Govindadas Kaviraj

Govindadas Kaviraj (c 1535-1613) Vaisvava poet, contemporary of Chaitanyadev, born in the village of Teliabudhuri in Murshidabad district, West Bengal, son of Chiranjib, a follower of Chaitanyadev.

Govindadas came from a literary family: his maternal grandfather, Damodor Sen, was the writer of Sangeet Damodar, and his brother, Ramchandra Sen, used to write poems in Bangla and Sanskrit. Both Ramchandra and Govindadas were initiated into vaisnavism by Sreenivas Acharya. After his initiation, Govindadas started composing verses on radha, krishna and Chaitanyadev. About four hundred and fifty lyrics are collected in Govindadas' Bhanita.

Govindadas was a disciple of vidyapati of Mithila and travelled to Bisfigram to collect Vidyapati's poems. Emulating Vidyapati, he composed verses in brajabuli. Among his famous verses are those about love and love trysts such as 'Shyam abhishare chalu binodini Radha' (Lighthearted Radha goes to meet her lover Syam), 'Mandir bahir kathin kapat' (The strong door of the temple), 'Mega yamini chalila kamini' (The cloud-covered moon shines on the lustful woman). Many of these love poems are included in university syllabi. Govindadas' poems are remarkable for their imagery, rhythm, wit and humour. Govindadas also wrote a play entitled Sangeet Sadhak. [Wakil Ahmed]