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Sri Jayadeva Gosvami and His Gita-govinda

Today is the disappearance day of Jayadeva Gosvamipada and I would like to speak a few words on his life history and contributions. He was born in Bengal in a village named Kendubilva, and he wrote our topmost rasa-madhurya grantha called Gita-govinda grantha. Even Lord Jagannatha had to hear the sweet melody and song of Gita-govinda. Such high class poetry. 

jaya jaya deva hare, jaya jaya deva hare

rādhe kṛṣṇa govinda gopāla nanda dulālā yaśodā dulālā 

jaya jaya deva hare 

Jayadevа Gosvamipada composed this very nice and beautiful poem in his unprecedented book, Gita-govinda


So, I just want to explain in a few words, the preface of the life history of Jayadeva Gosvami. In the literature of Vaishnavas, Vaishnava sahitya, Jayadeva Gosvami’s granthas, or books, are very prominent, and all the elevated rasika-vaishnavas would discuss them. As mentioned, Lord Jagannatha, who prior to going to sleep at night, would hear the very nice and sweet melodies sung by the devi dasi’s, or young girls, who would come in front of Lord Jagannatha to sing Gita-govinda. And at that time, Lord Jagannatha became very pleased and closed His eyes as He listened to the sweet melodious song Gita-govinda

What is the essence of Gita-govinda? The meaning is how Krishna’s eternal associates, along with Srimati Radhika, who is the internal potency, svarupa-shakti of Krishna, and Her friends, glorified Krishna. If you have some knowledge about mellows, rasa-tattva, then you will understand. Otherwise, it is very difficult to understand this high level grantha, Gita-govinda

Sri Svarupa Damodara also recited Gita-govinda as Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was comfortably absorbed as He listened to this katha. Conditioned souls have no knowledge of transcendental love, aprakrita-prema. They know that this material world is called jada-prema, material love. And this material love sometimes creates many kinds of distress and unhappiness. One name for this material world is dunya. ‘Dun dhatu da’ - the verbal root du- means dukha, unhappiness and distress. So, we are all in this material world, dunya, and are all suffering the threefold miseries of maya. But sometimes, a little bit of happiness may come, then the remaining 99% is mostly unhappiness and distress arising. We all want happiness, but where will we get it? Who wants happiness? Raise your hands. What kind of happiness do you want? Permanent or temporary? Permanent. Why not temporary? Because after temporary happiness, comes more and more distress and unhappiness. 

For example, pretend you are walking in the very deep, dark night and it is very difficult to see where you are going. It is completely dark, you cannot even see where your feet are stepping. In the meantime, there is lightning coming from the sky, and the lightning illuminates the darkness. However, that light also disturbs your eyes. Do you understand? 

You want light, but when lightning comes and gives light, the result is just more disturbance to your eyes. And at that time, it was also very difficult to walk. Perhaps, you can walk in the dark night, but when two clouds cross and lightning occurs, it becomes very difficult to take steps. 

In the same way, in this material world, conditioned souls or baddha-jivas, are suffering the threefold miseries of maya. Maybe now you have no wealth or money, but one day, if you do attain any wealth, the moment you lose it, even more unhappiness will come— prapte vinaste. If something brings you happiness, when those things are destroyed or lost, only more unhappiness will come. Is this true or not? And then you will think, “Where are those precious things? Where will I get them?” Because in this material world, all these things just end up giving us more and more unhappiness. 

All of us are wondering how to attain happiness, but it is very difficult to find it. Maya-devi is very tricky. She gives a little bit of happiness and then takes it back. For example, perhaps one lady does not have a son, and she prays to the Lord or prays to demigods and demigoddesses, “Give me one son, just one son.” Day and night she is crying and performing many austerities for the purpose of attaining a son. Now, maybe after being married for ten to fifteen years, she finally has a son. And after his birth, she is very happy. Then, after some years, her son left his body. Then it became very, very difficult to survive her life. Previously, when she did not have a son, there was no problem in maintaining her life. However, after her son died, it was very difficult for her to survive. Until she leaves her body, the mother would cry day and night over her departed son. 

