Forty Verses in Praise of "The King of Mountains"

How to Cite

David L. Haberman. (2022). Forty Verses in Praise of "The King of Mountains": Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 12(1), 6–9. Retrieved from


As a student of the religious traditions of Braj I have encountered a number of "chalisas" over the years. I have collected the Radha Cha­lisa, Yamuna Chalisa, and Giriraj Chalisa. Chalisas constitute a genre of short sacred texts that consist of forty verses of praise; thus the name chalisa, which means "forty-stanzas." The content of a chalisa is somewhat standard. The text first praises the deity it is dedicated to and refers to im­portant features in his or her narrative; it then explains the benefits of wor­shipping the deity. Chalisas seem to be popular because they are easy to chant and memorize. I suspect that all chalisas are modeled on the famous Hammel Chalisa.

The chalisa I have chosen to translate for this volume is the Giriraj Cha­lisa. The author of this text, which was composed in the Braj Bhasha lan­guage, is usually identified as Devakinandana Kumeriya. In all likelihood this text was written well into the twentieth century. It is a popular text to­day, particularly in the vicinity of Mount Govardhan, where it can be readi­ly found in pamphlet form.

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