Gitagovinda is the magnum opus of the last great Sanskrit poet jayadeve. Its lyrical beauty aesthetic sensibility devotional intensity and its exploration of sacred and profane dimensions of erotic love have enthralled scholars rhetorician performers and painters for centuries. It has not lost its power to enchant us.
This book is an attempt to appreciate the Gitagovinda from the perspective of the cultural tradition of Odisha. In this book readers will find facts arguments and postulations related to the history, legends, paintings, sculpture, textile, music, dance, literature and poetics of a living tradition.
Dr Dinanath Pathy
Dr Dinanath Pathy is a practicing painter culture historian and creative writer he has publish sixty books in English German and Odia. Some of these have been written in collaboration with Dr. Eberhard Fischer. He has exhibited extensively in India and abroad and held important position a curator of arts and crafts at Orissa state museum principal of government B.K. College of art and crafts at Bhubaneswar and secretary at the central Lalit Kala akademi new Delhi. He is the recipient of the president of India silver plaque for painting Jawaharlal Nehru fellowship for research and Orissa sahitya academy award for creative writing. At present he is the director Alice boner institute Varanasi and chairman angarag an international journal focussing of performing and visual arts.
Dr. Bijaya Kumar Rath
Dr. Bijaya Kumar Rath is an archaeologist and historian and has published about seventh research papers and seven books. He was the superintendent of the Orrisa state Archaeolgoy and director of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose birthplace museum at Cuttack. He undertaken the conservation of nine hundred built heritage structures in Odisha under the10th and 11the Finance Commission of Government of India. He is a member of the committee of National mission for monuments and antiquities and is a consultant for heritage conservation and culture.
A few year ago in the beginning of 1970s, Kapila Vatsyayan the well known scholar was delivering the Artaallava Mohanty memorial Lecture in Bhubaneswar under the aegis of Orissa Sahitya Academy. Although a question answer session normally does not follow such memorial lecture an enthusiastic young man in the audience stood up and asked Dr Vatsyayan the obvious question. Where was the poet Jayadeva born? The learned speaker widely acclaimed as an expert on the study of the Gitagovinda promptly shot back must be in a sleeper coach of a train in which his parents were travelling from Puri to Howrah. The entire audience burst into laughter and the interrogator felt humiliated. The then chief Minister of Orissa, Janaki Ballav Patnaik was the chief guest and my role was to project slider through my carusal projector.
To me Dr Vatsyayan’s answer though a sarcastic response to a petulant question revealed something the young man wanted to hear from her. Take the answer as a joke. The train which stated from Puri and reached Howrah fell short of Kollkata: Burdwan lay still far away. She did not admit candidly that Jayadeva was born in Odisha but she almost said so.
The skirmishes that followed between the scholars of two neighbouring states on Jayadeva birthplace revolved round a political issue concerning the building of modern Bengali and Odia identities. Gaganedra Nath dash in a well researched article advances three basic reason and explains the controversies regarding Odisha’s claims relating to Jayadeva and the Gitagovinda to Odisha. His main argument is that Jayadeva was a saint or a saint poet who dedicated the Gitagovinda to Lord Jagannatha or Puri as his devotee. The second argument is based on traditional accounts which sought to establish that Lord Jagannatha was very fond of listening to the songs of the Gitagovinda. The third argument centres on the controversy over the singing of the Gitagovinda Abhinava Gitagovinda in the Jagannatah temple which was undermined by the traditional accounts contained in Bhaktamla written in Sanskrit Bengali and Marahi and Dardhyata bhakti in Odia. At least for the last four hundred years there were concentrated efforts from several quarters to claim Jayadeva and the Gitagovinda for Puri Jagannatha and finally for odisha. Gaganendra Nath dash uses Benedict Anderson famous expression the imagined community to explain the interaction of certain forces and counter forces. We would like to possible and probable evidences for I would like to believe that in advancing arguments and counter argument the person or the imagined community which satisfies present practices and tradition ultimately wins.
This compendium is all about the Odishan tradition concerning Jayadeva and the Gitagovinda. The wealth of material brought to light and included in this book would appear to leave no scope for misrepresenting the birthplace of Jayadeva. For the last two decades we do not hear the voices of dissent but one cannot apparently treat the mater as closed for the mindset is presumably not dead. It bared its ugly fangs when the Department of posts Government of India published the stamps and the first day cover on the Gitagovinda in 2009. The citations as well as the visuals had no cultural focus. But this was probably due more to ignorance than intentional mischief. I wanted to bring in the issue because it obscured a holistic view of the Gitagovinda and projected it in a poor light.