For this regard, Srimad-Bhagavatam gives evidence that everything in this material world is prapte vinaste (gain-loss). When you get something and lose it, you will feel so much distress and unhappiness. Because one aspect of this material world is that anything you get will be destroyed one day. This is the natural law of this material world. Is this true or not? You cannot deny this philosophy. Since time immemorial, this has been going on. 

But, if you go to the transcendental world, Goloka Vrindavana, there is no question of losing anything. Do you understand? That realm is full of complete happiness— called ananda-mayi-jagat. If you go to the transcendental realm, ananda-mayi-jagat, you will find it completely and absolutely full of happiness. There are no doubts in your heart or any kinds of distress or unhappiness. And for this reason, all of our Vaishnava acharyas and guru-varga, have also said, “You have to come to the transcendental world, Goloka Vrindavana, ananda-mayi-jagat, ananda-dhama, and then you will attain eternal happiness.” 

When comparing this material world to the transcendental world, you realise this material world is full of unhappiness. Sometimes we are attaining a little bit of happiness and then it just disappears. So, our shastras say, “Come to the transcendental world, Goloka Vrindavana.” And for this reason, Jayadeva Gosvami very nicely glorified Radha and Krishna’s transcendental love in his unprecedented book Gita-govinda. And you must understand what transcendental love is. In this material world, there is actually no real love. Here, all of us want love and happiness. But that is not real, as maya has only created this illusion. 

What is the illusion? That which is not true, you think is true. Because of this, you are running behind that which is untrue, false or illusionary. And these things remain very close to you, but you can never actually catch it. What am I speaking of? Your shadow. When you walk or stand, your shadow is very close to you. But if you attempt to catch it, you cannot. Is this true or not? You cannot catch your shadow. If you think, “Oh, I will catch my shadow….” But, when you run, your shadow also runs— you will never catch it. 

In the same way, in this material world, you want to find happiness, catch happiness, but it is not possible. In this material world, everything you are doing is for happiness, but the final results are unhappiness. And for this reason, our scriptures explain that this material world is full of unhappiness, distress and illusions— dukha-mayi-jagat. Another example, when you drive your car during midday and it’s very hot, just in front of your car, it appears like you are seeing waves of water. Actually, there is no water on the road, it only appears like this. Even if you continue driving for 100 km, you will never reach that water. That is because the rays of the sun create this illusion of waves on the road. In this way, Maya-devi creates this material world and she creates this illusion to keep us bound. But, if you go to the transcendental world, Goloka Vrindavana, then you will attain complete and absolute happiness— there is no illusion there.  

In the transcendental realm there are no activities of maya, no maya-adhikara. ‘Harir hi nirgunah saksat’ - the abode of the Lord, the transcendental world which is beyond maya. What do you want in this material world? Love. But you do not know where love is. What does love mean? Priti means love. We are saying, “I love you, I love, love, love.” But very few people know the real meaning of love. 

The word ‘love’ is very sweet and can intoxicate our hearts. If anyone uses these words, “I love you,” then, our hearts melt and begin to dance. But does he really love you? It is only lip service. It is not real love, maybe temporary or just for sense gratification. However, if you want to realise permanent and real love, go to Goloka Vrindavana. Then, your life will be successful. In this material world, your love is temporary. And only gives more and more distress and unhappiness.

Maybe you have a dog, and you love your dog. After ten or twenty years, will your dog die or not? Then, what will you do? Will you be happy or unhappy? Unhappy. This is true, you cannot stop the death of your dog. One day your dog will die. Afterwards, you will feel pain in your heart, and it will be very difficult to survive. It will also be very difficult to forget the love you have for your dog. But we cannot do anything as this is the law of nature, one who takes birth in this material world will die. 

For this reason our scriptures explain that in the transcendental world, there is no word for death. In this material world, the word death is mrityu. One name for this world is also called the place of death, mrityu-jagat, mara-jagat. But, if you go to the transcendental realm, there it is called ananda-mayi-jagat, the place of happiness and bliss.

