Saturday, December 10, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

"Utter the Name ambrosial esssence of all existence,
By which torments not death, nor occurs birth,
Old age or fear of death."

JAIDEV (JAYADEVA), saint and poet, two of whose hymns are incorporated in the Guru Granth Sãhib, is chiefly known to the literary world as the author of the Gita Govinda, a lyrical poem in which the love of Rãdhã (soul or devotee) for Govinda (the Supreme Being) is described symbolically and mystically. Jaidev was born at Kindu Bilvã which, according to some, is now Kenduli, in Birbhüm district of West Bengal, on the river Ajay and, according to others, Kendüli-Sasan, on Prachi river, near jagannath Puri in Orissã. At the end of his poem, he has given his father’s name as Bhojadeva and mother’s as Rãdhãdevl, deciphered also as Ramãdevi, or Vãmadcvi. He is said to have flourished in the reign of Raja Karnarnav (AD 1142-56) and Rãjã Purushottam Dev (AD 1170-80), both of Orissã. Several legends about him are recorded in the Bhaklamal of Chandradatta. In his youth, he led the life of an ascetic and a wandering preacher. The course changed for him as, while in Puri once, a Brãhmarm forced the hand of his daughter on him. It turned out to be a happy marriage. His wife sang with him the devotional songs which were of his own composition. He spent some years at Katham Kancli, now called Jaidevpur in his memory, where he composed his immortal lyric, the Gita Govinda. From devotee of Lord Krsna he became a devotee of the Supreme Lord. He roamed about the country preaching the gospel of love of God and of man. Rãjã Lakshmian Sen (AD 1175-1200), of Bengal, became his disciple. Jaidev lived long and died in the village where he was born, in happy retirement. There is a samadhi of the saint in the village and an annual fair is belch on the first of Magh.

Besides the Gila Govinda, two other com­positions, the Rasanã Raghava, a drama, and the Chanthalok, an essay on the grace of style, are also ascribed to him.
Jaidev’s hymns in the Guru Granth Sãhib, one in Raga Gujari and the other in Rãga Märü, are in adoration of Hari, the Supreme Being. “Duality,” he says, “ended for me as I remembered God who is the fountainhead of all virtue. Cherish the Divine Name in your heart. By repeating His praise you will break the circuit of birth and death, and you will dread death no more. Your heart and your word and deed should be imbued with the love of One Hari alone.” Bhãi Gurdas in his Vàrañ, X. 10, pays tribute to Jaidev’s loving devotion whereby he attained the state when no distinction remains between “the devotee and the infinite.”

Bhagat Jaidev was a Saint & Poet, his childhood name was Pardharmrik, and was born in the southern part of Bengal. His mother's name was Rama Devi (also called Bani Devi by some) & father's name was Bhojdev. The village of Jaidev's birth is situated in the district of Bir Bhumi on the River Ajay. Jaidev was orphaned early in childhood. He used to express grief at the loss of his parents by composing sad songs, and then by singing them. Narinjan, one of his father's friends, fraudulently usurped the entire family property, this helped trigger Jaidev's tendency toward renunciation & detachment even further. It was in such a mood of detachment that Jaidev devoted himself to the worship of Lord Krishna. His austere nature became so strong and intense that he used to avoid sitting in the shade of a tree for long lest it should attach him to the comfort it provided and become an obstacle in the way of God-realisation. He had attachment only to God, and he used to sing His eulogies through His compositions. Thus, three volumes of his compositions came into being to be known as 1. Darshan Raghav 2. Geet Govinde 3. Chandia-Lok. Of these, his Geet Govinde has been generally accepted as better in terms of Poetics, music and thought contents. It is accepted amongst his followers that the Lord Akalpurkh himself would take the bodily form of Jagan Nath, so as to listen to his book and hear His eulogies face to face. As a result of his intense devotion towards Krishna, he was able to compose beautiful, mystical poetry. He remained for some time, a court poet & one of the five famous 'jewels' in the court of King Lachhman Sain of Bengal. Jaidev returned tohis native village towards his later years. He was too old & weak to go to the River Ganga to bathe therein. However, floods caused a miracle, perhaps an outburst of a devotess's love for his deity. The Ganga river naturally shifted its course a little and started flowing just by Jaidev's residence. What wonderful example of Nature's love for its devotes!

