GITA GOVINDAM (गीतगोविन्दम्)

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
dance drama. 
Given below is the
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.
विहरति वने राधा साधारणप्रणये हरौ
विगलितनिजोत्कर्षात् ईर्ष्यावशेन गताऽन्यतः।
क्वचिदपि लताकुञ्जे गुञ्जन्मधुव्रतमण्डली-
मुखर शिखरे लीना दीनाप्युवाच रहः सखीम् ॥
Radha is overcome by
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.     
चलित- दृगञ्चल-चञ्चल-मौलि-कपोल-विलोल-वतंसम्॥
रासे हरिमिह विहितविलासं
स्मरति मनो मम कृतपरिहासम् ॥१॥
In my heart of hearts I
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.   
प्रचुर-पुरन्दरधनु-रनुरञ्जित-मेदुर-मुदिर-सुवेषम् ॥२॥(रासे हरिमिह)
I remember Hari whose
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)
I remember Hari who likes to plant kisses on the lips
of broad-hipped gopis and whose red, sweet and delicate lips sport a
radiant smile. I now remember Hari etc……
॥४॥ (रासे हरिमिह)
I remember Hari who encircles
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
Hari etc……..   
पीनपयोधर-परिसरमर्दन-निर्दय-हृदय-कवाटम् ॥५॥ (रासे हरिमिह)
I remember Hari whose
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….
पीतवसन-मनुगत-मुनि-मनुज-सुरासुरवरपरिवारम् ॥६॥
(रासे हरिमिह)
I remember Hari whose
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….
विशद-कदम्बतले-मिलितं कलिकलुष-भयं-शमयन्तम्।
मामपि किमपि तरङ्गदनङ्गदृशा वपुषा रमयन्तम् ॥७॥(रासे हरिमिह)
I remember Hari who could
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……
हरिचरणस्मरणं प्रति संप्रति पुण्यवतां अनुरूपम् ॥८॥ (रासे हरिमिह)
This song composed by
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
etc ……
End of prabandha – 5]
गणयति गुणग्रामं भ्रामं भ्रमादपि नेहते
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
her friend  
Here Radha vividly
describes her previous intimate meeting with Krishna and requests her friend to
bring both of them together again:
निशि रहसि निलीय वसन्तम्।
रतिरभसभरेण हसन्तम् ॥
हे केशिमथनमुदारं
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.      
 पटु चाटुशतैरनुकूलम्।
(सखि हे….)
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॥
(सखि हे….)
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
अलसनिमीलितलोचनया पुलकावलिललितकपोलम्।
श्रमजलसिक्तकलेवरया वरमदनमदादतिलोलम् ॥४॥ (सखि हे….)
I close my
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….
नखलिखितघनस्तनभारम् ॥५॥
(सखि हे….)
I am cooing
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….
सकचग्रहचुम्बनदानम् ॥६॥
(सखि हे….)
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….
मधुसूदनमुदितमनोजम् ॥७॥
(सखि हे….)
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.
Friend etc….
श्रीजयदेव भणितमिदमतिशयमधुरिपुनिधुवनशीलम्।
वितनोतु सलीलम् ॥८॥
(सखि हे….)
This leela
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.
विलज्जितस्मितसुधामुग्धाननं कानने
व्रजसुन्दरीगणवृतं पश्यामि हृष्यामि च ॥
I see Krishna
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.    
कासारोपवनपवनोऽपि व्यथयति।
न मुकुल-
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.
                     [End of prabandha 6]
श्रीगीतगोविन्दे  शृङ्गारमहाकाव्ये श्रीकृष्णदासजयदेवकृतौ

Sri P R Ramamurthy Ji was the author of this website. When he started this website in 2009, he was in his eighties. He was able to publish such a great number of posts in limited time of 4 years. We appreciate his enthusiasm for Sanskrit Literature. Authors story in his own words :

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