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Dayaram Life History – Medieval Gujarati Poet

Dayaram, famous medieval, Gujarati poet, was born in Sathodaranagara family in 1777 CE at Chanoda a village on the bank of Narmada River in Gujarat, India. As Narasimha Mehta is remembered for his bhajans and Premanand for his akyanas, so is Dayaram for this garbis.

Dayaram Life History

His father, Prabhu Rama, passed away when Dayaram was ten years old. After the death of his mother, Rajkumvarabai, he came to the village of Dabhai, a cultural center, where he stayed with his maternal uncle. It is here that he learnt music. At the age of thirteen, he came across a well known poet of his same age, Laccharama Bhattji, who later became his guru and gave him Vaishnava Diksha (initiation). Dayaram went on an extensive pilgrimage, i.e, tirtha yatra, especially to places of Krishna Bhakti. He remained unmarried, yet a woman named Ratan Sonarana accompanied him for about three decades.

Krishna Bhakt of Dayaram

Dayaram was the last of the medieval Gujarati poets. His Krishna Bhakti made him extremely popular. Like the prabhatiya of Narasimha, the garbis of Dayaram are famous even today in Gujarat and Gujarati literature. He called himself Krishna Priya – a beloved of Sri Krishna.

Dayaram Literary Works

He wrote many devotional poems and always desired to remain a gopi in Braja. His numerous works are divided by modern scholars into four categories:

  • Works referring to Vallabha Sampradaya (tradition)

  1. Vallabha Parivara
  2. Corasei Vaishnavonum Dhola;
  3. Bhakti posan
  4. Rasika Vallabha and
  5. Sata – Saiya (Hindi)

  • Miscellaneous Works 
  1. Narasimha Mehtani Hundi
  2. Sad rtu varnam
  3. Badas
  4. Dasama lila
  5. Rasa panchadhyayi

  • Akhyanas (Narratives)

  1. Satyabhamakhyana
  2. Vrtrasurakhyana
  3. Ajamila Akhyana
  4. Okhaharana

  • Glarbi – Typical Gujarati Lyrical poems

Dayaram also had several other works in various forms to his credit including traditional and popular short forms like masa (months), tithis (dates) and padas and long forms like akhyanas. An excellent musician, he composed his garbi and padas, whose emotional tones are best brought out when sung aloud, and in several  metrical compositions. He also produced a number of prose works and his literary contribution as a poet in Hindi is well recognized. He wrote in Marathi as well.