Who wants to go to that place? If you go there, you will always be happy. In Goloka Vrindavana there are not even any words for unhappiness, dukha. There, love is eternal and transcendental, you will never cheat or be cheated. In this material world, when you love, you cheat or you are cheated. Perhaps in your life you have experienced love for a boy or girl and after a few months or years, he or she no longer likes or loves you. This is the nature of this material world. For this reason, we should love God. The Bible is also saying the same thing. I am always mentioning this: Love is God and God is love. God is the embodiment of divine love. 

God’s body is transcendental, and you can embrace Him and kiss Him. His body is very sweet. Try to understand that in this material world, you love and you embrace and kiss a plastic bag. This body is like a plastic bag. Is this true or not? And what kind of  things are inside? Externally, a plastic bag is very nice and beautiful, very colourful, with many kinds of beautiful artistic decorations.

First, understand this philosophy, this body is not just a simple plastic bag, it is ornate with very nice and beautiful, colourful art. And this plastic bag is painted with nice kinds of beautiful forms. Nice eyes, nice nose, nice ears, mouth, the whole body seems very beautiful, but inside of the body, inside the plastic bag— what things are there? Are they good or bad? Bad. Stool, urine, mucus. How foolish are you, licking this plastic bag. This is the illusion of maya. You are thinking this is true love, but this is not love, this love is not real. It is just an illusion by maya, stupid nonsense. 

However, if you go to the transcendental world, Goloka Vrindavanа, your body will be transcendental, very beautiful and attractive—called, sat-cit-ananda-vigraha.

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ 

anādir ādir govindaḥ sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam

Brahma-samhita (5.1)

[Krishna who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.]

In Goloka Vrindavana there are no plastic bags. There, bodies are transcendental, aprakrita. Ananda-vigraha, full of bliss. This is why our acharyas tell us, “Come to Goloka Vrindavana and your transcendental body will manifest.” And part of the process of manifesting it is to listen to hari-katha. You already have everything inside, but you don’t know the very nice and beautiful transcendental form which you possess. You have everything, but you don’t know that this very valuable and precious thing resides inside your heart. So, a pure sadhu, guru, is giving this message to you. 

What is the message? You are not this material body. You are not a plastic bag. Who are you? You are an eternal servant of Krishna, krishna-dasa, ‘jivera svarupa haya krishnera nitya dasa’. And you have a very nice and beautiful transcendental body and transcendental activities— you have everything. 

nitya-siddha kṛṣṇa-prema ‘sādhya’ kabhu naya

śravaṇādi-śuddha-citte karaye udaya

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila 22.107)

[Pure love for Krishna is eternally established in the hearts of the living entities. It is not something to be gained from another source. When the heart is purified by hearing and chanting, this love naturally awakens.]

Krishna-prema is eternal and transcendental. Just listen to hari-katha, then slowly, slowly it will manifest. For this reason, I am always saying and all of our acharyas are saying, “Give emphasis on listening to hari-katha.” 

śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ


hṛdy antaḥ stho hy abhadrāṇi

vidhunoti suhṛt satām

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.17-18

[Sri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma [Supersoul] in everyone’s heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted. By regular attendance in classes on the Bhagavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact.]

If you listen to krishna-katha, the pastimes of Krishna, all of your anarthas, unwanted things, will be removed from your heart. Then, slowly, slowly you will realise the very nice and beautiful, transcendental constitutional form in your heart. This is why sadhu, guru and Vaishnava are travelling around the world, going house to house, preaching to people, giving them this message. 

mahad-vicalanaṁ nṝṇāṁ

gṛhiṇāṁ dīna-cetasām

niḥśreyasāya bhagavan

kalpate nānyathā kvacit

Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.8.4)

[O my lord, O great devotee, persons like you move from one place to another not for their own interests but for the sake of poor-hearted grihasthas [householders]. Otherwise they have no interest in going from one place to another.]

