Bihari Lal

Bihari Lal

Infobox Writer
name = Bihari Lal Chaube

imagesize =
caption =
pseudonym =
birthdate = 1595
birthplace = Govindpur, Madhya Pradesh IND
deathdate = 1663
deathplace = IND
occupation = Poet,
nationality =
period = Riti Kaal
genre =
subject =
movement = Ritikaal
influences =
influenced =

website =

Bihari Lal Chaube or Bihārī (Hindi: बिहारी, Persian: بِہاری), (1595 – 1663 [ Kangra Paintings of the Bihari Sat Sai] National Museum, New Delhi, 1966.] , was a Hindi poet, who is famous for writing the "Satasaī" (Seven Hundred Verses) in Brajbhasha, a collection of approximately seven hundred distichs, which is perhaps the most celebrated Hindi work of poetic art, as distinguished from narrative and simpler styles. Today it is considered the most well known book of the Ritikavya Kaal or 'Riti Kaal' [RitiKavya Kaal] of Hindi literature [ [ Google notebook] Hindi literature.] .

The language is the form of Hindi called "Brajbhasha", spoken in the country about Mathura, where the poet lived. The couplets are inspired by the Krishna side of Vishnu-worship, and the majority of them take the shape of amorous utterances of Radha, the chief of the Gopis or cowherd maidens of Braj, and her divine lover, the son of Vasudeva. Each couplet is independent and complete in itself, and is a triumph of skill in compression of language, felicity of description. and rhetorical artifice. The distichs, in their collected form, are arranged, not in any sequence of narrative or dialogue, but according to the technical classification of the sentiments which they convey as set forth in the treatises on Indian rhetoric.


Early life and education

frame|Radha and Krishna"] Bihari was born in Govindpur near Gwalior in 1595, and spent his boyhood in Orchha in the Bundelkhand region, where his father, Keshav Rai lived. After marriage he settled with in-law's in Mathura [ Bihari Biography]] .

His father, Kesav Rai, was a twiceborn ("Dwija") by caste, which is generally means an offspring of a Brahman father by a Kshatriya mother.

Early in his life, he studied ancient Sanskrit texts. In Orchha state, he met the famous poet Keshavdas from whom he took lessons in poetry. Later, when he had shifted to Mathura, he got an opportunity to present his in court of visiting Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who immediately got impressed by his work and invited him to stay in Agra.

Once at Agra, he learnt Persian language and came into contact with Rahim, another famous poet. It was also at Agra that Raja Jai Singh I (ruled. 1611-1667), of Amber, near Jaipur, happened to hear him, and invited him over to Jaipur, and it was here that he composed his greatest work, Satasai.


Bihārī wrote in Brajbhasha. His poetry is in "shringar" ras, depicting the divine love of Krishna and Radha.

A couplet in the "Sat-sai" states that it was completed in A.D. 1662. It is certain that his patron, whom he calls Jai Shah, Raja Jai Singh I (1611-1667), of Amber, near Jaipur, during the reigns of the emperors Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. A couplet (No. 705) appears to refer to an event which occurred in 1665, and in which Raja Jai Singh was concerned. For this prince the couplets were composed, and for each Doha or couplet, the poet is said to have received a gold piece worth sixteen rupees.

The collection very soon became celebrated. As the couplets are independent one of another, and were put together fortuitously as composed, many different recensions exist; but the standard is that settled by an assembly of poets under the direction of Prince A'zam Shah, the third son of the emperor Aurangzeb (1653—1707), and hence called the A'zam-shahi; it comprises 726 couplets.

ignificance of Bihari's work

One of the famous Dohas (couplet) written by Bihārī is
"Satsaiya ke dohre jyun naavik ke teer" "Dekhan men chote lage ghaav kare ghambir."
"The couplets of (Bihari's) Satsai are like the arrows of sailor,
they look small but causes serious injury."

Though Bihari 'Satasai' is only known work of Bihari, an estimation in which the work is held may be measured by the number of commentators who have devoted themselves to its elucidation, of whom Dr G. A. Grierson mentions seventeen. The collection has also twice been translated into Sanskrit.

The best-known commentary is that of Lallu ji-Lal, entitled the "Lala-chandrika". The author was employed by Dr Gilchrist in the College of Fort William, where he finished his commentary in 1818. A critical edition of it has been published by Dr G. A. Grierson (Calcutta, Government of India Press, 1896).


* "The Satasaī" (English Translation), Penguin Books, 1992. ISBN 0-14-044576-5.
* Bihari Satsai. (Hindi and English Translation) Dr. Shyamsunder Dube, Publications Division. []
* The Veiled moon; English translations of Bihari satsai, Amar Nath Jha; Girijā Kumāra Māthura. New Delhi, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, 1973. []

Further reading

* Bihari Satsai: Aalochana evam Vyakhaya (Hindi), Nemichand Jain. Delhi, 2007. []
* Humour in the Satsai of Biharilal, Snell, Rupert (1999). In: Of Clowns and Gods Brahmans and Babus: Humour in South Asian Literatures. Manohar (Delhi), pp. 63-79. []
* Kangra Paintings of the Bihari Sat Sai by M. S. Randhawa. Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 90, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 1970), pp. 591-592. []



External links

* [ Poetry of Bihari in Hindi]
* [ THE SENTIMENTS OF LOVE A Selection of Indian Miniatures from the Collection of the National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden – I.]

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