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Songs of Sri Narahari Cakravarti Thakur
Narahari Cakravarti, who was also known as Ghanasyama das, is most famous for his wonderful book Bhakti-ratnakara, which tells of the lives of the great devotees after the disappearance of Lord Caitanya.
He appeared in late 17th century in a brahmana family in Bengal. His father, Jagannatha Vipra, was a disciple of Visvanath Cakravarti Thakur and Narahari took initiation from Nrsimha Cakravarti, who was in a disciplic succession from Srinivasa Acarya. From his very youth, he observed the vow of celibacy. He was very meek and humble. And although he presented himself as unqualified to serve the Lord, in truth he was a master of the arts of dancing, singing and playing musical instruments.
Narahari was very well-versed in the Vaisnava literature, and being personally appointed by the Deity, he became Radha-Govindaji’s cook in Vrindavan. He became known as expert cook-priest. Fulfilling the desire of his father, Narahari spent most of his life in the humble service of Lord Govindaji. He ground sandalwood pulp, collected fire wood, cleaned the temple courtyard, picked tulasi leaves, fanned Govindaji from outside by pulling a rope. He kept himself in the background, but he performed the service of ten men. He passed his days deeply absorbed in the devotional service of the Lord, and he would always show deep respect to whoever he met.
He wrote many wonderful books about the Goswamis and other acaryas like Narottama-vilasa, Bhakti Ratnakara, Srinivasa-carita, Gaura-caritra-samudra.
By reading or singing these songs anyone can become absorbed in the pastimes of Lord Caitanya, for these songs give one a vivid impression of just what it was like to be present at the time of Lord’s performing sankirtan and other pastimes. Although not personally present during the advent of Lord Caitanya, Narahari sings as if he were actually there and thus one must conclude that in his devotional meditation he actually entered into the pastimes of the Lord.
Translated by the expert poet Kusakratha das and edited by equally expert Purnaprajna das.
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