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 F
ourth Chapter (चतुर्थः 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.
यमुनातीरवानीरनिकुञ्जे मन्दमास्थितम्।
प्राह प्रेमभरोद्भ्रान्तं  माधवं राधिका सखी॥१॥
Krishna who was madly in love with Radha is resting in
a bower on the banks of the Yamuna.   Radha’s
friend(sakhi) speaks to him thus:
निन्दति चन्दनमिन्दुकिरणमनुविन्दति खेदमधीरम्।
व्यालनिलयमिलनेन गरलमिव कलयति मलयसमीरम्
सा विरहे तव दीना ।
माधव मनसिजविशिखभयादिव
भावनया त्वयि लीना ॥१॥
O krishna! Radha, agonised
over separation from you, is miserable and blames  even sandal paste and the cool rays of the
moon. She considers the cool breeze from the malaya mountain as snake poison.  Apart from you, she is miserable O
Madhava!  As if afraid of the arrows of
Cupid she has mentally united herself with you.   
अविरलनिपतितमदनशरादिव भवदवनाय विशालम्।
स्वहृदयमर्मणि वर्म करोति सजलनलिनदलजालम् ॥२॥ (सा विरहे…..)
Fearing the continually raining Cupid’s arrows, she
covers her breasts with wet petals of lotus flowers as if to protect you who is
in the heart of her heart.  Apart from
व्रतमिव तव परिरंभसुखाय करोति कुसुमशयनीयम् ॥३॥ (सा विरहे…..)
Radha mentally prepares a bed of the very same arrows
of Cupid and lies on it as a vow hoping that she will soon have the pleasure of
embracing you on a bed of flowers.  Apart
from you ….
वहति च चलितविलोचनजलधरमाननकमलमुदारम्।
विधुमिव विकट विधुंतुददंतदलनगलितामृतधारम् ॥४॥ (सा विरहे…..)
Radha’s beautiful
lotus-face shedding copious tears from her flitting eyes resembles the moon dripping
nectar from the cut made on it by the teeth of Rahu.  Apart from you …..
विलिखति रहसि कुरंगमदेन भवंतमसमशरभूतम्।
प्रणमति मकरमधो विनिधाय करे च शरं नवचूतम्॥५॥ (सा विरहे…..)
Radha secretly makes a portrait of you in deer-musk as
if you are the God of love and, draws an alligator at the bottom and puts an
arrow of mango flowers in your hands and prostrates before the portrait.  Apart from you,
प्रतिपदमिदमपि निगदति माधव तव चरणं पतिताहम्।
त्वयि विमुखे मयि सपदि सुधानिधिरपि तनुते तनुदाहम् ॥६॥ (सा विरहे…..)
In every sentence she utters she says ‘O Madhava! I am
falling at your feet. When you turn away from me even the moon burns my
body.’  Apart from you ….
ध्यानलयेन पुरः परिकल्प्य भवंतमतीवदुरापम्।
विलपति हसति विषीदति रोदिति चंचति मुञ्चति तापम् ॥७॥ (सा विरहे…..)
Radha mentally visualizes
you,  who are very difficult to
attain,  and before that mental image  bewails, laughs, sorrows, cries, goes in
circles and thus tries to mitigate her suffering. Apart from you ….
श्री जयदेवभणितमिदमधिकं यदि मनसा नटनीयम्।
हरिविरहाकुलवल्लवयुवतिसखीवचनं पठनीयम् ॥८॥ (सा विरहे…..)
If you would like to
gladden your heart, read Jayadeva’s words on the message delivered to Krishna
by the friend of Radha who was suffering the agony of separation. Apart from
you ….
आवासो विपिनायते प्रियसखीमालापि जालायते
तापोऽपि श्वसितेन दावदहनज्वालाकलापायते ।
सापि त्वद्विरहेण हरिणिरूपायते हा कथं
कन्दर्पोऽपि यमायते विरचयन् शार्दूलविकीडितम् ॥
The bower becomes the
forest.  The garland of the friend
becomes the net. The hot breaths become the wild fire. She, separated from you,
becomes the doe. Alas! Cupid himself becomes Yama, the God of death enacting the
play of the panther  (or the metre shardulavikreeditam
in Sanskrit poetry).
                               [End of
prabandha -8] 
Radha’s friend continues
to describe to Krishna the miserable condition of Radha:
स्तनविनिहितमपि हारमुदारम्।
सा मनुते कृशतनुरतिभारम्
राधिका विरहे तव
केशव माधव वामन विष्णो॥१॥
Even the beautiful necklace on her breast weighs
heavily on Radha’s slender body, separated from you O Keshava!, Madhava!,
Vamana! Vishnu!
सरसमसृणमपि मलयजपङ्कम्
पश्यति विषमिव वपुषि सशङ्कम्॥२॥
(राधिका विरहे ….)
She sees with
suspicion even the smooth liquid sandal paste on her body and feels that it is
