Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji Maharaja, a prominent spiritual master coming in the line from Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, was the great-grand disciple of Srila Baladeva Vidyabhushana, who established the scriptural legitimacy of Lord Chaitanya’s movement. Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja was respected by the whole Vaishnava community and was known as Vaishnava Sarvabhauma, or chief amongst the Vaishnavas.
Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji was the shiksha-guru, or instructing spiritual master, of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, a pioneer in spreading Krishna consciousness outside India.
Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji was born in West Bengal but later moved to Vrindavana, where Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura met him in 1880. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura could understand that Babaji Maharaja was perfect in devotional service to Lord Krishna.
From Vrindavana, Babaji Maharaja moved to Navadvipa, West Bengal, the holy land of Lord Chaitanya. He lived for some time in the area known as Koladvipa, and then in 1893 moved to Surabhi-kunja in Godrumadvipa. Because of his pure spiritual vision, Babaji Maharaja was able to reveal many holy sites of Navadvipa, including Lord Chaitanya’s birthplace. It is said that although Babaji Maharaja was old and invalid, on finding Lord Chaitanya’s birth-site he danced joyfully.
When Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's son, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, (spiritual master of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada) was twelve years old, Babaji Maharaja, aware of the boy's expertise in astrology, asked him to prepare a calendar for Vaishnavas – devotees of Lord Krishna. He pleased Babaji Maharaja by producing the Navadvipa Panjika, a calendar of festivals and appearance and disappearance days of devotees that is still in use today.
Jagannatha Dasa Babaji spent his last days in the areas of Vrindavan and Navadvipa, where he performed bhajan and japa in worship to Radha and Krishna. A devotee named Bihari Lal would often assist him. His devotion to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and instructions on Vaishnava Theology to Bhaktivinoda Thakur and Gaurakishora Dasa Babaji render him an integral part of the Gaudiya Vaishnava guru parampara.
Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji Maharaja lived for about 140 years.