Narottama Dasa

Narottama Dasa(1466(?)–?), also known as Narottama Dasa Thakura and Thakura Mahasaya is a Gaudiya Vaishnava saint who was responsible for spreading Vaishnava bhakti throughout Orissa in and outside of Bengal in India. Narottama dasa was the son of King Krishnananda Datta and Narayani Devi who resided in Gopalpur Pargana of the Rajsahi district of Bangladesh. According to some, after the death of his father he entrusted his royal duties to the eldest paternal uncle's son and left for Vrindavan.

His life is described in Premavilasa. In Vrindavan Narottama was received by Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami. After Narottama was initiated by Lokanatha Gosvami who in turn instructed him to go and study from Jiva Goswami. He traveled to Bengal with other sadhus (holy men) to distribute devotional writings to the general public.

Fifty years after the disappearance of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Narottama organized annual festivals in Bengal, which served to keep the Gaudiya philosophy unified. The significant meeting took place in Kheturi where the Gaudiya Vaishnava Theology of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's sect was defined. The exact year of this event is unknown but some say that it was around 1572.

Narottama's writings

Narottama Dasa is best known for his devotional poetry wherein he describes emotionally intense feelings towards Radha and Krishna. His prayers Sri Rupa Manjari Pada and Sri Guru Carana Padma are still sung in within both Gaudiya Math and ISKCON temples on a regular basis.

Among the writings of Narottama, Prarthana and Premabhakticandrika (The Moonrays of Loving Devotion) are the most well-known. The brief write-up titled Hatapaltana is also attributed to Narottama but the contents do not seem to be in harmony with historical events and thus some believe that it is a fake work. Narottama did translate Smaranamangala into Bengali verse. In eleven slokas this work describes the pastimes of Radha and Krishna in eight parts of the day.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had often cited the prayers of Narottama, as many of Gaudiya Vaishnava acharyas did: "The prayers of Narottama dasa Thakura," he said. "This sound is above the material platform. It is directly from the spiritual platform. And there is no need of understanding the language. It is just like a thunderburst. Everyone can hear the sound of thunder-there is no misunderstanding. Similarly, these songs are above the material platform, and they crack like thunder within your heart.


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