As Prahlada Maharaja appeared in a family of demons and Hanuman appeared as a monkey, Shri Haridasa Thakura appeared amongst the lower caste. Haridasa had a handsome form with all aristocratic features. Highly intellectual, he won all debates in Sanskrit and philosophy. Yet, he never lost his temper. In his youth, he became famous for his extreme devotion and ascetism. Though born in a Muslim family, when he became a Vaishnava, even brahmanas would eagerly smear their bodies with the dust of his feet.
The Supreme Lord Anantadeva Himself praises Haridasa Thakura, "Even Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva always desire to associate with such Devotees as Haridasa. And the demigods desire to touch the transcendental body of Haridasa. Simply by saying his name, Haridasa, one will be promoted to Krishna's abode." (Caitanya Bhagavata).
Navadwipa was full of gross materialists and Kali worshipers guided by smarta brahmanas before Mahaprabhu began His sankirtana movement. The smartas forbid loud chanting by the Vaishnavas on the plea that "it might awaken Lord Vishnu, who would become angry and curse Navadwipa with a famine." But it was Haridasa's habit to loudly chant Hare Krishna while wandering along the Ganges bank. Every day before taking his one and only meal he would finish 192 rounds (300,000 Holy Names of Krishna).
One time a rascal brahmana challenged Haridasa Thakura.The brahmana said that the proper method is to chant Hare Krishna silently within one's mind. Quoting the Vedas, Shrimad Bhagavatam, and Naradiya Purana, Haridasa conclusively proved that loud chanting of Krishna's names gives one-hundred times more result than silent chanting. Yan-nama grhann akhilan, srotm atmanam evaca, sadyah punati. .. "Anyone who chants Your name purifies all who hear His chanting, as well as Himself." (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.34.17) Haridasa concluded with, "Which is better to feed yourself, or to feed yourself and simultaneously feed a thousand others?"
Some people mistakenly think, "Since Haridasa Thakura always chanted Hare Krishna he wasn't relishing the mellows of Radha-Madhava's pastimes." Krishna's name is a wish-fulfilling gem (nama cintamani) and the very embodiment of rasa (rasa vigraha). So, by purely chanting the Holy Names Haridasa Thakura definitely tasted the transcendental mellows of loving devotion to Radha-Madhava. Haridasa Thakura, the connoiseur of the Holy Name, taught everyone how to enter the rasa sastras through the door of Mahaprabhu's mercy, received by purely land constantly chanting the Holy Names of Krishna.
Feeling threatened by Haridasa Thakura's conversion to Vaishnavism, the Muslim ruler arrested him. To enlighten the Kazi Haridasa said, "All living entities in creation are inspired by the Lord in the heart to act in different ways. People of different religions praise the Lord's Holy Names and qualities according to the view of their scriptures. The Supreme Lord accepts everyone's mood. If anyone shows malice towards another's religion he actually shows malice to the Lord Himself, who is worshiped by that religion. Since God is one, that person becomes envious of the same Supreme Lord that he himself is worshiping."
The governor grasped these words, but the Kazi (the local ruler) insisted that Haridasa make a choice: "Either give up your belief or die."
Haridasa replied firmly, "If my body is hacked to pieces and even if I am killed–still I will keep chanting Hare Krishna."
The infuriated Kazi ordered Haridasa Thakura publicly whipped to death. He was brutally beaten, dragged through twenty-two markets, and thrown in the Ganges. Absorbed in remembering Lord Hari, he miraculously survived by God's grace. The Kazi, the brahman as, and his rivals ran to Haridasa. They gave Haridasa Thakura an enthusiastic welcome and begged forgiveness for their offenses. He forgave them and blessed them with devotion. Haridasa thought the ordeal was fit punishment for his having heard Vaisnava blasphemy from the mouth of the Kazi.
Prema-vilasa says Haridasa took diksa from Shri Advaita Acharya. Haridasa Thakura exerted immense influence from the start of Shri Chaitanya's sankirtana movement. Teaming up with Lord Nityananda, he spread Krishna consciousness in Bengal. When Haridasa Thakura came to Jagannatha Puri Lord Chaitanya gave him a room in the garden next to His. Every day the Lord sent Prasadam to Haridasa. They also met regularly to discuss Krishna-katha.
While seeing Lord Chaitanya's lotus face, holding His feet upon his chest, and chanting Shri Krishna Chaitanya, Haridasa left the world. Lord Chaitanya personally carried the body of Haridasa to the sea. And with His own hands buried him in the sand. Then Mahaprabhu begged alms for a festival to honor Haridasa Thakura's departure. Lord Chaitanya paid tribute to His pure Devotee:
"Let us all sing the glories of Haridasa Thakura. Haridasa was the crest-jewel of the world. By his death the earth has lost its treasure. Out of His great mercy Krishna had given Me his association. And now He has taken him away. When Haridasa himself wished to leave the world I could not hold him back. Just like Bhismadeva, Haridasa gave up his life at his own will." (Chaitanya-charitamrta Antya 11.93-98.)
The samadhi of Haridasa Thakura is located by the sea in Jagannatha Puri.
Shri Harinamacharya Shrila Thakura Haridasa ki jail
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare