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 Fifth Chapter (पंचमः 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.
Radha’s friend: “ I am staying here. Go
and, on my behalf, pacify her and bring her here”. Thus instructed by Kirshna she goes back to
Radha and tells her:
वनमाली सखि सीदति राधे ॥१॥
blows, helping Cupid in his mission and
flowers bloom tearing the hearts of
virahis ( those separated from their lovers), Vanamali,
Krishna, suffers the misery of
separation from you, O friend Radha!
शिशिरमयूखे मरणं अनुकरोति।
मदनविशिखे विलपति विकलतरोऽति॥२॥ (तव विरहे ….)
cools rays of the moon burn him and give him a near-death experience and when
Cupid’s arrows pierce him he bewails deeply hurt. Vanamali etc. …
कलितविरहे निशि निशि रुजमुपयाति॥३॥ (तव विरहे ….)
honey bees buzz, he plugs his ears.
Thinking of separation, he
agonizes every night.
Vanamali etc. …
विपिनविताने त्यजति ललितधाम।
धरणिशयने बहु विलपति तव नाम ॥४॥ (तव विरहे ….)
his pretty house he lives in a forest bower; sleeps on the bare floor on the ground and calls
your name several times. Vanamali etc. …
मनुजनिचये विरहमपलपति नेति ॥५॥ (तव विरहे ….)
the cooing of cuckoos he runs here and there as if mad and when people laugh at
him he denies viraha, separation. Vanamali etc. …
कलरवरावे स्मरति भणितमेव।
बहुगणयति गुणमतीव ॥६॥
(तव विरहे ….)
hears the sweet sounds of birds he is reminded of your sweet words and he holds high in his mind
the pleasures of union with you.
वदति नरि शृणोति।
जपति सरसं परयुवतिषु न रतिमुपैति॥७॥ (तव विरहे ….)
someone takes the name of the auspicious month bearing your name he hears it
and chants it repeatedly. He does not
find pleasure in other women. Vanamali etc. …
रभसविभवे हरिरुदयतु सुकृतेन ॥८॥ (तव विरहे ….)
reveal Himself in the heart of poet
Jayadeva who has described the agony of Krishna on account of his separtion
from Radha and who has earned enough punya. Vanamali etc. …
यत्र समं त्वया रतिपतेरासादिताः सिद्धय-
friend continues her dialogue:
banks of Yamuna where you had union with Krishna earlier, Madhava is waiting
for you continually chanting the mantra of your name. Again he wants the sweet
experience of embracing your pot-shaped breasts”
नितंबिनि गमनविलम्बनमनुसर तं हृदयेशम् ॥१॥
यमुनातीरे वसति वने वनमाली।
broad-hipped Radha! Krishna is at the rendezvous in his captivating best, more
handsome than Cupid himself. Do not
tarry any more. Follow him, the lord of your heart. He, Vanamali, who wears a garland of wild flowers and
whose hands itch for squeezing the breasts of gopis, is there in the bower on the banks of Yamuna,
where the cool breeze blows steadily.
कृतसङ्केतं वादयते मृदुवेणुम्।
मनुते तनुते तनुसङ्गतपवनचलितमपि रेणुम् ॥२॥ (धीरसमीरे ….)
his flute taking your name and giving you a signal. He considers lucky even a particle of dust
which has touched your body and is carried in the breeze. He, Vanamali
पतत्रे विचलितपत्रे शंकितभवदुपयानम्।
शयनं सचकितनयनं पश्यति तव पन्थानम् ॥३॥(धीरसमीरे ….)
sound of falling feathers of birds or the rustling of leaves make him think
that you have arrived. He makes the bed
and with apprehensive eyes looks towards the path by which you will
approach. He, Vanamali etc…..
त्यज मञ्जीरं रिपुमिव केलिसुलोलम्।
कुञ्जं सतिमिरपुञ्जं शीलय नीलनिचोलम् ।४॥ (धीरसमीरे ….)
these anklets as you would an enemy. They would betray by their tinkling sound
and spoil the sport. Walk towards the bower in the darkness with dark blue
clothes on. He, Vanamali etc…. .
