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 Sixth Chapter (षष्ठः 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.
in the leafy bower unable to move about as her body had become very weak
because of the agony of a long separation. She speaks about her condition to
Krishna who is tormented by the arrows of Cupid.
lips. O Lord Hari! Radha pines away in separation in her lonely bower.
steps and then falls down. O Lord Hari! Etc….
परमिह तव रतिकलया ॥३॥ (नाथ हरे….)
leaf buds. She holds on to life only in
the hope of union with you. O Lord Hari! etc.
am krishna” and also imagines that she is Krishna. O Lord Hari! …
come to the rendezvous quickly. O Lord Hari!..
thinks that Hari has come and starts embracing and kissing him. O Lord
herself casting away all sense of shame. O Lord Hari! ….
connoisseurs of poetry. O Lord Hari…..
thinks of you as if in meditation. She
is immersed in the ocean of sringara rasa (erotic sentiment) in this state. She
bristles, whistles, embraces, kisses and does other things in her imagined
world of union with you O deceiver.
makes her think that you have come and she starts adorning herself in different
ways. Meditating long she makes the bed
and thinks many thoughts and does many playful things. But without you she cannot pass a single
who wants to rest under the bhandira tree that it was the abode of a krishnasarpa
( which has two meanings :black cobra, cobra named Krishna). “Bother! Don’t you
see the abode of Nanda? Go there for rest”
The wayfarer comes to Nanda’s abode but Krishna wants to hide from Nanda
Radha’s comments. So before the traveler talks to Nanda, Krishna praises and welcomes him so that he does not repeat Radha’s words to
Nandagopa. Victory to those words of
श्रीगीतगोविन्दे शृङ्गारमहाकाव्ये वासकसज्जावर्णने
नाम षष्ठः सर्गः