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 sensitivity 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 Twelfth
Chapter (द्वादशः 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.
दृष्ट्वा राधां मुहुर्नवपल्लव-
निक्षिप्ताक्षीमुवाच हरिः प्रियाम् ॥१॥
her friends left her alone with Krishna, Radha, overcome by shyness and
tormented by Cupid’s arrows, was glancing frequently at the bed of tender
leaves with a smile on her lips which showed that her heart was in love sport.  Hari then speaks to Radha thus: 
किसलयशयनतले कुरु कामिनि चरणनलिननिवेशं
तव पदपल्लववैरिपराभवमिदमनुभवतु सुवेषम्॥१॥
क्षणमधुना नारायणमनुगतमनुसर मां राधिके ॥
My Love!, place your
lotus-feet on this bed of tender leaves. Let these tender leaves experience
their defeat from the tenderness of your feet-leafbuds. For a moment O Radha!
follow me, who am Narayana, even as I have followed you. 
करकमलेन करोमि चरणमहमागमितासि विदूरम्।
क्षणमुपकुरु शयनोपरि मामिव नूपुरमनुगतिशूरम् ॥२॥ (क्षणमधुना ….)
O Radha! You have come a
long way on foot.  Let me stroke those
feet with my lotus-hands.  Place these
anklets of yours on the bed just like me. For a moment….
वदनसुधानिधिगलितममृतमिव रचय वचनमनुकूलम्।
विरहमिवापनयामि पयोधररोधकमुरसि दुकूलम् ॥३॥ (क्षणमधुना ….)
O Radha! speak to me
sweet words like nectar dripping from your moon-like face.  Just as I am casting off viraha
(separation) now, I am taking away the clothes which bar access to your
breasts.  For a moment…
प्रियपरिरम्भणरभसवलितमिव पुलकितमन्यदुरापम्।
मदुरसि कुचकलशं विनिवेशय शोषय मनसिजतापम् ॥४॥ (क्षणमधुना ….)
Place these pot-like breasts,  which bristle at the prospect of the lover’s
embrace and which are unavailable to others, and allay the Cupid’s heat in my
heart. For a moment……
अधरसुधारसमुपनय भामिनि!
जीवय मृतमिव दासम्।
त्वयि विनिहितमनसं विरहानलदग्धवपुषमविलासम् ॥५॥(क्षणमधुना ….)
O Radha! Give the nectar
from your lips and bring to life this servant of yours who is almost like dead,
who has surrendered his heart to you, whose body is burnt by the fire of
separation, deprived of love sport
For a moment……
ममश्रुतियुगले पिकरवविकले शमय चिरादवसादम् ॥६॥ (क्षणमधुना ….)
O Radha with moon-like
face! create sweet tinkling sound from your gem-studded girdle similar to your
sweet voice and allay the suffering of my ears which have been tortured by the
coos of the cuckoo for long. For a moment……
मामतिविफलरुषा विकलीकृतमवलोकितुमधुनेदम्।
मीलति लज्जितमिव नयनं तव विरम विसृज रतिखेदम् ॥७॥ (क्षणमधुना ….)

O Radha! Your eyes want to look at me but they tend to
close as if by shame because of your spurning me with purposeless anger.  Therefore retire now and leave the effort of
love sport. 
जनयतु रसिकजनेषु मनोरमरतिरसभावविनोदम्॥८॥ (क्षणमधुना ….)
Jayadeva has described
the joy of the enemy of Madhu at every step. 
Let this song generate in the heart of connoisseurs of poetry the joy of
shringara rasa (erotic sentiment)   
प्रत्यूहः पुलकांकुरेण निबिडाश्लेषे निमेषेण च
क्रीडाकूतविलोकितेऽधरसुधापाने कथानर्मभिः
आनन्दाभिगमेन मन्मथकलायुद्धोऽपि यस्मिन्नभू-
दुद्भूतः स तयोर्बभूव सुरतारम्भः प्रियं भावुकः॥१॥
Bristling hair, tight
embrace, closed eyes, playful glances, savouring the nectar of lips, humorous,  witty and sweet talk etc., although
pleasurable,  both Radha and Krishna
felt,  were obstacles to their
commencement of love sport. 
