GITA GOVINDAM (ಗೀತಗೋವಿಂದಂ)
Gita Govindam, lyrical poetry in Sanskrit celebrating the love between Krishna and the gopis, specifically Radha, is authored by Jayadeva, the ೧೨th century devotee-poet from Orissa. The basis for this work is the ೫ chapters ೨೯ to ೩೩ 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.
The 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 ೨೪ prabandhas each containing couplets grouped into eights called Ashtapadis, songs with a refrain specific to that Ashatapadi. There are in all ೨೪ 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 (ದ್ವಾದಶಃ ಸರ್ಗಃ) 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.
ಸರಸಮನಸಂ ದೃಷ್ಟ್ವಾ ರಾಧಾಂ ಮುಹುರ್ನವಪಲ್ಲವ-
ಪ್ರಸವಶಯನೇ ನಿಕ್ಷಿಪ್ತಾಕ್ಷೀಮುವಾಚ ಹರಿಃ ಪ್ರಿಯಾಂ || ೧||
When 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:
ಕಿಸಲಯಶಯನತಲೇ ಕುರು ಕಾಮಿನಿ ಚರಣನಲಿನನಿವೇಶಂ
ತವ ಪದಪಲ್ಲವವೈರಿಪರಾಭವಮಿದಮನುಭವತು ಸುವೇಷಂ|| ೧||
ಕ್ಷಣಮಧುನಾ ನಾರಾಯಣಮನುಗತಮನುಸರ ಮಾಂ ರಾಧಿಕೇ ||
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.
ಕರಕಮಲೇನ ಕರೋಮಿ ಚರಣಮಹಮಾಗಮಿತಾಸಿ ವಿದೂರಂ|
ಕ್ಷಣಮುಪಕುರು ಶಯನೋಪರಿ ಮಾಮಿವ ನೂಪುರಮನುಗತಿಶೂರಂ || ೨|| (ಕ್ಷಣಮಧುನಾ ….)
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….
ವದನಸುಧಾನಿಧಿಗಲಿತಮಮೃತಮಿವ ರಚಯ ವಚನಮನುಕೂಲಂ|
ವಿರಹಮಿವಾಪನಯಾಮಿ ಪಯೋಧರರೋಧಕಮುರಸಿ ದುಕೂಲಂ || ೩|| (ಕ್ಷಣಮಧುನಾ ….)
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…
ಮದುರಸಿ ಕುಚಕಲಶಂ ವಿನಿವೇಶಯ ಶೋಷಯ ಮನಸಿಜತಾಪಂ || ೪|| (ಕ್ಷಣಮಧುನಾ ….)
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……
ಅಧರಸುಧಾರಸಮುಪನಯ ಭಾಮಿನಿ! ಜೀವಯ ಮೃತಮಿವ ದಾಸಂ|
ತ್ವಯಿ ವಿನಿಹಿತಮನಸಂ ವಿರಹಾನಲದಗ್ಧವಪುಷಮವಿಲಾಸಂ || ೫|| (ಕ್ಷಣಮಧುನಾ ….)
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……
ಮಮಶ್ರುತಿಯುಗಲೇ ಪಿಕರವವಿಕಲೇ ಶಮಯ ಚಿರಾದವಸಾದಂ || ೬|| (ಕ್ಷಣಮಧುನಾ ….)
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……
ಮೀಲತಿ ಲಜ್ಜಿತಮಿವ ನಯನಂ ತವ ವಿರಮ ವಿಸೃಜ ರತಿಖೇದಂ || ೭|| (ಕ್ಷಣಮಧುನಾ ….)
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.
ಜನಯತು ರಸಿಕಜನೇಷು ಮನೋರಮರತಿರಸಭಾವವಿನೋದಂ|| ೮|| (ಕ್ಷಣಮಧುನಾ ….)
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)
ಪ್ರತ್ಯೂಹಃ ಪುಲಕಾಂಕುರೇಣ ನಿಬಿಡಾಶ್ಲೇಷೇ ನಿಮೇಷೇಣ ಚ
ಆನಂದಾಭಿಗಮೇನ ಮನ್ಮಥಕಲಾಯುದ್ಧೋಽಪಿ ಯಸ್ಮಿನ್ನಭೂ-
ದುದ್ಭೂತಃ ಸ ತಯೋರ್ಬಭೂವ ಸುರತಾರಂಭಃ ಪ್ರಿಯಂ ಭಾವುಕಃ|| ೧||
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.
