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 Seventh Chapter (सप्तमः 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.
Vrindavan was lighted up by the moon whose
blemish on the body was as if by the
curse of women of easy virtue (who wanted the cover of darkness). The moon
itself resembled the mark of sandal paste on the face of the beautful woman,
the Eastern horizon.
his arrival, Radha bewails her fate and laments loudly.
the forest at the appointed time. Of what use is my blemishless beauty and my
youth. Who will give me refuge? (or I
will take refuge in water meaning I will drown myself). I have been deceived by
the words of my friend (sakhi)
means both ‘who’ and also ‘water’]
(यामि हे ….)
during night, because of the same Krishna my heart is being pierced by the
arrows of Cupid. Who will give…….
die. I am already half-dead; how can I endure this separation which is
burning me like fire? Who will give …….
sweet spring season give me only sorrow. Some other gopi who has earned
enough punya (meritorious deeds) is enjoying the company of Krishna. Who will
(यामि हे ….)
gem-studded ornaments like bracelets have ceased to be ornaments (instead of bhushanam
they have become dushanam) since I am being burnt by the fire of
separation (viraha) from Krishna. Who will give ……
of Cupid which have the habit of hurting (lovers) a garland of flowers also hurts
my heart, my body being as soft and
delicate as flowers. Who will give ….
about the forest. But Krishna does not
remember me in his heart. Who will give
will give me..
reached the bower which is the meeting place. Rather thinks thus: “ Has he gone
to meet some other sweetheart of his? Is
he tied up in artistic or playful activities with friends and relatives? Has he lost his way in the darkness of the
forest and is going round and round? Or
tired in body and mind, he is unable to start even? “
[End of prabandha-13]
without Krishna. She was dejected and
silent. Apprehending that some other girl is giving Krishna company, Radha spoke
as if she saw everything before her very eyes.
falling from her disheveled hair, some other young girl with much more merit
revels with Krishna, slayer of Madhu.
necklaces on her pot-like breasts swaying, some other young girl with more merit revels with Krishna, slayer of
indolence induced by Krishna drinking at her lips, some other young girl with
more merit revels with Krishna, slayer of Madhu.
the tinkling sound of her girdle and the swaying of her hip, some
other young girl with more merit revels with Krishna, slayer of Madhu.
making different kinds of sounds with heightened feelings, some other young girl with more
merit revels with Krishna, slayer of Madhu.
eyes half-closed with heightened erotice experience some other young girl with more merit revels with Krishna, slayer of
resting on the breast of her lover after the battle of Love,
some other young girl with more merit revels with
Krishna, slayer of Madhu.
all the sins of Kali.
Hari’s face which is pale because of viraha
(separation), though concealing sorrow, increases the agony of Love.’’
deer-mark on the moon, on the face of the girl who is in the grip of Love and
whose lips have become thin because of kissing. Triumphant Murari revels in the
forest on the banks of Yamuna.
flowers, bright yellow as the lightning,
the young gopi’s tresses which
are beautiful as the dark clouds, which attract young men and which are like
the forest of deer of Kamadeva. Triumphant Murari …..
gem-studded necklaces the young girl’s breasts smeared with deer-musk and embellished
with Krishna’s moon-like nails of the hands, giving the impression of the sky
with the moon and the stars. Triumphant Murari ….
emerald bracelets the hands of the young girl which are soft and slender than
the lotus stalk, cool as the snow and
the palms of which are red and soft as the petals of the lotus. Triumphant
diamond-studded girdle the young gopi’s hip, broad and heavy, golden
throne of Cupid . Triumphant Murari …
soft and tender as leaf buds, abode of Lakshmi and embellished by nails like
jewels, Krishna places on his breast (heart) and decorates them with lac
in the forest on the banks of Yamuna.
of Balaram is reveling with some one with beautiful eyes why should I, tell me
O Friend!, wait for him under this tree
without any purpose and in utter boredom. Triumphant Murari revels in the
forest on the banks of Yamuna.
