Dadu Dayal (1544–1603) was a sant from Gujarat, India. "Dadu" means brother, and "Dayal" means "the compassionate one".
Dadu Dayal ji Maharaj was found by an affluent business man floating on the river Sabarmati. He later moved to Amber (city), near Jaipur Rajasthan, where he preached his teachings.
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.
Dadu alludes to the bliss of Sahaja in his songs. Much of the imagery used in his songs is similar to that used by Kabir, and similar also to that used by the earlier Sahajiya Buddhists and Nath yogis.
Dadu's compositions were recorded by his disciple Rajjab and are known as the Dadu Anubhav Vaani, a compilation of 5,000 verses. Another disciple, Janagopal, wrote the earliest biography of Dadu.
Dadu ji had 100 disciples that followed his teachings and attained salvation. He instructed an additional 52 disciples to set up ashrams, 'Thambas' around the region to spread the Lord's word. Dadu ji spent the latter years of his life in Narayana, a small distance away from the town of Dudu, near Jaipur city.
Five thambas are considered sacred by the followers, namely, Narayana, Bhairanaji, Sambhar, Amer, and Karadala (Kalyanpura). Followers of these thambas then spread and set up other places of worship