दोर्भ्यां संयमितः पयोधरभरेणापीडितः पाणिजैः
राविद्धो दशनैः क्षताधरपुटः श्रोणीतटेनाहतः।
हस्तेनानमितः कचेऽधरमधुस्यन्देन सम्मोहितः
कान्तः कामपि तृप्तिमाप तदहो कामस्य वामा गतिः ॥२॥
Locked in the tight
embrace of Radha, pressed against her full breasts, hurt by her nails, lips
bitten by her, knocked by her hip, faced pulled down by the hair and
intoxicated by the dripping honey from the lips, Krishna experienced a kind of
pleasure from all this.  It seems
everything is reversed in love (where otherwise painful activities seem to give
माराङ्के रतिकेलिसङ्कुलरणारम्भे तया साहस-
प्रायं कान्तजयाय किञ्चिदुपरि प्रारम्भि यत्संभ्रमात्।
निष्पन्दा जघनस्थली शिथिलिता दोर्वल्लिरुत्कम्पितं
वक्षो मीलितमक्षि पौरुषरसः स्त्रीणां कुतः सिद्ध्यति ॥३॥
In love-fight Radha wants
to score victory over her lover  and, in
a reversal of roles, is on top of Krishna and excitedly commenced the
fight.  But the region of her hip became motionless,
her creeper-like arms went limp, breasts trembled and eyes closed.  How can woman get man’s pleasure in love
तस्याः पाटलपाणिजाङ्कितमुरो निद्राकषाये दृशौ
निर्धूताधरशोणिमा विलुलितस्रस्तस्रजो मूर्द्धजाः।
काञ्चीदामदरश्लथाञ्चलमिति प्रातर्निखातैर्दृशो-
रेभिः कामशरैस्तदद्भुतमहो पत्युर्मनः कीलितम् ॥४॥
Early morning, Radha’s breasts bore nail-marks, eyes were red with
sleeplessness, lips had lost the reddish tinge, hair was disheveled, flowers
were falling from garlands, girdle and clothes at hip were loose. These very
things acted as Cupid’s arrows and pierced Krishna’s heart; it was a wonder
त्वामप्राप्य मयि स्वयंवरपरां क्षीरोदतीरोदरे
शङ्के सुन्दरि! कालकूटमपिबन्मूढो मृडानीपतिः।
इत्थं पूर्वकथाभिरन्यमनसा विक्षिप्यवामाञ्चलं
राधायाः स्तनकोरकोपरिचलन्नेत्रे हरिः पातु वः ॥५॥
O Beauty! Lord Shiva
drank the kalakuta poison as He could not not win your hand at the
shores of the milky ocean since you chose me as your life partner”, narrating
this story to Radha and diverting her mind, Krishna pulled her upper clothes
and directed his roving eyes on her breasts. 
May that Krishna protect you.    
व्यालोलः  केशपाशस्तरलितमलकैः स्वेदलोलौ
स्पष्टा दष्टाधरश्रीः कुचकलशरुचा हारिता हारयष्टिः।
काञ्ची काञ्चिद्गताशां स्तनजघनपदं पाणिनाच्छाद्य सद्यः
पश्यन्ती सत्रपं मां तदपि विलुलितस्रग्धरेयं धुनोति ॥६॥
Krishna says: “Hair disheveled,
cheeks sweating, lips bitten, necklaces defeated by the beauty of pot-shaped
breasts, girdle displaced from its position, covering her breasts and hip by
her hands, Radha looks at me abashed with a garland from which  flowers are falling.  Even in this state, Radha captivates my
ईषन्मीलितदृष्टि मुग्धहसितं सीत्कारधारावशा-
दव्यक्ताकुलकेलिकाकु विकसद्दन्तांशुधौताधरम्।
श्वासोत्कम्पिपयोधरोपरि परिष्वंगात्कुरङ्गीदृशो
हर्षोत्कर्षविमुक्तनिःसहतनोर्धन्यो धयत्याननम् ॥७॥
Half-closed eyes, pretty
smile, unclear playful speech because of sighs, lips washed with the radiance
of teeth, breasts slightly trembling by faster breathing, the heightened
pleasure of embrace and the yielding of the body – fulfilled is the lover who
drinks at the doe-eyed one’s lips.