But I am confident that these issues will not deter the readers from appreciating the beauty of the Gitagovinda. My editorial colleague Bijaya Kumar Rath and I consider compiling and editing such a volume in collaboration with the renowned scholars as our prime duty. We would like various dimensions of the poem and the poet to receive the attention they deserve.
On an individual level I am involved in reinventing the traditional are motifs of the Gitagovinda specifically those depicted on the folios of illustrated palmleaf manuscript in terms of their contemporary interpretation. I have held solo exhibitions of my Gitagovinda painting in the British council gallery and India international centre Gallery at New Delhi. These paintings inspired by the Gitagovinda have travelled outside India to paris New York and Kuala lumpur. I am not sure whether paintings in this generation still form part of Odishan pictorial tradition unless one speaks of the tradition of the modern. These reinvented images show that the visual imagery of the gitagovinda have the potency even to stimulate modern minds engaged n a creative journey to realise the beauty of the poem. Example of this are the painting of the lotus pond depicted below. The lotus has a symbolic value here the cosmic process and the natural process of bees gathering honey (with all its erotic associations) occur at one place. In the lotus the cosmic process in made natural and the natural process is given cosmic significance through the natural process is given cosmic significance through the lotus as a symbol. See also “ the lotus” in sacred and profane dimension of love in India tradition as exemplified in the Gitagovinda of Jayadevta.
On an institutional level I have tried to integrate the three basic facets of the poem i.e. the literary the visual and the performing. When I was the president of the Orissa Lalit Kala Academy I was able to involve the sahitya and the sangita nataka academy in my scheme. We held an art exhibition a Nataka Academy in my seminar and it was realised that the poem does not limit itself to poetic and intellectual stimulations but its value as a source of creative enjoyment was much greater. Unfortunately m successors and colleagues in the academies gave up the integrated approach thereby undermining its long term efficacy.
Of the various Gitagovinda related cultural identities Odisha possesses temple of Konark. These there are so well integrated with the land and its psyche that together they promote a distinct cultural and devotional tradition of human value aesthetics and erotic beauty. The greatness about Jagannatha tradition is its mystery and the power to assimilate and evolve. As a concept it function on a popular level defying iconisation and classification. The concept of jaganatha allows people to project their own ideas (as Jayadeva did in his poem) which are finally subsumed and returned to society as a novel idea. The Gitagovinda or the song of Govinda the cowherd the cowherd god krsna was initially sung for lord Jagannatha in the temple at Puri by the poet and his spouse. The paraphernalia that grew around its ritualistic application remained wrapped in mystery Jayadeva as a name is quite significant and he shares with Krsna a similar identity and it the process he develops his special relation to Krsna. The role of Krsna cowherdess consort Radha in the Gitagovinda derives its cosmic significance from the context of recurrent references to Sri. Jayadeva use of the epithet Jagannatha to be accidental the Gitagovinda may well have taken shape in the richly syncretic environment in Puri in the 12th century [K.C. mishra the cult of Jagannatha and Barbara stoller miller observation that Radha is neither the wife of Krsna nor a worshiping rustic playmate. She is an intense solitary proud female who complements and reflects the mood of Krsna passion she is krsna partner in a secret and exclusive love contrasted in the poem with circular rasa dance is more than justified.
The role of erotic energy in the Gitagovinda its sexual passion (ratibhava) antithetical modes of separation (vipralambha srngara) and consummation (sambhoga srngara) bring in an interplay of modes an result in aesthetic joy. This mysterious ramification in poetic sentiments bring the poetry to an intimate closeness of jagnnatha who is primordial and sensuous.
The temple of Konarka which symbolises the life energy of the individual and the world stands for passion which is made palpable through sensuous and graceful description of movements and physical form. Both the Gitagovinda and the temple of Konarka s sensuous poems in words and stone at one level stimulate wanton desire and when the perceptual experience of sensuousness is restrained it results in an aesthetic and devotional experience.
Jagannatha dark elemental and mysterious form arouses erotic devotion which when filtered through passionate emotion becomes poetry and when it flourishes exuberantly result in the beauty of the plastic form. There these distinguished identities have the same verve same vision and same mood as well as the same implications in life and culture which no one could deny with any amount of ambition and reasoning.
