Poetic, Deep, and Rasik

Jayadeva Goswami’s bhajan kutir in Champahati

Indradyumna Swami brought the Parikrama devotees to Champahati, to the very place where Jayadeva Goswami stayed, and he led them in an energetic kirtan and ecstatic Gaura bhajans to start the program. Then, he began with a very sweet story.

Indradyumna Swami said that the house and family he is staying with in Mayapur currently has two maids, one of which evidenced very deep devotion to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu while she was cleaning the house the other day. He and several devotees actually went to the home of this maidservant for dinner one night, and the entire village had found out ahead of time about his visiting.

He said that he and the devotees crowded into the maidservant’s home and held a kirtan there. The maidservant and her family had decorated the home with balloons, which costed them half of their salary for the month.He said that they had a foot washing ceremony and then they brought prasadam. Afterwards, the maid asked, “Now what?” And Indradyumna Swami responded, “Kirtan!” They actually left the house and had harinam in the village. He said people were inviting him and the devotees into their house.

At every house, they invited him in and garlanded him and held a little foot washing ceremony, as they were so pleased that he was visiting their village. He said that in every house they were Salagram silas, very nicely decorated. He mentioned that although the people are poor, they are cultured. They stayed out late chanting with the villagers and they came back by boat late at night.

He said that this has been a real highlight of the parikrama, going out and chanting with the Bengali people. Last night, he had a dream that the Kartik Parikrama devotees went out on harinam in the villages. He said that in Krsna consciousness, dreams come true and that he will take the Parikrama devotees out on harinam through one of the villages sometime this week.

Then he started describing Champahati, where he brought the Parikrama devotees. He described how this place is a forest of champa trees where Jayadeva Goswami used to live, who is most famous for penning the Gita Govinda, which is a very deep song about the loving affairs of Radha and Krsna. It’s said that Jayadeva Goswami wrote the Gita Govinda at the very ashrama where the Parikrama devotees gathered.

Jayadeva Goswami appeared in the 11th or 12th century, depending on the scholar. This is way before Lord Caitanya appeared. According to Caitanya Caritamrta, Mahaprabhu used to relish hearing the poetry of Jayadeva Goswami. During the Antya-lila, He retired from active preaching to go deeper into understanding Srimati Radharani’s love for Krsna and the way He would do this in Puri is that He would have Swarupa Damodara and Ramananda Ray read from the writings of Jayadeva Goswami and other elevated poets, like Vidyapati. This is our process, Indradyumna Swami described, that we water the seed of bhakti through hearing transcendental sound.

He told the story of when he was in Hyderabad in India with Srila Prabhupada. It was a hot day and Indradyumna Swami was tired and fell asleep during Srila Prabhupada’s talk, because he was speaking in Hindi. Prabhupada asked, “Why are you sleeping when I am speaking?” Indradyumna Swami woke up and said, “I don’t speak Hindi.” Prabhupada replied, “It does not matter. This is sabda-brahma. This is spiritual sound. It will act. Stay awake.”

This is the process. Mahaprabhu would hear from His close associates, and we hear when we chant the Hare Krsna Maha Mantra. Indradyumna Swami asked, “Why are there problems in Krsna consciousness? Because you’re not chanting.” He emphasized the chanting of attentive rounds.

Caitnaya Mahaprabhu was very fond of the poems and songs of Jayadeva Goswami. The Goswami lived a very simple life in the forest, but everyone started hearing about his writings. They came to hear him. Jayadeva Goswami would both write his songs and sing them. Eventually, Indradyumna Swami said, the king himself heard about Jayadeva Goswami. The king’s name was Laksmana Sen, and he was a devotee. Desiring to meet this advanced soul, the king summoned Jayadeva Goswami to him. However, Jayadeva Goswami was not interested in going to meet the king. He felt he had everything just where he was, living in the forest.

The king was really upset, because he was hankering for Krsna-katha. In advanced culture, when you have time, you want to hear about Krsna and chant Krsna’s names. So the king put on normal clothes, like a farmer, and he went to the forest to have darshan of Jayadeva Goswami. When he arrived, Jayadeva Goswami was singing and dancing in ecstasy. The king revealed himself as the king and asked Jayadeva Goswami to come live with him in his palace. Jayadeva Goswami just kept singing his bhajans to the chagrin of the king.

Indradyumna Swami said that the king then said something that is very important for all of us. The king said, “ You have a right to stay in a secluded place as a renunciant, but as a Sadhu you have a duty to give your association to others.” This is the heart of a Vaisnava, giving their association to others. Jayadeva Goswami was defeated, but he wondered where he would stay — the palace? The king told Jayadeva Goswami said that he would build the Goswami a simple house in the forest near his palace, and that every day the king would go and visit him and hear from him.