अथ सा निर्गतबाधा राधा स्वाधीनभर्तृका ।
निजगाद रतिक्लान्तं कान्तं मण्डनवाञ्छया॥८॥
इति सहसा सुप्रीतं सुरतान्ते सा नितान्त खिन्नाङ्गी
राधा जगाद सादरमिदमानन्देन गोविन्दम् ॥९॥
Radha free from the torments of love and having
Krishna under her control desired to dorn herself. Krishna was tired but  contented and joyful at the end of sport .
Radha’s limbs were extremely tired. She spoke to Krishna thus:  
कुरु यदुनन्दन चन्दनशिशिरतरेण करेण पयोधरे
मृगमदपत्रकमत्र मनोभवमङ्गलकलशसहोदरे॥१॥
निजगाद सा यदुनन्दने क्रीडति हृदयानन्दने॥
“O Yadunandana! With your
hands cooler than sandal paste anoint deer-musk on my breasts which are like
the auspicious kalasha (pitcher) of the Love-god” – Thus spoke Radha to
Krishna who was delighting her with his sport. 
अलिकुलभञ्जनमञ्जनकं रतिनायकसायकमोचने।
त्वदधरचुम्बनलम्बितकज्जलमुज्ज्वलय प्रिय लोचने॥२॥ (निजगाद….)
“O Dear! the collyrium in
my eyes which send out arrows of Cupid has lost its sheen by your kisses.  Brighten it by applying kajal which is
darker than the colour of honey bees” – Thus spoke Radha to Krishna who was delighting
her with his sport.   
नयनकुरंगतरंगविलासनिरोधकरे श्रुतिमण्डले ।
मनसिजपाश विलासधरे शुभवंशे निवेशय कुण्डले ॥३॥  (निजगाद….)
“Adorn my ears, which
restrict the playful activities of my doe-eyes, with ear-globes which are like
the ropes of Love-god.” – Thus spoke Radha to Krishna who was delighting her with
his sport.   
भ्रमरचयं रचयन्तमुपरि रुचिरं सुचिरं मम सम्मुखे।
जितकमले विमले परिकर्मय नर्मजनकमलकं मुखे ॥४॥ (निजगाद….)
Please rearrange the
hair falling like a swarm of bees  on my
face which is  more beautiful than the
lotus and blemishless” – Thus spoke Radha to Krishna who was delighting her with
his sport.
मृगमदरसवलितं ललितं कुरु तिलकमलिकरजनीकरे।
विहितकलंककलं कमलानन विश्रमितश्रमशीकरे ॥५॥ (निजगाद….)
“O Krishna with
lotus-face! put a round mark  with
deer-musk on my brow resembling the half-moon and with drops of perspiration on
it because of the effort.” – Thus spoke Radha to Krishna who was delighting her
with his sport.  
मम रुचिरे चिकुरे कुरु मानद मनसिजध्वजचामरे ।
रतिगलिते ललिते कुसुमानि शिखण्डिशिखण्डकडामरे ॥६॥ (निजगाद….)
O  Hari who respects others!  replace the flowers which have fallen from my
tresses which are beautiful as peacock feathers and are, as it were, like the
flag of Cupid”.
Thus spoke Radha to Krishna who was delighting her with his sport.
सरसघने जघने मम शम्बरदारणवारणकन्दरे।
मणिरशनावसनाभरणानि शुभाशय वासय सुन्दरे ॥७॥ (निजगाद….)