touch the king of poets Jayadeva who sings on sringara rasa (erotic
sentiment), praises the qualities of Hari and serves at the feet of the enemy
of Madhu. Triumphant Murari revels in
the forest on the banks of Yamuna.
you sad if that unkind deceiver Krishna hasn’t come? If he revels with many
young gopis according to his own wish how can you be at fault? You will see that today, drawn by the good qualities of the loved one,
this heart of mine is raring, with anxiety and expectation, for union with
न सा किसलयशयनेन||
या रमिता वनमालिना ॥१॥
not be scorched on a bed of tender leaves, O friend!, if she is being courted
by Vanamali, Krishna whose eyes are like the lotus waving in the breeze.
न सा मनसिजविशिखेन ॥२॥
(सखि या …)
not be pierced by the arrows of Cupid , O friend!,
if she is being courted by Vanamali, Krishna who has a face
beautiful as the lotus in full bloom.
न सा मलयजपवनेन॥३॥
(सखि या …)
breeze from the malaya mountain will not burn the young girl , O friend!
, if she is being courted by Vanamali,
Krishna whose words are nectarine, sweet and soft.
न सा हिमकरकिरणेन ॥४॥
(सखि या …)
not be tormented by the rays of the moon, O friend!, if she is being courted by Vanamali, Krishna whose
hands and feet are soft like the lotus.
न सा हृदि विरहभरेण ॥५॥
(सखि या …)
not suffer the agony of separation, O friend!, if she is being courted by
Vanamali, Krishna, whose complexion is
beautiful as the water-bearing cloud.
न सा परिजनहसनेन ॥६॥
(सखि या …)
not sigh when relatives laugh at her, O friend!, if she is being courted by Vanamali,
Krishna, who clothes himself in golden
न सा रुजमतिकरुणेन॥७॥ (सखि या …)
not be tormented by Cupid, O friend!, if she is being courted by Vanamali, Krishna
who is the best among the youth of all the worlds and who is very kind.
(सखि या …)
enter your heart by these words spoken by Jayadeva.
following are the words of Radha reflecting the state of her mind:
रे दक्षीण मुञ्च वामताम्।
जगत्प्राण विधाय माधवं
मम प्राणहरो भविष्यसि ॥१॥
Breeze carrying the fragrance of sandalwood from malaya mountain and blowing
south (dakshina also means right side) May you be pleased and
leave your crookedness (vamata also means left side). You are the life of the
world; put Krishna (Madhava also means spring) in front of me for a moment and
then you can take my life. (These are words of Radha who is pining in
separation from Krishna and the cool breeze from the malaya mountain is
सखी संवासोऽयं शिखीव हिमानिलो
सुधारश्मिर्यस्मिन् दुनोति मनोगते।
तस्मिन्नेवं पुनर्वलते बलात्
वामः कामो निकामनिरंकुशः ॥२॥
friend! In this separation from Krishna, the company of friends seems like
enemy, the cool breeze is like fire, the moon is like poison. Still when I remember him who is very unkind,
my heart forcefully attaches itself to him.
Cupid indeed is crooked and without control where lotus-eyed young girls are
विधेहि मलयानिल पंचबाण
गृहाण न गृहं पुनराश्रयिष्ये।
ते कृतान्तभगिनि क्षमया तरंगै-
सिंच मम शाम्यतु देहदाहः ॥३॥
Breeze from the Malaya mountain! you can trouble me as much as you want. O
Cupid! take my life; I will not return home. O Yamuna! Why are you waiting
patiently? Drench my limbs with your
waves so that the burning sensation in my body is gone.
at the lotus feet of Govinda before whom the blissful Indra and other celestials
bow down with their crowns studded with blue gem stones and from which flows
freely the Ganga carrying the particles from the lotus feet of Lord Krishna.
May he destroy all inauspiciousness in us.
श्रीगीतगोविन्दे शृङ्गारमहाकाव्ये वासकसज्जावर्णने