Vidyapati (1352 – 1448), also known by the sobriquet Maithil Kavi Kokil (the poet cuckoo of Maithili) was a Maithili poet and a Sanskrit writer. He was born in the village Bisfi in Madhubani district of Mithila region of Bihar, India and died in Samastipur. He was the son of shri Ganapati Thakur. The name Vidyapati is derived from two Sanskrit words, Vidya (knowledge) and Pati (master), connoting thereby, a man of knowledge.
Vidyapati's poetry was widely influential in centuries to come, in the Hindustani as well as Bengali, Maithili, less actively Nepali language and other Eastern literary traditions. Indeed, the language at the time of Vidyapati, the prakrit-derived late abahatta, had just began to transition into early versions of the Eastern languages, Maithili, Nepali, Bengali, Oriya, etc. Thus, Vidyapati's influence on making these languages has been described as "analogous to that of Dante in Italy and Chaucer in England."
Love songsAll My Inhibition
All my inhibition left me in a flash,More examples
When he robbed me of my clothes,
But his body became my new dress.
Like a bee hovering on a lotus leaf
He was there in my night, on me!
Vidyapati, mainly known for his love songs and prayers for Shiva, also wrote on other topics including ethics, history, geography, and law. His works include:Puruṣa Parīkṣā deals with moral teachings.Recently Publications Division of Government of India has brought out the Hindi Translation of Purusha Pariksha by Akhilesh Jha. There are 25 stories in the book selected from 44 stories in the original work. Besides, there are scholarly introductions to both Vidyapati and Purusha Pariksha in the book.Likhanabali is about writingBhu-Parikrama, literal meaning, around the world, is about local geographyVibhāgasāra is autobiographical in natureDānavākyāvalī is about charityGangāvākyāvalīVarṣakṛtyaDurgābhaktitaraṅgiṇīŚaivasarvasvahāraKīrttipatākāKīrttilatā
The influence of the lyrics of Vidyapati on the love of Radha and Krishna on the Bengali poets of the medieval period was so overwhelming that they largely imitated it. As a result, an artificial literary language, known as Brajabuli was developed in the sixteenth century. Brajabuli is basically Maithili (as prevalent during the medieval period) but its forms are modified to look like Bengali. The medieval Bengali poets, Gobindadas Kabiraj, Jnandas, Balaramdas and Narottamdas composed their padas (poems) in this language. Rabindranath Tagore composed his Bhanusingha Thakurer Padabali (1884) in a mix of Western Hindi (Braj Bhasha) and archaic Bengali and named the language Brajabuli as an imitation of Vidyapati (he initially promoted these lyrics as those of a newly discovered poet, Bhanusingha). Other 19th century figures in the Bengal Renaissance like Bankim Chandra Chatterjee have also written in Brajabuli.
Vidyapati's influence reached Odisha through Bengal. The earliest composition in Brajabuli is ascribed to Ramananda Raya, the governor of Godavari province of the King of Odisha, Gajapati Prataprudra Dev. He was a disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He recited his Brajabuli poems to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, when he first met him on the bank of river Godavari at Rajahmundry, southern provincial capital of Kingdom of Odisha in 1511–12. Other notable Odia poets influenced by Vidyapati's poems were Champati Ray and king Pratap Malla Dev (1504–32).
Pahari Sanyal played the role of Vidyapati in the 1937 film Vidyapati, which received a lot of appreciation. The film starred Prithviraj Kapoor as King Shiva Singha of Mithila.