The Geetagovinda, also known as the Gita Govinda or Song of Govinda, is a long poem written by the 12th century Indian Sanskrit poet Jayadeva. Jayadeva, also known as Jaidev or Jayadeva, was born on the day of Akshaya Tritiya in the village of Kenduvilva Sasan or Kenduli Sasan in Balipatna P.S. in Khurda district, a part of the earlier Puri district in Odisha.
Jayadeva was a Hindu mendicant, or a religious ascetic who has renounced worldly possessions and lives a life of poverty and devotion. He is known for his deep spiritual devotion and his focus on the divine love between Radha and Krishna.
The Geetagovinda is an expression of this devotion and is widely regarded as one of the greatest works of Sanskrit literature. It is known for its beautiful poetry and musical compositions, and has been widely translated and adapted into various languages and forms of art.
In addition to being a poet and musician, Jayadeva is also considered a saint and is revered for his spiritual wisdom and devotion. The Geetagovinda is an expression of this devotion and is a testament to Jayadeva’s deep spiritual connection with Radha, Krishna, and Jagannath.
It is a work of devotional literature that focuses on the love of Krishna, a Hindu deity, for the gopikas, or female cow herders, of Vrindavana. In particular, the poem tells the story of Krishna’s love for Radha, who is depicted as the most beloved of the gopikas.
According to Jayadeva’s view, Radha is considered to be greater than Krishna, and the Geetagovinda is an expression of the deep spiritual devotion that exists between these two divine figures. The poem is divided into twelve chapters, and each chapter is further divided into twenty four divisions called Prabandhas. The Prabandhas contain couplets grouped into eights, known as Ashtapadis.
In addition to its focus on the divine love between Krishna and Radha, the Geetagovinda also elaborates on the eight moods of the heroine, known as the Ashta Nayika. These moods have been an inspiration for many compositions and choreographic works in Indian classical dances, and Jayadeva’s devotional songs, including those describing the Dasavatar (the ten incarnations of Vishnu), have also inspired choreographers. Jayadeva’s wife, Padmavati, is said to have performed these dances at the Puri Jagannath Temple in India.
The Geetagovinda is an important work of Hindu literature and has had a significant impact on Indian culture and spiritual traditions. It has been widely sung and performed at temples throughout India, including the Puri Jagannath Temple, and the Dasavatar shlokas (verses) are chanted as mantras in many temples. It is Jayadeva’s Ashtapadis that are sung in dance performances of Odissi, the classical dance of Odisha. The poem is known for its beautiful poetry and musical compositions, and has been widely translated and adapted into various languages and forms of art.
It is worth noting that the Guru Granth Sahib, which is the central religious text of Sikhism, includes hymns written by Jayadeva. This is significant because it demonstrates the enduring influence and importance of Jayadeva’s work in the spiritual traditions of India. The inclusion of his hymns in the Guru Granth Sahib is a testament to Jayadeva’s enduring legacy and the enduring relevance of his work.
In conclusion, the Geetagovinda by Jayadeva is a testament to the enduring influence of devotional literature and its impact on Indian culture and spiritual traditions. Through his poetry and music, Jayadeva expressed his deep spiritual devotion to Radha and Krishna, inspiring generations of artists and performers. The Geetagovinda remains a beloved and revered work of Hindu literature, and its beauty and significance continue to be celebrated and appreciated today.
- Ajit Kumar Tripathy (2004). Historical Perspective of Saint Poet Sri Jayadev. Orissa Review. Govt. of Odisha. Jan 2004 E Chapter 4. pp. 19-23.
- 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.
- Geetagovinda: A work of devotion. The Hindu, September 14, 2007. Archived from the original on February 12, 2008.