poison.  Separated from you O Keshava! …..
मदनदहनमिव वहति सदाहम् ॥३॥
(राधिका विरहे ….)
She suffers even her breathing as if it is the fire of
Love God burning her body.  Separated from you O
Keshava! …..
दिशि दिशि किरति सजलकणजालम्।
नयननलिनमिव विगलितनालम्॥४॥
(राधिका विरहे ….)
Radha scatters the tears from her lotus-eyes everywhere
like a lotus full of water from its hollow stalk. Separated from you O
Keshava! …..
नयनविषयमपि किसलयतल्पम्।
कलयति विहितहुताशविकल्पम्॥५॥
(राधिका विरहे ….)
Even when she sees a bed of tender leaves with her own
eyes she doubts that it is fire.  
Separated from
you O Keshava! …..
त्यजति न पाणितलेन कपोलम्।
बालशशिनमिव सायमलोलम् ॥६॥  (राधिका विरहे ….)
She does not take off her hand from her cheek and in
this position her face looks like the crescent of moon in the evening sky. Separated from you O
Keshava! …..
हरिरिति हरिरिति जपति सकामम्।
विरहविहितमरणेव निकामम् ॥७॥
(राधिका विरहे ….)
She repeatedly chants ‘Hari, Hari’ as if death is near
at hand because of the agony of separation.
Separated from
you O Keshava! …..
श्रीजयदेवभणितमिति गीतम्।
सुखयतु केशवपदमुपनीतम्॥८॥
(राधिका विरहे ….)
May this song composed by Jayadeva gladden the hearts
of Keshava’s devotees. Separated from you O Keshava! …..
सा रोमाञ्चति सीत्करोति विलपत्युत्कंपते ताम्यति
ध्यायत्युद्भ्रमति प्रमीलति पतत्युद्याति मूर्च्छत्यपि ।
एतावत्यतनुज्वरे वरतनुर्जीवेन्न किन्ते रसात्
स्वर्वैद्यप्रतिम प्रसीदसि यदि त्यक्तोऽन्यथा हस्तकः ॥१॥
In the agony of
separation Radha bristles, sighs, bewails, trembles, worries, meditates,
becomes distracted, closes her eyes, falls down, gets up and faints.  Will she not recover from this love-fever if
you, competent as the celestial twin physicians, are pleased to appear before
her? Otherwise you can wash your hands off her; there is no hope.
स्मरातुरां  दैवतवैद्यहृद्य त्वदंगसंगामृतमात्रसाध्याम्।
विमुक्तबाधांकुरुषे न राधामुपेन्द्रवज्रादपि दारुणॊऽसि॥२॥
O Krishna! You are as good as the twin celestial
physicians. The love-fever of Radha can be cured only by the touch of your nectarine
body. If you do not relieve her of this malady then your heart is harder than
the thunderbolt of Indra. 
चेतश्चन्दनचन्द्रमः कमलिनी चिन्तासु संताम्यति।
किन्तु क्षान्तिवशेन शीतलतनुं त्वामेकमेव प्रियम्।
ध्यायन्ती रहसि स्थिता कथमपि क्षीणा क्षणं प्राणिति॥३॥
It is wonder of wonders
that the slender body of Radha attacked by the love-fever becomes more hot by
the very thought of sandal paste, moon or the lotus flowers but every minute
she somehow holds on to her life by meditating only on you,  her darling, 
who has a cool body 
क्षणमपि विरहः पुरा ने सेहे
नयननिमीलनखिन्नया यया ते।
श्वसिति कथमसौ रसालशाखां
चिरविरहेण विलोक्य पुष्पिताग्राम्॥४॥
Earlier Radha could not suffer separation from you
even for a second and she was sorry even to close her yes for a second. How
does the same Radha breathes during this long separation even after seeing the
mango tree flowering?
वृष्टिव्याकुलगोकुलावनवशादुद्धृत्य गोवर्धनम्
बिभ्रद्वल्लवसुन्दरीभिरधिकानन्दाच्चिरं चुम्बितः।
 कन्दर्पेण तदर्पिताधरतटीसिन्दूरमुद्राङ्कितो
बाहुर्गोपतनोस्तनोतु भवतां श्रेयांसि कंसद्विषः ॥५॥    
To save gokula from the heavy downpour
(unleashed by Indra), Krishna lifted up the Govardhana mountain on one hand and
asked every one to come under its protection. 
The  attractive gopis, in
their unbounded joy, passionately kissed Krishna’s hand.  May the hand of Krishna, the enemy of
Kamsa,  with the imprint of the saffron from
the lips of the gopis on it, bestow all that is good on you (who hear
this story).
                           [End of prabandha
श्रीगीतगोविन्दे  शृङ्गारमहाकाव्ये श्रीकृष्णदासजयदेवकृतौ
चतुर्थः सर्गः

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 :

Author Socials Follow me

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.