Eventually, on the order of the king, Jayadeva Goswami went to Jagannatha Puri. Indradyumna Swami described that Jayadeva Goswami’s responsibilities increased there because he became the court poet of the King of Orissa. While in Puri, Jayadeva Goswami entered household life. Lord Jagannatha Himself ordered that Jayadeva Goswami enter married life. Indradyumna Swami explained that sometimes renunciates humbly accept this order for the purpose of setting an example in married life.

Jayadeva Goswami was the court poet so he was writing and singing, and there was one brahmana who had a beautiful young daughter named Padma-vati. One day, her father took her to the temple of Jagannatha and stood her in front of the deity. “Dear Lord, I have brought my daughter to your lotus feet. She is yours. Good-bye.” The Lord replied, “Very nice; you have given your daughter to Me. But I have a servant whose name is Jayadeva. He has given up everything for Me, and he has dedicated his life to chanting My Holy Names. Take your daughter to Jayadeva Goswami and give her to him in marriage.”

So the brahmana took his daughter to the court, where Jayadeva Goswami had just finished a recital, and he put his daughter in front of Jayadeva Goswami and said, “She is yours. Jagannatha said so.” Jayadeva Goswami was very surprised and said to Padma-vati, “Tell me where you would like to go and I will take you there. You can’t stay here.” She started crying. She had very keen intelligence; she said, “Prabhu, my father has brought me here to marry you on the order of the Supreme Lord. I heard this with my own ears. If you do not accept me as your wife, I will fall at your feet and die. You think Lord Jagannatha will be very happy with that?”

Jayadeva Goswami then fully embraced the responsibility, seeing it as the will of the Lord. Later on, Indradyumna Swami described that Jayadeva Goswami finished his duties in Puri, came back to Champahati and began writing his epic, Gita Govinda. One day, he was writing and Padma-vati was cooking lunch. He was writing on deep topics about how Srimati Radharani’s love for Krsna is so deep that sometimes Krsna becomes subservient to Her. Jayadeva Goswami paused and said, “I don’t know if I can write this. If the Lord is the Supreme Controller, how can He be controlled by someone else?” He decided to take a break and take a bath in the Ganges. His wife informed him that lunch was almost ready, and he told her he would be back shortly. He left his pen at the place where he had left off about the Lord becoming subservient to His devotee, Srimati Radharani.

Famously, Krsna put on the clothes of Jayadeva Goswami while Jayadeva Goswami was bathing at the Ganges. He came in and Padma-vati said, “You have returned quickly!” Krsna, in the guise of Jayadeva Goswami responded that he just needed to write down one thing. Krsna then wrote down a very famous part of the Gita-Govinda, which is the verse: “Krsna puts the feet of Radha on His head,” or that “Krsna bows down to the lotus feet of Radha.” Krsna then ate the lunch that Padma-vati had prepared for Jayadeva Goswami.

Meanwhile, Jayadeva Goswami came back and announced that he was hungry. Padma-vati told him that he had already eaten. He suddenly realized that Krsna had come and written that essential Gaudiya-Vaisnava realization and honored his wife’s prasadam. He told his wife that she had personally cooked for and fed the Lord, and she fainted.

Later in his life, Indradyumna Swami mentioned that Jayadeva Goswami moved to Kesi Ghat in Vrindavan and worshipped his deities, Radha Madhava. He did later return to Jagannatha Puri, where the national anthem was his Gita Govinda. Jayadeva Goswami requested that his Gita Govinda be sung to Lord Jagannatha every single day, and it still is sung to Jagannatha every day. It is a deep esoteric work and is meant for the advanced devotees. However, Srila Prabhupada has given us the essence of that work in his books. The closing sentence of Gita Govinda, in which Jayadeva Goswami is speaking to the readers is, “Whatever is delightful in the varieties of music, whatever is graceful in fine strains of poetry, and whatever is exquisite in the sweet art of love, let the happy and wise persons learn that in the songs of Gita Govinda.”

Jayadeva Goswami ki jai!

This article, written by Gandharvika keli devi dasi, was based on Indradyumna Swami’s lecture at Champahati during the Mayapur Parikrama 2018.


His Holiness Indradyumna Swami is a disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krsna Consciousness, who brought Bhakti Yoga to the western world in 1965. Indradyumna Swami is a spiritual leader, traveling monk, public speaker, writer, photographer, and Kirtan leader. He has been traveling the world spreading the peaceful teachings of Bhakti Yoga and running large-scale festival programs which feature kirtan (mantra meditation set to music), theatrical presentations of Vedic texts, and prasadam (vegetarian food that has been offered to the Lord). For updates on his travels and activities, follow Indradyumna Swami on his Facebook and Twitter pages, and listen to his kirtans and lectures on his official Youtube channel and on his lecture archive website, Narottam.