Out of the two different interpretations of the inscription on the wall of the Lingraja Temple in Bhubaneswar issued during the reign of Ganga monarch raghava deva (1156-70) and its earliest date notwithstanding we are tempted to focus on two points; one the town of Kurma pataka and the painting of kanci vijaya in the srikurmam temple which is obviously beyond scope of the cult of jagannatha the town of kurma pataka as supplier of dancing women or singing women (bhitara gauni telugu samprada) to the puri temple and the kanci vijaya painting as the recognition of the link with Lord Jagannatha. These two seemingly far-fetched evidences become for us points of references to uphold Lord jagannatha with his linkages to the Gitagovinda (singing) in our understanding of the working of the poem and rejecting its relations songs dance and the painting become the face of the Gitagovindaa and an extension of the interpretation of the lingaraja inscription. In the Indian cultural context memory and myth are tow significant rallying point to frame a new socio-cultural history. Therefore the information contained in the lingaraja inscription is vague and leaves room for various interpretations. This inscription raises several other questions which have remained unanswered. Who was medama devi? Was she not a leader of gudisani who wanted to please Kirtivasa before reaching her final destination puri? Was she carrying the lamp or got one made locally? These questions and their answers are far more important to understand the vital link between srikurmam and Puri as well as the probably she sang the of medama Devi to the poet or his poem. Most probably she song the Gitagovinda and was aware of its being sung in the temple.
The editors are thankful that srividya swami his holiness Mahamedhanandanatha saraswati our former colleague in the department pattanyaka has so kindly written the introduction and also contributed the English translation of the Gitagovinda both of which have enriched our publication immensely.
The editors express their gratitude to Bikash and Tultul de niyog of niyogi book who so kindly tookup the responsibility for the publication of this book. We also thank eberhard fischer ramahari jena P.C. Dhir Dillip Kumar Tripaty japano and o.p. sud for supplying relevant photographs. Jatindra K. Nayak Nityananda misra and soubhagaya Pathy who helped in compilation and editing deserve warm appreciation.
Jayadeva the celebrated poet of the Gitagovinda though born and brought up in Odiha is claimed to be their poet by Bengal and Mithila. Despite the close and intimate association of the poet Jayadeva with Lord Jagannatha and the widespread prevalence of the Radha Madhava cult in the praci valley Odihsa where Jayadeva birthplace kenduli is located scholars of Bengal have all these year tried to claim Jayadeva as belonging to Bengal have all these years tried to claim jayadeva as belonging to Bengal.
This introduction provides historical evidence as proof of the claims of Odhishan scholars that jayadeva belong to Odisha not Bengal. Of the several facts in favour of odisha one significant point is the prevalence of Madhava cult in praci valley. It is this madhava that appears in Jayadeva’s poems who signs”
“Radha Madhauayor jayanti yamunakule rahah kelayah”
i.e. glory to the love dalliances of Radha and Madhava in solitude on the banks of river Yamuna.
Here the use of Madhava replacing krsna is singularly significant since ma dharva indicate the husband of lakshmi the goddess of wealth goddess of wealth as well as the universal mother jayadeva wanted jagannatha to configurate in his poem and therefore brought in Madhava (ma+dhava) husband of Laskshmi the eternal love play between Radha and Krsna is regionalised in the images of lakshmi and jagannatha.
The poet could have juxtaposed the word Radha with any of the synonyms of Krsna Radh with any of the synonyms of krsna for example Radha kesavayor jayanti or some such expression. But the poet by associating the word Radha with Madhava has elevated the position of Radha from the mundane to a heavenly one. Of the vaisnavite acarya Nimabrka proclaimed Radha (as the female energy) and Krsna in divine sport. Madhava image with four hands having conch and discus in upper two hands and a flute in lower two hands are found in plenty in the valley. This krsna visnu form called Madhava was the favourite God who was worshipped by Jayadeva. An image of Krsna visnu madhava is on display in the Orissa state museum. This reminds the viewer of the first verse of the Gitagovinda. Radha Madhauayor jayanti.
The following views of Odishan scholars in all fairness be taken into account by all contestants to arrive at a judicious view of jayadeva place of birth.
