||Bhakta Kavi Jayadeva
Jayadeva had not only the name ‘deva’ (God) imbibed in his
name, but also God Himself seated on a large throne within his heart.
Jayadeva, known for his Gita Govindam, was popularly known as Bhakta Kavi.
His undaunted devotion for Lord Krishna turned him into a poet and made
him pen down many Ashtapadis on Krishna’s Rasa Leela. Krishna’s
‘Leela Vinodam’ could be observed in Jayadeva’s life.
Jayadeva was a blessed soul and that was revealed to the public even in
his youth. Jayadeva’s father was Bhoja Deva and mother was Vamadevi.
They were settled in Kendubilva village in Bengal. Jayadeva lost his parents
when he was a child. God looks after the needy was proved true in the
case of Jayadeva and he was turned to a Haridasa, due to his innate goodness.
He had his education with the meagre earnings as Haridasa. He prayed to
God not for material comforts but to seek His blessings.
The world is full of cheats and villains. One such cheat Niranjan’s
vicious eye fell on the house of Jayadeva. Luckily for him Jayadeva’s
father owed him a little in his life time. He could easily convince Jayadeva
regarding his debt and fool him into giving away his house against the
loan. He was so sure of his success and even prepared documents accordingly.
Yes he was hundred percent correct. Jayadeva was more than willing to
part with his house. He readily signed. A vicious smile dawned on Niranjan’s
face only for a fraction of a second since the next second he was confronted
with a shocking news. Being a worldly man he could guess every move of
a fellow human being, but how would an atheist like him know the powers
of omni potent God who protects his devotees with thousand hands ? His
little girl came running to him ‘Oh Papa hurry up ! our house is
Before Niranjan could digest the news and run to his house, Jayadeva ran!
Anybody in Jayadeva’s place would have thought, ‘He deserved
it for his villainous actions’ , but it was not Jayadeva’s
nature to curse anyone. If he was to do so, God would not have let such
a thing happen! Jayadeva walked into fire unmindful of the heat. What
a miracle! The moment he walked into it, the flames disappeared. Nothing
is impossible to the staunch devotees of God.
The devotee gets the powers of God and then poison becomes nectar, enemy
becomes friend and heat becomes ice.
Niranjan could at once understand the greatness of the simple man before
him. He was a fool to treat him a fool. Material comfort is nothing before
God’s blessings. He tore off the documents at once and with tears
running down his cheeks, he fell prostrate before Jayadeva ‘Oh Jayadeva’.
Please forgive me ! I have wilfully cheated you being greedy. Had you
not come to my rescue, my house would have been burnt down to ashes. You
are a blessed soul. Through you, we have come to know of the miraculous
blessings of God for his beloved ones.
Ever since then Niranjan was a purified soul. He spent the rest of his
life in Kirtanas of God.
Jayadeva too was touched by the showers of God. He wanted to be closer
to Lord Krishna. He proceeded to Puri known for its Jagannadh Temple,
with his brahmin friend Parasara. He had no money for his expenditure.
All that he had was the ‘harinama’ on his forehead and the
golden image of hari in his heart and the harinama japa on his lips. One
day Jayadeva felt very thirsty. It was mid summer, the heat was unbearable
and no trace of water in the vicinity. Jayadeva unable to bear his thirst,
fainted on the way ! Will the God leave his disciple thus to his fate
? No ! He came down personally as a cowherd boy, offered him water and
milk. He guided him and his friend to Puri. The minute they reached Puri,
the boy disappeared. Till then, neither Jayadeva nor his friend could
realise that the boy was no other than God himself! But it was too late
Jayadeva was lost in his prayer of Lord Krishna incessantly. One day,
when he was in an ecstatic mood, he had a divine visualization. There
Yamuna river was flowing through the four blue mountains. Beside the river
bank, under a tree, the heart throb of Gopikas, lord Sri Krishna was playing
on the flute wonderfully. The vision of Krishna and His song thrilled
Jayadeva so much that he composed a sloka extempore. This gave birth to
the famous epic, ‘Gita Govindam’ proving true the statement
‘Poetry is spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings and emotions’.
Jayadeva described the dasavataras of Lord Sri Krishna in the Astapadi
‘Jaya Jagadesa Hare! He had a visualization of those avatars too
! When he came back to normalcy, he saw before him not the Brindavan,
but the vast ocean which depicted the presence of God in the vast creation.
Then he prayed to God and went to Jagannadh Temple with his friend Parasara.
He was filled with joy. He led the life of an ascetic there. He had no
permanent abode. He spent his time in prayer, meditation and chanting
! He was begging alms for his living.
There was a brahmin called Sudeva in Puri during those days. He had no
children for a long time. He prayed to God to bless him with a child and
promised to offer the child to God. He was blessed with a girl. He named
her Padmavathi and as promised , he offered her to the Lord ceremoniously.
That night the lord appeared in his dream and told him that he had accepted
the offer. God advised him to perform her marriage with his devotee Jayadeva.
