Govardhan Acharya

Govardhan Acharya (12th Century) Sanskrit poet, contemporary of jaydev, and court poet of laksmanasena. His father, Nilamver, was a sanskrit scholar who had written a book on the scriptures.

Govardhan's poem, Aryashaptashati, published under the patronage of Laksmanasena,was inspired by Gathashaptashati, a collection of stories in prakrit. Written in arya metre, the poem is supposed to have 700 verses but actually has 764 verses. The verses are erotic in nature and written in alphabetical order. The poem, which is divided into different sections, consists of portraits of people belonging to different professions.

Aryasapsati describes both vices and virtues. On the one hand, it describes the luxury and licentiousness of the aristocracy and, on the other, the hard lives of the poor, and their social degradation. It also depicts the passions of nuptial love and the infatuations of youth, as well as the different aspects of sexuality, illicit love and reckless sexual behaviour.

Aryasapsati was so popular that Govardhan became famous with just this one poem. Jaydev also praised Govardhan. Biharilal, a Hindi poet, wrote Satsai in imitation of Govardhan's poem. Various verses from Aryasapsati have been included in different anthologies like Suktimuktavali, Sharbgadharapaddhati, Padyavali, etc. [Kanailal Ray]