World  Spiritual  Heritage

Life and teaching of Dadu


Dadu : Biography

Dadu Dayal was a saint from Rajasthan in northern India. "Dadu" means brother, and "Dayal" means "the compassionate one". He lived in the second half of the sixteenth century (1544-1603). His songs are in a Hindi dialect known as Braj Bhasa, being a mixture of Hindi and Rajasthani.

Like the earlier saint Kabir, Dadu came from one of the many low artisan castes that had converted to Islam. He lived in the Jaipur region of Rajasthan, most probably as a pinjari, a cotton carder. He married and had a family of two sons and two daughters.

He gathered around himself a group of followers, which became known as the Dadu-panth. This organization has continued in Rajasthan to the present-day, and has been a major source of early manuscripts containing songs by the North Indian saints.

Dad himself did not write down any of his compositions. These were recorded by his disciple Rajjab. Another disciple, Janagopal, wrote the earliest biography.

Dadu clearly experienced the bliss of Sahaja, and alludes to it in his songs, some of which are presented in translation in the linked pages.

Surviving songs do not record the name of Dadu's guru, but it is possible that he was given realisation by one of Kabir's sons. Certainly much of the imagery used in his songs is similar to that used by Kabir, and similar also to that used by the earlier Sahajiya Buddhists and Nath yogis.

Source : John Noyce, Melbourne, Australia

Dadu : Bibliography

Dadu and the Dadu-panth: the sources
In: The Sants: studies in a devotional tradition of India. Edited by K.Schomer & W.H.McLeod (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987):181-189

Winand M.CALLEWAERT (ed)
The Hindi biography of Dadu Dayal (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1988)

A rosary from the Saints of Rajasthan (Jodhpur: Laxmi Devi Vyas, 1982)

Daniel GOLD
The Dadu-panth: a religious order in its Rajasthan context
In: The idea of Rajasthan. Vol.2: institutions. Edited by K.Schomer et al (Manohar: Anerican Institute of Indian Studies, 1994):242-264

Obscure religious cults (Calcutta: Mukhopadhyay, 1969. 3rd ed) esp. pp362-363

History of Hindi language and literature (Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1978) esp. pp95-99

Shahabuddin IRAQI
Historical and religious dimensions of Dadupanthi sources
Islamic Culture (Hyderabad) 1997;71(3):37-66

Praise to a formless God: Nirguni texts from North India (Albany: SUNY Press, 1996)

A sixteenth-century Indian mystic (London: Lutterworth Press, 1947)

The doha as a vehicle of sant teachings
In: The Sants (see above)

Social life and concepts in medieval Hindi bhakti poetry (Delhi: Chandrayan, 1983)

Extract and translation of one of the Granthas, or sacred books, of the Dadu-panthi sect
Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 1837;v6:481-487,751-756

Crossing the ocean of existence: Braj Bhasa religious poetry from Rajasthan: a reader (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1983)

Dadu : Links