on “New Perspectives on Jayadeva and Sri Geetagovinda”, “Tradition and
Spirituality, Exploring the Mantras of Geetagovinda, Sri Jagannatha, Sri
Jayadeva and Srikshetra” and other writings and additional inputs by Dr
featured in geetagovinda.org
Subas Pani & Sri Geetagovinda Pratisthana
in the late eleventh and the first half of the twelfth century. He was
a contemporary of Chodagangadeva of Eastern Ganga dynasty who built a vast
empire stretching from Ganga to Godavari. He is remembered for constructing
the present temple of Jagannatha at Puri that has remained the fulcrum
of the life and culture of the Oriya nation for centuries.
born at Kenduli, a sasana village predominantly inhabited by Brahmins,
in the Prachi valley in the Puri region. The identification of this village
with Kenduvila referred to by Jayadeva in Geetagovinda has now been conclusively
historical evidence, hagiological literature and local traditions one can
get the following sketch of his life. Jayadeva had a scholarly inclination
early in his life. He refers to himself as Pandita Kavi in Geetagovinda.
In his youth he seems to have developed detachment from worldly affairs
and moved to Srikshetra, Puri not far from his village. Located on the
Eastern shores of India, Puri has been well known for its great sanctity
from ancient times. For various historical reasons this became the centre
of a great renaissance and vibrant cultural activities during Jayadevas
lifetime. Largely due to the construction of the great Vaishnavite temple
as also the royal patronage of one of the most powerful emperors of those
times, Puri became an oasis of Indian heritage. It attracted scholars,
sculptors, musicians and dancers alike.
In Puri Jayadeva
most probably lived in a humble cottage engaged in scholarly and literary
pursuits and was deeply devoted to Jagannatha-Krishna for whom the emperor,
his contemporary, was constructing a grand monument. This new temple soaring
to a height of more than two hundred feet and richly embellished with exquisite
sculptures was an architectural marvel rivaling in glory the great Lingaraja
temple built by Keshari kings at Bhubaneswar and the Vrihadeswara temple
at Tanjavur being built by Chodagangas grandfather. Although the emperor
was tolerant of all faiths the new temple marks the ascendancy of Vaishnavism
and more importantly the flowering of the Krishna consciousness as well
as the integration of the faith, beliefs and culture of the aborigine tribes
into the tradition and rituals of the new presiding deity. The emperor
is also the first Ganga king to dedicate his empire to Jagannatha and considered
himself a rauta or a regent – a symbolic acceptance of divine supremacy
and the subordination of the temporal to the spiritual. Jayadeva thus lived
in very exciting times when the popular faith was undergoing a major transformation
as was also the royal policies and patronage. It was perhaps preordained
that major dramatic developments would also overtake Jayadevas personal
a Brahmin from the Kalinga region, had brought his daughter Padmavati to
Puri to offer her as a devadasi, a dancer dedicated to the temple of Jagannatha.
During her ritual dedication at the temple, the high priest indicated the
divine desire of Jagannatha to have him married to Jayadeva as a fulfilment
of the promise made by Devasharma. Jayadeva, was reluctant to be enmeshed
in worldly affairs and take on the responsibilities of marriage. Eventually
he relented and accepted Padmavati as his wife. She was an accomplished
singer and dancer. Jayadeva was a master musician and choreographer, in
addition to being a poetic genius. He was not only a great pandita kavi
or scholar-poet but also a gandharva kala vishaarada or an expert in the
performing arts. The marriage of Padmavati and Jayadeva ordained by Lord
Jagannatha inspired a great creative collaboration of the dancer and her
muse. Jayadeva composed the songs and Padmavati rendered these in her dance.
Thus was born an immortal composition, a lyrical masterpiece, a musical
epic and a monument of pure devotion-Geetagovinda, literally the songs
of the Dark Lord Govinda or Krishna–Jagannatha. Jayadeva was revered as
a saint-poet in his own life time. He is believed to have spent some time
at Mukhalingam, the ancient capital of Ganga kings in the company of the
sani sampradaya, a traditional community of temple dancers and musicians.
There he absorbed the best of the Kalinga style of South Indian musical
traditions. Combining this with the Odra-Magadhi style that had flourished
in the central part of Orissa, Jayadeva helped in the harmonious synthesis
of the Southern and Eastern traditions of Indian music. This led to the
evolution and development of the unique style of Odissi music and dance
in the precincts of the great temple of Jagannatha at Puri.
