▪ Bengal poet

flourished 12th century, , Bengal, India

      Indian author of the celebrated Sanskrit poem Gītagovinda (“Song of the Cowherd”), which helped to popularize devotional Hinduism.

      Born in the village of Kenduli, he was the son of Bhojadeva, a Brahmin, and married to Padmāvatī. He was attached to the court of King Lakṣmaṇasena (reigned c. 1178–c. 1205) at Navadvīpa.

      The Gītagovinda describes the love of Krishna, the divine cowherd, for Rādhā, his favourite among the gopīs (wives and daughters of the cowherds). The poem presents in dramatic form the lovers' attraction, estrangement, yearning, and final reconciliation through the help of a sakhī (female confidant). The poem blends recitative stanzas with 24 short songs and leans heavily on alliteration, lyricism, and grace of image for its effect.

      Jayadeva has for several centuries been honoured at an annual festival at his birthplace, during which his poem is recited. Songs from the Gītagovinda also continue to be sung in temples, during festivals, and at kīrtanas (communal worship through song).

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Universalium. 2010.

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