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Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī

[February 1, 2024 is disappearance day of Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī in Vṛndāvana, India. The following is an excerpt of a bhāva anuvāda of discourses given by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja on February 2, 2013 and January 11, 2015. Editors’ input: Additional text has been included in square brackets to facilitate the flow of content.]

Today is the tirobhāva tithi of Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī.


Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī never had the intention to get married. However, his [future] wife, Padmāvatī's father [was ordered by Lord Jagannātha to give his daughter to Jayadeva in marriage. When he approached Jayadeva with the proposal, he refused as he didn’t want to become a householder. Thus Padmāvatī’s father] left her near the residence of Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī. Padmāvatī just stayed at the banks of the Ajaya River and sang the glories of Bhagavān. Later, understanding this to be the wish of Lord Jagannātha, Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī accepted her. [Endnote 1]


Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī made one very sweet composition by the name ‘Gīta-govinda’. Despite being composed using high-class Sanskrit language, it is so simple, beautiful and easily comprehensible.

One day a lady was melodiously singing this Gīta-govinda while tending to her eggplant garden. Being attracted by her melodious singing, Lord Jagannātha went there. At that time, Jagannātha’s servant invited Him for bhoga. As Jagannātha was returning hurriedly, His cloth got stuck on the eggplant plant and tore. When the king came to have darśana of Lord Jagannātha, he saw that His cloth was torn. He called the priest and inquired, “What type of cloth are you offering to Jagannātha? Jagannātha never wears torn garments.” Even though Jagannātha has 36 types of servants [He doesn’t have a washerman among them as], there is no need to wash Jagannātha's garments because He gets new garments every day.

Now the priest beseeched Lord Jagannātha in his predicament, “O Jagannātha! Please help us, otherwise the king will punish us.” Then Jagannātha appeared to the king in a dream and revealed, “I went out of the temple to hear Gīta-govinda and when I was rushing back, My cloth got torn.” From that day onwards, the king arranged for Gīta-govinda to be recited in the temple in front of Jagannātha [twice daily - morning and evening]. Earlier the deva-dāsīs [female singers in the temple of Jagannātha] used to do this service. Nowadays, since there are no deva-dāsīs, other devotees are rendering this service. When Jagannātha is put to rest, He is adorned with a cloth with the entire Gīta-govinda written on it. [This twelve-foot long red silk cloth with Gīta-govinda written on it is called Khānduā]


Later Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī was appointed by King Lakṣmaṇa Sena [as the court poet]. At that time Śrīdhāma Māyāpura was the capital. Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī settled in a village called Cāṁpāhāṭī. It is known as the Śrīpāṭa of Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī. We pay our respects there during the Navadvīpa parikramā.

Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī would make garlands using campaka flowers and offer them to his worshipable Deity, Śrī Śrī Rādhā Mādhava. Once, to gather ingredients and money for rendering service [to the Lordships], Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī had visited a nearby village. As he was well-known, he was able to collect a substantial amount. On his way home, however, some dacoits attacked him, cut off his hands and legs and threw him in a dry well. Lying there, Jayadeva Gosvāmī began to melodiously sing Gīta-govinda. When the king’s soldiers were passing by, they heard his voice. Attracted by his singing, they brought him to the king. Struck by his saintly qualities, the king reverentially asked Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī, “How can I serve you?” He replied, “Render profuse service to saintly persons.” The king then began serving saintly persons, donating handsomely before they took his leave.

When the dacoits heard that the king served saintly people very nicely, they decided they should disguise themselves as sādhus, and approach the king so they could earn abundantly. The king served them very nicely. When they desired to leave, they were told that they could only leave with Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī’s permission. So they were told to stay for a few more days. When the dacoits finally became restless, Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī suggested that they should be given a generous donation. They were also offered bodyguards who were to accompany them to their residence to safeguard the donation.

This created a doubt within the minds of the king’s soldiers. They wondered, “So many great personalities visited earlier, but none were given such a large donation. Why have these sādhus been offered so much?” They enquired with the dacoits, who were disguised as saints. The dacoits said, “This Jayadeva was actually a dacoit. He was caught when he attempted a robbery, so his hands and legs were severed. Since we know about his past, he bribed us so that we don't reveal this to anyone.” As soon as they said this, the earth split into two and those dacoits went inside the earth. Seeing this, the soldiers were stupefied. In a daze, they returned and handed over the donations to the king, who was taken by surprise.

The king questioned, “Did I ask you to bring this donation back? Why didn’t you leave this donation with those saints whom you had gone to see off?” The soldiers replied, “Your honor! One astonishing event took place. When we inquired from those saints why they were offered more donations compared to others, they told us everything [about Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī]. At that time the earth split wide open and those saints went inside and the gap closed again. Now only Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī can uncover this mystery.”

Then Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī related his history to the king, as to how these saints were actually dacoits who had stolen from him and cut off his hands and legs and thrown him into the well. As soon as Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī narrated the incident, his mutilated body became normal, just as before. [In another interaction, Śrīla Mahāraja said that Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī gave them more donations so that they may be encouraged to stop stealing].


Once, when the king’s brother-in-law died, Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī commented, “A lady who is very chaste cannot live in separation from her husband.” When the queen heard this she was displeased as Jayadeva’s comment implied that her sister-in-law was not a chaste wife [satī]. So she sent a word to Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī's wife that he had left his body. As soon as Padmāvatī heard this, she left her body. [Seeing this, the queen got extremely nervous. Full of remorse, she called for Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī]. As soon as Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī came and touched his wife’s lifeless body, she came back to life.


Endnote 1:

From “Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates" by Srila Bhakti Ballabha Tīrtha Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Jayadeva's Marriage to Padmāvati

According to legend, Jagannātha Himself ordered Jayadeva to marry his wife, Padmāvatī. The story is told in the Viśvakośa as follows: there once was a Brahmin who was without offspring despite having worshiped Jagannātha for many years in the hope of having a son. Finally, he and his wife had a daughter and they named her Padmāvatī. When she came of marriageable age, the Brahmin brought her to Lord Jagannātha to offer her to his lotus feet. When He saw them, Jagannātha said to the Brahmin, "I have a servant whose name is Jayadeva. He has given up family life and has dedicated himself to chanting My names. Give your daughter to him in marriage."

The Brahmin took his daughter to Jayadeva and asked him to marry his daughter. However, since Jayadeva had no desire to get married, he refused to agree to any such arrangement. The Brahmin then told him that it was Jagannātha Himself who had arranged this marriage; and without another word, he left, leaving his daughter behind. Jayadeva found himself totally unprepared for this situation and told the girl, "Tell me where you want to go and I will take you and leave you there. You cannot stay here."

Padmāvatī started to cry and said, "My father brought me here to marry you on Jagannātha Deva's order. You are my husband, my all in all. If you do not accept me, then I will fall down at your feet and die right here. You are my only hope, my Lord."

The poet and scholar Jayadeva could not abandon her after such a heartfelt plea. So he became a householder.

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