This selection was called the Pada-Samudra which, it is said, comprised 15000 songs. Many years ago the late Pandit Hārādhana Datta Bhaktinidhi of Badanganj—Hughli, showed me stray pages of this collection. But the complete MS. said to have been in his possession seems now to be lost. It was too bulky to be copied or used for ordinary purposes. The next collection of the Vaiṣṇava songs, entitled the ‘Padachintāmaṇimālā’, was made by Prasāda Dās, one of the disciples of Shrīnivāsa Āchārya—the great Vaiṣṇava apostle of Bengal in the 16th century. Far more valuable is the ‘Padāmrita Samudra’ another well-known collection of old Bengali songs compiled about 1710 A.D. by Rādhāmohana Thākura, a descendant of Shrīnivāsa Āchārya. The Bengali songs in this collection were annotated in Sanskrit by the learned compiler, and his annotation was named the ‘Mahābhābānusāriṇī’ or ‘the interpreter of great emotions.’ After Rādhāmohana Thākura, down to the end of the 19th century, we find innumerable song-anthologies, such as the ‘Gītachintāmaṇi’ by Hariballabhā Dās, ‘the Gītachandrodaya’ by Narahari, the ‘Padakalpalatikā’ by Gaurimohana Dās, and the ‘Rasa-manjari’ by Pītāmvara Dās, besides the ‘Pandārṇavasārāvalī,’ the ‘Līlā Samudra’, the ‘Chamatkār-chandrikā’, the ‘Gīta-kalpataru’ and many others. Some of these are anonymous.
But by far the most important anthology of Vaiṣṇava songs in Bengali was made by Vaiṣṇava Dās of Teyañ-Vadyapur in the district of Burdwan. This name he had adopted as a Vaiṣṇava with conventional humility, his real name being Gokulānanda Sen. He was born about the year 1688 A. D. There are altogether 3001 songs in this important compilation which was named the ‘Pada-kalpataru’. In the prefatory verses of this book, he thus writes about his efforts to collect old songs:—
“Rādhāmohana Thākura descended from the great Shrīnivāsa Āchārya, was possessesed of great qualities which it is impossible to praise in adequate language. He made a collection of old songs and named it the ‘Padāmrita-Samudra’ (an ocean of song-nectar). My interest was roused by singing these songs, and I determined to make a new collection. With this object in view I travelled a good deal, gathering together old songs. Those already found in the Padāmrita-Samudra were included in my compilation which is based on them. But the present work contains a large number of old songs not to be found elsewhere.”
In the more modern
times. The credit of collecting old poems in comparatively modern times must rest with the poet Iswara chandra Gupta, whose indefatigable labour and sacrifice in this field are touchingly narrated by him in the preface to his edition of Bhārata chandra’s Vidyāsundara published in 1854 and quoted in this