Accordingly Sudeva and his wife went in search of Jayadeva and told him
of God’s wish. Jayadeva refused to marry since he was leading the
life of sanyasi and since he was unfit for Grihastadharma. But Sudeva
refused to listen since it was God’s order and since there was no
going against His orders. Jayadeva was forced to oblige since he too wouldn’t
oppose God. He married Padmavathi and came back to his village Kendybilva.
They lived happily there for sometime and prayed to Radha Madhav in their
After sometime Jayadeva went on Pilgrimage. On his way, a king was very
much impressed with him and forced him to stay with him for quite few
days. Finally, when Jayadeva proceeded on his pilgrimage he forced Jayadeva
to take huge amount of money. Jayadeva pleaded, ‘Money and gold
are like poison to one who seeks the blessings of God. Money mindedness
makes one egoistic or cruel. I don’t want to accept such a harmful
one.’ But his words of wisdom fell on deaf ears. He was forced to
accept the huge amount.
Jayadeva’s statement ‘Money mindedness makes one cruel’
proved true in no time. Jayadeva was walking innocently, as usual lost
in his prayer. This was watched by a few thieves and they wanted to amass
the wealth of Jayadeva. Jayadeva would have happily donated the money
to them for a mere asking, but how would the cut throats know that there
are good people still in the world! Even if they were told so, they wouldn’t
believe it. So they hit upon a plan. They attacked him from behind, cut
off his hands and feet and threw him into a well beside. They ran away
happily with his bundle of money. Little did they know that they were
loaded with crimes and sins.
Regarding Jayadeva, he was thrown into a well according to the thieves,
but God was behind him. There was no water in the well. Jayadeva was not
at all hurt. There was a stone in the well. Jayadeva sat on it and continued
his prayer. He didn’t lose his faith on God inspite of his suffering.
He thought he deserved such a punishment for accepting money. Though he
knew that a bhakta like him shouldn’t accept it. Why did he do it?
He should reap the consequences of his crime. God too cannot save him.
Repentance is the best punishment. God did save him already! He further
saved him in the form of a king called Lakshmanasena of Gouda. He heard
the song of Jayadeva and made his servants bring him out of the well into
his kingdom. Jayadeva’s knowledge and devotion made him a disciple
of Jayadeva. The king asked him to reveal the names of his enemies, but
a true devotee wouldn’t even dream of harming his enemies. ‘Forgive
thine enemy’ was the teaching of his Lord and he followed it verbatim.
He refused to speak a word about them.
Jayadeva was cured of his wounds in no time. The king made him the President
of his court. After a few days. Jayadeva’s wife, Padmavathi too
joined him with their Radha Madhav’s statue. The king showered the
couple with lots of wealth but Jayadeva took only as much as he needed
to lead his life.
As time was passing on thus, once there was a grand gala festival in the
kingdom and many beggars, guests, brahmins and sadhus were invited. The
thieves who harmed Jayadeva came in the guise of sadhus, but they were
shocked to see Jayadeva on the seat of prominence when he should have
lost his eye. Jayadeva was delighted to see them. He felt that they had
harmed him only because they were badly in need of money. ‘Any way
the king was ready to shower him with money, why not I make him donate
that to these people!’ The moment this thought flashed in his mind,
he made the king do accordingly. The king had no objection to it since
Jayadeva never sought a favour. But the thieves couldn’t believe
their eyes. Perfection is not loved in this imperfect world. They could
not understand Jayadeva’s goodness. They took it as some vicious
motive behind. Jayadeva sent even officers and four soldiers with them
for their protection.
The officer, out of curiosity, asked how they were so close to such a
saint like Jayadeva. He asked what kind action of theirs was being reciprocated.
The thieves who were basically bad, spun a wicked story against Jayadeva.
They said ‘Jayadeva and we worked under a king. We were officers
there and he was our servant. For some crime of his the king wanted him
to be beheaded, but we very generously left him off by just cutting off
his feet and hands.
‘God sees the truth but waits’, waits for the right moment.
The minute the thieves spoke these words, the earth under their feet tore
open with a thundering noise and pulled them down. They lost their lives
before the very eyes of the officer. He went back with the treasure and
narrated the story to the king. The king sent for Jayadeva and informed
him of the same. Jayadeva felt sorry for them and the next minute his
feet and hands grew and he came back to his normal physique. This doubled
the surprise of the king. The king asked for the actual story.
Jayadeva narrated the whole story ‘oh ! Maharaja! I am an unlucky
soul. I am responsible for their tragic death. In spite of knowing the
ill effects of money, I carried it with me. These thieves brought misfortunes
to me but they have done me a great favour because they showed me practically
what I knew theorectically. I wanted to repay their kindness. If I suffered
because of them they were only instrumental.I must have really done a
great crime. But instead of punishing me God has blessed me. He brought
me back by normal statue. He punished them for my sake. I am so sorry
for them. Oh king ! If God has forgiven me and has punished them it speaks
of two things. The ill effects of money mindedness as opposed to the miraculous
powers of God.