1.0 Jayadeva: not a court poet of Laksmana sena:
It is said that Sripada Goswami saw a stone inscription on the threshold of royal court in Navadvipa containing the following solka:
It would certainly seem a concoction to frame a premise basing on a nonexistent inscription of 12th century involving sanatana Goswami of 16th century. Sanatana goswami had never mentioned the existence of such an inscription nor was it available at any point of time as later claimed by scholar with a distinct bias. It would seem an extremely erroneous and injudicious act almost an offence on the part of a scholar to fabricate such historical untruth. The imaginary inscription mentioned above never seem to have existed primarily because the persons mentioned therein were not contemporaries and hence could not be mentioned in the same single inscription.
The above five personalities have been mentioned together in an austubh sloka perhaps with the sole intent of trying to prove that they were in the court of Lakshmana sena. But in the following verse of Jayadeva which lists these persona there is no mention of Laksmana sena:
Logically if they were contemporaries and in the same king court the kind name should also have been listed by Jayadeva in the verse. Further it should be borne in mind that the five poets mentioned in the above verse of the Gitagovinda by Jayadeva were not necessarily contemporaries. Jayadeva has tried to justify his poetic genius and in a comparative strategy simply mentioned the other four poets well known in their respective field. Such an attempt has defined his own position in the annals of Sanskrit literature. Jayadeva was simply adhering to the tradition that had been followed by Goverdhana and Bana as well as others in mentioning predecessors who had excelled in their respective fields.
1.1 Goverdhana a court poet of Pravara Sena but not of Laksmana Sena:
Govedhana mentioned by Jayadeva was Acarya Goverdhana the celebrated author of the Aryasaptasati. He nowhere mentioned his association with Lakshmana sena. Sena Kula Tilaka mentioned by him along with a list of other authors in one of the verse refers to pravara Sena the celebrated author of the Setubandhakavyam. Udayana Acarya the younger brother of Acarya Govardhana son of nilambara acrya belonged to odisha Udayana Acarya the great logician and author of the nyayakusumanjali who to the temple of Jagnnatha only to the find the doors of the Lord shut denying entry perhaps due to his intense argumentative nature was so enraged that he directed his banter and ire against the lord in the following verse:
Aisuvarya madamatto si mamavajnaya vartase samagatesu bauddhesu madadhiina tava shitih intoxicated by try supreme glory thou despises me upon whom thy very existence depended when Thou was attacked by the Buddhists (translation mine). But this Naiyaika Udayana who flourished in the last quarter of the 10th century belonged to Mithila in the present state of bihar whereas the poet Udayana acarya the author of the two inscription in the sobhanesara and meghesvara Temples was a native of Odisha and can definitely be assigned to the last quarter of the 12th century. None of the tow had any connection with the Bhadury Brahmin family of Bengal.
Udayana acarya the author of the above two inscriptions is identical with udayana the brother of poet govadhana mentioned in his Aryasaptasati. Both the brother came to prominence with the help of great visnu acarya who was at first a royal preceptor during the reign of anagabhiadeva-II but gradually rose to the position of commander cum minister of anagambhima III it seems very likely that Visnu acarya belonged to the famlily of Udayana. Udayana unknown to sridharasdasa the compiler of Sadukitikarnamrtam had nothing to do with Lakshmana sena of Bengal as he lived in Odisha in the courts of two local chieftains under the Ganga kings Rajaraja-II (1190-1198 AD). Similarly Govardhana not a single verse of whose Aryasaptasati is found quoted in Saduktikarnamrtam of Sridharadasa did not adorn the court of Lakshmana sena and the term sena kula tilaka bhupati of his work can more appropriately be applied to pravara sena who is reputed as author o setubandhakavyam than to Lakshmana sena.
1.2 Sarana’s association with Laksmana sena – Not certain
No work of saran mentioned by Jayadeva is available to us. In a verse vevahkupryatu…sevabhiryadi Senavams tilakadasadanyah sriyah sarana eulogise a snea-kind whose name is not mentioned.
In another verse bhruksepad gaudalaksmin jayati Sarana indicates a king who has excelled the splendour of the king of Gauda which stand as a proof of his not being in the court of Lakshmana sena.