A sadhu is travelling to give you this message. And what is the message? Again, you are the eternal servant of Krishna, krishna-nitya-dasa; you are not the servant of maya

And to listen means to practise; first you listen, then you practise. Right now you are not listening, so I again and again, and again and again remind you, because you forget. Because this is the nature of maya, to make you forget. So, for twenty four hours you must remember Krishna and listen to His sweet pastimes. But Maya-devi is very powerful, she does not want you to listen to krishna-katha, she will turn your face away. Sometimes, you are thinking, “I will listen to krishna-katha, I will sit in front of a sadhu.” Maya-devi is very powerful, and this world is called the jail of maya, maya-karagara. Maya-devi gives so much pain and punishment to us. For this reason, in Bhagavad-gita, Krishna tells Arjuna:   

daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī

mama māyā duratyayā

mām eva ye prapadyante

māyām etāṁ taranti te

Bhagavad-gita (7.14)

[This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.]

Sometimes, you want to listen to krishna-katha, but maya’s five obstacles will come to attempt to stop you.

And what are they? First, laya. Laya means sleepiness will come. All of you have come to listen to katha, then yoga-nidra— Durmiendo (‘Sleeping’ in Spanish) dasa is coming. Dasa means servant. You have to be krishna-dasa or krishna-dasi. When you become a krishna-dasa or krishna-dasi, Maya-devi will not touch you. Always think, “I am the eternal servant of Krishna, krishna-dasa.” Then Maya-devi will be kicked out. So, what are the five obstacles? 

First, laya, meaning sleepiness will come. When you listen to hari-katha, then sleepiness will arise. And when it does it is very difficult to sit in front of a sadhu, maybe you will sit and sleep while leaning against a wall. Then you will sleep and not listen to any hari-katha. Second, is vikshepa, destruction, your mind becomes very disturbed. And you don’t know why your mind is disturbed. Third, apratipatti means being unable to concentrate your mind on hari-katha. In those moments, it becomes very difficult to comprehend what the speaker is saying. If you are not attentively listening, you will forget or not understand what is being spoken. Fourth, kashaya, past bad impressions, like lust and anger arise and disturb your mind. Without reason, your mind becomes angry, without reason, lust and stupid nonsense comes. Lastly is rasasvada, during hari-katha your mind is thinking about enjoying the material sense gratification. Why am I saying this? Because Maya-devi is powerful, it is not so easy to listen to hari-katha attentively or enter in shuddha-bhakti

So, again and again, we pray to Krishna, then Krishna will give us shelter on His lotus feet, and Maya-devi will finally disappear. 

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Try to understand, all of the scriptures state that by the process of karma, jnana, tapasya and yoga, you cannot control your mind, and you cannot be delivered from this ocean of material existence. So then, how will you do this? ‘Sat sangena’. Krishna told this katha to Uddhava, “Without the association of My devotee, you cannot attain Me.” 

satāṁ prasaṅgān mama vīrya-saṁvido

bhavanti hṛt-karṇa-rasāyanāḥ kathāḥ

taj-joṣaṇād āśv apavarga-vartmani

śraddhā ratir bhaktir anukramiṣyati

Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.25.25)

[In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin.]

Always associate with sadhus, saintly persons, and listen to the sweet pastimes of Krishna. So that means, sadhu-sanga and hari-katha, associate with sadhu and listen to hari-katha. Understand that these things are very powerful, your life will be changed. If in one life, you associate with sadhu and listen to hari-katha, then your life will be successful. Thus, asat-sanga will bring you down and sat-sanga elevates you to Goloka Vrindavana, up. This is why we are always saying: 

bhavāpavargo bhramato yadā bhavejjanasya tarhy acyuta sat-samāgamaḥ

sat-saṅgamo yarhi tadaiva sad-gatauparāvareśe tvayi jāyate matiḥ

Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.51.53)

[When the material life of a wandering soul has ceased, O Acyuta, he may attain the association of Your devotees. And when he associates with them, there awakens in him devotion unto You, who are the goal of the devotees and the Lord of all causes and their effects.]

