Awul Chand

Awul Chand (c 1694-1770) ascetic and originator of kartabhaja cult, was born probably in 1694. He was brought up by a childless Mahadev couple in Ulabirnagar village in nadia district. His childhood name was Purnachandra. He completed his Pathshala education at his foster father's home and afterwards studied Sanskrit and theology with Harihar Thakur.

According to one view, Awul Chand was a disciple of a Muslim fakir; according to another, he was initiated into vaisnavism by Balaram Das at Fulia and then took the name of Awul Chand. Awul Chand traveled to several holy places. Finally, on coming to Ghoshpara near Kanchrapada, he started living under the patronage of Ramsharan Pal. Gradually word spread about his miraculous powers. Twenty-two persons, including Ramsharan, became his disciples, forming the nucleus of the Kartabhaja community. Awul Chand's devotees regarded him as the incarnation of Sri chaitanya. Awul Chand passed away some time in 1770. Devotees still gather annually at his tomb in boalia. [Wakil Ahmed]