By Swami Harshananda
Jayadeva was one of the most popular Sanskrit poets and his Gītagovindakāvya has made him immortal in the annals of Indian literature. He was born to Bhojadeva and Rāmādevī in the village Kendubilva or Kenduli of Bengal. He was assigned to the 12th century CE, the exact date being unknown and was one of the five court-poets of the king Lakṣmaṇasena of Bengal.
Prodigious Events of Jayadeva’s Life
Though not much is known of him, legends abound in attributing many miraculous happenings to his life. Some of them include:
- Acceptance of his work the Gita-govinda by Lord Jagannātha in preference to the king’s work
- Marriage with Padmāvatī at the behest of Lord Kṛṣṇa
- Regaining his limbs that had been cut off by robbers
- Destruction and redemption of robbers on Jayadeva’s intervention
- Death of Padmāvatī on hearing the false news of Jayadeva’s demise and subsequent revival by the Lord’s grace
Literary Works of Jayadeva
Jayadeva’s works are:
Jayadeva, A Brāhmaṇa
One more Jayadeva also existed in the 12th century CE. He was a brāhmaṇa belonging to Vidarbha in Maharashtra and was also famous to the historians of Sanskrit literature. Two works attributed to him are:
- Prasannarāghava - a drama of seven scenes depicting the story of the Rāmāyana
- Candrāloka - It is a scholarly work on alaṅkāraśāstra or poetics, in ten chapters, comprising 350 stanzas and considered as an authority on poetics. Appayyadīkṣita (16th century CE) has written a commentary on it called as Kuvalayānanda.
- Jayadeva's Mahābhārata closely follows the original by Vyāsa.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore