Maithili

Influence of Vidyapati

Influence of Vidyapati in Bengal
The influence of Vidyapati in Bengal was so intense that for a period of time he was considered a poet of Bengali literature. His songs were mingled with those of Chandi Dasa who spread the Vaishnavism cult. Romesh Chandra Datta goes on to prove that there is no chance of their having met and Chandi Dasa came much later and had immense influence of Vidyapati especially in the Krsnakirttana.

The following quote from Grierson (Maithili Chrestomathy,, p34)

“And now a curious circumstance arose, unparalleled I believe in the history of literature..(His songs) were twisted and contorted, lengthened and curtailed, in the procrustean bed of the Bengali language and metre into a kind of bastard language neither Bengali nor Maithili. But this was not all. A host of imitators sprang up notably one Basant Roy of Jessore, who wrote, under the name of Vidyapati in this bastard language, songs which in their form bore a considerable resemblance to the matter of our poet, but which almost entirely wanted the polish and felicity of expression of the old master-singer … (These imitation songs known as“Brajbuli” songs) became gradually more popular amongst the Bengali people than the real songs of Vidyapati.”

History of Brajbuli Literatue by Dr. Sukumar Sen gives a complete account of “Brajbuli” poets. It is interesting to note that Ravindra Nath Tagore was so influenced by Vidyapati that he wrote (1884) a number of poems in the guise of Bhanu-Singh and named it Bhanu-Singh-Thakurera Padavali.

Influence of Vidyapati in Assam

It was Sankara Deva who introduced Brajbuli (Maithili) to Assam. Vidyapati was considered a Vaisnava singer. Shankar Deva found a great instrument in Brajbuli or Maithili in spreading Vaisnavism and introduced it in Assam.

In the history of Assamese, Brajbuli occupies an important place; it was able to lay the foundations of Assemese Literature. The Department of Histororical Antiquities, Government of Assam, Gauhati first published this literature.

Influence of Vidyapati in Orissa

Bengal acted as the source of spreading Maithili to Orissa in the first half of 16th century. The earliest known Brajbuli poem in Orissaby Ramanand Rai, the famous poet and dramatist, is dedicated to Pratap Rudra Deva (1504-1532). Dr. Sukumar Sen has given a vivid description of the meeting of Ramanad with Shri Chaitanya Dev (1511-12). The master asked Ramanand to explain to him the aim of Vaisnava religion and philosophy. Ramanand went on explaining without ant success.

Then he asked the master if he could recite a few poems. The influence was magical and the master was greatly moved on hearing only a few lines.

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