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JAYADEVA WRITES GITA-GOVINDA
by Srila B.B. Tirtha Goswami Maharaja
President of the WVA
On the disappearance day of Srila Jayadev Goswami (13 Jan 2004), The following is an excerpt from the book "Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates" by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj.
 
Jayadeva established the worship of a Narayan deity and in the waves of love which he felt for this deity, he began writing Gita-Govinda, with its incomparable ambrosia. It is said that though Jayadeva is responsible for all the moods and sentiments which appear in the Gita-Govinda, he had some reticence about writing that Krishna fell down at Radharani’s feet to beg her forgiveness when she was angry with him for having deceived her.

On that day, when he left the house to take his bath in the ocean, Lord Jagannath himself came in, disguised as Jayadeva, opened his manuscript and completed the verse he had started smara-garala-khandanam mama sirasi mandanam with the words dehi pada-pallavam udaram: "Place the noble sprout of your foot as an ornament on my head, it dispels the poison of love in separation." (GG 10.8)

Padmavati was surprised to see her husband back so soon from his bath and asked, "What are you doing here? You just left a minute ago." The disguised Jagannath answered, "I thought of something on my way. I was afraid I might forget so I came back to write it down."

Not long after Jagannath had left, the real Jayadeva returned. This time, Padmavati was really astonished to see him. She said, "You just left to go and take your bath. Just a few moments ago you were writing in your manuscript and then you left. How could you have finished and come back so quickly? I am beginning to wonder who that was and who you are?" Jayadeva was clever enough to guess what had happened and he went and looked at his unfinished text and saw the words that the Lord himself had written. His entire body was covered with horripilation and tears came pouring from his eyes. He called Padmavati and said to her, "You are so fortunate. Your life has been made worthy. You have had the good fortune to see the Lord himself. I am so lowly that I did not have that opportunity!"
 
Jagannath’s love for Gita-Govinda
 
There is a legend told in Jagannath Puri that there was a flower gardener’s daughter who had learned Gita-Govinda and would sing it with great emotion. Jagannath was attracted by her singing and would go to listen to her, only returning to the temple after she had finished singing.

One day, when the king of Orissa came to see the deity, he saw that the Lord’s body was covered in dust and his clothes were filled with thorns. He asked the pujaris the reason for the Lord’s disheveled condition, but no one could explain how it had come about. The servants of the deity were afraid that they would be punished, but that night, Jagannath appeared to the king in a dream and explained that no one was to blame for his soiled condition that day. He had gone to listen to the gardener’s daughter and that the dust and thorns had covered him when in the garden.

The king was astonished to have received such information in a dream and he immediately sent for the gardener’s daughter to be brought to the court in a palanquin. After making inquiries from her, he decided that she should sing for Jagannath in the temple, rather than obliging the Lord to leave the temple and get all dirty. Ever since that time, girls named deva-dasis have been engaged by the temple to sing Gita-Govinda for Jagannath’s pleasure.

Many other amazing and miraculous events surrounded the life of Jayadeva. He used to serve his deities Radha and Madhava in a trance of divine love. It is said that just as the devotee dedicates himself to the Lord, the Lord also dedicates himself to his devotee. One day, Jayadeva was thatch his roof under the unforgiving midday sun. Jagannath saw the discomfort of his devotee and decided to help him finish the work quickly by handing him the rope needed to bale the straw and removing the finished bundles and placing them on the roof. Jayadeva thought that it was Padmavati who was helping him in this way. But when he came down from the roof after finishing much earlier than expected, he saw no one there. He asked his wife and she told him that she had been busy elsewhere at the time. He was curious about what had happened, but struck with wonder when he went into the deity room and saw that Madhava’s hands were black from handling the straw. He was thus able to understand that it was Madhava himself who had come to help him thatch the roof. He fell down before his Lord and started to cry.
 
In the last twelve years of Mahaprabhu’s lila, he was absorbed in Radha’s mood and constantly relishing this hidden spirit of love. During this time, he would savor the songs of the Gita-Govinda.
 
Svarupa Damodar would sing songs that reflected the moods of the Lord whenever they arose, while Ramananda Raya selected verses from Vidyapati, Chandi Das and Gita-Govinda.
 
Day and night, Mahaprabhu ecstatically relished the songs of Chandi Das, Vidyapati and Ramananda Raya’s plays, as well as Krishna-karnamåta and Gita-Govinda in the company of Svarupa and Ramananda. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.2.77)
 
Jayadeva goes to Vrindavan
 
After this, Jayadeva wanted to see Vrindavan. He took leave of the king and queen and then, taking his deities, Radha and Madhava with him, set off on the long journey. Once in Vrindavan, he began to serve his deities in a spot near Keshi Ghat. When they heard Jayadeva sing the Gita-Govinda in his sweet voice, the residents of the dham were entranced. One merchant built a large temple for the deities on that spot.

It is said that Jayadeva lived in Vrindavan for many years and then returned to his birthplace in Kendubilva. Each day, he would make the long walk to the Ganges to take his bath there. One day, for some reason or another, he was unable to make it. Ganga Devi was so kind to him that she came personally to the village of Kendubilva so that he could take his bath in her waters. It is said that he died there in Kendubilva and every year a large festival is held there in his memory on the first day of the month of Magh.

There is a difference of opinions about where Jayadeva finished his life. Some say Puri, while others say that he returned to Kendubilva, and others say that he went to Vrindavan. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has stated his opinion that Jayadeva died in Jagannath Puri. Though some people say that Jayadeva returned to Kendubilva to spend his last days, there is no indication anywhere that his Radha-Madhava deities were brought there. In fact, these deities were taken by the king of Jaipur to a place named Ghati sometime after Jayadeva’s death and they are still being served in the Jaipur area. Jayadeva’s disappearance day is on the sixth day of the waning moon of the month of Paush.

For more articles on a variety of devotional topics by and about Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj and other Vaishnava authors, kindly visit  http://www.sreecgmath.org  or the GOKUL website at http://www.gokul.org

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