Narahari Sarakara Thakura

 

     About four miles west of Katwa, within the Barddhaman district is  Shri Khanda, the birthplace of Narahari Sarakara Thakura. Shri Mukunda Dasa, shri Madhava Dasa and Shri Narahari Dasa were brothers. Shri Mukunda's son was Shri Raghunandana Thakura.

     Shri Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami mentions the devotees of Shri Khanda as a major branch of the Chaitanya tree of Krishna-prema (CC Adi 10:78-79): "The residents of Shri Khanda include Mukunda Dasa, Shri Raghunandana, Narahari Dasa, Chiranjiva, and Sulochana. All of them together form a major branch of the Shri Chaitanya tree.  As such they were an abode of the Lord's mercy. This branch produced the fruits and flowers of bhakti in profusion."

     Shri Narahari Thakura was connected with many of Mahaprabhu's pastimes. Narahari Chakravarti Thakura writes in Bhakti Ratnakara: "Shri Narahari Thakura's glories are wonderful. In Vrindavana he was Madhumati, and his excellences are boundless."  Shri Lochan Dasa Thakura was a dear disciple of Narahari Sarakara Thakura. In his Chaitanya Mangala he describes his gurudeva as follows: "Shri Narahari Dasa is my Lord.  He has taught me transcendental knowledge, and I am under his influence in many other ways.  His abundant Krishna-prema saturates his very being; its symptoms are clearly evident in his body.  No one can understand the extent of his devotion and Krishna-prema.  In his former existence in Vrindavana he was known as Madhumati,  a dear gopi friend of Shri Radha who was a storehouse of sweetness. That very sakhi friend of Shri Radha appeared in the pastimes of Shri Gauranga during the age of Kali as Narahari. He was a stores house of Radha-Krishna prema."

     Shri Bhaktivinoda Thakura has mentioned Narahari Sarakara in his Gaura-Aroti song: "narahari adi kori chamara dulaya, sanjaya mukunda vasughosh adi gaya." Shri Narahari Sarakara Thakura was as great a singer as he was a poet. He wrote many poems and songs in connection with the pastimes of Shri Gauranga and Shri Nityananda.  He has written a Sanskrit book of songs called Shri Bhajanamrita. A book of songs called Padakalpataru, describing intense separation from Shri Gauranga has been attributed to Narahari Sarakara Thakura, as have some other books.

     Almost all of the songs of Shri Narahari Sarakara Thakura have been included in Bhakti Ratnakara by Narahari Chakravarti Thakura.  Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to tell just which parts of Bhakti Ratnakara are the songs of Narahari Sarakara being quoted by Narahari Chakravarti, and which parts have been written by Narahari Chakravarti Thakura.  By the same token it is hard to say exactly which songs of Gaura-lila included in Bhakti Ratnakara are written by Narahari Sarakara Thakura.  What complicates this is that both authors bear the same name and often end a song simply by saying "This song was sung by Narahari." This has led to a degree of confusion about the specific authorship of certain parts of the work, although both Naraharis are great devotees and Bhakti Ratnakara is revered as an authorized Vaishnava scripture describing the lives of the great Vaishnava saints.

     Shrila Lochan Dasa Thakura has written "Before the birth of Shri Gauranga many different ragas were written by Narahari which sang of Vraja-rasa."  Before he wrote songs of Gauranga, Narahari Sarakara Thakura composed many songs glorifying Krishna. Shrila Narahari Thakura passed away on the Krishna ekadashi (the eleventh day of the dark moon) in the month of Agrahayana.

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