Krupasiddha Matta

Balarama Dasa
Statue of Balarama Dasa at Erabanga, his native place
Statue of Balarama Dasa at Erabanga, his native place
Native name
ବଳରାମ ଦାସ
Bornc. 1472
Diedc. 1556
OccupationPoet, Saint
GenreMythology, philosophy, yoga
Odissi music
Notable worksJagamohana Ramayana, Lakshmi Purana

Balarama Dasa[1][2] (alternatively spelled Balaram Das; Odia: ବଳରାମ ଦାସ, romanized: Baḷarāma Dāsa, Odia: [bɔl̪ɔraːmɔ d̪aːsɔ] ; c. 1474-1522) was an Odia poet and litterateur. He was one of the 5 great poets in Odia literature, the Panchasakha named Sri Ananta Dasa, Sri Jagannatha Dasa, Sri Jasobanta Dasa and Sri Achyutananda Dasa during the Bhakti age of literature. He was the eldest of the Pancha sakha. He wrote the Jagamohana Ramayana also known as Dandi Ramayana.[3][4]

Personal life

Not much is known about his early life. From his own writings it is known that he was the son of Somanatha Mahapatra and Jamuna Debi who belonged to Karana community.[5] Somanatha was a minister of Gajapati Prataparudra Deva's court and originally belonged to the village of Erabanga in Puri district.[6] He was educated and was well versed in Sanskrit. Balarama naturally grew to be proficient in both Odia and Sanskrit.[7] He became a devotee of Jagannatha. In his Middle Ages he came in contact with Chaitanya.[8] It is speculated that he died while on a pilgrimage to Puri in Begunia village near Konark. There is a memorial for him near this village.[9]

Literary works

Jagannatha triad worshipped by the poet, Erabanga, Odisha

Dasa translated the Ramayana to Odia. It is also known as Jagamohana Ramayana or Dandi Ramayana. More than a translation, the work is a transcreation, as it deviates in many ways from the original. In some parts he goes against the original text and in some parts follows the original text closely and yet in some other parts he creates entirely new narratives.[4][10]

He also broke new grounds by translating the Bhagabat Gita into Odia. Before this the philosophical and theological texts were not translated into Odia. Even in Odia Mahabharata by Sarala Dasa, the portion containing Bhagabata Gita was omitted by the author. Balarama Dasa was subsequently persecuted by the priestly class for his translation of Bhagabata Gita.[4] His other works are as below.[8][3][11]


  1. ^ Satpathy, Sumanyu; Nayak, Jatindra K. (2015). ""Mad" Balarama Dasa and His "Rāmāyana"". Indian Literature. 59 (3 (287)): 10–12. ISSN 0019-5804. JSTOR 44478655.
  2. ^ Bahinipati, Priyadarshi (2017-02-20). Jagamohana Ramayana. The Epic of Balarama Dasa. Anchor Academic Publishing. ISBN 978-3-96067-624-9.
  3. ^ a b Mukherjee, S. (1998). A Dictionary of Indian Literature: Beginnings-1850. Orient Longman. p. 35. ISBN 978-81-250-1453-9. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  4. ^ a b c St-Pierre, P.; Kar, P.C. (2007). In Translation: Reflections, Refractions, Transformations. Benjamins translation library. John Benjamins Pub. p. 171. ISBN 978-90-272-1679-3. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  5. ^ Mukherjee, Prabhat (1981). The History of Medieval Vaishnavism in Orissa. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 978-81-206-0229-8.
  6. ^ Dasa, Balarama (2017). Sahoo, Dr. Niranjana (ed.). Bhakta Kabi Balarama Dasa Granthabali ଭକ୍ତକବି ବଳରାମ ଦାସ ଗ୍ରନ୍ଥାବଳୀ [Collected works of Bhakta Kabi Balarama Dasa] (in Odia). Vol. 1 (1 ed.). Cuttack, Odisha: Odisha Book Emporium.
  7. ^ Patnaik, H.S.; Parida, A.N. (1996). Aspects of socio-cultural life in early and medieval Orissa. DSA Programme, Post Graduate Dept. of History, Utkal University. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  8. ^ a b Dalal, R. (2014). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books Limited. p. 260. ISBN 978-81-8475-277-9. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  9. ^ Dalal, R. (2014). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books Limited. p. 261. ISBN 978-81-8475-277-9. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  10. ^ Paniker, K.A.; Sahitya Akademi (1997). Medieval Indian Literature: Surveys and selections. Sahitya Akademi. p. 401. ISBN 978-81-260-0365-5. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  11. ^ ""Panchasakha"-Sri Balaram Das". 2015-10-28. Retrieved 2019-08-27.