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SRI JAYADEVA GOSWAMI
Shri Jayadeva Goswami made his appearance at Kendubilvagram within the district of Birhum, during the 11th century. According to Vanamali dasa, the author of "Jayadeva-carita" and a disciple of Shrinivasa Acarya, Jayadeva was alive in the 15th century. It would therefore seem that Vanamali dasa was not aware of the contemporary historical events during Jayadeva's lifetime. It is recorded in the Gita-govinda that Jayadeva was a court pandita during the reign of Raja Laksmana Sena of Gauda. Evidently, Jayadeva was of a much earlier period. Jayadeva is famous as the great poet of Gita-govinda.
His father's name was Bhojadeva and his mothers name was Bama devi.
At an early age Jayadeva embraced vairagya and migrated to Purusottama ksetra (Jagannatha Puri) after visiting many holy places. He lived there by offering seva to Purusottama. Lord Jagannatha was pleased by Jayadeva's bhakti-bhava. The ruler of Orissa was also extremely fond of him. Jayadeva gave diksa to some of his disciples there.
A certain brahmana, who had no issue, worshiped Lord Jagannatha and was blessed with a daughter. After the daughter, who was named Padmavati, grew up, the brahmana took her to Purusottama and offered her to the Lord. The brahmana then received a command from the Lord: "One of my sevakas named Jayadeva has renounced home and has dedicated himself to My service. Go and offer your daughter to him."
The brahmana went to Jayadeva's place along with Padmavati and after explaining the command of Lord Purusottama, requested Jayadeva to accept Padmavati as his wife. Although Jayadeva refused to marry her, the brahmana left Padmavati with Jayadeva and returned home. Jayadeva was very embarrassed and asked Padmavati, "Where do you wish to go? Come with me and I shall take you there, because you cannot stay here." With a pathetic voice the girl answered, "At the command of Lord Jagannatha my father has offered me to you. You are my husband, my life. Even if you forsake me, I shall not leave you but serve at your feet to the best of my ability." Jayadeva had no other alternative but to marry Padmavati and become a householder again. He then installed a Deity of Narayana in the house.
Padmavati was devoted to the Deity of Lord Jagannatha. Jayadeva also developed deep love for the Lord and he became inspired by the beauty of Puri and Lord Jagannatha. While floating on the waves of Krishna-prema he composed the book of verses entitled Gita-govinda. While Jayadeva was writing this book he had described various rasas and bhavas within his writings, yet it still lacked the touch of khandita-madhura-rasa.
While writing about the pastimes of Radharani as She repented after Krishna had gone away, Jayadeva became lost in thought. He did not have the courage to depict Lord Krishna, the Jagatpati, Parama purusa, touching the feet of Radhika, the prakrti. Not being able to decide whether or not he should write that particular verse regarding Krishna becoming the servant of his devotee, he decided to first take his bath and return to his writing later.
While Jayadeva was taking his bath, Jagannatha Himself personally appeared in the form of Jayadeva and took his meal. Padmavati was surprised to see who she thought was Jayadeva returning so quickly from taking his bath "What is the matter?" she inquired. "You just left a few minutes ago, so why have you returned so soon?" Lord Jagannatha in the guise of Jayadeva said, "While on my way to the sea, a thought occurred to me, I didn't want to forget it so I came back to note it down." Jagannatha in the form of Jayadeva then went to Jayadeva's room and with His very own hand wrote down the verse "Dehipadapallavamudaram" in Jayadeva's manuscript book, the same verse which Jayadeva had been considering whether to write or not.
Soon after Lord Jagannatha had disappeared, the actual Jayadeva returned from his bath while his wife was taking her meal. Jayadeva was astonished to see his wife taking her meal before him, which is generally not done by women in Vedic culture. Padmavati also was shocked to see Jayadeva return again so quickly, and in her confusion she said, "You went for your bath and soon came back to write something down in your book and left again just a few minutes ago. How could you finish your bath within such a short time and return home? I would like to know who was that person who came here to write something down in your book and who are you actually?" She then explained that he had already taken his bath once, taken his meal and then gone to his room.
Jayadeva, understanding the significance of the incident narrated by Padmavati, at once went to his room, opened his manuscript book and saw the verse that he had been considering whether to write or not, now composed in golden letters. The divine writing revealed the presence of His Lord Krishna. He felt such ecstasy of love that tears rolled down over his chest. He then called his wife and said, "You are the most fortunate person because you have attained the goal of your birth. You had the darsana of Lord Krishna, and I am such a fallen soul that I have been deprived of the darsana of His manifested Self."
