A glimpse in the life of Srila Kavi Karnapura

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Sivananda Sena, a great devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, had two sons, Caitanya Dasa and Sri Rama Dasa. During one of his travels to visit Mahaprabhu in Jagannatha Puri, while Sivananda’s wife was pregnant of his third child, the Lord asked to name the newborn Paramananda Dasa. Jockingly he said, “his name will also be Puri Dasa”.

“The baby was already in his wife’s womb and was born after Sivananda returned home. He named the child Paramananda Das in accordance with the Lord’s wishes, and the Lord jokingly called him Puri Dasa[1].”


Kavi Karnapura was born in 1527 in the town of Kaichana-palli[2].

None of his family was a common soul. Kavi Karnapura himself identifies his parents in his own Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika (#176):

pura vrindavane vira dati sarvash ca gopikah

ninaya krishna-nikariam sedanim janako mama

vraje bindumati yasid adya sa janani mama

 “The two gopis Vira Devi and Duti Devi, who acted as messengers arranging the gopis’ meetings with Lord Krishna, combined to appear as my father (Sivananda Sena). The Vraja Gopi Bindumati appeared as my mother.”


Kavi Karnapura’s older brothers, Caitanya Das and Rama Das, were also devotees of Lord Sri Caitanya.

“Sivananda Sena’s entire family was blessed with the Lord’s unlimited mercy. The Lord Himself told His other associates just how dear this family was to Him when He ordered that as long as Sivananda and his family stayed in Puri, they should receive His remnants[3].”


The next year, when Sivananda Sena brought the baby to Mahaprabhu, induced his infant son to offer dandavats to the Lord. Suddenly, in great ecstasy, the baby grabbed Gauranga’s foot and sucked the Lord’s lotus petal toe. Voicing their approval, the assembled devotees chanted “Hari! Hari!”


Another year, when Sivananda and his wife came in Puri with Puri Das, who at that time was seven years old, for the Rathayatra and to see the Lord. The child paid obeisances to Mahaprabhu, and the Lord said to him,

“Say Krishna, say Krishna!”

Though the Lord asked him to chant repeatedly, the boy refused to utter the Holy Name. His embarrassed father also tried to get him to chant, but the child was steadfast in his refusal.

Mahaprabhu Himself was amazed and said,

“I have made everyone in the universe, even the non-moving beings, chant the names of Krishna, but have been unable to make this little child do so. What on earth could be the reason?

Svarupa Damodara suggested:

“You have instructed him in Krishna’s name. Because it is forbidden to repeat one’s guru-given mantra aloud, he will not reveal it publicly and will only chant it mentally. I would guess that this is what he is thinking.”

The Lord was happy to see that such a young boy was aware of this scriptural injunction.

In his Anubhashya, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has explained:

“The mantra which one has received from the guru is not to be revealed to anyone else, otherwise it will lose its potency. We have seen this previously from the story about Gadadhara Pandita.”

This is why Puri Das would not repeat the mantra which had been given to him by Mahaprabhu himself.

But Mahaprabhu wanted to hear Puri Dasa’s voice, so He asked him to recite a verse. Then the seven years old child recited the following verse of his own composition:

sravasoh kuvalayam aksnor

anjanam uraso mahendra-mani-dama


mandanam akhilam harir jayati

“All glories to Hari, the ornament for all the beauties of Vrindavana, a blue lotus for their ears, black collyrium for their eyes, and a necklace of blue sapphires to decorate their breast[4].”

All those who were present were charmed by the lovely verse. A small boy of seven who had barely commenced his education was yet able to recite a verse of such quality! The gods like Brahma and Shiva are unable to understand Mahaprabhu’s mercy, what to speak of the ordinary jiva!

Upon hearing the wonderful poetry that the child was capable of composing[5], Sri Svarupa Damodara Gosvami gave him the title Kavi Karnapura[6].


Though Kavi Karnapura received the mantra of Krishna’s name from Caitanya Mahaprabhu, which can be considered as an initiation, he nevertheless followed the social custom of taking initiation from Srinatha Chakravarti, who is a branch of Advaita Acarya on the Caitanya tree.

In the introduction to his Ananda-vrindavana-campu, Karnapura pays his obeisances to Srinatha Chakravarti.

Some people say that Shrinatha Chakravarti’s Deities are still being worshiped in Kumarahatta or Kanchariaparia.


In another introductory verse to that work, he has glorified Caitanya Mahaprabhu as his family Deity, saying that Mahaprabhu adopted Sivananda Sena’s entire family as His own.


Sri Kavi Karnapura is considered a branch of the transcendental tree of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.


Karnapura did not give his own identity in Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika, but in the Vaishnavacara-darpana it is written:

“Kavi Karnapura was Gunachuda Sakhi in Vraja. He is a branch of Caitanya who lived in Kachariaparia. He accumulated spiritual power from Mahaprabhu when he placed the Lord’s big toe in his mouth and was given the name Puri Das.”


Kavi Karnapura, was dear to the Lord and became a writer of books in which he revealed the Lord’s blessings on Sanatana Goswami[7].




This is a section of the book “Gaura Ganoddesa Dipika”.

To buy the complete book, click above




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