Biography of Banarasidas – Businessman and Indian Poet

Banarasidas was a great poet of the Mughal era. Banarsidas was a writer, poet, philosopher and businessman who lived in Agra. He is known for his poetic autobiography ‘Ardhakathanaka’. This autobiography written by him is the first Indian language autobiography to become very popular all-over North India in the 17th century. His only purpose in writing this autobiography was to tell his story to everyone. He wrote all his poems in Braj Bhasha.

Biography of Banarasidas

Biography of Banarasidas

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Table of Contents

Date of Birth1587
Place of BirthJaunpur, Uttar Pradesh
Father’s NameKharagsen
OccupationBusinessmen and poet

Early Life, Family and Education of Banarasidas

Jain poet Banarasidas was born in 1587 to a Shrimal Jain family in Jaunpur. His father Kharagsen was a jeweller in Jaunpur (now Uttar Pradesh). A businessman and a poet, he started excelling in business from an early age. At that time, he received an early lesson in letters and numbers from a Brahmin, then astrology and mathematics from another Brahmin Devadatt at the age of 14. During this time, he studied lexicographical texts like Namamala (synonyms) and Ankarthakosha (words with multiple meaning). He also studied Alankara (techniques of poetic embellishment) and Laghukoka (a text on erotics). After completing all his education, he came to Agra from Jaunpur for business/trade in 1610 AD.

The life of poet Banarasidas was full of ups and downs. The innate combination of the qualities and rise of sins seen in his life is not found in the life of any other great person. The poet faced many difficulties in his life. He started his poetic and singing career with poems like Qutban’s Mirigavati (1503 CE) and Manjhan’s Madhumalati (1545 CE), which were composed by Sufi poets in Hindavi verses. He was influenced by the sermons of Gommatasara in 1635 by Rupchand Pande, spiritual teacher of Hemraj Pande. Whoever reads his life journey is forced to think once how, even though there was such a strong rise of opponents, he was so intuitive and simple-hearted.

He was one of the leading proponents of the Adyatma movement, which eventually led to the Terapanth sect of the Digamber Jains. Banarasidas appears to have been a better poet than a businessman.

Also Read: Biography of Bharatendu Harishchandra

Autobiography of Banarasidas

The great poet Banarasidas wrote his autobiography “Ardhakathanaka” in a poetic form in Braj Basha in 1641. Which became very popular all-over north India in the 17th century. This autobiography is the first autobiography written in Indian language. No writer or poet had written about himself until the Middle Ages, but this was the first time that Banarasidas had narrated the entire story of half his life as a book. He was 55 years old at the time and his entire life span in Jainism is considered to be 110 years, So Benaresidas named his autobiography “Ardhakathanaka” i.e. half-life story. This autobiography expresses his life with transparency and clarity and inspires him to consider the nature of human existence. One thing that is surprising in this autobiography is that the tone of the book is not very modern towards the Middle Ages. This book provides information about the ups and downs of his life and intellectual and spiritual struggles. This book by Banarsidas is translated into Hindi by Rohini Chaudhary. Despite the long life expectancy inherent in the title of his work “Ardhakathanaka”, Banarasidas died two years after writing it in, 1643.

Poetic composition

Poet Banarsidas attained the knowledge of poetry ornaments etc. during his childhood. Which is why he was more interested in poetry more than business. Poet Banarsidas wrote his first poem ‘Qutban’s Mirigavati’, He was a poet many times better than a businessman. He composed the poem ‘Manjhan ki Madhumalti’ which became very popular. Banarasidas is known for his works like Moha Vivek Yuddha, Banarasi Namamala (1613), Banarasivilasa (1644), Samayasara Nataka (1636) and Ardhakathanaka (1641) in Braj Bhasa. He translated Kalyanamandir stotra’s. Influenced by spirituality due to his association with Digambar Jainism, Banarsidas tied ‘Natak Samaysar’ to  beautiful verses in 1693.


Poet Banarasidas died in 1643 at the age of 56.


1. When and where was poet Banarasi Das born?

Ans: Jain poet Banarasidas was born in 1587 to a Shrimal Jain family in Jaunpur.

2. When did poet Banarasi Das died?

Ans: Banarasidas died in 1643 at the age of 56.

3. How many poets did Banarasidas had?

Ans: Poet Banarasidas had three wives.

4. What is the name of the father of Banarasidas?

Ans: The father of poet Banarasidas is Kharagsen.

5. What is the name of the autobiography of poet Banarasidas?

Ans: The autobiography of Banarasidas is called “Ardhakathanaka”.

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