Once it so happened that Jaidev stopped midway completing a verse, and God himself comleted it in his absence. Impressed further by this miracle, Jaidev dedicated himself more intensely to the worship of Lord Krishna. So he renounced his household and wide (Padmavati) and left for the forest to devote himself fully to the Master. In the forest, he found the word 'Geet Govinde' written on each leaf. This is how the Divine Spirit revealed itself to Jaidev. "Whichever direction I look to, I find only the Lord and nothing else", but his is only one side of the coin, the other is as follows:

According to the 10th stanza of Ver X of Bhai Gurdas, when God Himself completed the verse left incomplete by Jaidev, the latter felt proud that God liked his verse so much that He showed inclination to complete it. No sooner had this ego erupted in his mind, he was surprised to find that the contents of his book 'Geet Govinde' was written on each leaf of the tree. Thus this miracle put an end to his pride. He made a supplication to God Almighty with utter humility and prayed that this lapse on his part be ignored. He had then realised that God is Omniscient, and is capable of doing anything. Man, however great, powerful and famous he may be, is nothing against Him. In fact, whatever a human being is, he is due to God's grace. After this incident, Jaidev's love, reverence and devotion towards God became more intense and immense. Guru Arjan Dev Ji, in his hymn recorded on Aang 1192 of Siri Guru Granth Sahib, has made an allusion to this and to Jaidev discarding this egoist tendency: Guru ji has said:

jYdyv iqAwigE AhMmyv ] (1192-10, bsMqu, mhlw 5)

Jai Dev gave up his egotism.

 

Guru ji has reffered to many saints & holy-men in this hymn & states that different saints achieved oneness with the Lord through different means. If Dhanna realised Him through his innocence, Jaidev achieved Him through eradicating ego from his mind. Kabir concentrated on the Divine for long and ultimately became one with Him. Ajarnal, Balmik & prostitute Ganika realised God through constant remembrance of Him, by listening to the Divine Name from a parrot, respectfully. With the help of these instances, the Guru advises the seeker that he should make use of this human birth and remember the Lord. He cautions us against all those adverse effects of ego which Jaidev had fallen prey to.

Bhagat Jaidev of Bengal was a contemporary of Sheikh Farid of Punjab. Two hymns of Jaidev are found recorded in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji under 'Gujri'measure (Aang 526) and Maru measure (Aang 1106). Both these hymns were collected by Guru Nanak when during one of his preaching odysseys (1508-1515), Guru ji visited his village. These hymns were later included in the Scripture by Guru Arjan Dev.
Jaidev's hymns included in the Gujri measure can be summed up as follows: the true Lord is immanent in all places. He who ever remembers Him is freed from the fear of transmigration, old age, disease and suffering. His heart, his words, his deeds become pious. If a man has to win over the God of Death, it is necessary to seek the protection of the Timeless One. The grace of such a One is eternal & pervasive and is constantly bestowed throughout the preceding 3 eras. The only need is to remove all feelings of discrimination and differentiation which become possible only by remembering Him and singing His praises. Therefore O man, you should give up greed, lust and anger and seek His shelter, only then can you realise Him. Guru Nanak has also reiterated similar views in one of his hymns appearing in Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, at Aang 505.

In the other hymn included in the Maru measure, Jaidev expresses his deep devotion in the Real One. He states that he recites the Divine Name for 16 times only with the passing of one breath. In other words, it implies that he does not waste any moment of his breathing & remain engaged in the remembrance of God who is an epitoe of nobility. Thus, he has overcome all distinctions of mine and thine between God and himself. He feels, that he has merged with God, just as a droplet merges with water. The love of the Divine has satiated all his desires. As such, he realised the Lord and thus broke the circuit of life and death.
Jaidev shares with us a very important event and experience on the way to God-realisation. Through this, he advises and inspires us to make Divine remembrance an integral part of our life so that we are able to achieve the ultimate aim of life.

Although only two of Jaidev's hymns are included in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, many more of his verses are extant I his Geet Govinde, Darsan Raghav & Chandra-Lok. People of Bengal, Orissa and Andhra recite these hymns with due devotion & reverence.

Simply two hymns of Jaidev have merged him with the Shabad-Guru and thereby immortalised him. Jaidev died in 1273AD.


Excerpts taken from Encyclopedia of Sikhism
by Harbans Singh .
Published by Punjabi University, Patiala

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