Sri Mukunda Datta was born in the Cattagrama district, in the village of Chanhara, which is under the jurisdiction of the police station named Patiya. This village is situated ten krosas, or about twenty miles, from the home of Pundarika Vidyanidhi. In the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (140) it is said:
vraje sthitau gayakau yau
“In Vraja there were two very nice singers named Madhukantha and Madhuvrata. They appeared in caitanya-lila as Mukunda and Vasudeva Datta, who were singers in the society of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.” When Lord Caitanya was a student, Mukunda Datta was His class friend, and they frequently engaged in logical arguments. Sometimes Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu would fight with Mukunda Datta, using tricks of logic. This is described in the Caitanya-bhagavata, Adi-lila, Chapters Eleven and Twelve. When Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu returned from Gaya, Mukunda Datta gave Him pleasure by reciting verses from Srimad-Bhagavatam about krishna-lila. It was by his endeavor that Gadadhara Pandita Gosvami became a disciple of Pundarika Vidyanidhi, as stated in Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, Madhya-lila, Chapter Seven. When Mukunda Datta sang in the courtyard of Srivasa Prabhu, Mahaprabhu danced with His singing, and when Lord Caitanya for twenty-one hours exhibited an ecstatic manifestation known as sata-prahariya, Mukunda Datta inaugurated the function by singing.
Sometimes Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu chastised Mukunda Datta by calling him khadajathiya beta because he attended many functions held by different classes of nondevotees. This is stated in the Caitanya-bhagavata, Madhya-lila, Chapter Ten. When Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu dressed Himself as the goddess of fortune to dance in the house of Candrasekhara, Mukunda Datta began the first song.
Before disclosing His desire to take the renounced order of life, Lord Caitanya first went to the house of Mukunda Datta, but at that time Mukunda Datta requested Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu to continue His sankirtana movement for a few days more before taking sannyasa. This is stated in Caitanya-bhagavata, Madhya-lila Chapter Twenty-six. The information of Lord Caitanya’s accepting the renounced order was made known to Gadadhara Pandita, Candrasekhara Acarya and Mukunda Datta by Nityananda Prabhu, and therefore all of them went to Katwa and arranged for kirtana and all the paraphernalia for Lord Caitanya’s acceptance of sannyasa. After the Lord took sannyasa, they all followed Him, especially Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Gadadhara Prabhu and Govinda, who followed Him all the way to Purushottama-kshetra. In this connection one may refer to Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya-lila, Chapter Two. In the place known as Jalesvara, Nityananda Prabhu broke the sannyasa rod of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Mukunda Datta was also present at that time. He went every year from Bengal to see Lord Caitanya at Jagannatha Puri. (CC Adi lila 10:41. purport.)
“Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu blessed Mukunda Datta with punishment and in that way vanquished all his mental depression.”
Mukunda Datta was once forbidden to enter the association of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu because of his mixing with the Mayavadi impersonalists. When Lord Caitanya manifested His maha-prakasa, He called all the devotees one after another and blessed them, while Mukunda Datta stood outside the door. The devotees informed the Lord that Mukunda Datta was waiting outside, but the Lord replied, “I shall not soon be pleased with Mukunda Datta, for he explains devotional service among devotees, but then he goes to Mayavadis to hear from them the Yoga-vasishtha-ramayana, which is full of Mayavada philosophy. For this I am greatly displeased with him.” Hearing the Lord speak in that way, Mukunda Datta, standing outside, was exceedingly glad that the Lord would at some time be pleased with him, although He was not pleased at that moment. But when the Lord understood that Mukunda Datta was going to give up the association of the Mayavadis for good, He was pleased, and He at once called to see Mukunda. Thus He delivered him from the association of the Mayavadis and gave him the association of pure devotees. (A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. CC Adi lila 17:65 purport.)
Vasudeva Datta, the brother of Mukunda Datta (in some places he is known as the father of Mukunda Datta), was also a resident of Cattagrama. In the Caitanya-bhagavata it is said, yanra sthane krishna haya apane vikraya: Vasudeva Datta was such a powerful devotee that Krishna was purchased by him. Vasudeva Datta stayed at Srivasa Pandita’s house, and in the Caitanya-bhagavata it is described that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was so pleased with Vasudeva Datta and so affectionate toward him that He used to say, “I am only Vasudeva Datta’s man. My body is only meant to please Vasudeva Datta, and he can sell Me anywhere.” Thrice He vowed that this was a fact and that no one should disbelieve these statements.
“All My dear devotees,” He said, “I tell you the truth. My body is especially meant for Vasudeva Datta.” Vasudeva Datta initiated Sri Yadunandana Acarya, the spiritual master of Raghunatha dasa, who later became Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. This will be found in the Caitanya-caritamrita, Antya-lila, Sixth Chapter, verse 161. Vasudeva Datta spent money very liberally; therefore Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked Sivananda Sena to become his sarakhela, or secretary, in order to control his extravagant expenses. Vasudeva Datta was so kind to the living entities that he wanted to take all their sinful reactions so that they might be delivered by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. CC Adi 10:41-42 purports)
This is described in the Fifteenth Chapter of the Caitanya-caritamrita’s Madhya-lila, verses 159 through 180.
There is a railway station named Purvasthali near the Navadvipa railway station, and about one mile away, in a village known as Mamagachi, which is the birthplace of Vrindavana dasa Thakura, there is presently a temple of Madana-gopala that was established by Vasudeva Datta. The Gaudiya Matha devotees have now taken charge of this temple, and the seva-puja is going on very nicely. Every year all the pilgrims on the navadvipa-parikrama visit Mamagachi. Since Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura inaugurated the navadvipa-parikrama function, the temple has been very well managed.