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Krishna Dasa Kaviraja Goswami (1496 -? CE) was the author of the Chaitanya Charitamrita, a hagiography on the life of the mystic and saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1533), who is considered by the Gaudiya Vaishnava school of Hinduism to be an incarnation of Radha and Krishna combined.
There is scant information about the life of Krishna Dasa Kaviraja Goswami. Krishna Dasa was born in 1496 CE in a family of physicians in the village of Jhamatpur,near Salar, within the district of Bardhaman, Bengal. His father was called Bhagiratha, and his mother was named Sunanda. He also had a younger brother named Shyamananda Dasa. Both his parents died when he was young, thus he and his brother were raised by relatives.
Krishna Dasa relates in his Chaitanya Charitamrita that, once his brother argued with a prominent Vaishnava devotee Minaketana Ramadasa over the ontological positions of Chaitanya and Nityananda (Chaitanya’s lifelong companion) and belittled the position of Nityananda. Krishna Dasa considered this to be an unpardonable offence and rejected his brother forthwith.
After receiving instructions in a vision from Nityananda, Krishna Dasa left Bengal and travelled to Vrindavana where he took initiation from Raghunatha Dasa Goswami (1494–1586 CE), one of the direct followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
Chaitanya Charitamrita Written
At an advanced age and in poor health Krishna Dasa commenced work on his magnum-opus the Chaitanya Charitamrita after being repeatedly requested by the devotees in Vrindavana who had never met Chaitanya and who were eager for details. He vividly describes in the text itself: “I have now become too old and disturbed by invalidity. While writing, my hands tremble. I cannot remember anything, nor can I see or hear properly. Still I write, and this is a great wonder.”
In composing his Charitamrita, Krishna Dasa used the diaries of Murari Gupta and Swarupa Damodara, both of whom were intimate associates of Chaitanya. Krishna Dasa was given a great deal of information by his guru, Raghunatha Dasa also, who had served Swarupa Damodara when the latter was Chaitanya's personal secretary.
Due to its amount of detail on the life of Chaitanya and his precepts, the Chaitanya-charitamrita became the definitive biography of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Krishna Dasa Kaviraja's Literary Achievements
Krishna Dasa Kaviraja wrote some short prayers in Sanskrit as well as two other major works in addition to the Chaitanya Charitamrita:
1) Chaitanya Charitamrita
The most definitive biography of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
2) Sri Govinda-lilamrita
Govinda-lilamrita is a work explaining the daily pastimes of Krishna and his associates in Vrindavana.
3) Saranga-rangada kangada tika
This is a commentary on the Krishna-karnamrita of Bilvamangala Thakura.
- Tirtha, Swami B.B., Sri Caitanya and His Associates, 2001, Mandala Publishing, San Francisco, ISBN 1-886069-28-X.
- Gaudiya Vaisnava Abhidhana (Bengali), Compiled by Haridasa Dasa, Haribol Kutir, Navadvipa, W.Bengal, 1957.
- Bhakti-ratnakara (Bengali), Narahari Chakravarti, Pub. By Gaudiya Mission, Kolkata, 1986.