DHANNĀ, BHAGAT (b. 1415), one of the medieval saints whose bāṇī has been incorporated in the Gurū Granth Sāhib, describes himself in a hymn, in Rāga Āsā, as an ignorant Jaṭṭ and explains how he was attracted to the worship of God by the examples of Nāmdev (a calico-printer), Kabīr (a weaver), Ravidās (a cobbler) and Saiṇ (a barber). Nābhādās, Bhaktamāl, includes Dhannā among the twelve disciples of Rāmānand (1299-1410), though it has been questioned if all the twelve did indeed live at the same time. Max Arthur Macauliffe fixes AD 1415 as the year of Dhannā's birth, but his name nowhere appears in the writings of Kabīr (fl. 15th century) or Ravidās (fl. 15th century). The earliest mention of him is in Mīrā Bāī (1498-1546), who in one of her songs proclaims how Dhannā grew corn without sowing seed.
Dhannā was born in the village of Dhūāṅ, in Ṭoṅk district of Rājasthān. His father was a simple, godfearing farmer, who frequently entertained sādhūs in his house. Dhannā, as a child, was deeply impressed by these holy visitors and his mind turned to the pursuit of spiritual grace. Like his Brāhmaṇ neighbour, he started worshipping ṭhākurs or idols. He was later converted to nirguṇa bhaktī, i. e. worship of the Formless One without attributes, as is evident from his hymns in the Gurū Granth Sāhib. "Loving devotion, " says Dhannā in his śabda in Rāga Āsā, "is now fixed in my heart and thereby have I found solace and fulfilment. In whose heart is light divine manifested he alone recognizeth the Immaculate One. " That the devotee does not deny himself the needs of the body is attested by another hymn in which Dhannā supplicates the Lord for "foodgrains produced by tilling the land seven times over, " "a cow in milk as well as a buffalo, " "a dutiful wife to look after the household. " Totally, there are three hymns by Dhannā in the Gurū Granth Sāhib.