Mahapravu Shree Jagannath cult cannot be complete without mention of the famous poet Jayadev of 12th century AD. The famous work composed by Jayadev is Geetagovinda which depicts love between Pravu Krishna and his consort Maa ShreeRadha. This famous lyrical has a tremendous influence over rituals of Mahapravu Shree Jagannath of Puri. Since 12th century AD, the Geetagovinda has been exercising a sway over Odia culture and life in many ways. The later half of the 12th century is known as Jayadev era or Geetagovinda era. During this period, Pravu Krishna and his consort Maa ShreeRadha had observed the public mind all over India.
They influenced the common man’s cultural and religious awareness. Jayadev sang in his eternal verses of Geetagovinda the glory of spiritual love. Pravu Krishna was portrayed not as an incarnation but the incarnator himself. The concepts behind such incarnations are based on the idea of protection of the virtuous and annihilation of the wicked. Jayadev has vividly described about the ten incarnations of Bhagaban Vishnu, who is otherwise known as Mahapravu Shree Jagannath. This along with the cult of Mahapravu Shree Jagannath was harmoniously combined with the cult of Pravu Krishna, Pravu Rama and Bhagaban Buddha. This harmonious assimilation is depicted by Jayadev in his Geetagovinda which had a considerable influence on the religious life of the people of Odisha in the succeeding centuries. It is said that a brinjal farmer sang the cantos of Geetagovinda while plucking brinjals in his farm in a melodious voice which enchanted Mahapravu Shree Jagannath so much that he followed the farmer into his farm while listening to his recitation of song from Geetagovinda.
The next morning, the servitors of Puri temple observed thorns in Mahapravu Shree Jagannath’s garments. From that day, a tradition was introduced in the temple to make arrangement of recital of Jayadev’s songs. The Pravu was expected to be amused with Geetagovinda songs at bed time. It was learnt that Jayadev’s wife Padmavati used to sing lyrics of Geetagovinda.
The Geetagovinda has 163 editions during the period from 1732 AD to 1971 AD. It has been rendered into many Indian languages and foreign languages including English, French, Latin, Dutch, German and other European languages. This is how this great epic has gained popularity worldwide. The world-famous poet of Geetagovinda, Jayadev was an illustrious poet. He was out and out an Odia.
But irony has it that only a handful of critics have held that Jayadev was born in Bengal on the bank of river Ajay in the district of Birbhum. But a lot of litterateurs, critics, scholars, historians and archaeologists have proved that Jayadev was born in Odisha on the bank of river Prachi in the undivided district of Puri in the village Kenduli or Kenduvilwa. The Geetagovinda speaks volumes about 10 incarnations of Bhagaban Vishnu or Mahapravu Shree Jagannath.
Mahapravu Shree Jagannath is Avataree not Avatar. All the ten Avatars are created by Mahapravu.
“Even today the influence of Geetagovinda is quite powerful in the culture of Odisha. Notably, Odissi dance, now enjoying great revival, derives many themes from Jayadev’s songs and famous ‘Dasabatar’ (10 incarnations) song is a part of the repertoire and sculptures even today darws inspiration from Geetagovinda. Since Jayadev’s Geetagovinda is a living monument of Odishan culture”, Geetagovinda is a binding force, which has formed the essence of Odia culture. Since the famous work Geetagovinda was considered sacred, it was allowed to be sung in the Puri temple during the period of the King Narasingha-II. The Devdasi (maidservant of God) system was introduced. At the time of Badasinghar (bedtime) the cantos of Geetagovinda were sung before the Puri Triad in the temple with the rhythm of the song. The Devdasi, a danseuse, had to perform her bit. But Gajapati Purushottam Dev ordered to discontinue the singing of cantos of Geetagovinda as he thought it was love-song. But the discontinuance of the singing could not last longer as Mahapravu Shree Jagannath, who was very much fond of enjoying the song, advised the main servitor of the temple in the dream to do the needful as before. Gajapati Purushottam Dev, who had ordered for discontinuance of the song, backtracked on his decision and again ordered for singing of the Geetagovinda with an apology before Mahapravu Shree Jagannath. It is said that Purushottam Dev during his rule tried to replace Jayadev’s Geetagovinda with Abhinav Geetagovinda in King’s own name, which is said to be originally written by Kabichandra Ray Divakar Mishra. But Mahapravu Shree Jagannath did not approve this and He advised the main servitor in his dream to re-introduce singing of the Geetagovinda of Jayadev as usual.
Geetagovinda is a household name as so is its poet Jayadev in Odisha. The famous devotional work can never be wiped out of the memory of the Odias. The Geetagovinda is an untiring burning flame which is so designed to dispel darkness from the religious and cultural horizon of Odisha. Geetagovinda has become an integral part of Mahapravu Shree Jagannath cult. Down the ages it has enthralled the devotees and the Mahapravu. Its sway over Odishan culture can’t simply be downplayed. Poet Jayadev was a staunch devotee of Mahapravu Shree Jagannath. His work Geetagovinda will exist as long as Mahapravu Shree Jagannath cult exists.
The Eternal Mystery Of Mahaprabhu Shree Jagannath by Srikanta…..
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