ದೋರ್ಭ್ಯಾಂ ಸಂಯಮಿತಃ ಪಯೋಧರಭರೇಣಾಪೀಡಿತಃ ಪಾಣಿಜೈಃ
ರಾವಿದ್ಧೋ ದಶನೈಃ ಕ್ಷತಾಧರಪುಟಃ ಶ್ರೋಣೀತಟೇನಾಹತಃ|
ಹಸ್ತೇನಾನಮಿತಃ ಕಚೇಽಧರಮಧುಸ್ಯಂದೇನ ಸಮ್ಮೋಹಿತಃ
ಕಾಂತಃ ಕಾಮಪಿ ತೃಪ್ತಿಮಾಪ ತದಹೋ ಕಾಮಸ್ಯ ವಾಮಾ ಗತಿಃ || ೨||
Locked in the tight embrace of Radha, pressed against her full breasts, hurt by her nails, lips bitten by her, knocked by her hip, face 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 pleasure).
ಮಾರಾಂಕೇ ರತಿಕೇಲಿಸಂಕುಲರಣಾರಂಭೇ ತಯಾ ಸಾಹಸ-
ಪ್ರಾಯಂ ಕಾಂತಜಯಾಯ ಕಿಂಚಿದುಪರಿ ಪ್ರಾರಂಭಿ ಯತ್ಸಂಭ್ರಮಾತ್|
ನಿಷ್ಪಂದಾ ಜಘನಸ್ಥಲೀ ಶಿಥಿಲಿತಾ ದೋರ್ವಲ್ಲಿರುತ್ಕಂಪಿತಂ
ವಕ್ಷೋ ಮೀಲಿತಮಕ್ಷಿ ಪೌರುಷರಸಃ ಸ್ತ್ರೀಣಾಂ ಕುತಃ ಸಿದ್ಧ್ಯತಿ || ೩||
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 sport?
ತಸ್ಯಾಃ ಪಾಟಲಪಾಣಿಜಾಂಕಿತಮುರೋ ನಿದ್ರಾಕಷಾಯೇ ದೃಶೌ
ನಿರ್ಧೂತಾಧರಶೋಣಿಮಾ ವಿಲುಲಿತಸ್ರಸ್ತಸ್ರಜೋ ಮೂರ್ದ್ಧಜಾಃ|
ರೇಭಿಃ ಕಾಮಶರೈಸ್ತದದ್ಭುತಮಹೋ ಪತ್ಯುರ್ಮನಃ ಕೀಲಿತಂ || ೪||
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 indeed.
ತ್ವಾಮಪ್ರಾಪ್ಯ ಮಯಿ ಸ್ವಯಂವರಪರಾಂ ಕ್ಷೀರೋದತೀರೋದರೇ
ಶಂಕೇ ಸುಂದರಿ! ಕಾಲಕೂಟಮಪಿಬನ್ಮೂಢೋ ಮೃಡಾನೀಪತಿಃ|
ಇತ್ಥಂ ಪೂರ್ವಕಥಾಭಿರನ್ಯಮನಸಾ ವಿಕ್ಷಿಪ್ಯವಾಮಾಂಚಲಂ
ರಾಧಾಯಾಃ ಸ್ತನಕೋರಕೋಪರಿಚಲನ್ನೇತ್ರೇ ಹರಿಃ ಪಾತು ವಃ || ೫||
“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.
ವ್ಯಾಲೋಲಃ ಕೇಶಪಾಶಸ್ತರಲಿತಮಲಕೈಃ ಸ್ವೇದಲೋಲೌ ಕಪೋಲೌ
ಸ್ಪಷ್ಟಾ ದಷ್ಟಾಧರಶ್ರೀಃ ಕುಚಕಲಶರುಚಾ ಹಾರಿತಾ ಹಾರಯಷ್ಟಿಃ|
ಕಾಂಚೀ ಕಾಂಚಿದ್ಗತಾಶಾಂ ಸ್ತನಜಘನಪದಂ ಪಾಣಿನಾಚ್ಛಾದ್ಯ ಸದ್ಯಃ
ಪಶ್ಯಂತೀ ಸತ್ರಪಂ ಮಾಂ ತದಪಿ ವಿಲುಲಿತಸ್ರಗ್ಧರೇಯಂ ಧುನೋತಿ || ೬||
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 heart.””
