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Jayadeva Pitha, Kenduli Village (KenduBilwa)

Birth and Early Life :

Jayadeva was a Sanskrit poet during the 12th century. He was born in North-Eastern India – Bengal, Odisha or Mithila. A Brahmin by birth, the date and place of Jayadeva’s birth are uncertain. The Gitagovinda suggests that he was born in the “Kindubilva” village: scholars of Odisha, Bengal and Mithila have variously identified this place with a present-day village in their own region, including Kenduli Sasan near Puri in Odisha, Jaydev Kenduli in Birbhum district of Bengal, and or the village of Kenduli near Jhanjharpur in Mithila (Bihar). Recent studies show scholars still disagree on the issue.

The poet’s parents were named Bhojadeva and Ramadevi. From temple inscriptions it is now known that Jayadeva received his education in Sanskrit poetry, music and dancing from a place called Kurmapataka, possibly near Konark in Odisha.

Legend about his Vow and Marriage
Jayadeva excelled in Sanskrit, trained himself as a poet and then took a vow to become a celibate pilgrim. He said he would never stop longer than a single night under the same tree. His wanderings took him to the renowned Jagannatha Temple in the city of Puri, situated on the seacoast of Odisha. A legend says – in Puri, a brahmin attached to the temple had a vision that Jayadeva should marry the Brahmin’s daughter Padmavati (a dancer dedicated to the temple), would settle in town and write a poem to Krishna. According to tradition, Jayadeva renounced his vows, married Padmavati and wrote Gita-Govinda! Though his marriage to Padmavati is not supported by early commentators and modern scholars.
Literary Contributions other than Gita-Govinda :

A few poems of Jayadeva written in archaic Odia have been published by the Directorate of Culture, Odisha. They describe the romance of Radha-Krishna and contain ideas very similar to those used in the Gita Govinda. Jayadeva is widely considered as one of the earliest musicians of Odissi music.

Jayadeva is the earliest dated author of hymns that are included the Guru Granth Sahib, the primary scripture of Sikhism -a religion founded in the Indian subcontinent centuries after his death. The hymns are written in a mixture of Sanskrit and eastern Apabhramsha. There are records narrating how Jayadeva’s work had a profound influence on Guru Nanak during his visit to Puri.