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Sri Narahari Sarakara Thakura

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

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

Sri Narahari Sarakara Thakura was connected with many of Mahaprabhu's pastimes. Narahari Chakravarti Thakura writes in Bhakti Ratnakara: "Sri Narahari Thakura's glories are wonderful. In Vrindavana he was Madhumati, and his excellences are boundless."

Sri Locana Dasa Thakura was a dear disciple of Narahari Sarakara Thakura. In his Caitanya Mangala he describes his gurudeva as follows: "Sri 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 Sri Radha who was a storehouse of sweetness. That very sakhi friend of Sri Radha appeared in the pastimes of Sri Gauranga during the age of Kali as Narahari. He was a stores house of Radha-Krishna prema."

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has mentioned Narahari Sarakara in his Gaura-Aroti song:

narahari adi kori chamara dulaya,
sanjaya mukunda vasughosh adi gaya

Sri 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 Sri Gauranga and Sri Nityananda. He has written a Sanskrit book of songs called Sri Bhajanamrita. A book of songs called Padakalpataru, describing intense separation from Sri Gauranga has been attributed to Narahari Sarakara Thakura, as have some other books.

Almost all of the songs of Sri 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.

Srila Locana Dasa Thakura has written "Before the birth of Sri 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. Srila Narahari Sarakara Thakura passed away on the Krishna ekadashi (the eleventh day of the dark moon) in the month of Agrahayana.


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