1.3 Umapatidhara and Dhoyi were in the court of laksmana sena:
There is proof in the deopara inscription of Vijaya sena that umapatidhara was not only in his court but also in the court of his grandson Laksmana sena since the interval period between the reign of Vijaya sena and Laksmana sena was only 21 year as regards Dhoyi there is definite evidence to prove that he was patronised by king Laksmana sena in whose honour he wrote the Pavanadutam.
1.4 Laksmana sena capital in a state of flux:
There is no contemporary epigraphic or literary evidence to prove that Nadiya was ever the capital of either Laksmana sena or his forefather and successors. Two Knows grants of vikaya sena and all the five grants of Laksmana sena dated within the first six years of his reign were issued from the royal camp of vikrampura. Two later grants of Laksmana sena and those of his successors are found to have been issued not from vikramapura but respectively from dharyagrama nad phalgugramanone of which can be identified. Tabaqat-i-Nasiri written in 1260 after about 60 years of the death of Laksmana sena and invasion of Nadiya records on hearsay ground rai Laksmanaiah whose seat of government was the seat of Nudiah and who was a very great rai had been on the throne for a period of eighty year. If we accept this account to be true then we must accept the destruction of Nadiya to be true since it recors after Mahammad-i-Bakhtyar possessed himself of that (Rai Lakshmanaiah) territory he left the city in desolation in the footnote of the same page it is further written Mahammad-i-Bakhtyar destroyed Nudiah and leaving it in desolation passed onwards.
So it can be said without any fear of contradiction that no trace of the place of Laksmana sena destroyed by muslim army could exist up to the time of sanatana Goswami. Therefore the theory of witnessing the so called controversial inscription on the gate of his palace is a fantasy and is not based on historical truth. The story of the discovery of the controversial inscription describing the connection of the five poets with sridham Navadipa originated and was circulated in the post caitanya period when nadiya came to prominence due to the birth of the great reformer caitanya in that holy place.
1.5 Jayadeva and Jagannatha:
Gitagovinda is sung in the temple of Jagannatha the form of a gou or bull symbolising Dharma. The bull followed the poet Jayadeva into a garden like Koili vaikuntha of Jagannatha the form of gaou or buil symbolising Dharma. The bull followed the poet jayadeva into a garden like Koili vaikuntha of Jagannatha while he was plucking flowers and tulasi leaves singing the Gitagovinda Jayadeva found the impression of eight hoofs marked by the feet of the Dharma gou and it moved him to such an extent that to immortalise the strange incident he composed songs as astapadi or eight quatrains. Jayadeva association with Odisha is quit diverse and he occupies a unique position notwithstanding the role of other poets in their respective fields. Hence Jayadeva reference to four other poets of eminence belonging to different periods does not prove his association with the court of Lakshman sena.
1.6 Jayadeva a Pandit and poet devoted to Jaganatha
Jayadeva was a devotee dedicated to the temple of Jagannatha. He was delighting in singing the Gitagovinda in a spiritual fervour before his beloved God repeating Jayadeisa Hare Let there be victory to hari the Lord of the world Jagannatha. He found pleasure in introducing himself as a master conducting the (dancing) step of Padmavati performing before Jagannatha. He has therefore called himself Padmavati carana carana cakravartiand taken pride in doing so for the pleasure of Jagannatha. He was never a court poet. As a vaisnava devotee he dedicated himself to serve jagannatha singing the glories of his divine love.
How could a devotee dedicated to the cause of singing the glory of Radha Krishna love. Divert his the attention to the royal court for petty benefits monetary gains or worldly fame?
Jayadeva despised serving in the royal court and considered himself superior to all who had earned reputation in scholarly debates. He therefore hand boldly said:
Jayadeva was bold enough to declare that he would place his sandals on the head of the scholar who through their loyalty and service are held in respect by the king of Utkala because he was a kavi-Pandita a poet scholar in the divine court of jagannatha the Lord of the university hence. Jayadeva who had introduced himself as a Kavi-Pandita with an air of authority and had taken pride in calling himself a master of padmavati the danseuse was a devotee par excellence and was never attached to any royal court.
