Sri Locana Das Thakur

Family life

Sri Locana Das Thakur was born in 1523 in Kograma, in the Katwa block of Burdwan district. This village is about ten miles north of Guskara train station. The Thakur’s home is situated near the Ajaya River.

His birth tithi is given by some as the first day of the fortnight of the waxing moon in Paush. He was born in the Raåhéya clan of the physician caste (vaidya). His father’s name was Kamalakara Das, his mother’s Sadanandé. Locana Das studied at his maternal grandfather’s house. He displayed devotion for Mahaprabhu from his childhood.

Locana Das was married at a very young age, according to the customs of that epoque. His in-laws’ household was in the village of Amedpura Kakuöa. However, though he had entered the married station, he was extremely renounced and spent all his time discussing Krishna-katha with other devotees of Gauranga.

Since Locana Das was married at a very early age, his wife at first remained with her parents, but as the time approached when she was to join him, they began to worry because of Locana Das’s indifference to material life. They approached his guru Narahari Sarkara and told him of their disquiet. As a result, Narahari ordered Locana Das to go to his in-laws’ home.

When Locana arrived in their village he was unable to remember where their house was, since it had been so long since he had visited. He asked a young girl in the street for directions, addressing her as “Ma”, or “mother”. When he arrived at his in-laws’ house, he learned that the girl whom he had addressed as his mother was in fact his wife. From that day on, he always looked upon his wife as a mother, worshiping Guru and Gauranga in an attitude of renunciation.

The Chaitanya Mangala

Narahari Sarakara Thakur, Mahaprabhu’s famous associate from Çrékhaëòa, was very affectionate to Locana Das and gave him initiation. Locana Das enthusiastically took up residence with his guru in Çrékhaëòa. His guru taught him the art of kirtan and later ordered him to write Mahaprabhu’s sacred biography. Locana Das took this order seriously and wrote the Chaitanya Mangala, the events of which are based on Murari Gupta’s Chaitanya-carita.

The word mangala means auspicious and this title reflects the fact that hearing Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanya’s divine pastimes is the most auspicious activity for all the living beings. Vrindavan Das Thakur’s biography of the Lord was first named Chaitanya Mangala and was only later known as Chaitanya Bhagavat. Locana Das gives an indication of this in the introductory portion of his book:

I attentively pay my obeisances to Vrindavan Das Thakur; his Bhagavat’s songs have enchanted the entire universe. (CM Sütrakhaëda, 1.35)

Some people believe that Locana Das and Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami gave the name Chaitanya Bhagavat to Vrindavan Das’s book. In the Chaitanya Mangala, Locana Das prays for his guru’s blessings as follows:

Narahari Das Thakur is the proprietor of my life, and out of the hope of attaining his lotus feet, I desire to sing the glories of Gauranga, even though I am the lowest of the low. This is my ambition. (CM Sütrakhaëòa, 1.9)

I offer my reverences to Narahari Das, the ocean of Gauranga’s qualities. Other than him, I have no friend in the three worlds. (Ibid., 1.33)

My lord and master is Narahari Das. I prostrate myself in humility to him. May he fulfill my desires. (Ibid., 1.61)

Locana Das wrote the Chaitanya Mangala in Eastern Bengal’s Païcalé style, completing it in in 1537 AD. There is a legend that he wrote the book while sitting on a stone under a flower tree. In his new Bengali dictionary, Ashutosh Deb has underlined Locana Das’s contribution by stating that he was the first to write Bengali poetry using moric metres as well as being one of the first historical writers in Bengali. The original manuscript of the Chaitanya Mangala is said to be found in the personal library of Praëakåsëa Chakravarti of Kandaåa near the the Guskara train station.

Other titles attributed to Locana Dâsa are Prarthana, Durlabha-sara, Dhamalé, and Bengali verse translations of Ramananda’s Jagannath-vallabha-naöaka and the Rasa-païcadhyaya.

According to the Bhakti-ratnakara, Locana Das was present at Narahari Sarakara Thakur’s disappearance festival and greeted guests by giving them sandalwood and garlands.

Excerpted from “Sri Chaitanya: HisLife & Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj
Available here from Mandala Publishing

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