Dadu Dayal was a saint from Rajasthan in northern India. “Dadu” means brother, and “Dayal” means “the compassionate one”. He lived in the second half of the sixteenth century (1544-1603). His songs are in a Hindi dialect known as Braj Bhasa, being a mixture of Hindi and Rajasthani.
Like the earlier saint Kabir, Dadu came from one of the many low artisan castes that had converted to Islam. He lived in the Jaipur region of Rajasthan, most probably as a pinjari, a cotton carder. He married and had a family of two sons and two daughters.
He gathered around himself a group of followers, which became known as the Dadu-panth. This organization has continued in Rajasthan to the present-day, and has been a major source of early manuscripts containing songs by the North Indian saints.