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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Biographical Works > Articles > SRI JAYADEVA GOSWAMI



Shri Jayadeva Goswami made his appearance at Kendubilvagram within the district of Birhum, during the 11th century. His father's name was Bhojadeva and his mothers name was Bama devi. Little is known about his early life, but it is said that he was a Sanskrit scholar at an early age and was inclined towards spiritual life. Some of his contemporaries have described him as "the incarnation of melody."


Jayadeva is also famous as the great poet of Gita-govinda. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to especially relish hearing the Gita-Govinda das well as the works of Candidas, Vidyapati, Ramananda Raya and the Krishna-karnamrta by Bilvamangala Thakura. Shri Gita-Govinda is full ofintimate pastimes of Shri Shri Radha-Govinda and is therefore meant for those who have acquired sufficient spiritual piety.


"For those who relish the remembrance of the pastimes of Shri Hari and are always anxious to hear those transcendental divine narrations, these verses, sweet as honey, have been composed by Jayadeva with the blessings of Mother Saraswati."


As a young man, Jayadeva went to Jagannatha Puri after visiting many holy places. There he married a girl named Padmavati, who was devoted to the Deity of Lord Jagannatha. Jayadeva also developed deep love for the Lord.  Inspired by the beauty of Puri and Lord Jagannatha, he composed Gita-Govinda, and it quickly became the joy of the Vaishnava community.


At the time, Gajapati Purusottamadeva was the provincial king. He was openly envious of Jayadeva and soon posed an ill-fated challenge. The king considered himself a master poet, on a par with Jayadeva, and composed a work called Abhinava Gita-Govinda. One day, he summoned his advisors and asked them to widely circulate his work, in an attempt to make it more popular than Jayadeva's.  The king's own men, however, ridiculed his attempt, telling him that it was impossible to compare a lamp to the sun. Still, the king was relentless.


A controversy soon arose, and the brahmanas (the king's priests)decided that the matter would be settled by placing both manuscripts before the Deity of Lord Jagannatha for the night. By morning, they said, the Lord Himself would decide. When the devotees went to greet the Deity the next day, they found Jayadeva's Gita-Govinda clasped against the Deity's chest, and the king's manuscript scattered about the floor. The decision was clear.


During the time that he became engaged as the chief pandita of Raja Laksman Sena, he resided at Navadvipa on the banks of the Ganga. Also present were three other panditas whose names he has mentioned in Shri Gita-Govinda. Shri Umapatidhar, Acarya Shri Govardhan and Kavi Ksamapati, who were his close friends.  At that time, Laksmana Sena, aware of Jayadeva's position as a great Vaishnava, went to see Jayadeva to request him to become his minister, to become the royal pandita for the whole kingdom. However, when the king arrived with his ministers in full regalia, Jayadeva became very angry, as he was a brahmana and his residence was being intruded by a king.


Jayadeva began to rebuke the king.  "I'm leaving Navadvipa, I refuse to reside here any longer. Because kings are always involved in so much worldly activity, my residence has now become polluted. Therefore, I'm leaving.  I'm very offended."  Then Laksmana Sena, he paid his obeisances to Jayadeva and he pleaded, "Please don't leave my kingdom. I meant no offense. It's true, this royal order is such a despicable occupation. We have to be involved in so many undesirable activities to protect the country, but if you leave our kingdom then it will be a great loss. You've given your word, I know you can't break it, so please just take your residence across the Ganga."


At that time Jayadeva was living just near the place where the Mayapur Chandradaya Mandir is now located.  This is proof that the original Navadvipa was on the Chandradaya Mandir side, because the king told Jayadeva to take his residence across the river. "At least then you'll still be in our kingdom. Otherwise, if we lose the association of sucha great Vaishnava this will be very inauspicious for everyone. We want the blessings of the Vaishnavas, and only for this reason have I cometo you, to request you to use your knowledge for the upliftment of the entire kingdom."


So Jayadeva, seeing that after criticizing the king he did not become puffed up but instead took a humble position, realized that he was a devotee and not just a materialistic king who wanted to exploit him for his own name and fame. So then Jayadeva said, "Alright, I'll live across the river. You can also come and visit me, but don't come as a king, come in ordinary dress like a Vaishnava brahmana. You can come and see me in secret and we can discuss Krishna-katha."


In the Gita-Govinda, while writing about the pastimes of Radharani as She repented after Krishna had gone away, he became lost in thought. Not being able to decide whether or not he should write a particular verse regarding Krishna becoming the servant of his devotee, he decided to first take his bath and return to his writing later. While taking his bath, Krishna himself personally appeared in the form of Jayadeva, took his meal and then wrote down that very verse with his own hand.


Then, while Padmavati was accepting her meal Jayadeva returned from taking his bath in the Ganga. Padmavati was completely startled to see her husband, and Jayadeva as well was very surprised to see that his wife was accepting her meal before him (which is never done by Hindu wives).  Finally she explained that he had already taken his bath once, taken his meal and then gone to his room.


Jayadeva went to his room and saw the verse that he had been considering whether to write or not, now composed in golden letters. With tears in his eyes and voice choked up he called out to his wife, "Padmavati! You are so fortunate! You had darsana of the Supreme Lord!"


Lokasvana Sena, devotee-king, built a hut made of leaves at Campahati for Jayadeva.  Lord Krishna appeared there to Jayadeva and his wife. Changing the color to that of the golden campa tree which grew in the area, He revealed His form of Lord Chaitanya.  He told them He would soon appear in Navadvipa to perform congregational chanting before taking sannyasa and going to Puri, where He would relish Jayadeva's Gita-govinda. Lord Chaitanya asked them also to go to Puri.


Bhaktivinoda Thakura has commented that even though Shri Gauranga Deva hadn't revealed his internal pastimes at that time, within the heart of Shri Jayadeva, Shri Bilvamangala, Shri Candidas, and Shri Vidyapati, the transcendental mood of Mahaprabhu was awakened even before He Himself actually made His appearance.


Jayadeva Goswami also composed  a book named Candraloka.  His disappearance is on Pausa Sankranti. His worshippable Deities, Shri Shri Radha-Madhava, are being worshipped in the former temple of Radha-Govinda just outside the present city of Jaipur.