मुरारेरुपहितहारे घन इव तरलबलाके।
पीते रतिविपरीते राजसि सुकृतविपाके ॥५॥ (धीरसमीरे ….)
Krishna’s breast adorned with garlands, like a flock of balaka birds
among dark clouds, you will shine like lightning, in a reversal of roles, O Radha! as a result of your meritorious deeds
(punya) which are ripe for bearing fruit.
परिहृतरशनं घटय जघनमपिधानम्।
पंकजनयने निधिमिव हर्षनिधानम्
your clothes slip off and discarding your girdle, join your hip, treasure house of pleasure, with that of
lotus-eyed Krishna lying on the bed of tender leaves. He, Vanamali etc….
रजनिरिदानीमियमपि याति विरामम्।
मम वचनं सत्वररचनं पूरय मधुरिपुकामम् ॥७॥(धीरसमीरे ….)
self-respect, the night will come to an end, hear my words and act accordingly
very quickly. Fulfil the desire of the
enemy of Madhu. He, Vanamali etc….
जयदेवे कृतहरिसेवे भणति परमरमणीयम्।
हरिमतिसदयं नमत सुकृतकमनीयम्॥८॥ (धीरसमीरे ….)
before Hari who is very kind and whose heart is gladdened by this beautiful
song by poet Jayadeva, servant of Hari. He,
मुहुः श्वासानाशाः पुरो मुहुरीक्षते
मुहुः कुञ्जं गुञ्जन् मुहुर्बहु ताम्यति ।
मुहुः शय्यां पर्याकुलं मुहुरीक्षते
कान्ते प्रियस्तव वर्तते ॥१॥
by the agony of separation, Krishna sighs frequently, repeatedly looks in all
directions, enters the bower often muttering something, bewails every now and
then, makes the bed several times and
anxiously looks around always. O
Radha! this is the condition of your darling Krishna.
समं समग्रमधुना तिग्मांशुरस्तंगतो
मनोरथेन च समं प्राप्तं तमः सान्द्रताम्।
करुणस्वनेन सदृशी दीर्घा मदभ्यर्थना
विफलं विलंबनमसौ रम्योऽभिसारक्षणः ॥२॥
Radha! by the time of your reply the sun has set and with the desire of
Govinda, the darkness has become dense.
Like the pitiful sounds of the koka birds, my request is long. O Beautiful one!
this dealy will not yield any result. Invitation to the rendezvous by Krishna
सम्भ्रमादनु रतारंभादनु प्रीतयोः।
का न को न तमसि व्रीडाविमिश्रोरसः ॥३॥
Friend! When the lovers meet at their rendezvous in the darkness of the night
they understand each other by their intimate conversation. They embrace, plant
kisses, leave nail marks and are aroused and excited. Then there is the ecstatic
union of their bodies and fulfilment. What
erotic sentiments ( shringara rasa), mixed with shyness, do the lovers
विन्यस्यन्तीं दृशौ तिमिरे पथि
मुहुः स्थित्वा मन्दं पदानि वितन्वतीम्।
सुमुखः पश्यंस्त्वामुपैतु कृतार्थताम् ॥४॥
the darkness you look at the path with apprehension. You stop at every tree and
step slowly. You somehow reach the rendezvous with passionate love in your
heart. O good looking one! may the handsome one, Krishna, seeing you, be
son of Devaki is like the honey bee for the beautiful lotus-face of Radha. He is like the crown of the three worlds and like
the blue gem stone for adornment. He is competent to relieve the Earth of her
load. He gladdens the hearts of the beuties of vraja and is like the dhumaketu
(comet) for the death of Kamsa. May that Krishna protect you.
श्रीगीतगोविन्दे शृङ्गारमहाकाव्ये अभिसारिकावर्णने
नाम पञ्चमः सर्गः