Hruṁ Hare Rāma Kṛṣṇa Hruṁ
The Science of Light Course evolved from classes for the Vyasa SJC study circle which is based on the Jyotish teachings coming from the lineage of Sri Achyuta Dasa of Odisha. Shri Achyutānanda Das was a 16th century poet seer and Vaisnava saint from Odisha, India. He was considered to have the power to see the past, present and future. He was a prolific author, and one of the group of five (Panchasakhaa), that led a revolution in spirituality in Orissa by translatingSanskrit texts into the Oriya language for common people.
Mahapurusha Achyutananda was the most prolific writer of the Panchasakhas and wrote numerous books, and Prophecies. He is known as the Mahapurusha (a Great Person) for his vast knowledge on many subjects such as spirituality, Yoga, rituals, Buddhist and Vaisnava Tantra,Ayurveda, and other various science and social regulations.
Mahapurusha Achyutananda was born in Tilakona, Orissa in 1510 on Magha Sukla Ekadasi (January 10, 1510). His childless parents had prayed to Lord Jagannath and then one night his father had a vision that Garuda (the Eagle of Visnu) gave him a child.
Achyutananda was known as a sad child until he met his guru, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. His life changed when the guru whispered Mahamantra in his ear. He became one of the panchasakha (the five friends) of Chaitanya. The five friends are known as Achyutananda Dasa, Ananta Dasa, Yasovanta Dasa, Jagannatha Dasa, and Balarama Das. These five friends are said to incarnate whenever Krsna takes incarnation. Achyutananda was the most prolific writers among the panchasakha. His books are still available in the ancient Oriya language, which is a mix of Sanskrit and modern Oriya.
Mahapurusha Achyutananda lived to be 121 years of age and when he left this plane he left behind copper, silver and gold plates (potti) to guide his students. The teachings of Shri Achyutananda Das have been passed down to us through the Rath family.
The Rath family trace their lineage to the Somanath Temple in Gujarat where they were Atri Brahmins (carrying the 5th Mandala of the Rgveda). After the Muslim destruction of the temple in 1296, the family migrated to Mithila. After which the Universities were also destroyed by Muslim invasions. In the 1600’s the Gajapati (king) of Puri invited the family to establish themselves in the Bira Balabhadrapur Sasan village (outside of Puri). Here there is a small Somanath temple on the Bhargavi river where the family traditions of Somanath continue. When the Rath family came to Puri they took on the spiritual tradition and practices of Mahapurusha Achyutananda who was bringing about a renaissance of Hindu culture during that time.
Jagannath Rath (Sanjay’s Grandfather) was born in a time when Jyotisha was still supported by the Orissi Mahārājas. He was a royal astrologer (Rāja Jyotishi) who had learnt from his grandfather. The royal support of the Vedic sciences led to a high level of quality, as seen in other Vedic masters like T. Krisnamacharya who was supported by the Maharaja of Mysore. Orissa, with its great Sun temple at Konarak, has been famous for its astrologers and always supported the Science of astrology. Jagannath Rath was given the title of a Jyotish Ratna in Orrisa.
Kasinath Rath held the family tradition from Jagannath Rath. He would hold traditional informal classes teaching Jyotisha. Sanjay spent much of his childhood learning from his uncle and was known as one of the best students. Together, Kashinath and Jagannath Rath ensured that the tradition of Jyotish was passed to Sanjay Rath as a child.