1.7 Kendu bilva on the river Praci in Odisha
Jayadeva in the Gitagovinda proclaims: Kendubilva-samudrasambhava-rohini-ramana. He was the Moon born of an ocean or the great expanse of rivers praci and Kusabhadra that surround kendubilva or kenduli-sasana in puri district. In the past kendubilva was a large village but presently it is segmented into three settlements namely Kenduli-sasana (settlement of Brahmana) kenduli deuli (seat of temples) and kenduli patna (settlement) of assorted caste people). See Revenue one inch map the kenduli area abounds in antiquities which can safely be assigned to the 8th century AD if not earlier. Not far from this village is the famous Triveni-samgana (the confluence of the three rivers viz. Praci Kusabhadra and dhanua) where a big festival is held every year on the new moon day or amavasya of the lunar month of magha which is called the Triveni-Amavasya. According to a tradition Jayadeva used to take his bath here every morning and worshiped Triveni-Madhava. There is perhaps no other area in India where so many finely chiselled Visnu images of the pre ganga period can be noticed as one finds in the important villages of the praci valley.
1.8 Kenduli in Bengali is a modern town
The village called Jayadeva Kenduli on the bank of river Ajaya is modern and is so named intentionally to associate the village with the birthplace of poet Jayadeva. The village Kenduli in the district of birbhum completely lacks the archaeological significance and devotional environment which contributed in moulding the poetic career of Jayadeva. Had it been a sacred place caitanya a great admirer of the Gitagovinda must have paid a visit to this place at least once during his lifetime. But the contemporary vaisnava literature is silent about any such visit.
Vanamalidasa Jayadeva-carita from single paper manuscript of sena 1208 or 1801AD edited by Atul Krsna Goswami was published by Bangiya sahiya parishad Calcutta in Bengali sana 1312 or 1905 AD. The work is of no historical value. Even the dated of Jayadeva has been brought dwon by the poet from the 12the to his own time when the feudal Raja of Burdwan would appear to have been the only big ruler known to vanamalidasa perhaps there was another Jayadeva in the court of 17th century Bengal had been confused to be Jayadeva of 12th century Odisha and some scholars have mistakenly put Jayadeva of (17th century) of Burdwan Raja in the court of Raja Laksmana sena of 12th century.
1.9 Jayadeva’s Kenduli in the hagiological writings
Nabhaji a ramite of Rajasthan in his bhaktamala (written in Vikrama samvat 1642 or 1585 AD) in Hindi Mahipati of maharastra in his Bhaktavijaya written in saka 1684 or 1762 AD in Marathi Krsna Dasa a vaisnava poet of Bengal in bhaktamala (18 century early part) in Bengali and candradatta of mithila in his bhaktaala in Sanskrit have declared without ambiguity that Jayadeva was born in Kendubilva of Utkala. Modern Bengali scholars without bias have accepted kenduli in Odisha as Jayadeva birthplace.
Another important work the Vaisnava-lilamrta (written in 48th regnal year of prataparudradeva i.e. in Odia by kavi madhava pattanayaka mentions that Jayadeva from Kenduli on the bank of river praci came to puri after the death (i.e. in 1535 AD) of king Gangesvara or codagangadeva who took possession of Utkala in 1112 Ad and died in 1147 AD. It is also mentioned that Jayadeva left his mortal coil in Jagannatha puri before Ganga king bhimadeva or anagabhimadeva III (1211-1238) ascended the throne. This king was a great devotee of visnu. It is further mentioned that his Anagabhimadeva built a dancing hall (natamandira) in front of the sanctum sanctorum of jagannatha temple and introduced the dance along with the singing of the Gitagovinda perhaps to commemorate the association of jayadeva and his immortal work the Gitagovinda with Jagannatha. It is said that without listening to the Gitagovinda his predecessor Kamarnava (1147-1157 AD) on religious grounds would not even sip water. It was again reintroduced by (kavi) Narasimhadeva-II (1278-1307 AD) as a temple ritual. In the 15th century Kavicandra Raya Divakara Misra composed the Abinava Gitagovinda in the name of Gajapati Purusottama Deva (1467-1497) who eventually wanted to replace the one by Jayadeva in the temple ritual. But it is believed that Jagannatha preferred to listen to the Gitagovinda by Jayadeva alone. Again Gajapati Prataparudradeva (1497-1534) made the dancing in tune with the singing of the Gitagovinda by Jayadeva compulsory on the 8th July, 1500 AD.