Gita-govinda quickly became the joy of the Vaishnava community. Shri Gita-Govinda is full of intimate pastimes of Shri Shri Radha-Govinda and is therefore meant for those who have acquired sufficient spiritual piety, and the Gita-govinda itself states,
"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."
The fame of Gita-govinda spread far and wide. Bhaktas and Bhavukuas alike all became overjoyed to hear the song recitals from Gita-govinda. 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.
There are a few stories in connection with Jayadeva's Gita-govinda. As Krishna in the form of Lord Chaitanya used to relish hearing Shri Gita-Govinda, so also the same Krishna as Jagannatha relished this song of Jayadeva. One day a woman gardener was singing verses from "Gita-govinda" while seated in her garden, when Lord Jagannatha, charmed by the music, arrived there to listen to it. As a result the Lord's body was covered with dirt and thorns. When Utkalaraja went into the temple he noticed the marks of dirt etc. on the Deity of Lord Jagannatha and immediately called for an explanation from the attendants. The Lord explained the episode of His going to the garden to hear the music of the malini. The Raja at once sent his men to bring the malini before him. The Raja then listened to the musical verses of "Gita-govinda" rendered by her. The descendants of this malini recite verses from Gita-govinda regularly in the temple of Lord Jagannatha in Puri even today.
Another pastime is related in Shri Chaitanya Caritamrita as follows: "One day when the Lord was going to the temple of Yamesvara, a female singer began to sing in the Jagannatha temple. She sang a gujjari tune in a very sweet voice, and because the subject was Jayadeva Gosvami's Gita-govinda, the song attracted the attention of the entire world. Hearing the song from a distance, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately became ecstatic. He did not know whether it was a man or a woman singing. As the Lord ran in ecstasy to meet the singer, thorny hedges pricked His body. Govinda ran very quickly behind the Lord, who did not feel any pain from the pricking of the thorns. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was running very rapidly, and the girl was only a short distance away. Just then Govinda caught the Lord in his arms and cried, "It is a woman singing!"
As soon as He heard the word "woman," the Lord became externally conscious and turned back. "My dear Govinda," He said, "you have saved my life. If I had touched the body of a woman, I would certainly have died."
"I shall never be able to repay my debt to You," Govinda replied, "Lord Jagannatha has saved You. I am insignificant."
During the time that he became engaged as the chief pandita of Raja Laksman Sena, Jayadeva Goswami 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, paid his obeisances to Jayadeva and 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 such a great Vaishnava this will be very inauspicious for everyone. We want the blessings of the Vaishnavas, and only for this reason have I come to you, to request you to use your knowledge for the upliftment of the entire kingdom." So Jayadeva, seeing that after criticising the king he did not become puffed up but instead took a humble position, realised 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, "Allright, 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."
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 colour 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.
Radha-madhava always took great care of His Jayadeva. It is recorded in Bhaktamala that once Jayadeva was repairing the roof of his cottage during a hot summer afternoon. Lord Hari took pity upon him and to minimized the sufferings of His devotee Jayadeva, The Lord Himself began to drill holes in the covering sheets and pass them to Jayadeva, who was happily thinking that it was his wife Padmavati helping him. However, when he came down after finishing the job he did not find anyone there. Jayadeva realized that he must have been helped by his ever merciful Lord Hari and thus he offered humble prayers to the Lord with renewed devotion. On another occasion Radha-madhava, in the guise of Jayadeva, partook of rice bhoga prepared by Padmavati.
Once Jayadeva set out for raising funds for seva and utsava of Radha-madhava from different states. Some dacoits waylaid him and, after looting all his belongings, cut off his limbs and threw Jayadeva's body in a well. A certain Raja, during his sikara rounds (when a king tours in disguise to see what is happening in his kingdom), happened to pass that way, when he heard someone chanting the name of Lord Krishna from inside a well. The Raja then rescued Jayadeva and took him in his own palanquin to the palace. At the advice of Jayadeva, the Raja introduced daily Vaishnava-seva at his palace. One day, the gang of dacoits that had robbed Jayadeva, arrived at the palace disguised as Vaishnavas. Jayadeva recognised them, yet made special arrangements to look after their comfort. Fearing that Jayadeva would take revenge on them and have them killed, the dacoits attempted to escape without success because the royal guards would not allow them to leave the palace without the permission of Jayadeva. However, Jayadeva, having read their minds, made arrangements to pay them sufficient money and had them escorted to a safe place. After traveling some distance, the dacoits took leave of the royal guards saying, "We were employed by a certain Raja to kill Jayadeva. We had cut off his limbs and threw him in a well. He has now come to your palace and become a fraud mahanta. To avoid being detected, Jayadeva paid us money to get rid of us. The dacoits had hardly finished their statement when all of them dropped flat on the ground as if hit by some unseen force. On their return to the palace, the guards narrated the episode before the Raja. Jayadeva then explained the factual incident involving the dacoits and added, "One should be kind even towards evil souls. That is why I showed respect to the dacoits by offering money instead of doing harm to them." The Maharani and Padmavati had developed a close friendly relationship through constant association.