It is most
likely that Jayadevas Geetagovinda was performed for the first time on
the momentous occasion of the dedication of the new temple of Jagannatha.
This also marked the declaration by the emperor that his eldest son Kamarnava
would succeed him. One can only imagine the grand spectacle of the singing
of Geetagovinda by Jayadeva and enactment of the same in dance by Padmavati
in the temple precincts on this historic moment. In all likelihood Jayadeva
and Padmavati also enjoyed the privilege of proximate service to the presiding
deity of this new temple. Chandradatta describes Jayadeva as a Purushottama
pujaka, a servitor of Jagannatha.
highly respected and revered in his own lifetime as a saint poet. He seems
to have accompanied the head of the Shringeri peetha on a pilgrimage across
the country. He was also witness to the offering of donations to the Lingaraja
temple by one Medama Devi in his advanced age. According to local traditions
Jayadeva established the Dasavataara Matha in the North-eastern fringe
of the temple town, close to the sacred site of the location of the present
Gundicha temple and the Yagyan Nrisingha temple.
held in high esteem in the literary and musical traditions of India. He
wrote in very simple language close to that spoken by the lay public and
laid the foundation of literature in modern Oriya and other languages.
He also adopted the matra chhanda or syllabic rhythmic patterns for his
lyrical composition ideally suited for easy adaptation for singing and
dancing. These were quite revolutionary and innovative approaches but these
hold the secret of the great popularity of his songs almost from the time
of their composition. The regular performance of Geetagovinda in the Puri
temple also no doubt played an important role in making this immensely
popular among pilgrims and devotees. Almost within years of its composition
it became known throughout the length and breadth of the country and has
retained its equal popularity among commoners and connoisseurs.
is the favourite music of Lord Jagannatha since the time of its original
offering by the poet and his dancer wife to their Dark Darling within the
temple precincts. Since then it has become an integral part of the temple
rituals and is known as the Geetagovinda Seva. The Lord hears the songs
of Geetagovinda and is adorned with Odissi textile with words of Geetagovinda
woven into it, Geetagovinda Khandua, at the time of his evening make-up
known as Bada Simhara and during the evening ritual prayers - Sanjha dhupa.
Such is the intimate and tender relationship of Jagannatha, Jayadeva and
Seva, in all likelihood, is one of the original seva continuing since the
time of Chodagangadeva. Jayadeva and Padmavati were perhaps the original
privilege holders, enjoying the right to perform this seva. The nature
of the seva was to entertain Lord Jagannatha with singing the songs from
Sri Geetagovinda and their representation in dance performances. This seva
has survived the vicissitudes of history for over a 1000 years and finds
mention in the catalogue prepared in the 1950 by the state government and
continues even today, albeit only in a symbolic form. The seva, which was
perhaps, a composite one originally, has since evolved into many components
such as Binakara seva, Madali seva and Mahari seva etc.
special privileges as a favourite of Lord Jagannatha and was among his
Angila sevakas – a category of servitors who have the privilege of performing
service in close proximity, literally with the privilege of touching His
Body. This is a rare privilege and granted only to the natives of Orissa
and preserved and guarded rather zealously by the traditional priests.
are associated with the fondness of Sri Jagannatha for Sri Geetagovinda.
Once the Lord followed a gardener maid singing Sri Geetagovinda and when
about to be found out, ran back to the Srimandira, tearing his silken garments
on the way. Later this was discovered and the emperor honoured the gardener
maid. There is another tradition about a royal imitation of Sri Geetagovinda
with which the emperor sought to replace Jayadevas composition. However
when the Lords preference was ascertained by placing both the works on
the bejewelled throne, the Lord chose Jayadevas work and the royal composition
was lying on the floor.
- the Music CDs
Sampoorna Geetagovinda presents
the complete and unabridged version of Jayadeva's immortal creation. This
is a major musical composition presenting the entire Geetagovinda - all
the stanzas of each of its twenty-four songs, typically consisting of eight
padas and hence called Ashtapadis, and all the seventy-two slokas-a unique
and first ever offering. A group of scholars led by Dr Subas Pani, well-known
scholar of Jayadeva and Geetagovinda, has finalised the authentic text
of this musical epic after extensive research referring to several original
tika or commentaries.
Details & sketch of Jayadeva by S.Rajam