Sri Krishna Chaitanya, the ecstatic Vaishnava saint, accepted by his followers as an incarnation of Krishna and called Mahåprabhu, spent most of his latter life in Jagannath Puri in Orissa. After taking sannyåsa in 1510, he established himself there until his death in 1534. During his stay in the town of Puri, Chaitanya attracted numerous followers and his brand of Vaishnavism, based on the chanting of the names of Sri Krishna, spread throughout Orissa. Prominent amongst his devotees was the king, Prataparudra, whose meeting with Chaitanya plays a large part in the saint’s hagiographies. In this article, we will give a summary of those accounts. Prataparudra Deva acceded to the throne in 1497, succeeding his father, Purushottam Deva. Like his predecessors, Prataparudra used the titles Gajapati, Gaudeshwar, and Nava-ko†i-kar∫å†a-kala-vargeΩvara (“ruler of the Karnata town of Gulbarga), indicating the breadth of his empire from the banks of the Ganges to the borders of Karnatak. He made his capital city in Cuttack.
In the Sarasvatî-vilåsa,3 it is said that among Prataparudra’s many achievements, he succeeded in grinding to dust the pride of the king of Gauda, Hussein Shah, but that he gave him shelter when he surrendered. It is also said that he defeated Krishna Deva Raya, the king of Vijayanagar.
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