The religion of Aryans, known
as Sanatana Dharma, originated in the vedas & spread to
Orissa, which, in due course of time came to be held in high
reverence as the land of the Gods or Deva Bhumi. In around
5th century BC, the Nandas stabilized brahminic settlements
in the coastal region of the State.
The thirteenth Ashokan edict
shows that before the invasion of Kalinga by Ashoka &
his conversion to Buddhism, Brahminism had spread swiftly
to Orissa. It continued to hold its power till the reign of
Kharvela who was a Jain king & had propagated that religion
as is seen from the Hatigumpha inscription.
These ancient religions of
Orissa, Hinduism, Buddhism & Jainism seems to have co-existed
peacefully with varying fortunes. It is interesting to know
that the royal ceremonies of Ashoka & Kharvela were performed
according to Vedic rites although there were Buddhist &
The revival of Vedic religion
after the waning of Buddhism & Jainism brought in wide
assimilative powers for it and as a result Bhagavala, Bagavata,
Shaiva, Sakata, Soura religious sects. All unfolded Hinduism
& the deities like Vasudeva, Narayana, Shiva, Shakti Surya
were included in its pantheon.
Brahminism seems to have flourished
in Orissa under the Maratha rulers between the 4th & 5th
century AD. The Sailodbhava rukers made arrangements for the
study of Vedic wisdom & an Aswamedha sacrifice was performed
by Madhav Varman. In the time of Keshari rulers, Shaivism
gained importance. Yajati Keshari, to preserve the sancity
& purity of Brahminism, brought Aryan Brahmins from Kanauj
& settled then in Jajpur, which became a famous site for
the performance of ancestral funeral rites.