Jayadeva, A Biography

Hinduism Concepts

by Jayaram V

Jayadeva was a medieval Indian saintly poet who is credited with many major works such as Gita Govindam, and Dasakritikrite. There are different versions of his place and date of birth. According to one version he was born in a village called Kenduli, which was situated either on the river Ajaya in the Birhampur district of West Bengal or on the river Praci in Puri district of Orissha (Odisha). Other versions place the birth place in Bihar and Maharashtra. Not much is known about his adult life, except that he was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu and spent his life in the constant meditation upon him. Several myths, miraculous events, and legends are associated with his life.

It is said that during a pilgrimage to Puri, he had a vision of Lord Krishna as a cowherd, which inspired him to compose the famous poem Gita Govindam, describing the divine love between Radha and Krishna. His work contributed to the popularity of Bhakti movement. Inscriptions found at Lingaraja temple, Madhukeswar temple and Simhachal temple suggest that he probably hailed from Orissa, received his education and spent some time as a teacher near Konark at a place called Kurmapataka. Two of the hymns from his works are incorporated into the Gurugranth Sahib, the holy scripture of the Sikhs. Jayadeva occupies a prominent place among the bhakti saints of Vaishnavism. His work inspired many other Vaishnava saints including Chandidas, Vidyapati, and Chaitanya.

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