One day the Rani, while discussing the subject of shamarana with Padmavati, began to lament thinking of her own-self. Padmavati explained that after the death of a husband, the wife becomes lifeless. The Rani remembered this remark and in order to test the truthfulness of Padmavati, the Rani one day arranged to circulate a false rumor that Jayadeva was dead. Padmavati, true wife that she was, passed away as soon as she heard the news of her husband's death. Later, Jayadeva brought Padmavati back to life by chanting the holy name in her ear. At that point Jayadeva felt a desire to visit Vrndavana. Taking his Deity Radha-madhava with him he went to Vrndavana and stayed at Kesighata for sometime. A certain wealthy devotee, charmed by Radha-madhava, constructed a temple at Kesighata, where the Deity of Radha-madhava was installed. After Jayadeva passed away, the Maharaja of Jaipur took Radha-madhava away with him and had it re-installed at a place called Ghati in Jaipur.His disappearance is on Pausa Sankranti. Shri Shri Radha-Madhava, are being worshipped in the former temple of Radha-Govinda just outside the present city of Jaipur.
During the last stage of his life, Jayadeva returned to his home at Kenduli village and lived there till the end. It is said that Jayadeva used to go for a bath in the Ganges daily about 36 miles away from Kenduli. One day he was unable to go and felt disturbed about it. However, to alleviate the distress of her devotee, Gangadevi, came roaring in a stream up to Kenduli village. Jayadeva breathed his last at Kenduli village and in his memory a mela is held every year. More than fifty thousand devotees attend this mela yearly.
Jayadeva's Gita-govinda is considered an invaluable asset by one and all. The book has been translated into Hindi, Bengali, Odiya, Assamese and also in many other foreign languages. The following persons have written commentaries on Gita-govinda: Udayanacarya, Kamalakara, Kumbhakarna Mahendra, Krishnadatta, Krishnadasa, Gopala, Chaitanyadasa, Narayana Bhatta, Narayanadasa, Pitamvara, Bhagavad dasa, Bhavacarya, Mananka, Ramatarana, Ramadatta, Rupadeva Pandita, Laksmana Bhatta, Laksmana
Suri, Vanamali Bhatta, Viththala Diksita, Visvesvara Bhatta, Sankara Misra, Shriharsa,
Hridayavarana and others. Besides this, two books of tika entitled Valavodini and Vacanamalika by some unknown authors are also available on Gita-govinda. Jayadeva Goswami also composed a book named Candraloka. His disappearance is on Pausa Sakranti.
The following verses and songs from Shri Jayadeva Goswami's Gita-govinda will give you some insight as to why his contemporaries dubbed him "The incarnation of melody," and why Lord Chaitanya used to relish this beautiful poem so much.
visvesam anuranjanena janayann anandam indivara-
sreni-syamala-komalair upanayann angair anangotsavam
svacchandam vraja-sundaribhir abhitah pratyangam alingitah
srngarah sakhi murtiman iva madhau mudho harih kridati
"My dear friends, just see how Shri Krishna is enjoying the season of spring! With the gopis embracing each of His limbs, He is like amorous love personified. With His transcendental pastimes, He enlivens all the gopis, and the entire creation. With His soft bluish-black arms and legs, which resemble blue lotus flowers, He has created a festival for Cupid.
(Quoted from Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi Lila Chapter 4 Text 224)
rase harim iha vihita-vilasam
smarati mano mama krta parihasam
Here in the arena of the rasa dance, I remember Krishna, who is always fond of joking and performing pastimes.
