Jadumani Mahapatra (Jadumani Mohapatra) (1783–1868) also known as Utkal Ghanta was an Odia language poet, humorist and satirist, who was principal poet during the rule of king Binayak Singh Mandhata of Nayagarh princely state in present day Odisha. He was known for his devotional songs and poems, and also his wit and satire.
Born at Itamati in present Nayagarh district of Odisha, he studied Sanskrit grammar from Bidyadhar Mohapatra of Mandhatapur. There is a story about his being the humorist poet in Odiya language. It is said that once given a mantra by a yogi (saint)he meditated upon Lord Hayagriba (one of the incarnations of lord Vishnu according to Hindu mythology)for His blessing. When the Lord appeared before him and asked him to express his wish, he to the God’s utmost pleasure told how He cleans His nose as He is occupied with different aayudhas (weapons and other armaments) in all his hands, to which the God could not prevent Himself laughing, and blessed him to be a humorist poet from that day and he can write poems instantly without any imagination and thinking at any place, not only restricted to study rooms as poets usually do to write poems. It is also said that as he used the bamboo mat usually left by a dead person’s family members at samshan (creamation ground) while chanting the Hayagriba mantra, for that reason (chanting of Hayagriba mantra sitting on bamboo seat is prohibited in tantra shastra, and thus results with negative effects—poverty) he was poor throughout the life even though he was the dewan (administrative officer) of the king of Nayagarh.
After the bhojan (eating of meals), he told them that his late father had always a wish to see to have chadoos (a lining on the forehead with a hot rod of any kind by lightly touching) on the foreheads of Brahmins, and thus applied with a gold stick the chadoos on the Brahmins and the Brahmins could not deny that due to fear of raj danda (punishment by king’s men)as he was the dewan of the then king. Since all the Brahmins on that occasion were very much ardent in vedant philosophy, it hurt them so much that on the same day at noon on the bank of Kusumi river, the 108 Brahmins chanted the bramha gayatri (principal gayatri mantra) with tears rolling from their eyes due to that great insult. It is said that all of a sudden a great lightning appeared on the cloud and burst upon Jadumani’s only son Bhartuhari and he died on the moment. Jadumani later repented on that event of insulting Brahmins and went to Puri to see lord Jagannath and sang a song named Jagannath janana (a devotional poem on Jagannath). His satirist-humorous poems known as Jadumani Rahasya and anecdotes of his wit and practical jokes are also popular. Though he does not have a complete work to his credit as a humorist, some 100 short and witty compositions have remained in circulation and part of oral folklore, they were collected as Jadumani Rahasya, and later in Jadumani granthavali (Collected works) in 1965. He was a contemporary of kabi surya Baladev Rath. Once when he was in Puri at lord Jagannath temple while offering his prayer for his son’s death, he met Baldev Rath who was also singing the sarpa janana (a song comparing Jagannath with a sanke)after his son’s death. Both great poets of Odisha knew each other from the caliber of each one’s song (the depth and meaning of the song which are very high).
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