ಈಷನ್ಮೀಲಿತದೃಷ್ಟಿ ಮುಗ್ಧಹಸಿತಂ ಸೀತ್ಕಾರಧಾರಾವಶಾ-
ಹರ್ಷೋತ್ಕರ್ಷವಿಮುಕ್ತನಿಃಸಹತನೋರ್ಧನ್ಯೋ ಧಯತ್ಯಾನನಂ || ೭||
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.
ಅಥ ಸಾ ನಿರ್ಗತಬಾಧಾ ರಾಧಾ ಸ್ವಾಧೀನಭರ್ತೃಕಾ |
ನಿಜಗಾದ ರತಿಕ್ಲಾಂತಂ ಕಾಂತಂ ಮಂಡನವಾಂಛಯಾ|| ೮||
ಇತಿ ಸಹಸಾ ಸುಪ್ರೀತಂ ಸುರತಾಂತೇ ಸಾ ನಿತಾಂತ ಖಿನ್ನಾಂಗೀ
ರಾಧಾ ಜಗಾದ ಸಾದರಮಿದಮಾನಂದೇನ ಗೋವಿಂದಂ || ೯||
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:
ಕುರು ಯದುನಂದನ ಚಂದನಶಿಶಿರತರೇಣ ಕರೇಣ ಪಯೋಧರೇ
ಮೃಗಮದಪತ್ರಕಮತ್ರ ಮನೋಭವಮಂಗಲಕಲಶಸಹೋದರೇ|| ೧||
ನಿಜಗಾದ ಸಾ ಯದುನಂದನೇ ಕ್ರೀಡತಿ ಹೃದಯಾನಂದನೇ||
“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.
ತ್ವದಧರಚುಂಬನಲಂಬಿತಕಜ್ಜಲಮುಜ್ಜ್ವಲಯ ಪ್ರಿಯ ಲೋಚನೇ|| ೨|| (ನಿಜಗಾದ….)
“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.
ನಯನಕುರಂಗತರಂಗವಿಲಾಸನಿರೋಧಕರೇ ಶ್ರುತಿಮಂಡಲೇ |
ಮನಸಿಜಪಾಶ ವಿಲಾಸಧರೇ ಶುಭವಂಶೇ ನಿವೇಶಯ ಕುಂಡಲೇ || ೩|| (ನಿಜಗಾದ….)
“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.
ಭ್ರಮರಚಯಂ ರಚಯಂತಮುಪರಿ ರುಚಿರಂ ಸುಚಿರಂ ಮಮ ಸಮ್ಮುಖೇ|
ಜಿತಕಮಲೇ ವಿಮಲೇ ಪರಿಕರ್ಮಯ ನರ್ಮಜನಕಮಲಕಂ ಮುಖೇ || ೪|| (ನಿಜಗಾದ….)
“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.
ಮೃಗಮದರಸವಲಿತಂ ಲಲಿತಂ ಕುರು ತಿಲಕಮಲಿಕರಜನೀಕರೇ|
ವಿಹಿತಕಲಂಕಕಲಂ ಕಮಲಾನನ ವಿಶ್ರಮಿತಶ್ರಮಶೀಕರೇ || ೫|| (ನಿಜಗಾದ….)
“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.
ಮಮ ರುಚಿರೇ ಚಿಕುರೇ ಕುರು ಮಾನದ ಮನಸಿಜಧ್ವಜಚಾಮರೇ |
ರತಿಗಲಿತೇ ಲಲಿತೇ ಕುಸುಮಾನಿ ಶಿಖಂಡಿಶಿಖಂಡಕಡಾಮರೇ || ೬|| (ನಿಜಗಾದ….)
“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.
