Narsinh Mehta who we know by popular name like Adikavi or Devotional poet of Gujarati language or Narsi Bhagat or Bhakta Narsaiyo. Narasimha Mehta is credited as the originator of urmikavyas, akhyans, prabhatias and biographies. Prabhatia composed by him is sung in the morning. His hymns and poems composed five hundred years ago are still popular today. People sing his poem’s verses with great devotion.
Let’s have a brief introduction of Narsinh Mehta:
|Birth (Born in)||AD 1414|
|Place of birth:-||Talaja village of Bhavnagar district in Gujarat|
|Caste:-||Vadnagara Nagar Brahmin|
|Death (Died in)||1488 AD around the age of 79.|
The place of birth is in a village called Mangarol in Kathiawar
Birth of Narsinh Mehta:-
Narsingh Mehta was born in Talaja village of Bhavnagar district in AD. In 1414 Vadnagara Nagar family he was born to Sri Krishnadas Mehta of Brahmin caste. They settled in present day Junagadh, then known as Jurnadurg. He lost his parents at a very young age, just five years old. Hence he was brought up by his grandmother Jayagauri. He could not speak until the age of 8.
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Marriage of Narsinh Mehta :-
In Vikram Samvat 1485 (AD 1429), a cultured, and nurtured came to marry Narasih with a girl named Manekbai. After a few years of marriage, Narsingh Mehta had children, a daughter named Kuvarbai and a son named Shamalsha (Shamaldas), during this period his grandmother died. But Narasimha’s indifference to worldly affairs remained with him. Manekbai was a devoted woman. So she used to take care that there is no hindrance in her husband’s devotion. As Narsingh Mehta was not interested in the affairs of the world, Manekbai took all the affairs of his house upon herself. Narsinh Mehta was engrossed in the devotion of Shri Krishna.
Family members of Narsinh Mehta:-
- Grandfather:- Vishnudas or Parasottamdas
- Grandmother:- Jayagouri
- Father:- Krishnadas or Krishnadamodar
- Mother:- Dayakor
- Wife:- Manek
- Son:- Shamaldas (Born in 1497 died in 1507)
- Daughter-in-law:- Surasena
- Daughter:- Kunvarbai (Born in 1495 married in 1504)
- Kaka:- Parvat Mehta
- Bhai:- Bansidhar or Mangalji or Jeevanram
- Sister-in-law:- Zawer Mehti
Narasinha’s father and grandfather were Shivpanthis. His dadi brought Narsinh’s father’s elder brother’s son Bansidhar there to Junagadh. Now Narsinh was about to turn eight years old, but still he could not speak anything. “If the son of a Brahmin is dumb, how can he live his life, how can he earn his livelihood?” Thinking that, Narsinh’s grandmother was constantly worried. He was very worried about Narsinh, this last sign of his son. According to folklore, once when the child Narsinh was returning with his grandmother after listening to the Bhagavad-Katha, he met an ascetic saint on the way. Narsinh’s grandmother greeted the saint, told the ascetic saint about baby Narsinh’s problem. The saint looked into Narsinh’s eyes and whispered a mantra in his ear – “Radhe Govind” “Radhe Krishna”. Narsinh was asked to say the name of “Radhe Govind”, gradually the mute child Narsinh started chanting “Radhe Govind” “Radhe Krishna”. Everyone was shocked to see this and Narasinhs grandmother was very happy. Since then Narasinh’s devotion to Lord Krishna began, which transformed Narasinh Mehta into Narsinh Bhagat.
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Narsinh Mehta’s verses or poems or Prabhatias have not been preserved in the language in which they were sung. Also most of the works are preserved orally. He has composed more than 22000 compositions. The oldest manuscript of Narasinh Mehta’s work dates back to about AD around 1612 by K.K. Shastri of Gujarat Vidya Sabha had discovered.
Works/Compositions of Narsinh Mehta:-
His compositions are mostly in jhulana chand and kedaro raga. Narsinh Mehta’s works can be divided into three distinct parts – autobiographical, unclassified and aesthetic.
Shamaldas’s marriage, Kunvarbai’s marriage, Hundi, Zari’s position. Compositions acknowledging Harijans, Harmala Padas, Manlila, Rukmini Vivah, Satyabhama’s Roosna, Draupadi’s Prayer, Father’s Shraddha.
All these compositions also mention revelatory miracles performed by God on them.
Sudama Charitra, Chaturi, Danlila, Govinda Gaman, Surat Sangram and Srimad Bhagavad Gita describing some events.
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Cosmetic based compositions:-
These compositions include songs describing Radha Krishna’s leelas of love.
Hymns of Narasinh Mehta:-
Vaishnavajan (who is a favourite of Gandhiji), Shrikrishna Janam Vadhai, Bholi Bharwadan, Aaj Khadi Raldiamani.
