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Ananya Ali – Short Biography – Medieval Poet Of Radha Vallabha Sect

Ananya Ali is a medieval poet of Radha Vallabh sect. Ananya Ali is famous for the prose recordings of his thirteen dreams of religious significance. Born around 1683 CE into a household that followed a lifestyle of devotional surrender, his childhood influences proved so powerful that he renounced the regular life of householder at the age of twenty and went to live in Vrindavan, a town held holy by the devotees of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Before he accepted monastic order, his name was Bhagavandas. The Radha Vallabha sect that he joined values the love aspect of Bhagavan Sri Krishna as opposed to the more obvious powers of omnipotence and omniscience. In consonance with the belief that the love-play of Sri Krishna and Radha is in itself the highest perceptible truth, the devotees of this sect often assume female identities as friends of Radha and live as if they are close friends or helpers of Radha, so that they may observe the permanent meetings and partings of the joint godhead. They believe that Vrindavan is the most sacred place to be in. According to them, there are only four truths – Sri Krishna, Radha, Vrindavan and the self or individual soul as a friend of Radha. The goal of a devotee is to be a regular and constant observer of the perennial love-play of Sri Krishna and Radha in Vrindavan. Ananya Ali wrote of his devotional experiences in consonance with these beliefs. About eighty works are credited to him.

He recorded thirteen dreams, Lilasvapna Prakasha Shuddhi Vat, in a language and style that indicate that he belonged to the Bundelkhand region in Central India. He avers in one of these recordings that Radha had appeared to him in his dream and given him this new name, Ananya Ali. His prose works are highly significant in view of the fact that little literary prose was written in his times. He wrote in the varta style of Braj Bhasha prose.

Coming from a family of traders, he was adept at choosing metaphors from common business transactions and daily life situations that enriched his works.

Out of the 6,000 verses that are part of his profuse outpourings of the mystical beatitude he experienced, some obviously illustrate the sectarian beliefs in sections like Sidhanta Nitya Vihara, Vividh Lila Varnan and Vrindavan Varnan. Other compositions deal with seasonal escapades of the couple (Ritu Varnan), ecstatic descriptions of the beauty of the couple (Radha Krishna Rupa Varnan, Nakh-Shikha Varnan), and other different escapades of the lovers (Vividh Lila).