Jayadeva

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Jayadeva
Git govind large.jpg
Jaydeva worships Vishnu.
Born est. 1200 AD
possibly Jayadeva Kenduli, West Bengal or Kenduli Sasan, Odisha
Died Odisha, India
Philosophy Vaishnava
Literary works Gita Govinda

Jayadeva (Sanskrit: [dʒəjəˈd̪eːʋə]) was a Sanskrit poet circa 1200 AD. He is most known for his composition, the epic poem Gita Govinda, which depicts the divine love of Krishna, and his consort, Radha. This poem, which presents the view that Radha is greater than Hari, is considered an important text in the Bhakti movement of Hinduism.[1]

Biography[edit]

Jayadeva Pitha, Kenduli Village (Kendu Vilwa)
Basohli painting (circa 1730 AD) depicting a scene from Jayadeva's Gita Govinda.

A Brahmin by birth, the date and place of Jayadeva's birth are uncertain. Based on a reading of the text of his work, either the village of Jayadeva Kenduli in Bengal or the village of Kenduli Sasan in Odisha are likely candidates though another Kenduli in Mithila is also a possibility.[2] Recent studies point to the Odisha birthplace as the more likely one.[3] Jayadeva, a wanderer, probably visited Puri at some point and there, according to tradition, he married a dancer named Padmavati though that is not supported by early commentators and modern scholars.[2]

The poet's parents were named Bhojadeva and Ramadevi. From temple inscriptions it is now known that Jayadeva received his education in Sanskrit poetry from a place called Kurmapataka, possibly near Konark in Odisha.[citation needed]

Historical records on Jayadeva's life[edit]

Inscriptions at Lingaraj temple, and the more recently discovered Madhukeswar temple and Simhachal temple that were read and interpreted by Dr. Satyanarayan Rajaguru have shed some light on Jayadeva's early life. These inscriptions narrate how Jayadeva had been a member of the teaching faculty of the school at Kurmapataka. He might have studied there as well. It must have been right after his childhood education in Kenduli Sasan that he left for Kurmapataka and gained experience in composing poetry, music and dancing.

The earliest mention of Jayadeva outside Odisha by Chand Bardai, the court poet of Prithviraj Chauhan. The next earliest reference outside Odisha is found in an inscription of Raja Sarangadev in the year 1201 A.D. These records establish that the Gita Govinda became popular throughout India soon after its composition, perhaps because it was regularly performed in the Jagannath temple of Puri.[citation needed]

Some further details about Jayadeva have been garnered from a book by an Oriya Vaishnava poet Madhava Patnaik, who was contemporaneous to Chaitanya in the fifteenth century. Madhava Patnaik's book gives a clear account of Chaitanya's visit to Puri. He mentions that Chaitanya paid a visit to Kenduli Sasan near Puri to pay homage to Jayadeva and to chant passages from the Gita Govinda. The book mentions that Kenduli Sasan was in fact the birthplace of the illustrious poet.[citation needed] Madhava Patnaik's book also gives an account of Jayadeva's early life from the legends around Puri. It mentions Jayadeva as excelling in the Shastras and the Puranas from early childhood.[citation needed]

Literary contributions[edit]

Jayadeva was instrumental in popularizing the Dasavatara, the ten incarnations of Vishnu in another composition, Dasakritikrite. Furthermore, the classic Tribhangi (threefold) posture of Krishna playing the flute gained popularity due to him.[citation needed]

Two hymns possibly composed by Jayadeva have been incorporated in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikh religion. The hymns are written in a mixture of Sanskrit and eastern Apabhramsa.[4] There are records narrating how Jayadeva's work had a profound influence on Guru Nanak during his visit to Puri.[citation needed]

He also institutionalized the Devadasi system in Oriya temples. Devadasis were women dancers specially dedicated to the temple deity, and as a result of the great poet's works, Oriya temples began to incorporate a separate Natamandira, or dance hall, within their precincts for Odissi performances.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://orissa.gov.in/e-magazine/Orissareview/2008/May-2008/engpdf/Poet39-40.pdf
  2. ^ a b Miller, Barbara Stoler (1977). Love song of the dark lord : Jayadeva's Gitagovinda. Columbia University Press. 
  3. ^ Reddy, William M. (2012). The Making of Romantic Love: Longing and Sexuality in Europe, South Asia and Japan 900-1200. University of Chicago Press. 
  4. ^ Dass, Nirmal. Songs of the Saints from the Adi Granth. State University of New York Press. p. 130. ISBN 978-0791446836. 


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