In news–Researchers of Bhakta Kavi Narsinh Mehta University (BKNMU), Junagadh, discovered a new species of spider and named it Narsinhmehtai in honour of Narsinh Mehta recently.
About Narsinh Mehta-
- He was a 15th century poet and a devotee of Lord Krishna.
- It is believed that he was born in Talaja in present-day Bhavnagar district in 1410 and died in Junagadh in 1480s.
- His family had its origin in Vadnagar in north Gujarat, and the caste name is believed to be Pandya but as members of the family were officers in kingdoms of those days, they were called Mehta (one who keeps books of accounts) which later on became the family name.
- He used to spend time in Krishna-bhakti (devotion to Lord Krishna) even after his marriage to Manekba, paying little attention to family duties.
- He is believed to have run away from home and done tapascharya at a Shiva temple in Talaja for seven days.
- After that, Mehta relocated with his family to Junagadh.
- There too, he used to remain submerged in Krishna bhakti, writing and singing bhajan-kirtans and was a man of no means.
- One of his bhajans narrates how Ra Mandlik, the then ruler of Junagadh had imprisoned him, accusing the poet of not having seen Lord Krishna and yet claiming to have done so.
- Mehta penned more than 750 poems, called padd in Gujarat, that mainly deal with devotion to Lord Krishna, gyan (wisdom) vairagya (detachment from worldly affairs).
- Others like Shalmshano Vivah, Kunvarbainu Mameru, Hundi and Harmala are believed to be autobiographical accounts of different occasions in his life.
- ‘Vaishanavajn to tene kahiye’, Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite bhajan is Mehta’s creation.
- His Padho re popat raja ramna, a Bhajan refers to the mind of a person as parrot and urges him to worship and praise the god.
- Elsewhere, in bhajans like Vanla re vaya kanuda, he talks about calls of various birds.
- Mehta is believed to have been declared an outcast by the Nagar community in Junagadh for going to harijanvas (Dalit locality) and singing bhajans and kirtans with harijans.
- Nagars in those days were devotees of Hatkeshawar or Lord Shiva whereas Mehta declared himself a devotee of Lord Krishna.
- Mehta is regarded as adikavi (the first poet) and bhakta kavi (devout poet) in Gujarati literature.
- The Junagadh university set up by the state government in 2017 and a lake in Vastrapur in Ahmedabad is named after Mehta.
- Narsinh Mehta Award, which was instituted at the initiative of Morari Bapu and peot Manoj Khanderia in 1999 recognises lifetime contribution of a poet is among the most prestigious awards in Gujarati literary worlds today.