“O Hari of auspicious
thoughts! replace the gem-studded ornaments, waist-string, clothes etc on my hip,
cave of the elephant Cupid”
– Thus spoke Radha to Krishna who was delighting her with his sport.  
श्रीजयदेववचसि शुभदे हृदयं सदयं कुरु मण्डने।
हरिचरणस्मरणामृतनिर्मित कलिकलुषज्वरखण्डने ॥८॥ (निजगाद….)
Put your heart in these
auspicious words of Jayadeva which are sweet as the nectar of remembering the
lotus feet of Hari and which destroy the sins of Kaliyuga- Thus spoke Radha to
Krishna who was delighting her with his sport.  
रचय कुचयोः पत्रं चित्रं कुरुष्व कपोलयो-
र्घटय जघने काञ्चीमञ्च स्रजा कबरीभरम्।
कलय वलयश्रेणीं पाणौ पदे कुरु नूपुरा-
विति निगदितः प्रीतः पीताम्बरोऽपि तथाकरोत्॥१॥
Radha said to Krishna “Please
decorate my breasts and cheeks, arrange the girdle on my hip, adorn the hair
with garlands of flower, replace the bracelets on my hands and the anklets on
my feet “ Thus told Krishna happily carried out her request.  
पर्यङ्कीकृतनागनायकफणाश्रेणीमणीनां गणे
पादांभोरुहधारिवारिधिसुतामक्ष्णां दिदृक्षुः शतैः
कायव्यूहमिवाचरन्नुपचितीभूतो हरिः पातु वः ॥२॥
Lord Vishnu is reclining
on the bed of Adisesha and his form is reflected in the gems on the thousand
hoods of Adishesha creating the impression of his pervasiveness. It also looks
as if He wants to see Lakshmi, who is serving his lotus feet,  with a hundred eyes  and it seems that he has created the many
reflections for this purpose. May that Hari potect you all.
यद्गान्धर्वकलासु कौशलमनुध्यानं च यद्वैष्णवं
तत्सर्वं जयदेवपण्डितकवेः कृष्णैकतानात्मनः
सानन्दाः परिशोधयन्तु सुधियः श्रीगीतगोविन्दतः ॥३॥
Let the wise and
intelligent men critically and joyfully examine Gita Govindam of poet Jayadeva,
whose mind is fully engaged in Krishna, and evaluate the poet in terms of his
skill in the fine art of music, his understanding of Vaishnavism, his handling
of the   shringara rasa (erotic
sentiment) in his work. 
साध्वी माध्वीकचिन्ता न भवति भवतः शर्करे कर्कशासि
द्राक्षे द्रक्ष्यन्ति के त्वाममृत! मृतमसि क्षीर नीरं रसस्ते।
माकन्द! क्रन्द
कांताधर धरणितलं गच्छ यच्छान्ति भावं
यावच्छृङ्गारसारस्वतमिह जयदेवस्य विष्वग्वचांसि ॥४॥
So long as this literary
work of Jayadeva, full of shringara rasa,  (erotic sentiment) is around,   O Madhweeka (a kind of sweet)!  your worry is wasted; O Sugar! You are hard; O
Grapes! who will look at you? O nectar! (amruta)! You are as good as
dead (mrita); O Milk! Your taste is like water; O makanda (flower
honey)! You cry; O lips of the loved one! go to the nether world   [ the idea is all these other things are
insipid in comparison with the shringara rasa in this work of Jayadeva
श्रीभोजदेवप्रभवस्य राधादेवीसुतश्रीजयदेवकस्य
पराशरादिप्रियवर्गकण्ठे श्रीगीतगोविन्दकवित्त्वमस्तु॥५॥
May this song Gita Govindam
by Jayadeva, son of Bhojadeva and Radha Devi be dedicated to sri Parasara and
other poets of yore
इति श्रीगीतगोविन्दे शृङ्गारमहाकाव्ये जयदेवपण्डितकृतौ
सुप्रीतपीतांबरोनाम द्वादशः सर्गः समाप्तः॥

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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