Srila Narottama Das Thakur


On the day of shukla-panchami, in the month of Magha, Narottama Dasa Thakura was born in the town of Gopalpura, Rajsahi district of Bangladesh in the year 1466. His father was king Krishnananda Datta and his mother Sri Narayani devi. The brahmanas prophesied that the boy was a highly perfected soul.

As Narottama’s schooling went on, everyone was astonished at his amazing intelligence.  In a short while he was an expert in many different scriptures.  But gradually he saw as useless any knowledge which did not promote hari-bhajan.

Thinking only of how to get the mercy of Shri Gaura-Nityananda, he began to pray very earnestly for guidance from them.  Once when his father was away, Narottama secretly left his mother and began his journey to Vrindavana and started serving Lokanatha Maharaj who soon initiated him as his disciple.

He used to eat by practicing madhukari, and would study the scriptures under the guidance of Shri Jiva Goswami.  Srinivas Acharya was his dear friend. At that time Shyamananda Prabhu arrived from Gauda-Desh. Jiva Goswami asked them to preach the message of Sriman Mahaprabhu far and wide.

Narottama went to Navadvipa to the house of Jagannatha Mishra and had darshan of the lotus feet of Shuklambhara Brahmachari. Later on he went to the place where the Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati meet at a village called Saptagram.

Nityananda Prabhu had a house in Kharadaha gram where his two energies, Shri Vasudha and Jahnavi Devi lived.  Shri Parameshvara das Thakura took Narottama inside and brought him to the lotus feet of Shri Jahnavi Mata and Shri Vasudha.  Having been introduced to Narottama, who they could understand had received the mercy of Lokanatha and Jiva Goswami; they bestowed their mercy upon him.  He then set out for Jagannatha Puri.

Fifty years after the disappearance of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Narottama organized annual festivals in Bengal, which served to keep the Gaudiya philosophy unified. 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 Charana Padma are still sung in Gaudiya Math and ISKCON temples on a regular basis.

Among the writings of Narottama, Prarthana and Premabhaktichandrika (The Moon rays of Loving Devotion) are the most well-known. Narottama translated Smaranamangala into Bengali verse. In eleven slokas this work describes the pastimes of Radha and Krishna in eight parts of the day.

Srila Narottama Das Thakura, who was absorbed in chanting the holy name in sankirtana, merged into the waters of the Ganges and vanished from worldly view on the fifth day of the dark fortnight in the month of Kartika (Oct.-Nov.) The exact year of this event is unknown but some say that it was around 1572. His disappearance day is celebrated on the Krishna Panchami day of the month of Kartika.