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Nischaladasa – Great Saint Scholar Of 19th Century

Nischaladasa (1800 – 1864), also written as Nischaladas and Nischala Dasa, was a great scholar of 19th century CE and famous for his work Vichara Sagara. A disciple of Dadu, he was well versed in Vedas, Sanskrit grammar and the six systems of Hindu philosophy. He had his early Advaita training at Kashi or Varanasi. He visited many places in the Indian subcontinent to spread his message and passed away in 1864 CE in a village near Delhi, where he used to live.

Vichara Sagara (Ocean of Contemplation) of Nischaladasa is a brilliant composition written in Hindi in 527 stanzas for easy understanding of those who had little knowledge of Sanskrit and who needed to understand the Advaita texts. This brilliant text was composed in the village of Kihadouli in western Delhi.

In style and content, Vicharasagara of Nischala Dasa is influenced by Panchadasi of Vidyaranya.

Vicharasagara has seven tarnagas (waves or chapters). The first Taranga deals with the unity of jiva and Brahman, which is the basic idea of Advaita Vedanta, and also analyses the four fold requirements of work, namely, adhikari (eligible person), sambandha (relation), vishaya (subject matter) and phala (the result0, besides the means of liberation like sravana, manana and nididhyasana.

The idea of adhikarin (eligibility) to pursue this knowledge is elaborated in the succeeding chapters through stories and dialogues. The seventh chapter is devoted to making clear the characteristics of a brahma jnani (person who is liberated).

This work has been translated into Sanskrit and Tamil and other vernaculars. A tika (ceremony) and a tippana (sub-commentary), written by Pitambaraji, are available on the text.

Nischaladasa has written another dialectical treatise, Vrttiprabhakara, in order to establish the Advaita tenets by the refutation of other schools. He seems to have written this text in Hindi at the request of King Ramsingh of Bundi state. He also wrote one more Advaita text called Yuktiprakasha.