(Last Updated on : 20-06-2019)
During medieval period, Vaisnava literature
was dealing with a new genre, which was mainly associated with biography. In this genre, poetical works about the lives of historical personalities were composed. The first biographical book named Chaitanya
Charita was composed in Sanskrit
by Murari Gupta, who was Chaitanyadev's contemporary. Below the biographical works of Vaishnava literature
in medieval period has been discussed below in brief.
Murari Guptas Chaitanya Charita
Murari Guptas Chaitanya Charita was in the form of a diary with a mixture of prose and poetry
. Hence, this is also known as Murari Gupter Kadcha. It contains several important events in the life of Chaitanyadev
, beginning with his birth and ending with his death. Murari Gupta depicted Chaitanyadev as the personification of Radh
a and Krishna
, united together in love.
Brindaban Dass Chaitanyabhagavata
Chaitanyabhagavata was the first poetical biography written in Bengali language
. It was composed by Brindaban Das after 15 years of Chaitanyadevs death. Brindaban Das depicted Chaitanyadev as the incarnation of Krishna.
Lochan Das's Chaitanya Mangal
Lochan Dass Chaitanya Mangal was the second biography of Chaitanyadev. This is considered to be the best of these three poetical biographies.
Krishnadasa Kavirajas Chaitanyacharitamrita
Among other poetical biographies, Krishnadasa Kavirajas biography of Chaitanyadev named Chaitanyacharitamrita (1612) was one of the most important ones. Krishnadasa was a disciple of Raghunath Das
, an ascetic of Brindaban. Krishnadasa's poem was popular because, though its main theme was the life of Chaitanyadev, it also contained reflections on the philosophy
of Vaisnavism and its rites, contemporary history
and traditions. Krishnadasa Kaviraja depicted Chaitanyadev as the personification of the spiritual relationship between Radha and Krishna
Biographies of Advaita Acharya
was the oldest companion of Chaitanyadev. During medieval period, one biography on Sanskrit and four in Bengali were also composed about his life. The Sanskrit book Balyalilasutra was composed by Harakrishna Das, which deals with Advaita Achryas childhood life. The first book in Bengali was written by Ishan Nagar; second book (Advaitamangal) was composed by Haricharan Das; third book with the same title was written by Shyamdas, the manuscript of which is not longer found. The fourth book named Advaitabilas was done by Narahari Das in 18th century. These books provide many references about the associations of Advaita Acharya with Chaitanyadev.
Miscellaneous Writings in Medieval Period
Along with poetical biographies several plays and essays were also composed during medieval period on Vaishnava
themes. Kavikaranpur wrote a Sanskrit play named Chaitanyachandroday, which was based on the story of Chaitanyadev. Later, it was translated into Bengali with the title of Chaitanyachandrodayakaumudi. This ten-act play emphasizes the ascetic side of Chaitanyadev's life and his devotion to Krishna. Another play in Sanskrit named Jagannathavallabhanatakam was written on the life of Chaitanyadev by Ramananda Roy. The writers were also inspired by the folk
legends and Puranas
and implied them in their works. Among essays Nityananda
's Premvilas, Yadunandan's Karnananda, Manohar Das's Anuragavallari and Akinchan Das's Bibartavilas are the most popular ones. These are all about devotional rites along with literary importance.