Marriage of his daughter :-
Manekbai started to worry about the marriage of her daughter as her daughter Kunvarbai reached wedding age. He told this to Mehtaji and Narasinh replied “Kunwar, my Nath’s daughter will worry about it, Ma, Mehti will worry about it, my Nath”, and that’s what happened! Walked forward and asked for a groom. The marriage of Narsinh Mehta’s daughter Kunvarbai was fixed with the son of Srirang Mehta, a resident of Una, in Vikrama Samvat 1502 (in 1445-47 AD), Kunvarbai’s marriage took place with a promp that people had never imagined. People thought that ‘what else should he give to his daughter in this poor Narsaiya Kariyavar?’ But contrary to people’s imagination, it was a lumpsome Kariyavar who kept staring at people with tears in their eyes. Kunvarbai inherited her mother’s teachings and father’s rites and went to her in-laws.
Marriage of son Shamaldas :-
His priests were looking for a suitable meritorious idol for the daughter of Madanamehta of Vadnagar. This invention of his came to Narsinh Mehta’s son Shamaldas Completed. The marriage of Narsinh’s son Shamalsha was arranged with Surasena, daughter of Madana Mehta, the wealthy Pradhan of Vadnagar. But Madan Mehta’s wife started worrying about her daughter. It occurred to him that how will my flower-like daughter be happy in a poor family? So he wrote a letter to test Narasimha. A few days later, Madan Mehta received a letter from there which said, “If you come with a life worthy of our honor and respect, let us take our daughter in-law, otherwise we will cancel her marriage with Shamaldas.” On such an occasion, Narsinh Mehta’s condition was not such that he could take such a life. But even on this occasion, Narsinh Mehta continued to receive unexpected help from God’s grace. Narsinh arrived at his son’s wedding hall with a ruddy life that was seen by the people in the entire panthak and completed the marriage of Shamaldas. After marriage, Narsinh Mehta returned to his village with his son and daughter-in-law.
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Death of son Shamalsha and wife Manekbai :-
Shortly after the wedding, Narsinh Mehta’s son Shamaldas and daughter-in-law Surasena died in an accident. His wife Manekbai was shocked by the death of the son and daughter in law. Manekbai could not bear the pain and within a few days died of the grief of her son’s death. In the life of Narsinh Mehta, mountains of sorrows broke down. First, the death of his son, who was the leader of his clan, destroyed his clan, and the death of his wife seemed to have ended the entire world. But even on such an occasion, Narsinh Mehta did not let his devotion and faith in God’s blessings. They were not moved by anything like their equality, discomfort or comfort, happiness or sorrow, praise or condemnation. At the time of his wife’s death, his tongue uttered, “ભલું થયું ભાંગી જંજાળ, સુખે ભજશું શ્રી ગોપાલ” Narasinh’s sense of detachment even while living in the world is seen in this line.
Daughter’s wedding :-
After the death of his wife, son and daughter-in-law, Narasimha Mehta devoted his entire time to devotion to the Lord and serving the sadhu saints. His growing popularity now also increased the number of jealous people who opposed him. Such people used to try to defame, humiliate, and make Narasimha look low. In the same period, Narasimha’s daughter Kunvarbai had a marginal event. Narsingh received his daughter’s letter. Narasimha left to attend his daughter’s ceremony to follow his father’s religion. Narasimha placed the list of gifts of the mother demanded from the daughter’s in-laws at the feet of the Lord. He had full faith in his God. That is why Kunvarbai’s Mamera had more special things than the gifts written in the list. Narsinh Mehta did a magnificent thing that no one had done. Even on this occasion, Narasinh was getting unexpected help from God. He returned to Junagadh after completing his daughter’s marriage happily and after Kunvarbai’s marriage, Narsinh’s popularity started to increase.
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Faith of Narsinh Mehta’s father:-
Once when Narsinh Mehta went to invite two or three brahmins for dinner on the occasion of his father’s funeral, some people misled him and spread the word that the invitation to dinner was from Narsinh Mehta to the entire city. So the task of making the night of the entire Nagar Brahmin fell on him, how can he make the whole night if he does not have money and grain for food for himself and his family? But on this occasion too, with some miraculous and unexpected help, Narsinh overcame the occasion.
Death of Narsinh Mehta :-
There is no exact information about his death. But according to folklore, Narsinh Mehta died in AD 1488 around the age of 79 in a village called Mangarol in Kathiyawad. Presently there is a crematorium named ‘Narsinh Mehta Smashan’ in this village. It is said that Narsinh Mehta was cremated at this place.
Salutations at the feet of Param Prabhu Bhakta Shri Narsinh Mehta, who created many literatures in his entire life, who even after so much time has passed, still makes the patron feel supreme joy.
Written by: – Smt. Snehal Rajan Jani