There are several Candidasas in the history
of Bengali literature. At least three can be distinguished and
perhaps there are more. The one referred to as Bodo Candidas
lived about a hundred years before Sri Caitanya and wrote a
wonderful collection of songs called the Sri Krsna-kirtana
in medieval Bengali. It is perhaps the second oldest work written
in Bengali, being preceeded only by the old Tantric Buddhist texts
called the Caryapadas.
The Caryapadas are from about
the 12th or 13th centuries. Apart from the Bengalis the Nepalese
and the Odiyas claim the Caryapadas
as examples of their early vernaculars. I think the Bengalis have
the best case, however.
We intend to publish a translation of
Krsna-kirtana with the original text at Blazing Sapphire
Press. A fine translation already exists by Dr. Mimi
Klaiman. We are negotiating with her for permission to republish
her translation, but until then I have undertaken my own
translation. It is, of course, the flimsiest of excuses for me to
read that delightful piece of Bengali literature so important to
Bengal's later literary history.