Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

Articles

The authenticity of the Caitanyacaritāmṛtamahākāvya

J. K. Brzezinski

Until recently, Kavi Karṇapūra has generally been accepted without question as the author of a book on the life of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya entitled ŚrīCaitanyacaritāmṛtamahākāvya [CCMK]. The date of this work is given as 1542 by the author himself in its final verse. In the two penultimate verses of the work, he identifies himself as the youngest son of Śivānanda Sena and as a mere child (śiśu). If Kavi Karṇapūra is indeed the author, it is certainly a matter of great interest as he is one of the most prolific and authoritative writers amongst the followers of Caitanya. His father, Śivānanda Sena, was a rich and influential devotee of Caitanya, responsible for the management of the yearly trips to Puri which played such an important role in the latter part of the great saint's life. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few such autobiographical words in Karṇapūra's own compositions, such as the Ānandavṛndāvanacampū [AVC], Caitanyacandrodayanāṭaka [CCN] and Gauragaṇoddeśadīpikā [GGD] the only information that we have about Karṇapūra's life is from Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja's Caitanyacaritāmṛta [CC].