Narsinh Mehta

News: Recently Junagadh University discovered a new species of spider and named it Narsinhmehtai in honour of Narsinh Mehta, the 15th-century poet who was a devotee of Lord Krishna.

Narsinh Mehta

  • Mehta is believed to have been born in Talaja in present-day Bhavnagar district in 1410 and died in Junagadh in 1480s. The 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.
  • His father died when Mehta was just 5 and it is believed that Mehta learnt to speak only when he was eight years old, after a holy man asked him to utter the name of Lord Krishna.
  • His elder brother Bansidhar and Bansidhar’s wife raised Mehta and arranged his marriage.
  • Mehta used to spend time in Krishna-bhakti (devotion to Lord Krishna) even after his marriage to Manekba, paying little attention to family duties. Mehta is believed to have run away from home and done tapashcharya at a Shiva temple in Talaja for seven days. After that, Mehta relocated with his family to Junagadh.
  • Nonetheless, folklore has it that Lord Krishna, by impersonating as Mehta, helped the devout poet organise shraadhha (a ritual performed post death of a family member) of his father, marriage of his son Shamaldas etc. 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. They 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.