Nemala, Cuttack - 754293
Mahima Gadi and the Pothi Ashram
As stated above, Ram Das used to live at the Kanyeswari Vana, close to Shri Achyuta's Gadi. The Descendants of Ram Das, by virtue of their inheritance, have been taken care of many of the writings (Pothis) of Shri Achyutananda. These members of the descendant family members are selfless and Shrdhaavan Devotees of Shri Achyuta and perform the role of caretaker of the old scriptures. The place where a lot of Pothis, inherited as family posession, are worshipped and taken care of is known as the Mahima Gadi. They are non-commercial and maintain a low-profile, do not try to collect money from others and maintain all the duties within their resources by doing odd jobs.
Kalimaa, Mahima Gadi, Nemala, Odisha
Sachidananda Das, President, Mahima Gadi
Many writings of Shri Achyuta have been preserved non-commercially by Kali Maa. She is a 104 year old lady (in Sep, 2015) and a devotee of Shri Achyuta whom Baba Buddhanath Das himself showed reverence to. [We had once asked about some writings of Shri Achyuta at Kakatpur Pothi, and Shri Achyuta, in a context, also mentioned here name]. Even at this age, she is a well-balanced personality, does all her chores by herself, although speaks less as the body shows signs of aging. To your left is the photograph of KaliMaa, taken in September, 2015, when we visited the place. She was kind enough to take the pain to come outside and meet us for a brief moment and allowed to take photograph.
The photograph to your left is of Shri Sachidananda Das, who is the presiding manager and care-taker (Sampadak) at the Mahima Gadi. We spoke with him about different aspects of the Ashram, life, Shri Achyuta's writings and he arduosly asnwered our questions and also encouraged us to document our heritage and history as these are slowly forgotten. The main Pothi Room was closed at that time (Pahada), so he could show it to us only from outside where one could see the books stacked upon.
Upon request, he briefly narrated some extracted parts of Malika, some were recored, and some were off the record as per his request to honor discretion:
Below is a short video showing the premises of the Pothi Gruha Ashrama, along with Shri Sachidananda Das:
Premises of Mahima Gadi Pothi Ashram (figure captions shown when you click on photos)
Nemala Yagna at Padma Vana Samadhi Pitha of Shri Achyuta, 28-Apr-2015 to 4-May-2015
The Yuga Karma of Shri Achyuta, among with other subtle actions, comprises a series of Yajnas as decided and pre-written by Shri Achyuta. Towards the end of the Kali Yuga and before the beginning of the Ananta Yuga, one such Yajna was mentioned by Shri Achyuta to be held at Nemala. Externally, it involves oblations to Shri Jagannath, PanchaSakha and invoking the mercy of the Lord for the cosmic energies required for establishing Satya (truth). He had set the time for this Yajna, as follows:
When 'Brusha (Ram)', 'Shunya (zero)', 'Mesha (Taurus)' and 'Vaana (five)' will meet, the Yajna will be held in the East direction of Padma Vana. The Yajna was pre-scheduled by Mahapurusha himself ~550 years ago and he had hinted about its time in Padma Kalpa. ବୃଷ (tauras) = 2; ଶୂନ୍ୟ (shunya) = 0; ମେଷ (ram/sheep) = 1; ବାଣ (Vaan) = 5. When these four (2, 0, 1, 5) will meet, Yajna was performed to the East of Padma Vana.
Below are a few links from the glimpses of the Yajna (unedited real-time videos):
Extracts from a discourse by Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, during the cultural program after Sunset on a Yajna day. Beautiful words in a serene voice from a down-to-earth evolved Yogi and a great Soul, from the Kriya Yoga lineage. (our sincere thanks to Paramahamsa Prajnanananda)
During Yajna Ahuti
[some more info about the route will be added as a bried vid clip]