The story of Jayadeva, the author of Geeta Govinda, and his wife, Padmavati, demonstrates the power of true love. Jayadeva’s Geeta Govinda depicts the unparalleled love between Radha and Sri Krishna. Padmavati was a great dancer and she danced when her husband sang the Geeta Govinda. They performed in the court of the King of Orissa.
It is said that once when Padmavati was with the queen and the ladies of the court talked in great detail about a woman who had performed sati – who jumped into the funeral pyre of her husband. The ladies of the court said she was a great Pativrata (true and devoted wife).
Padmavati was not much impressed by the woman. When the queen wanted to know the reason, she said that a real Pativrata (true wife) would drop down dead the moment her husband dies.
The queen and the ladies of the court did not agree to Padmavati. When she had left they criticized her and decided to teach her a lesson.
They planned to send false news to her that her husband was dead. They wanted to tease her when she would cry and lament and not drop dead.
They got the opportunity when Jayadeva had gone along with the king on a hunting expedition.
Padmavati was with the queen and the ladies. A man was set up by the queen to bring the false news. On the second day of the expedition, the man came running to the palace and informed Padmavati and the queen that Jayadeva had been killed by a lion during the hunting expedition.
The moment Padmavati heard the news she became silent, she sat like a statue and within seconds she dropped dead.
The queen and the ladies of the court did not get any time to react. They had no idea how to overcome the situation. Fear gripped them as they were sure that the king would kill them all.
A messenger carried the news to Jayadeva and the king. They returned to the palace immediately. When the king came to know about the plot hatched by the queen and her companions, he ordered them to be executed. But Jayadeva stopped the king and said that it was all fate.
Jayadeva then prayed to Sri Krishna. He wanted to know why he was alive as he loved his wife as much as she loved him.
The devotion of the couple to Sri Krishna was unwavering. Therefore the ever smiling Gopala appeared before Jayadeva.
It is said that Sri Krishna said to Jayadeva that Padmavati’s lifespan on earth was over and this is why she died. This or any other reason would have taken her life at the precise moment.
Jayadeva then wanted to join her. Sri Krishna stopped him and told him that if he could give her half of his remaining life span on earth, then both would die the same time and saved from the suffering of parting.
Jayadeva readily agreed and Padmavati woke up as if from a sleep.