Idol of Jayadeba at Jayadeba Pitha, Kendubilwa, Odisha.jpg
Jayadeva's idol at Kendubilwa, Odisha
Bornc. 1170[1]
Diedc. 1245[1]
Religious career
Literary worksGita Govinda

Jayadeva (pronounced [dʑɐjɐˈdeːʋɐ]; born c. 1170 CE), also spelt Jaideva, was a Sanskrit poet during the 12th century. He is most known for his epic poem Gita Govinda[2] which concentrates on Krishna's love with the gopi, Radha, in a rite of spring.[3] This poem, which presents the view that Radha is greater than Krishna, is considered an important text in the Bhakti movement of Hinduism.[4][better source needed]

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.[2][1]


Main article: Jayadeva birth controversy

A Brahmin[5] by birth, the date and place of Jayadeva's birth are uncertain (see Jayadeva birth controversy). The Gitagovinda suggests that he was born in the "Kindubilva" village: scholars of Odisha, Bengal and Mithila have variously identified this place with a present-day village in their own region, including Kenduli Sasan near Puri in Odisha, Jaydev Kenduli in Birbhum district in West Bengal, and the village of Kenduli near Jhanjharpur in Mithila (Bihar).[6] Recent studies show that scholars still disagree on the issue.[7] 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.[8][page needed]

Ancient stone idol of Jayadeba at Akhandaleswara Temple, Prataparudrapura, Odisha
Ancient stone idol of Jayadeba at Akhandaleswara Temple, Prataparudrapura, Odisha

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, identified near Konark in Odisha.[9][10]

Historical records on Jayadeva's life

Inscriptions at Lingaraja temple, and the more recently discovered Madhukeswara temple and Simhachala temple that were read and interpreted by Padmashri Dr. Satyanarayana Rajguru 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 at Kurmapataka as well. It must have been right after his childhood education in Kenduli village that he left for Kurmapataka and gained experience in composing poetry, music and dancing.[9][10][11]

Literary contributions

Main article: Works of Jayadeva

Jayadeva Pitha, Kenduli Village (Kendu Bilwa)
Jayadeva Pitha, Kenduli Village (Kendu Bilwa)
Basohli painting (c. 1730) depicting a scene from Jayadeva's Gita Govinda.
Basohli painting (c. 1730) depicting a scene from Jayadeva's Gita Govinda.

A few poems of Jayadeva written in archaic Odia have been published by the Directorate of Culture, Odisha. They describe the romance of Radha-Krishna and contain ideas very similar to those used in the Gita Govinda.[12] Jayadeva is widely considered one of the earliest musicians of Odissi music. Every night during the Badasinghara or the last ritual of the Jagannatha temple of Puri, the Gitagovinda of Jayadeva is sung, set to traditional Odissi ragas & talas. This tradition has continued unbroken since the time of Jayadeva, who himself used to sing in the temple. After the time of the poet, the singing of the Gitagovinda according to the authentic Odissi ragas & talas was instated as a mandatory sevā at the temple, to be performed by the Maharis or Devadasis, systematically recorded in inscriptions, the Mādalā Pānji and other official documents that describe the functioning of the temple. To this date, the Jagannatha temple remains the fountainhead of Odissi music and the most ancient & authentic compositions (including a few archaic Odia Chhandas and jananas by Jayadeva himself) survive in the temple tradition, although the Devadasis are no more found owing to their systematic eradication by the British government.[13]

Two hymns of Jayadeva, have been incorporated in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikh religion.[2][1]

The hymns are written in a mixture of Sanskrit and eastern Apabhramsha.[14] There are records narrating how Jayadeva's work had a profound influence on Guru Nanak during his visit to Puri.[15][16][17]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Pashaura Singh (2003). The Bhagats of the Guru Granth Sahib: Sikh Self-definition and the Bhagat Bani. Oxford University Press. pp. 9, 116–123. ISBN 978-0-19-566269-6.
  2. ^ a b c Max Arthur Macauliffe (2013). The Sikh Religion: Its Gurus, Sacred Writings and Authors. Cambridge University Press. pp. 4–9. ISBN 978-1-108-05548-2.
  3. ^ Miller 1977, preface ix.
  4. ^ http://orissa.gov.in/e-magazine/Orissareview/2008/May-2008/engpdf/Poet39-40.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  5. ^ Chopra, Pran Nath (1982). Religions and Communities of India. East-West Publications. p. 79. ISBN 9780856920813. The Baidyas retained among their group not only rajas and maharajas and powerful zamindars (landlords) but also scholars of great distinction such as the five gems at the court of Lakshman Sena, two of whom were Jayadeva, the famous composer of the Gita Govinda and Dhoyee Kaviraj.
  6. ^ Miller 1977, p. 4.
  7. ^ William M. Reddy (2012). The Making of Romantic Love: Longing and Sexuality in Europe, South Asia, and Japan, 900-1200 CE. University of Chicago Press. p. 257. ISBN 978-0-226-70628-3.
  8. ^ Miller 1977.
  9. ^ a b The Orissa Historical Research Journal. Superintendent of Research and Museum. 1993.
  10. ^ a b Harish Chandra Das; State Level Vyasakabi Fakir Mohan Smruti Samsad (2003). The cultural heritage of Khurda. State Level Vyasakabi Fakir Mohan Smruti Samsad.
  11. ^ Angelika Malinar; Johannes Beltz; Heiko Frese (1 September 2004). Text and context in the history, literature, and religion of Orissa. Manohar. ISBN 978-81-7304-566-0.
  12. ^ Mishra, Nilamani, ed. (1973). Odia Bhajana (in Odia). Vol. 3 (2 ed.). Bhubaneswar, Odisha: Directorate of Culture, Odisha. pp. iv–v.
  13. ^ Parhi, Kirtan Narayan (2009). "Odissi Music : Retrospect and Prospect". In Mohapatra, PK (ed.). Perspectives on Orissa. New Delhi: Centre for study in civilizations. pp. 613–626.
  14. ^ Dass, Nirmal (19 October 2000). Songs of the Saints from the Adi Granth. State University of New York Press. p. 130. ISBN 978-0791446836.
  15. ^ Encyclopaedia of Education, Culture and Children's Literature: v. 3. Indian culture and education. Deep & Deep Publications. 2009. pp. 49–. ISBN 978-81-8450-150-6.
  16. ^ Harish Dhillon (1 January 2010). Guru Nanak. Indus Source. pp. 88–. ISBN 978-81-88569-02-1.
  17. ^ Navtej Sarna (1 April 2009). THE BOOK OF NANAK. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 33–. ISBN 978-81-8475-022-5.