--> Skip to main content

Jasobanta Dasa – Medieval Odia Poet, Litterateur And Mystic – Short Biography

Jasobanta Dasa (1487 CE) was a medieval Odia poet, litterateur and mystic. Son Jagu Mallika and Rekha Devi of Village, Adanga, Cuttack, Yasovanta Dasa belonged to Mahanayaka or Kshatriya caste. His life figures in his disciple Sudarshana Dasa’s work, Jasobanta Dasanka Chaurashi Agyan (Eighty-four arts of Jasobanta Dasa).

Privation compelled Jasobanta to steal paddy. Once he was caught red-handed and produced before Raghurama Jena, chief (samanta) of Adanga, who ordered the offender to be put on a pike. Jasobanta Dasa prayed to Bhagwan Jagannath for protection. God listened to his supplication and appeared in the body of Jasobanta Dasa. But only Raghurama Jena, the chief, was able to behold the vision. Thereafter, he and his wife, Tilottama, became disciples of Jasobanta Dasa.

In his Govinda Chandra Gita, Jasobanta Dasa describes the story of Raja Govinda Chandra, who renounced  the world and became a follower of Siddhacharya Hadipa, one of the exponents of the Natha sect. Though a Vaishnava, Jasobanta Dasa translated a Shaivite Sanskrit text, Shiva Swarodaya. His most important work, Prema Bhakti Brahma Gita deals with philosophy of the void. He also composed rasa form of poems, which narrate the amorous sports of Radha and Krishna. He founded a matha at Adanga.

Another famous disciple of Jasobanta Dasa was Salabega, a Muslim who became a Vaishnava. Salabega has been identified with Salabega of Gaudiya texts, who lived in the 17th century CE; his spiritual mentor was Syamananda.