Saturday, April 2, 2011

Padmavathi of Jayadeva, a mellifluous and a Divinely Singer

Dr. Sukumar Sen in his book on Jayadeva which has been published by Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1963 gives a very interesting narration about the musical skill of Padmavathi and Jayadeva. This book narrates fanciful stories about Umapati Dhara. Govardhana Acharya, Dhoyi and Jayadeva, all of whom are mentioned in the Gita Govinda. The story on Jayadeva is as follows:
A certain Brahmin called Budhan Mishra appeared in the assembly hall of Raja Laxmana Sen and claimed that he had attained great heights in composition of music, for which he had been honoured by Gajapati Kapilendra Deva of Utkal. He had obtained a ‘Writ of Victory’ from Gajapati of Utkala. He then started singing in Patta Manjari Raga and all the leaves of a nearby Aswastha tree fell down. All the courtiers started praising Budhan Mishra. The King decided to honour him with a Writ of Victory. 
(For this Research on "Jayadeva & Ashtapthy" it has been commented that Patta Manjari is not known to be an established Raga. It is difficult also to believe that King Laxmana Sen was holding his open assembly (durbar) under a Aswatha Tree on the shore of river Ganga.)
Just at that time Padmavati, wife of Jayadeva was comig back from her bath in river Ganga. Hearing sounds of joy in the royal court, she entered the hall and announced that unless anyone defeats her in music in a competition, no one should be awarded a ”Writ of Victory” Seikh, a Muslim saint was present in the King’s court. He asked Padmavati to sing a song and create some miracle. Padmavati started singing a melodious song in Gandhava Raga. All boats floating in the river came back on their own to the shore. All courtiers were amazed.
Budhan Mishra was reluctant to enter into a contest with a woman. Seikh ordered that Padmavati’s husband Jayadeva be called to the royal court. Jayadeva came to the Court. Seikh told Budhan Mishra to sing so that new leaves came out in the Aswastha tree. Budhan Mishra expressed his inability to sing like that. Poet Jayadeva then started singing in Basanta Raga and immediately new leaves started sprouting in the Aswastha tree which had lost all leaves earlier. The honor given to Mishra was taken back and he was only given some small gifts and asked to leave the court.