The great Maithili poet Vidyapati was born in 1350 AD (1407 BS) in a village called Bisaphi in the Darbhanga district of ancient Mithila and the modern Bihar province of India. He was born in Kartik Dhawal (Shukla) Trayodashi. Vidyapati Memorial Day is celebrated every year in Basaphi, the village where Vidyapati was born. Poet Kokil Vidyapati has been honored by Bihar, West Bengal province of India, and Nepal as a national treasure of their country and has been recognized as a heritage. Mahakavi Vidyapati is also considered by Bengalis as their poet, while Vidyapati has also had an influence on Nepali language literature and culture.
People’s belief is that the great poet used to go to the court with his father Ganapati Thakur since childhood. But the rest of the fourteenth century was a period of unrest and discord for Mithila. King Ganeshwar was murdered by a yavan-sardar named Aslan. Kirtisingh, the poet’s son and son of King Ganeshwar, was trying to regain his lost kingdom and avenge his father’s murder.
Probably at this time the great poet composed some verses for great men like Nasrat Shah and Ghiyasuddin Ashramshah. King Shiv Singh was Vidyapati’s child and friend, so the period of about four years of his reign was the happiest time in the life of the great poet. King Shiv Singh gave him great respect. The village of Bispi was given to him as a reward in charity and was awarded the title of ‘Abhinavjaydev’. The grateful Mahakavi also immortalized his integral friend and patron King Shiv Singh and his sul wife Rani Lakhima Devi (Lalimadei) through his songs. Shivsingh’s Bhanita is found in most of about 250 songs.
But within a short time, again there was a terrible wrath of Durdaiva on Mithila. Hearing of the imminent invasion of the Yavanas, King Shiv Singh sent his family members to Rajabanauli in the ashram of Puraditya, the overlord of Dronavar in Nepal-terai, under the protection of Vidyapati. Shiv Singh was probably killed in the battle field. Vidyapati stayed in Puraditya’s ashram for about 12 years. At the same time, it is known from a verse of that time that he composed the writing that this time was very sad for him. The Mahakavi again got the shelter of the Auinvar-dynasty kings after Shivsingh’s younger brother Padmasingh got the authority and he returned to Mithila. After Padmasingh’s rule for only one year, his wife Vishwadevi sat on the throne of Mithila, on whose orders he wrote two important texts: Shaivasarvavasara and Gangavakyavali. After Vishwasadevi, during the reign of King Narasimhadeva ‘Dapannarayan’, Maharani Dhirmati, Maharaj Dhir Singh ‘Hridaynarayan’, Maharaj Bhairav Singh ‘Hari Narayan’ and Chandra Singh ‘Rupnarayan’, the great poet had been getting the royal shelter continuously.
Since 1966, the Bihar government has also introduced the Vidyapati ticket. Even in Nepal, Vidyapati’s ticket came into circulation a little earlier. The government of India has recognized the Maithili language as the national language by mentioning it in the eighth schedule of its constitution.
Maithili is definitely the second most spoken language in Nepal after the national language Nepali, but it has not been able to get the corresponding state protection and importance so far.
Maithili language and Vidyapati are discussed in annual symposiums, poet meetings, and commemorative festivals. Maithili language and literature have a very old history and it is also a rich language. It also has its own script. This language has given birth to many famous poets and writers. In the name of Mahakavi Vidyapati, as much research and work as should have been done.
Vidyapati was a man of extraordinary talent and the power of love. Sanskrit words are also used in many verses of Vidyapati’s vocabulary. As he is especially a poet of beauty, he has described the beauty of Radha-Krishna. Some have called him a Vaishnava poet like Surdas and Tulsidas, but his father was a Shaiva, and he himself also composed many works in praise of Mahadev.
Vidyapati was the poet of the king of Mithila. It is said that due to his loveliness, he charmed the Mughal ruler and freed his king who was in custody. Hari Mishra, a great scholar and scholar of Mithila, was his guru. He was the court poet of King Shivsingh. However, most of the poets of that time were either courtiers or Bhaktiras poets. Vidyapati was a multi-talented poet. These things can be easily found in his poetry.
He was not only a lyrical poet, but comic-calm heroic poems are also abundant in his poems. He was also a great scholar of Sanskrit. Vidyapati also wrote Srimad Bhagavata in the Maithili language, whose name is written as ‘Bhagavata pothi’.
In the description of nature, his imagination seems to touch the sky. If the description of their spring and rain has been memorized, then one will experience ecstasy. The description of union, separation, love, honor, etc. is also full of indescribable miracles. Vidyapati’s compositions, which are sung at the time of Biha-Batula etc. while going to and from the pilgrimage, and also at the time of visiting Devdevi temple, are pleasing to the ears and attractive. Due to the miracles of Padavali, he received two titles from his then kings Navajaideva, Kavishekhar, Kavi Kanthahar, Kaviranjan, Dasavadhana and also called ‘Kavi Kokil’ from Komal-Kanta Pada-Chamatkrita Kavi Vrinda.
Vidyapati, who sacrificed his life near the river Ganga, prayed that his tears would flow when he was away from the holy Ganga and said that bathing in the Ganga alone is greater than chanting, penance, yoga, and meditation. He called Ganga his mother and called himself his son, saying that he wants to see you again and again. Vidyapati’s timeless works are an immense wealth and heritage. His works are still readable.
The independence of the kings for whom Vidyapati worked was often threatened by incursions by Muslim sultans. Kirtilata refers to one such event. By 1401, Vidyapati contributed to the overthrow of Jaunpur Sultan Arslan and the installation of Ganeshvar’s sons, Veerasimha and Kirtisingh, on the throne. In which the Oinvar king, Raja Ganeshvar, was killed by the Turkish general Malik Arsalan in 1371 AD.
With the help of the Sultan, Arsalan was deposed and the eldest son Kirtisingh became the ruler of Mithila. The struggles of his time are evident in his works. In his early eulogy-poem ‘Kirtilata’, he slyly criticized his patron for his perceived respect for Muslims.