Wandering in the cycle of repeated birth and death, extremely fortunate living entities will get the association of sadhusadhu-sanga. And if you associate with sadhu, that sadhu brings you to Goloka Vrindavana. And maya-sanga, associating with maya, makes you fall down. Asat-sanga, bad association, brings you to maya. And sat-sanga, brings you up to hari-katha, which is very powerful. It is up to you to decide where you will go. So where will you go? Will you advance up or fall down? Up. But, how will you go up? With the association of sadhu. Sadhu-sanga and hari-katha. Simply chant the holy names and associate with sadhuharinama and sadhu-sanga. This is important. In this life you must think, “I will always associate with sadhu and listen to hari-katha.” 

Now, I want to speak a few more words about Jayadeva Gosvamipada, who was born in Kendubilva in Birbhum, Bengal. When he was a small boy, his parents left their bodies. Then, he came to Navadvipa-dhama and he was staying in Champahati. In time he composed this unparalleled grantha, Gita-govinda, which speaks on the very high classed topic of divine love between Radha and Krishna.


As I mentioned earlier, even Jagannatha-deva listened to this grantha. Jayadeva Gosvamipada had left Bengal and arrived in Jagannatha Puri. While there, he offered the grantha to Jagannatha-deva, and Jagannatha-deva kept it in His heart. Even the king of Navadvipa-dhama, Lakshmana Sena, would sometimes come to listen to the very nice and beautiful melodies of Gita-govinda and became so impressed when he heard the sweet melodies.


Have you heard of Lord Jagannatha? Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subadrha’s bodies melted when They heard the glories of the gopis. Their hearts completely melted. This is because the prema of gopis is transcendental. For this reason, when Krishna heard of the prema of gopis, His body completely melted and this form of Lord Jagannatha manifested. Everyone wants to hear prema-katha. Who does not want to listen to prema-katha, and also, whose heart is not melted? Even mundane people want to listen. So, they are reading many mundane prema and mundane love kathas or love stories like Romeo and Juliet or the story of Layla Majnun. Many people listen to these mundane, love kathas, and when they do, their hearts also melt.

You cannot imagine what kinds of transcendental love are present in the spiritual world,  specifically the divine love between Radha Krishna and the gopis. When Baladeva’s mother, Rohini-devi, glorified the gopis’ transcendental love, Krishna and Balarama came to listen and then Their bodies completely melted. And when your heart becomes neat and clean, shuddha-sattva, true understanding of transcendental love will be realised and your heart will surely melt.

When Krishna disappeared from the rasa dance, gopis felt the pangs of separation from Him, and then they glorified Krishna with their sweet melody, called Gopi-gita

jayati te ’dhikaṁ janmanā vrajaḥśrayata indirā śaśvad atra hidayita dṛśyatāṁ dikṣu tāvakāstvayi dhṛtāsavas tvāṁ vicinvate

śarad-udāśaye sādhu-jāta-sat-sarasijodara-śrī-muṣā dṛśāsurata-nātha te ’śulka-dāsikāvara-da nighnato neha kiṁ vadhaḥ

Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.31.1-2)

[O beloved, Your birth in the land of Vraja has made it exceedingly glorious, and thus Indira, the goddess of fortune, always resides here. It is only for Your sake that we, Your devoted servants, maintain our lives. We have been searching everywhere for You, so please show Yourself to us. O Lord of love, in beauty Your glance excels the whorl of the finest, most perfectly formed lotus within the autumn pond. O bestower of benedictions, You are killing the maidservants who have given themselves to You freely, without any price. Isn’t this murder?]

