Gunaraja Khan


"Gunaraja Khan of Kulina-grama compiled a book named Sri Krishna-vijaya in which there is a sentence revealing the author’s ecstatic love of Krishna.”


Sri Krishna-vijaya is a book of poems considered to be the first poetry book written in Bengal. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura states that this book was compiled in the year 1395 sakabda (A.D. 1474). After seven years, it was completed (1402 sakabda). This book was written in plain language, and even half-educated Bengalis and women could read it very clearly. Even ordinary men with little knowledge of the alphabet could read this book and understand it. Its language is not very ornamental, and sometimes the poetry is not very sweet to hear.

Although according to the sonnet style each line should contain fourteen syllables, there are sometimes sixteen, twelve and thirteen syllables in his verse. Many words used in those days could be understood only by local inhabitants, yet this book is still so popular that no book store is complete without it. It is very valuable for those who are interested in advancing in Krishnaconsciousness.

Sri Gunaraja Khan was one of the topmost Vaisnavas, and he has translated the Tenth and Eleventh Cantos of Srimad-Bhagavatam for the understanding of the common man. The book Sri Krishna-vijaya was highly praised by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and it is very valuable for all Vaisnavas. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gives a genealogical table and family history of Gunaraja Khan. When a Bengali emperor named Adisura first came from Kanyakubja, or Kanowj, he brought with him five brahmanas and five kayasthas. Since the king is supposed to be accompanied by his associates, the brahmanas accompanied the King to help him in higher spiritual matters. The kayasthas were to render other services. In the northern Indian high country, the kayasthas are accepted as sudras, but in Bengalthe kayasthas are considered among the higher castes. It is a fact that the kayasthas came to Bengalfrom northern India, specifically from Kanyakubja, or Kanowj. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that the kayasthas who came from Kanyakubja were high-class men. Of them, Dasaratha Vasu was a great personality, and the thirteenth generation of his family included Gunaraja Khan.

His real name was Maladhara Vasu, but the title Khan was given to him by the Emperor of Bengal. Thus he became known as Gunaraja Khan. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gives the following genealogical table of Gunaraja Khan: (1) Dasaratha Vasu; (2) Kusala; (3) Subhasankara; (4) Hamsa; (5) Saktirama (Baganda), Muktirama (Mainagara) and Alankara (Bangaja); (6) Damodara; (7) Anantarama; (8) Guninayaka and Vinanayaka. The twelfth generation included Bhagiratha, and the thirteenth Maladhara Vasu, or Gunaraja Khan. Sri Gunaraja Khan had fourteen sons, of whom the second son, Laksminathavasu, received the title Satyaraja Khan. His son was Sri Ramananda Vasu; therefore Ramananda Vasu belonged to the fifteenth generation. Gunaraja Khan was a very well known and wealthy man. His palace, fort and temples are still existing, and from these we can deduce that the opulence of Gunaraja Khan was certainly very great. Sri Gunaraja Khan never cared for the artificial aristocracy introduced by Ballal Sena.