(Quoted from Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Antya Lila Chapter 15 Text 84)
kamsarir api samsara-
radham adhaya hrdaye
"Lord Krishna, the enemy of Kamsa, left aside the other gopis during the rasa dance and took Shrimati Radharani to His heart, for she is the helper of the Lord in realizing the essence of His desires."
(Quoted from Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi Lila Chapter 4 Text 219)
itas-tatas tam anusrtya radhikam
krtanutapah sa kalinda-nandini
tatanta-kunje visasada madhava
Being afflicted by the arrow of Cupid and unhappily regretting His mistreating Radharani, Madhava, Lord Krishna, began to search for Shrimati Radharani along the banks of the Yamuna River. When He failed to find Her, He entered the bushes of Vrndavana and began to lament.
(Quoted from Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya Lila Chapter 8 Text 107)
jaya jaya deva hare
jaya jaya deva hare
jaya jaya deva hare
jaya jaya deva hare
amala-kamala-dala locana (he)
jaya jaya deva hare
jaya jaya deva hare
jaya jaya deva hare
tava caranam pranata vayam (he)
iti bhavaya (e)
kuru kusalam pranatesu
jaya jaya deva hare
shri-jayadeva-kaver idam (he)
kurute mudam (e)
jaya jaya deva hare
1) Glories, glories to Lord Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is bedecked with jeweled earrings and a garland of forest flowers and whose feet are marked with a lotus!
2) The Lord's face shines like the whorl of the sun. He removes the miseries of His devotees and is the resting place of the minds of the swanlike sages. Glories! Glories to Lord Shri Hari!
3) O Supreme Personality who destroyed the demoniac Kaliya serpent! O Lord, You are the beloved of all living entities and the sun in the galaxy of the Yadu dynasty. Glories! Glories to Lord Shri Hari!
4) O Lord, destroyer of the demons Madhu, Mura and Naraka. Seated on Garuda, You are the source of joy for the demigods. All glories to Hari!
5) O Lord, Your clear eyes are like lotus petals, and You destroy the bondage of the material world. You are the maintainer of the three worlds. Glories to Lord Hari!
6) O Lord, as the gem of the sons of Janaka You were victorious over all the asuras, and You smashed the greatest asura, the ten-headed Ravana. Glories to Lord Har!
7) O Supreme Personality of Godhead who held the Govardhana Hill! Your complexion is like a fresh monsoon cloud, and Shrimati Radharani is like a cakora bird who is nourished by drinking the light of Your moonlike face. Glories! Glories to Lord Shri Hari!
8) O Lord, I offer my humble obeisances at Your lotus feet. Please bless me by Your limitless mercy. Glories! Glories to Lord Shri Hari!
9) The poet Shri Jayadeva offers this song of devotion and shining good fortune to thee. All glories! All glories to Lord Shri Hari.
pralaya-payodhi-jale dhrtavan asi vedam
kesava dhrta-mina-sarira jaya jagadisa hare
ksitir iha vipulatare tisthati tava prsthe
kesava dhrta-kurma-sarira jaya jagadisa hare
vasati dasana-sikhare dharani tava lagna
sasini kalanka-kaleva nimagna
kesava dhrta-sukara-rupa jaya jagadisa hare
tava kara-kamala-vare nakham adbhuta-srngam
kesava dhrta-narahari-rupa jaya jagadisa hare
chalayasi vikramane balim adbhuta-vamana
kesava dhrta-vamana-rupa jaya jagadisa hare
snapayasi payasi samita-bhava-tapam
kesava dhrta-bhrgupati-rupa jaya jagadisa hare
vitarasi diksu rane dik-pati-kamaniyam
kesava dhrta-rama-sarira jaya jagadisa hare
vahasi vapusi visade vasanam jaladabham
kesava dhrta-haladhara-rupa jaya jagadisa hare
nindasi yajna-vidher ahaha sruti-jatam
kesava dhrta-buddha-sarira jaya jagadisa hare
mleccha-nivaha-nidhane kalayasi karavalam
dhumaketum iva kim api karalam
kesava dhrta-kalki-sarira jaya jagadisa hare
shri-jayadeva-kaver idam uditam udaram
srnu-sukha-dam subha-dam bhava-saram
kesava dhrta-dasa-vidha-rupa jaya jagadisa hare
vedyan uddharate jaganti vahate bhu-golam udbibhrate
daityam darayate balim chalayate ksatra-ksayam kurvate
paulastyam jayate halam kalayate karunyam atanvate
mlecchan murchayate dasakrti-krte krishnaya tubhyam namah