Thus, Jayadeva Gosvamipada, in his Gita-govinda, describes this very high class separation mood. How can Krishna, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Svayam Bhagavan, now be completely surrendered to the lotus feet of Srimati Radhika? Love has two aspects: when love is more condensed, it is called sneha, affection. When love is condensed, the transferral to affection, is known as sneha. After, this affection becomes even more condensed and from sneha, mana (sulky mood) or pranaya (intimate love) develops. Here, mana does not refer to material anger, rather, mana means that a contradictory mood arises. Externally, a contradictory mood is shown, but internally it is full of so much affection. Just like a coconut, the outer shell is very hard and the insides are very soft and sweet— inside you find soft malai

So, when mana or contradictory mood develops, externally, it appears as very hard— using harsh words and different external activities that seem hard. Yet, internally there is so much love and affection and so much softness. Then, the more this mana intensifies, pranaya manifests, oneness in the heart of his lover and beloved develops. And as pranaya increases it is transformed into raga, deep attachment. 

Just like milk, when condensed, so much sweetness begins to appear. This is actually love; but in this material world, these things are very difficult to understand. However, if you continually and attentively listen to hari-katha, chant the holy names and associate with sadhu, slowly, slowly you will begin to understand, and eventually, realisation will come.

Gita-govinda is the most sublime grantha Jayadeva Gosvamipada manifested in this world. When he was writing this spiritual composition, he came to one shloka, the last line of which he could not write. It was to contain the words of Krishna: "O Srimati Radharani, please place Your lotus feet on My head.

Jayadeva was aware of Sri Krishna's greatness, His supremacy and that all incarnations come from Him.

govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami

Sri Brahma-samhita

[I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord.]

The Brahma-samhita states that all incarnations of the Lord: Rama, Nrisimhadeva, Varahadeva, etc. - are manifested from Krishna — He is sarva-avatari. And the Srimad-Bhagavatam gives evidence: "krishnas tu bhagavan svayam - Krishna is the Supreme Bhagavan."

So Sri Jayadeva thought to himself, "How can Krishna beg Srimati Radhika to place Her lotus feet on His head? After all, He is Bhagavan Himself!"

Srimati Radharani manifested mana, jealous anger. Krishna tried to pacify Her, but it was impossible. He was ready to give Radhika everything: His flute, His feather and His pitambara. Again and again He bowed to Her, but Radha would not give up Her anger. Jayadeva Gosvamipada thought, "How can I write about Krishna asking Srimati Radharani to place Her feet on His head?" So, He closed his grantha and went to take a bath in the Ganges. Meanwhile, Krishna came in the guise of Sri Jayadeva Gosvami, asking his wife Padmavati-devi to give him the book. Once he retrieved it, He wrote the missing words in it.

After a couple of minutes, the real Sri Jayadeva returned. Padmavati-devi asked him, "Why did you come back so soon? You wrote something in the book, left, and then came back again. He said in bewilderment: "I didn't come." "Then who wrote in the book?" his wife enquired. Jayadeva then asked for the book to be brought to him.

When he opened it, he saw the very line written out in golden letters. Then Jayadeva Gosvamipada could no longer control his feelings. He realised that Krishna Himself had come, and that made him lose his senses. In this way, there are so many different stories from his life.

The Gita-govinda is a very high level grantha. In the Vaishnava community it is the most intimate. All the educated people, the panditas, have proven that this book is the most sublime spiritual writing. Can you imagine at what level was Sri Jayadeva Gosvami and how exalted devotee he was?

Lord Jagannatha in Jagannatha Puri cannot go to sleep until He hears a song from the Gita-govinda. When He is about to rest, the young devi dasi girls appear before His sight and begin to sing the beautiful Gita-govinda. They recite it completely, and then Jagannatha-deva closes his eyes and rests peacefully.

(Jaya Srila Jayadeva Gosvamipada ki jaya!)

(Jaya jaya Sri Radhe!)

Date: 8 January 2018 Location: Brazil


Transcriber: Anima dasi (Russia), Sanatana dasa (USA) Editor: Damodara dasa (UK), Sanatana dasa (USA) Integrity check: Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia) Proofreader: Chandrika dasi (UK) Photo: Narasimhananda dasa (Russia)

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