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 Eigth Chapter (अष्टमः 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.
प्रियमाह साभ्यसूयम् ॥१॥
somehow passed the night and in the morning,
though tormented by the arrows of Cupid, spoke thus to Krishna, who was bowing
down and trying to pacify her, jealousy in her voice.
हरि याहि माधव याहि केशव मा कुरु कैतववादम्।
सरसीरुहलोचन या तव हरति विषादम् ॥१॥
eyes are red because of the sleepless night and his eye-lids are idle. There is
the mark of passionate love in his eyes. Radha says with jealousy in her voice:
“ O Madhava!, O Keshava! please go; don’t tell me deceitful words. O lotus-eyed one! follow her who will remove
तव कृष्ण तनोति तनोरनुरूपम् ॥२॥ (हरि हरि….)
Krishna! Your lips have become dark by repeatedly planting kisses on eyes
adorned with black kajal. Thus the colour of your lips have become the
same as the colour of your body. “O Madhava” etc.
Krishna! Your body bears marks of nails
inflicted by your partner during the fight of Love. Those marks on your body
resemble the record of her victory in this fight written on emerald bits in
“O Madhava” etc.
बहिर्मदनद्रुमनवकिसलयपरिवारम् ॥४॥(हरि हरि….)
Krishna! The lac paint on the lotus feet of your partner has spilled on your
chest resembling tender leaf buds sprouting from the tree of Love . “O Madhava”
भवदधरगतं मम जनयति चेतसि खेदम् ।
कथमधुनापि मया सह तव वपुरेतदभेदम् ॥५॥ (हरि हरि….)
Krishna! I am sorry to see the mark of the teeth of your partner on your
lips. It says “How even now this body of
yours is no different from mine”. “O
मलिनतरं तव कृष्ण मनोऽपि भविष्यति नूनम्।
वञ्चयसे जनमनुगतमसमशरज्वरदूनम् ॥६॥ (हरि हरि….)‘
Krisha! Just like your exterior your heart will also be certainly dark.
Otherwise how would you deceive one who follows you and is tormented by the
arrows of Cupid? “O Madhava” etc.
भवानबलाकबलाय वनेषु किमत्र विचित्रम्।
पूतनकैव वधूवधनिर्दयबालचरित्रम् ॥७॥ (हरि हरि….)
Krishna! It is no wonder that you wander the forests to hurt women. The story
of Putana tells about your cruelty to women even as child. O Madhava” etc.
सुधामधुरं विबुधा विबुधालयतोऽपि दुरापम् ॥८॥ (हरि हरि….)
Jayadeva chronicled the wailings of the Khandita( one who has been spurned by
the lover who courts another young woman)
Let the wise and learned hear this song, sweet as nectar and difficult
to get even in heaven “O Madhava” etc.
पश्यन्त्याः प्रसरदनुरागं बहिरिव
शोकादपि किमपि लज्जां जनयति ॥१॥
see the red mark on your breast which has been planted their from the lac paint
on the feet of your love. You deceiver, by
your spurning of my love, I feel more shame than sorrow when I see you.
विलोक्य हसति स्वैरं सखीमण्डले।
early morning Radha’s friends are surprised to see Krishna waking up in blue
clothes (which belonged to Radha) and Radha
wrapped in yellow silk (which was Krishna’s). There is uncontrollable laughter among the
friends. Krishna smiles and casts a
bashful wavering glance at Radha. May that Krishna, son of Nanda make the world
श्रीगीतगोविन्दे शृङ्गारमहाकाव्ये खण्डितावर्णने