ಸರಸಘನೇ ಜಘನೇ ಮಮ ಶಂಬರದಾರಣವಾರಣಕಂದರೇ|
ಮಣಿರಶನಾವಸನಾಭರಣಾನಿ ಶುಭಾಶಯ ವಾಸಯ ಸುಂದರೇ || ೭|| (ನಿಜಗಾದ….)
“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.
ಶ್ರೀಜಯದೇವವಚಸಿ ಶುಭದೇ ಹೃದಯಂ ಸದಯಂ ಕುರು ಮಂಡನೇ|
ಹರಿಚರಣಸ್ಮರಣಾಮೃತನಿರ್ಮಿತ ಕಲಿಕಲುಷಜ್ವರಖಂಡನೇ || ೮|| (ನಿಜಗಾದ….)
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.
ರಚಯ ಕುಚಯೋಃ ಪತ್ರಂ ಚಿತ್ರಂ ಕುರುಷ್ವ ಕಪೋಲಯೋ-
ರ್ಘಟಯ ಜಘನೇ ಕಾಂಚೀಮಂಚ ಸ್ರಜಾ ಕಬರೀಭರಂ|
ಕಲಯ ವಲಯಶ್ರೇಣೀಂ ಪಾಣೌ ಪದೇ ಕುರು ನೂಪುರಾ-
ವಿತಿ ನಿಗದಿತಃ ಪ್ರೀತಃ ಪೀತಾಂಬರೋಽಪಿ ತಥಾಕರೋತ್|| ೧||
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.
ಪಾದಾಂಭೋರುಹಧಾರಿವಾರಿಧಿಸುತಾಮಕ್ಷ್ಣಾಂ ದಿದೃಕ್ಷುಃ ಶತೈಃ
ಕಾಯವ್ಯೂಹಮಿವಾಚರನ್ನುಪಚಿತೀಭೂತೋ ಹರಿಃ ಪಾತು ವಃ || ೨||
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.
ಯದ್ಗಾಂಧರ್ವಕಲಾಸು ಕೌಶಲಮನುಧ್ಯಾನಂ ಚ ಯದ್ವೈಷ್ಣವಂ
ತತ್ಸರ್ವಂ ಜಯದೇವಪಂಡಿತಕವೇಃ ಕೃಷ್ಣೈಕತಾನಾತ್ಮನಃ
ಸಾನಂದಾಃ ಪರಿಶೋಧಯಂತು ಸುಧಿಯಃ ಶ್ರೀಗೀತಗೋವಿಂದತಃ || ೩||
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.
ಸಾಧ್ವೀ ಮಾಧ್ವೀಕಚಿಂತಾ ನ ಭವತಿ ಭವತಃ ಶರ್ಕರೇ ಕರ್ಕಶಾಸಿ
ದ್ರಾಕ್ಷೇ ದ್ರಕ್ಷ್ಯಂತಿ ಕೇ ತ್ವಾಮಮೃತ! ಮೃತಮಸಿ ಕ್ಷೀರ ನೀರಂ ರಸಸ್ತೇ|
ಮಾಕಂದ! ಕ್ರಂದ ಕಾಂತಾಧರ ಧರಣಿತಲಂ ಗಚ್ಛ ಯಚ್ಛಾಂತಿ ಭಾವಂ
ಯಾವಚ್ಛೃಂಗಾರಸಾರಸ್ವತಮಿಹ ಜಯದೇವಸ್ಯ ವಿಷ್ವಗ್ವಚಾಂಸಿ || ೪||
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]
ಪರಾಶರಾದಿಪ್ರಿಯವರ್ಗಕಂಠೇ ಶ್ರೀಗೀತಗೋವಿಂದಕವಿತ್ತ್ವಮಸ್ತು|| ೫||
May this song Gita Govindam by Jayadeva, son of Bhojadeva and Radha Devi be dedicated to sri Parasara and other poets of yore.
ಇತಿ ಶ್ರೀಗೀತಗೋವಿಂದೇ ಶೃಂಗಾರಮಹಾಕಾವ್ಯೇ ಜಯದೇವಪಂಡಿತಕೃತೌ
ಸುಪ್ರೀತಪೀತಾಂಬರೋನಾಮ ದ್ವಾದಶಃ ಸರ್ಗಃ ಸಮಾಪ್ತಃ||