2.0 Ancient commentators on the Gitagovinda from Odisha
A number of commentaries of the Gitagovinda was written by scholars belonging to different parts of the India. It is quite significant that the fast commentary Bhava-vibhavini was written by Udayana Acarya the Younger brother of Govardhana Acarya of Odisha. Though Udayana was quoted in ancient works we have not been able to get the work in print. The next authoritative commentary the sarvangasundari by author of the Sahitya Darpana belonged to Odisha. It may be noted that Odishan commentaries being first in antiquity are the foremost and quite dependable in determining the text of the Gitagovinda
2.1 Authentic Text of the Gitagovinda
Many interpolations crept into the text of the Gitagovinda when handled by different scholars during the last eight hundred years. A definitive text of by the Gitagovinda on the basis of ancient commentaries was a desideratum in the scholars world who often err in quoting an interpolation as the original text. Bajari Dasa an Odia translator of the Gitagovinda in his Artha Govinda not only translated the text in the nine lettered Bhagavata metre of Jagannatha Dasa to make it popular but also took commendable steps in the 17th century in determining the definite text of Jayadeva Gitagovinda. This manuscript was edited by me and was published as the first in the Odishan Oriental text series by Government of Odisha in the department of cultural in 1970 and it ran into 2nd edition in 1999.
2.2 Imitation over popularity of the Gitagovinda
Jayadeva was the first and foremost to write lyrico dramatic mahakavya The music tradition of Utkala worth its name took shape in literature and sculpture respectively as the Giyagovinda and Konarka in the 12th century Odisha. Both stand as testimony to earthy erotic love represented in divine garb. After three hundred years of Jayadeva birth in this soil. Odisha with the same spirit in it gene again tried to produced the Gitagovinda anew called the abhinava Gitagovinda in its imitation in Sanskrit. Then the gitagovinda found its expression in Odia language and literature in the 18th century. The Kisora candrananada campu and thousands of quatrains called caupadi by baladeva Ratha and padavali (lyrical songs) of Gopalakrsna and other writers of prema lila along with a hung number of metrical Kavya of Dinakrsna abhimanyu and other sans in divinity the human erotic passions as an art to educate the mass in the spirit of the Gitagovinda cantering round Madhava Jagannatha as a conjointed form of Radha Krsna. An elaborate list of such imitations in literature is given by Kedaranath Mahapatra in Odia and English.
Anthologies have incorporated in body best specimens of literature that were available to them. Saduktikarnamartam of sridharadasa is one such anthology. He has incorporated more than one of Jayadeva sloka along with other. Twenty six new verses of different styles available to us in the name of Jayadeva belong to poets bearing the same name. Even three of the five sloka said to be found in the Gitagovinda are interpolations. In the face of so many variation it is certainly wrong to conclude by saying prima facie that Jayadeva was a poet of many styles. Jyadeva lives in his immortal lyrical and the style he has perfected also speaks eloquently of his greatness. The adage style is man satisfies well in the case of Jayadeva and his work the Gitagovinda even the sloka mugdhe natha ascribed to Jayadeva is also current in the name of one sankara different style show times and as such no conclusion can be drawn from the quotations of saduktikarnamrtam that all the poets known as Jayadeva belonged to the court of Laksmana sena.
2.3 Jayadeva of Odisha a universal poet
All the hagiological works agree that (i) Jayadeva was born in Kendubilva (ii) married padmavati under the divine order (iii) inspired Padmavati to dance by singing the gitagovinda for the pleasure (iv) composed the Gitagovinda in Sriksetra Puri also known as Purusottama Purti (v) the Gitagovinda was accepted in the temple ritual (vi) another Gitagovinda written by the Gajapan king could not get divine sanction to replace the Gitagovinda of poet Jayadeva. All these facts relate to Jagannatha purti and Odisha alone. To bring in a king and his court is an exercise in futility because Jayadeva had only mentioned in the Gitagovinda about his most beloved padmavati whom he married under the divine approval of Jagaannatha sake anywhere else in India. Utkala or Odisha puri the holy land of Jagannatha had reared the poet and had stood witness to the intensity of love and devotion the poet and had for Jagannahta. The eternal song of love that and devotion the poet had for jagnnatha. The eternal song of love that konarka sings in mute silence is nothing but the song of the Gitagovinda that had been later sung in this land by Upendra Bhanja. The Gitagovinda of Jayadeva still reverberates in the temple precincts of jagannatha and within the heart of Odias in the nooks and corners of Odisha as of all Indians and Indophiles elsewhere who love this immoral creation for its intense devotion and lyrical beauty.
Brahma Sutras (81)
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