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Sri Jayadeva Goswami

Sri Jayadeva Goswami was the court pandit of Sri Lakshman Sena, the King of Bengal. Jayadeva's father was Bhojadeva, and his mother's name was Bamadevi. They lived in the Birbhum district of what is now West Bengal in a village called Kenubilva Gram. He was born at the beginning of the twelfth centrury AD.

Jayadeva Goswami's wife was named Sri Padmavati. When he was the court pandit of Lakshman Sena, he lived on the banks of the Ganges. Approximately three hundred years before the appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Jayadeva Goswami lived in Bengal. He was the author of Sri Gita Govinda, which is mentioned by Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami in the Caitanya Caritamrita as follows (CC ML 2/11): "Day and night, in the company of Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to hear with great ecstasy the songs of Vidyapati and Chandidas, as well as a drama composed by Ramananda Raya. He also used to relish hearing the Krishna-Karnamrita and the Gita-Govinda. In his introduction, Jayadeva says that the Gita Govinda is a scripture describing the intimate pastimes of Sri Radha and Govinda. It may be worshiped and served by those who are extremely qualified in devotional piety. For those who are constantly remembering the rasik pastimes of Sri Hari within his mind, Sri Jayadeva has composed this divine poetic song glorifying the Lord's internal pastimes. He requests the topmost spiritually advanced souls to hear it with gravity and attention."

There are many many traditional stories regarding the life of Sri Jayadeva. The following story is generally accepted as authoritative. One day, Sri Jayadeva Goswami was composing a particulary sensitive section of the Gita-Govinda, describing Krishna's relationship with the gopis headed by Radharani. He meditated deeply on what he had written and became concerned that he had perhaps gone too far in describing the exalted character of the gopis. What he had written seemed to represent Krishna's position as being, in a sense, subordinate to that of the gopis. And yet Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. How could he be subordinate to the gopis? He had been inspired to pen a line stating that Krishna bows down to touch the lotus feet of Sri Radha. But his hand shrank from the page. He hesitated thinking, "How can I commit such an idea to writing? How can I have the audacity to put such a thing it in black and white?"

At that time he decided to go bathe in the Ganges, in hopes that perhaps some inspiration would come to him. Jayadeva Goswami went off to take his afternoon bath, leaving his wife Padmavati behind to cook the offering for the Deities.

While he was away, Krishna arrived at his house in the dress of Jayadeva. Krishna went over to Jayadeva's writing desk, and there found the sheaves of palm upon which the Gita-Govinda was written. Krishna picked up Jayadeva's pen and wrote the verse with the line "dehi padapallava-mudaram," wherein it says "Krishna bows down his head to the lotus feet of Sri Radha." With this Krishna, disguised as Jayadeva, sat down and took the prasadam prepared by Padmavati. After finishing his prasadam, Krishna stepped outside and vanished.

Just at that time, Jayadeva returned from bathing at the Ganges. When he asked about prasadam, his wife was perplexed. When she told Jayadeva what had just happened, Jayadeva was astonished. He went over to his book and saw there in wet ink the verse he had thought of writing before he had gone to bathe in the Ganges: dehi padapallavam udaram: Krishna bows down his head to the lotus feet of Sri Radha.

Upon seeing that verse he said to Padmavati, "It is a miracle! See here: what I told you I was reluctant to write has been written here exactly as I thought of it." Tears of ecstasy flowed in rivers from his eyes as he understood the mystery of what had just transpired. "Padmavati!" he said, "You are most fortunate. Krishna Himself has written the line, 3dehi padapallavam udaram2, and accepted prasadam from your own hand."

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written that although Chandidasa, Vidyapati, Bilvamangala, and Jayadeva lived before Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was externally manifest within this world, Caitanya Mahaprabhu's conception of bhakti had arisen within their hearts and was expressed in their writings.

Besides the Gita Govinda, Jayadeva Gowsami has written another book called "Chandraloka". The famous "Dasa-Avatara-Gita", describing the ten avatars of Vishnu is from Gita-Govinda.

Jayadeva Goswami's disappearance day is on Pausha-Sankranti. At present, at Jayadeva's birthplace in Kendubiva Gram, there is a festival every year on this day which is known as the Jayadeva Mela.


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