NaraShinh-Mehta imageNarsinh Mehta, also known as Narsi Mehta or Narsi Bhagat, (1414–1481) was a poet-saint of Gujarat, India, notable as a bhakta, an exponent of Vaishnava poetry. He is especially revered in Gujarati literature, where he is acclaimed as its Adi Kavi (Sanskrit for “first among poets”). His bhajan, Vaishnav Jan To is Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite and has become synonymous to him.

Mehta is a pioneer poet of Gujarati literature. He is known for his literary forms called “pada (verse)”, “Aakhyan” and “Prabhatiya”. One of the most important features of Mehta’s works is that they are not available in the language in which Narsinh had composed them.

They have been largely preserved orally. The oldest available manuscript of his work is dated around 1612, and was found by the noted scholar K.K. Shastri from Gujarat Vidhya Sabha. Because of the immense popularity of his works, their language has undergone modifications with changing times. Mehta wrote many bhajans and Aartis for lord Krishna, and they are published in many books. The biography of Mehta is also available at Geeta Press.

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