The king was touched by Jayaeva’s good nature blended with spiritual
feeling and since then became his disciple.
Jayadeva’s wife was a perfect match for him. She too was a pious
lady. She was inspired by her husband’s faith and treated him as
God. She spent her leisure hours in discourses on religion to other ladies
in the court. The Queen too was one of her disciples, as good as Padmavathi
herself but unknowingly the pride of belonging to a royal family proped
up now and then.
Once Padmavathi was discussing Sati Sahagamanam. She opined ‘whoever
dies on her husband’s funeral pyre is not a great lady. A true wife
is one who breathes her last, the minute she hears of her husband’s
demise.’ The Queen felt jealous of Padmavathi. She felt that she
was showing off before others.
So she played a practical joke on her. The next day she informed Padmavathi
with crocodile tears that Jayadeva was killed by a lion in the forest.
Before she could complete her statement Padmavathi became unconscious.
On close examination, the queen could feel that she breathed her last
! The Queen was shocked. She was worried how Jayadeva and the king would
react to her foolish behaviour. But Jayadeva did not curse her. He did
not wonder how a dead person could be alive ! He had so much faith in
his Good and his wife that he coolly said, “ she lost her life because
she heard that I had lost my life. Now when she comes to know that I am
safe and sound, she will come back to life ! There is no doubt about it”.
He prayed to God not because he loved her physical body, but because he
wanted the Queen to be relieved of her repentence. Faith in God never
goes waste. Within no time, Padmavathi woke up as if from sleep and she
too joined their prayer. The Queen’s joy knew no bounds and she
promised never to repeat her practical jokes. Everybody was thrilled at
the bhakti of Jayadeva and the pious nature of Padmavathi.
After some time Jayadeva came back to his village. He composed Gita Govindam
One day while he was composing it, he was struck in a poem. He couldn’t
continue any further. He was struck in the line ‘Smaragarala Khandanam
Mama Sirasi Mandanam’. Then Padmavathi advised him to go for his
bath and prayer. Jayadeva welcomed the idea and left for Ganges. But he
came back in a few minutes and called ‘Padma’ get me the slokas!
‘When Padmavathi expressed her surprise he said,’ I was struck
with wonderful lines on my way and so came back.’ She brought the
slokas, palm-leaves and the stylus (Ghantam). He completed the line as
‘Dehi me Pada Pallava Mudaram’. He made Padmavathi arrange
water for his bath, he had his bath, his prayer, offered nivedan to God,
he had his stomachful and dozed off comfortably on his bed.
As usual, Padmavathi began to eat, but she was surprised to see Jayadeva
standing before her. Jayadeva was more than surprised. He questioned her
‘What’s wrong with you today’ ? Have you ever dined
before offering food to the lord or before I had my food ? I have never
seen such a thing before !’
Padmavathi was even more shocked ‘Are you pulling my leg ? You came
back from your trip, took the poem, completed it, had your bath, food
and you were relaxing inside. Now you look as if you had your bath just
now. What’s happening. I can’t understand anything. Jayadeva
could guess half the truth. He rushed to his bedroom but nobody was there.
He asked Padma to bring the sloka to see how it was completed. Yes his
guess work was correct. There was a new line unwritten by him. The Lord
himself has come down in his form to complete his poem. He wanted to write
the same way, but he felt delicate to do so. He was thrilled as it but
also felt sad. How lucky was Padmavathi ! She saw God and served him personally.
He cried unto the Lord. ‘Oh Lord! Oh Krishna! Oh mighty Lord! what
wrong deed have I done that you did not allow me to have your darshan.
You left me out and blessed Padmavathi alone.’ He grabbed the food
from Padvamathis leaf since it was the food of the Lord Himself! He did
not care for the pleadings of Padmavathi that he was eating from her leaf,
which was not expected of a husband.
After this incident, Jayadeva completed his Gita Govindam with renewed
vigour. He was deeply involved in his songs and sang them wholeheartedly.
The Lord followed him, invisibly and wholeheartedly, to listen to his
song. How lucky was Jayadeva ? Jayadeva experienced God’s love unto
him and people around him could feel God’s protection of him.
Jayadeva used to go to the Ganges 18 miles away from his house. There
was a belief that in his old age when he could not walk to Ganges, Ganges
came to his doorstep and that he recited a sloka in praise of Ganges.
Jayadeva spent his last days in Brindavan with his wife and his disciples.
He was spending the whole day thinking of and visualising the Rasa Leela
of Krishna with the Gopikas.
Finally Jayadeva’s Jeevathma joined Paramathma, leaving behind his
Every year on Sankranthi, there is a big mela in memory of Jayadeva in
his village Kendubilva. More than a lakh of people take part in it.
Jayamu to Jayadeva ! Jayamu Jayamu to
Jaya’s Deva !