Category: Hindu holidays
Jayadeva (pronounced [dʒəjəˈd̪eːʋə], b. c. 1170 CE), also known as Jaidev, was a Sanskrit poet during the 12th century. He is most known for his epic poem Gita Govinda which concentrates on Krishna's love with the cowherdess, Radha in a rite of spring. This poem, which presents the view that Radha is greater than Krishna, is considered an important text in the Bhakti movement of Hinduism.
Little is known of his life, except that he was a loner poet and a Hindu mendicant celebrated for his poetic genius in eastern India. Jayadeva is the earliest dated author of hymns that are included the Guru Granth Sahib, the primary scripture of Sikhism – a religion founded in the Indian subcontinent centuries after his death.
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 the village of Kenduli Sasan in Odisha or the village of Jayadeva Kenduli in Bengal are likely candidates though another Kenduli in Mithila is also a possibility. Recent studies show scholars still disagree on the issue. 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.
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.
Inscriptions at Lingaraj temple, and the more recently discovered Madhukeswar temple and Simhachal temple that were read and interpreted by 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.
Jayadeva was instrumental in popularising the Dashavatara, 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.
Two hymns of 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 Apabhramsha. There are records narrating how Jayadeva's work had a profound influence on Guru Nanak during his visit to Puri.
He also institutionalised the Debadasi system in Odia temples. Devadasis were women dancers specially dedicated to the temple deity, and as a result of the great poet's works, Odia temples began to incorporate a separate Natamandira, or dance hall, within their precincts for Mahari dance (earlier version of Odissi) performances.
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