Devadasa and Bhaktivinoda Thakura

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By Brijabasi das

There is some confusion regarding the book “Devadāsa”, which is ascribed to Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. I’m writing this keeping in mind Śrīla Prabhupāda’s definition of truth: “Although sometimes the truth is unpalatable, one should not refrain from speaking it. Truthfulness demands that the facts be presented as they are for the benefit of others. That is the definition of truth.” (Bhagavad-gītā, 10.4-5, purport). Thus with all humility and for the sake of such truth we should examine if the book was really penned by Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda since the benefit from reading the words of the great Ācārya cannot be compared to the benefit we may get from any other book.

The story of Devadāsa was published in 1910 by an author named Kedāranātha Datta. If we look in the original bengali edition of the book we may become surprised that this Kedāranātha Datta was not actually the great mahā-bhāgavata Vaiṣṇava ācārya Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda. The original edition provides some information about the author and the places where the book can be had.

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