Gita Govindam, lyrical poetry in Sanskrit celebrating the love between Krishna and the gopis, specifically Radha, is authored by Jayadeva, the 12th century devotee-poet from Orissa. The basis for this work is the 5 chapters 29 to 33 of Srimadbhagavatam (known as Rasapanchadhyaayi) which describe the events leading to the rasaleela, the great dance on the banks of the Yamuna where each gopi thinks that Krishna is with her. Srimadbhagavatam, however, does not specifically talk about a gopi named Radha though Radha is described as the very heart of Krishna in some of the other Puranas.
above theme has been developed in Gita Govindam to such an extent that
it is known as ‘Sringara Mahakavya’
wherein the predominant sentiment is sringara
(erotic sentiment) in all its various moods in relation to the divine love
between Radha and Krishna. The ecstasy of union, the agony of separation, the anxious moments
of wait for the loved one are all treated with sensitiviy and poetic
excellence. The whole work is divided
into twelve chapters ( sargas), each chapter containing one or more prabandhas.
There are 24 prabandhas each containing couplets grouped into eights
called Ashtapadis, songs with a
refrain specific to that
Ashatapadi. There are in all 24 Ashtapadis
in Gita Govindam. Each Chapter may have one or more slokas
in different metres of Sanskrit poetry
interspersed with the Ashtapadis. It is said that the Poet-devotee Jayadeva
would sing the Ashtapadis and his wife Padmavati would dance to the music. There have been many choreographic works to enact and present the Ashtapadis as a
text of the Second Chapter (द्वितीयः सर्गः) with a prosaic
translation in English for those who cannot follow the Sanskrit of the
original. The translation in no way can do justice to the poetic excellence or
the beauty of expression of the original.
jealousy seeing Krishna frolicking with the other gopis. She felt that she no longer had the earlier
privileged position in relation to Krishna with whom she was passionately in
love. She felt miserable and, retiring
into a shady arbor of creepers encircled by buzzing honey bees, thus spoke to her friend in secret.
still remember the captivating form of Krishna, with sweetness spilling from
his lips, enchanting melodies flowing from
his flute, eyes wavering, headgear quivering, cheeks trembling. I remember Hari, his frolics in the rasa dance
and his making a laughing stock of me.
hair is adorned with a bunch of peacock feathers and who is decked out in
clothes which excel the colours of the
rainbow. I now remember Hari etc….
॥३॥ (रासे हरिमिह)
of broad-hipped gopis and whose red, sweet and delicate lips sport a
radiant smile. I now remember Hari etc……
॥४॥ (रासे हरिमिह)
with his hands, soft as leaf buds, a thousand young gopis and who
dispels the darkness (of the night) by the
dazzle of ornaments, studded with diamonds and precious gems, adorning his
hands, feet and chest. I now remember
sandal paste mark on his forehead is more beautiful than the moon passing
through a cloud and who mercilessly presses the ample bosoms of gopis. I now remember Hari etc….
cheeks are adorned by ear globes beautifully shaped like fish and studded with
diamonds, who clothes himself in bright yellow silks and who is followed by groups
of hermits, humans, celestials and asura clans. I now remember Hari etc….
be found under the Kadamba tree and who rids us of the fear about the sins of
Kali and who delights me with his body having eyes which manifest waves of
passionate love. I now remember Hari etc……
Jayadeva describing the most beautiful and captivating form of Krishna, the
slayer of Madhu, is fit for those meritorious souls who want to remember the
lotus feet of Hari. I now remember Hari
End of prabandha – 5]
च परितोषं दोषं विमुञ्चति दूरतः
वलत्तृष्णे कृष्णे विहारिणि मां विना
मनो वामं कामं करोति करोमि किम्
tells her friend (sakhi ) that though Krishna is frolicking with the
other gopis leaving her alone, her (Radha’s) heart is with Krishna only. It counts only his good qualities, does not want
to see his failings even by mistake. She
is happy by Krishna’s attention and does not find fault with him even otherwise.
“What shall I do when my heart is with
him whatever his behaviour?” – Radha asks
describes her previous intimate meeting with Krishna and requests her friend to
bring both of them together again:
निशि रहसि निलीय वसन्तम्।
रतिरभसभरेण हसन्तम् ॥
मया सह मदनमनोरथभावितया सविकारम्॥१॥
am staying in a leafy bower and Krishna
spends the night secretly there. As I
look apprehensively in all directions Krishna laughs, passionately in love. O Friend! Struck by Cupid’s arrows I am pining
for Krishna, the slayer of Keshi; please unite him with me.
our first meeting I am extremely coy.
But Krishna puts me at ease by his kind and witty words. I speak soft
and sweet words smiling and Krishna loosens the silks at the hip. O Friend etc….
चिरमुरसि ममैव शयानम्।
परिरभ्य कृताधरपानम् ॥३॥
am lying on a bed of tender leaf buds and Krishna lies long on my bosom. I
embrace him and kiss him. He too embraces me and drinks at my lips. O Friend
eyes indolently. The dainty hairs on Krishna’s
tender cheeks bristle. I am drenched in
sweat. He is charming in his violent
passion. O Friend etc….
like a cuckoo and he wins in the art of love. The flowers in my locks of hair are
loosened. Krishna leaves marks of his
nails on my breasts. O Friend etc….
anklets in my feet make tinkling sounds.
Krishna has accomplished Cupid’s mission. My loosened girdle is making
sounds. He takes hold of my locks and plants a kiss on my lips. O Friend etc….
the ecstasy of love I lazily lie still.
Krishna slightly closes his lotus-eyes. My slender body slumps idly. Seeing me in this state Krishna’s desire
wells up again.
वितनोतु सलीलम् ॥८॥
of the enemy of Madhu is described by Jayadeva as told by Radha to her
friend. May this bestow happiness on
those who hear this.
व्रजसुन्दरीगणवृतं पश्यामि हृष्यामि च ॥
surrounded by a group of beauties of Vraja who are looking at him furtively with
sidelong glances. Seeing me, his flute slips from his hands and his brows are
arched. His cheek are wet with a
profusion of sweat. His face lights up
with a bashful sweet smile. I bristle with unbounded joy.
सखि शिखरिणीयं सुखयति ॥
flowering of the fresh ashoka creeper,
the cool breeze from the lagoon or the mini forest, the buzz of swarms
of bees or the budding of the mango trees – all these do not bring cheer; on
the other hand they only enhance the agony of separation.
गोपीनां निभृतं निरीक्ष्य दयिता काश्चिच्चिरं चिन्तय-
हरतु वः क्लेशं नवः केशवः॥
surveys the gopis surrounding him
– their smiles, their loosened locks of hair, their arched eye brows, their
hands, their breasts etc and after long
contemplation cosidered Radha to be the most lovable and beautiful. May that renewed
Keshava wipe out all your physical and mental distress.
श्रीगीतगोविन्दे शृङ्गारमहाकाव्ये श्रीकृष्णदासजयदेवकृतौ