Hindi Biography of Dadu Dayal

Hindi Biography of Dadu Dayal

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Hindi Biography of Dadu Dayal
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During the past few decades some lengthy studies have been devoted to Dadu and the Dadupanth. When writing a biography of Dadu, authors often give a list of sources without apparently having consulted the works they mention, with the result that most literature on the subject now available is to a great extent merely the result of copying from earlier writers. Often, a mass of details about Dadu is given without a clear distinction being made between early documents and later information arising from tradition. In most cases the composition of an original work was followed by a wave of sectarian historians who indulged in laudatory embellishments to the point of the most fanciful miracle mongering.

A critical edition of the Hindi Biography of Dadu, by Jan Gopal (ca. 1620 AD) was urgently needed because it shows that within one generation after its redaction the original version was greatly expanded and delicate issues in it were 'explained'. Both versions are given here, with an English translation and commentary.

Dr. Winand M. Callewaert holds degrees in Hindi, Sanskrit, Philosophy and History from Ranchi, Banaras, Pune and Leuven. After long periods of study and research in India and frequent study-tours he has now focused his attention on Middle-Hindi Bhakti Literature in western India. Besides numerous research articles he has published books on Rajab, Dadu and Namdev and on the Bhagavad Gita.


A Place changes because you change. In the sixties, when I first went to Jaipur I found a hot town 'where a snake crawls through the sand and leaves no trace behind, like an ascetic passing through this world, Rajab. Later it became an overcrowded, ever expanding place, with quiet corners full of manuscripts. It was my base for trips into Rajasthan, where you should love rough going if you love manuscripts. But the days and nights in buses and monasteries were very rewarding and they made the present edition possible. Rajasthan became part of my life, not just because I spent a good deal of time working on the documents copied there. It gave me friends and when everything is said and published that is the most rewarding and lasting result of my scholarly lila.

This book owes a lot to the many people who helped me. Svami Mangaldas, at whose Samadhi in Kucaman my eyes fill with tears; Svami Narayandas, the prolific writer who spent his last years in Ajmer; the staff of the Dadu Mahavidyalay and Svami Hariramji of Naraina; Mr. A.S. Das and Mr. G.N. Bahura, of the City Palace, Jaipur; Prof. H. Maheshvari, of Jaipur and Dr. B.M. Javaliya, of Udaipur; Mr. and Mrs. U.C. Jain who were extremely helpful when our son was born in Jaipur.

I would also like to thank Dr. Mukund Lath for his very valuable suggestions for the translation, P. Holden, of Canberra for her revision of the English and Bart Op de Beeck for his assistance in the Production. And

let an editor give what there is,
and let the commentator say
what might be and what ought to be.




1 The Janma Lila 11
Sectarian sources of Dadu's life
Non-sectarian and Western sources
Manuscripts of the Dadu Janma Lila
Intentional variants
Additions and Omissions
Names for God
Dadu's disciples
2 English translation 33
3 Hindi Text 89
4 Concordance 127
Bibliography 177

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