GITA GOVINDAM (ಗೀತಗೋವಿನ್ದಮ್)
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 sensitiviy 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 Sixth Chapter (ಷಷ್ಠಃ 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.
ಅಥ ತಾಂ ಗನ್ತುಮಶಕ್ತಾಂ ಚಿರಮನುರಕ್ತಾಂ ಲತಾಗೃಹೇ ದೃಷ್ಟ್ವಾ |
ತಚ್ಚರಿತಂ ಗೋವಿನ್ದೇ ಮನಸಿಜಮನ್ದೇ ಸಖೀ ಪ್ರಾಹ || ೧||
Radha’s friend finds her 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.
ಪಶ್ಯತಿ ದಿಶಿ ದಿಶಿ ರಹಸಿ ಭವನ್ತಮ್|
ನಾಥ ಹರೇ ಜಯ ನಾಥ ಹರೇ ಸೀದತಿ ರಾಧಾ ವಾಸಗೃಹೇ || ೧||
Radha sees you everywhere drinking the nectar from her lips. O Lord Hari! Radha pines away in separation in her lonely bower.
ಪತತಿ ಪದಾನಿ ಕಿಯನ್ತಿ ಚಲನ್ತೀ || ೨|| (ನಾಥ ಹರೇ….)
Hastening towards the rendezvous she takes a few steps and then falls down. O Lord Hari! Etc....
ಜೀವತಿ ಪರಮಿಹ ತವ ರತಿಕಲಯಾ || ೩|| (ನಾಥ ಹರೇ….)
She wears a garland of lotus stalk and bracelets of leaf buds. She holds on to life only in the hope of union with you. O Lord Hari! etc.
ಮಧುರಿಪುರಹಮಿತಿಭಾವನಶೀಲಾ || ೪|| (ನಾಥ ಹರೇ….)
She puts on clothes and ornaments like you and says “I am krishna” and also imagines that she is Krishna. O Lord Hari! …
ತ್ವರಿತಮುಪೈತಿ ನ ಕಥಮಭಿಸಾರಮ್|
ಹರಿರಿತಿ ವದತಿ ಸಖೀಮನುವಾರಮ್ || ೫|| (ನಾಥ ಹರೇ….)
Radha repeatedly asks her friend why Krishna does not come to the rendezvous quickly. O Lord Hari!..
ಶ್ಲಿಷ್ಯತಿ ಚುಮ್ಬತಿ ಜಲಧರಕಲ್ಪಮ್|
ಹರಿರುಪಗತ ಇತಿ ತಿಮಿರಮನಲ್ಪಮ್ || ೬|| (ನಾಥ ಹರೇ….)
Seeing dense darkness like the dark clouds Radha thinks that Hari has come and starts embracing and kissing him. O Lord Hari!...
ಭವತಿ ವಿಲಮ್ಬಿನಿ ವಿಗಲಿತಲಜ್ಜಾ|
ವಿಲಪತಿ ರೋದಿತಿ ವಾಸಕಸಜ್ಜಾ || ೭|| (ನಾಥ ಹರೇ….)
When you delay in coming, she bewails, cries and decks herself casting away all sense of shame. O Lord Hari! ….
ರಸಿಕಜನಂ ತನುತಾಮತಿಮುದಿತಮ್ || ೮|| (ನಾಥ ಹರೇ….)
May this song by poet Jayadeva gladden the heats of connoisseurs of poetry. O Lord Hari…..
ತವ ಕಿತವ ವಿಧಾಯಾಮನ್ದಕನ್ದರ್ಪಚಿನ್ತಾಂ
ರಸಜಲಧಿನಿಮಗ್ನಾ ಧ್ಯಾನಲಗ್ನಾ ಮೃಗಾಕ್ಷೀ|| ೧||
The doe-eyed Radha always 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.
ಅಂಗೇಷ್ವಾಭರಣಂ ಕರೋತಿ ಬಹುಧಾ ಪತ್ರೇಽಪಿ ಸಂಚಾರಿಣಿ
ಪ್ರಾಪ್ತಂ ತ್ವಾಂ ಪರಿಶಙ್ಕತೇ ವಿತನುತೇ ಶಯ್ಯಾಂ ಚಿರಂ ಧ್ಯಾಯತೀ|
ವ್ಯಾಸಕ್ತಾಪಿ ವಿನಾ ತ್ವಯಾ ವರತನುರ್ನೈಷಾ ನಿಶಾಂ ನೇಷ್ಯತಿ || ೨||
Even the flutter of a leaf 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 night.
ಕಿಂ ವಿಶ್ರಾಮ್ಯಸಿ ಕೃಷ್ಣಭೋಗಿಭವನೇ ಭಾಣ್ಡೀರಭೂಮೀರುಹಿ
ಭ್ರಾತರ್ಯಾಸಿ ನ ದೃಷ್ಟಿಗೋಚರಮಿತಃ ಸಾನನ್ದನನ್ದಾಸ್ಪದಮ್|
ರಾಧಾಯಾ ವಚನಂ ತದಧ್ವಗಮುಖಾನ್ನನ್ದಾನ್ತಿಕೇ ಗೋಪತೋ
ಗೋವಿನ್ದಸ್ಯ ಜಯನ್ತಿ ಸಾಯಮತಿಥಿಪ್ರಾಶಸ್ತ್ಯಗರ್ಭಾ ಗಿರಃ || ೩||
Radha tells a wayfarer 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 Krishna.
ಇತಿ ಶ್ರೀಗೀತಗೋವಿನ್ದೇ ಶೃಙ್ಗಾರಮಹಾಕಾವ್ಯೇ ವಾಸಕಸಜ್ಜಾವರ್ಣನೇ
ಸೋತ್ಕಣ್ಠಧನ್ಯವೈಕುಣ್ಠೋ ನಾಮ ಷಷ್ಠಃ ಸರ್ಗಃ