Vidyapati Thakur (1352? - 1448?), also known by the sobriquet "Maithil Kavi Kokil" (the poet
cuckooof Maithili) was a Maithilipoet and a Sanskritwriter. He was born in the villageof Bishphi in Madhubani districtof Biharstate, India. He was son of Ganapati. The name Vidyapati is derived from two Sanskritwords, "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 Dantein Italyand Chaucerin 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
Radhaand Krishna, follow a long line of Vaishnav love poetry, popular in Eastern India, and include much celebrated poetery such as Jayadeva's Gita Govindaof 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 Ramanujain 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 Goddirectly, without the intervention of learned priests. Part of the transformation was also a shift to local languages as opposed to the formal Sanskritof the religious texts.
The songs he wrote a prayers to Lord
Shivaare still sung in Mithilaand form a rich tradition of sweet and lovely folk songs. Folkloresays that he was such a great devotee of Lord Shivathat 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 Shivais 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"."
*"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!
* [http://oldpoetry.com/oprintall/Vidyapati More examples]
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
Radhaand Krishnaon 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 Tagorealso 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 Renaissancehave also written in the Brajabuli style.
* [http://banglapedia.search.com.bd/HT/V_0041.htm Vidyapati]
* [http://ignca.nic.in/nl_00514.htm Vidyapati Padmavati]
* [http://www.mithilaonline.com/admire.html Maharsi Sri Aurobindo on Vidyapati] by
Binod Bihari Verma
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