Vidyapati Thakur (1352? - 1448?), also known by the sobriquet "Maithil Kavi Kokil" (the poet cuckoo of Maithili) was a Maithili poet and a Sanskrit writer. He was born in the village of Bishphi in Madhubani district of Bihar state, India. He was son of Ganapati. The name Vidyapati is derived from two Sanskrit words, "Vidya" (knowledge) and "Pati" (master), connoting thereby, "a man of knowledge".

Vidyapati's poetry was widely influential in centuries to come, in the Hindustani as well as Bengali and other Eastern literary traditions. Indeed, the language at the time of Vidyapati, the prakrit-derived late abahatta, had just began to transition into early versions of the Eastern languages, Bengali, Oriya, Maithili, etc. Thus, Vidyapati's influence on making these languages has been described as "analogous to that of Dante in Italy and Chaucer in England."

Vidyapati, Maithili poet

Vidyapati is as much known for his love-lyrics as for his poetry dedicated to Lord Shiva. His language is closest to Maithili, the language spoken around Mithila (a region in the north Bihar), closely related to the abahattha form of early Bengali.

The love songs of Vidyapati, which describe the sensuous love story of Radha and Krishna, follow a long line of Vaishnav love poetry, popular in Eastern India, and include much celebrated poetery such as Jayadeva's Gita Govinda of the 12th century. This tradition which uses the language of physical love to describe spiritual love, was a reflection of a key turn in Hinduism, initiated by Ramanuja in the 11th century which advocated an individual self realization through direct love. Similar to the reformation in Christianity, this movement empowered the common man to realize God directly, without the intervention of learned priests. Part of the transformation was also a shift to local languages as opposed to the formal Sanskrit of the religious texts.

The songs he wrote a prayers to Lord Shiva are still sung in Mithila and form a rich tradition of sweet and lovely folk songs.

Folklore says that he was such a great devotee of Lord Shiva that the lord was really pleased with him. And once He decided to come to live in his house as a servant. As the servant He is said to have taken the name Ugna. At several places in the region, Lord Shiva is still worshipped by this name. It is said that the lord in form of servant had imposed a condition on Vidyapati that he could not disclose his identity to anyone else or else he would go away. When Vidyapati's wife was angry at her servant and started to beat him Vidyapati could not tolerate the same and asked her wife not to beat Lord Shiva himself and since then the lord disappeared and never was he seen again. This incident is supposed to symbolize the traditional Indian saying that "Gods are slaves to their devotees"."

Love songs

*"All My Inhibition"All my inhibition left me in a flash, When he robbed me of my clothes, But his body became my new dress. Like a bee hovering on a lotus leaf He was there in my night, on me!

* [ More examples]

Other works

Vidyapati, mainly known for his love songs and prayers for Lord Shiva, also wrote on other topics including ethics, history, geography, and law. His works include:
*"IAST|Puruṣa Parīkṣā" deals with moral teachings.Recently Publications Division of Government of India has brought out the Hindi Translation of Purusha Pariksha by Akhilesh Jha. There are 25 stories in the book selected from 44 stories in the original work. Besides, there are scholarly introductions to both Vidyapati and Purusha Pariksha in the book.
*"Likhanabali" is about writing
*"Bhu-Parikrama", literal meaning, around the world, is about local geography
*"IAST|Vibhāgasāra" is autobiographical in nature
*"IAST|Dānavākyāvalī" is about charity

Vidyapati and Bengali literature

The influence of the lyrics of Vidyapati on the love of Radha and Krishna on the Bengali poets of the medieval period was so overwhelming that they largely imitated these. As a result, an artificial literary language, known as "Brajabuli" was developed in the sixteenth century. Brajabuli is basically Maithili (as prevalent during the medieval period) but its forms are modified to look like Bengali. The earliest composition in Brajabuli is ascribed to Ramananda Raya, a disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu [Majumdar, R.C. (ed.) (2006). "The History and Culture of the Indian People", Vol. VI, pp.515-6] . The medieval Bengali poets, Gobindadas Kabiraj and Jnandas composed their "pada"s (poems) in this language. Rabindranath Tagore also composed his "Bhanusingha Thakurer Padabali" (1884) in this language (he initially promoted these lyrics as those of a newly discovered poet, "Bhanusingha"). Other 19th c. figures in the Bengal Renaissance have also written in the Brajabuli style.


External links

* [ Vidyapati]
* [ Vidyapati Padmavati]
* [ Maharsi Sri Aurobindo on Vidyapati] by Binod Bihari Verma

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • VIDYAPATI — VIDY PATI (XIVe s.) La littérature religieuse hindoue écrite dans les diverses langues de l’Inde moderne est illustrée par de nombreux poètes mystiques originaires de toutes les régions du pays. Vidy pati, qui naquit au Bih r au XIVe siècle, est… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Vidyāpati — (ca. 1352–ca. 1448)    Vidyāpati was a Brahman court poet serving the kings ofMithila, just west of modern Bengal, probably in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. His poetry, though written in the local dialect, displays a scholar’s knowledge …   Encyclopedia of medieval literature

  • Vidyapati Thakkura —    The author of the Sanskrit text Purusha pariksha (The Test of a Man) was attached to the Mithila (north Bi har) rulers Deva Simha (? 1412) and his successors. Vidyapati Thakkura wrote another book, Shaiva sarvasva sara (Quintessence of Shaiva) …   Historical dictionary of Medieval India

  • Maithili language — Maithili मैथिली, মৈথিলী ,maithilī Spoken in India, Nepal Region Bihar, Jharkhand, parts of West Bengal in India, Terai Region in Nepal Nativ …   Wikipedia

  • Dalsinghsarai —   city   Coordinates Country India State Bihar …   Wikipedia

  • Mahakavi — The word Mahakavi or Maha Kavi is an honorific and means Great Poet. It could refer to any of the following (in alphabetical order): Mahakavi Kumaran Asan, a Malayali poet. Vallathol Narayana Menon, a Malayali poet. Srirangam Srinivasarao or Sri… …   Wikipedia

  • History of Bengali literature — Bengali literature Bengali literature (By category) Bengali language Bengali literary history History of Bengali literature Bengali language authors …   Wikipedia

  • Cinema of Bihar — Bihar has a robust cinema industry for the Hindi Bhojpuri language. There ware also a small Maithili, Angika and Magadhi film industry. Contents 1 History 1.1 Golden Era 2 Festival …   Wikipedia

  • Mithila — Ancient Indian (Bharata) cities and places (titles and location names are in English.) Mithila (Sanskrit: मिथिला, mithilā) was a city in Ancient India, the capital of the Videha Kingdom. The name Mithila is also commonly used to refer to the… …   Wikipedia

  • Gabriel Zaid — is a Mexican writer, poet and intellectual. He was born in the city of Monterrey, Nuevo León, in 1934. He studied Engineering at the Tecnológico de Monterrey.He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Vuelta magazine from 1976 to 1992. He… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.