Achyutananda Das (or Achutananda) was a 16th-century poet seer and Vaisnava saint from Orissa, 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, that led a revolution in spirituality in Orissa by translating Sanskrit texts into the Oriya language for common people.
He was one of the famous five friends of spirituality and literature Panchasakha, who transcribed ancient Hindu Sanskrit texts into Oriya, for the people of Udra Desha (Orissa). Acyutanandawas part of the famous Panchasakha (five friends ), who lived between 1450 to 1550 CE. The contemporaneous five saints - Acyutananda Das, Ananta Das, Jasovanta Das, Jagannatha Das, and Balarama Das, shaped Vaisnava philosophy, spiritualism and literature of Orissa.
Shri Achyutananda Das was the most prolific writer of the Panchasakhas and wrote numerous books, many of which could be loosely translated as the Book of Prophecies. He is known as the Mahapurusha (a Great Person) for his vast knowledge on many subjects such as spirituality, Yoga, rituals, Buddhist Tantra, Ayurveda (science of life, longevity and medicine) and other various science and social regulations.
As Acyutananda became a popular figure, much of his life began to become legend. He is famous for being one of the few who wrote about the social situation of his time and this is a scholarly reason many study his writings. His poetry was often cryptic about himself, and written in code or analogies.
Two important factors set the Panchasakhas apart from other Indian Hindu Saints. They were the first to take the Hindu Sanskrit texts into the reach of the common people, by translating them into the local language (Oriya). The Panchasakhas were against the caste system, they considered all beings as one. They translated the Sanskrit Classics into local language, Oriya. Anyone could become a Vaisnava, even Muslims.
Achyutananda (and the other four saints) believed in a concept of God (Visnu) as Sunya (emptiness, void, zero) called Shunya Purusha and/or Shunya Brahman. This shunya signifies a transcendental principle that eludes the conceptual nexus applied to human thinking as described in the Upanishads. His culminating work is called the Shunya Samhita where he discusses this philosophy in depth. His writings are filled with mantras and esoteric concepts about sounds and their effects on consciousness.