Saturday, September 26, 2015

Jagannatha Pandita Rayalu - Biography

A telugu brahmin scholar from Andhra Pradesh, Munganda in the court of Shah Jehan.

Jagannatha Pandita Rayalu was a Telugu Vaidiki Brahmin. He was a Sanskrit scholar, poet and a musician from Munikhanda Agraharam (present day Munganda), East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, India. He later lived in Varanasi, India. Jagannatha

He served in the courts of the Mughal emperors Jehangir and Shah Jahan.

Jagannath Pandit was born in 1590 in a Veginadu Vaidiki Telugu  Brahmin family. His father Perubhatt and mother Laxmi both were learned Sanskrit scholars. His poetic work includes Rasa Gangadhar, Ganga Lahari, Kawita kamini, Yamuna lahari, Bhamini Vilas, Vishnu Lahari, Asaph-Lahari etc.

The poet  was accepted as her spiritual guide by princess Lavangika, Daughter of Emperor Shah Jehan and the Prince Dara Shukoh was a friend of with and used to learn Sanskrit from him.

The emperor asked Jagannath Pandit to accept Islam as his religion and marry his daughter which was not acceptable to Jagannath.

He was also criticised by other brahmins. He  started fasting on the banks of river ganga and every day he would compose a shloka to pray the godly and motherly river Ganga.On completion of every shloka the waters rose by a step by step for 52 days and touched his feet. The band of 52 shlokas is available  as Ganga Lahiri.

About Film Lavangi - Film on Pandit Jagannatha Rayalu

 Tamil film  Lavangi (1946) was a mix of fact and fiction built around a famed poet, Pandit Jagannath, who was believed to be one of  Mughal emperor Shah Jahan's court poets.

The film narrates the story of Pandit Jagannath, a Sanskrit poet from Andhra who is versatile in many other languages too. He marries a young woman  in his village. Looking for fame and fortune, he heads to the court of Shah Jahan who is much impressed with his multi-faceted talent.

Pining for her husband, the wife leaves home for Agra where she meets Empress Mumtaz Mahal who takes her under her wing. She changes her appearance and lifestyle and names her Lavangi! The hero, unaware that she is his wife, falls in love and offers to marry her. Ultimately, the truth comes out and the couple is united.

(According to recorded history, the pandit married a Muslim woman, and her name was Lavangi. The screen story was, of course, changed.)

The film was dubbed into Hindi.

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