Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Romantic Frolics of Krishna and Radha - An erotic poem from Jayadeva's Geeta-Govinda

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This poem is present in Jayadeva's Geeta-GovindaJayadeva (जयदेव) was a Sanskrit poet, who lived in region what is now known as Orissa, circa 1200 AD. His epic poem Geeta-Govinda depicts the divine love of the Krishna and Radha. It is said that he was the first person to bring in and elaborate the character of "Radha" in Krishna's life.

In original Mahabharata and harivamsha, there isn't much description of Radha. However, Geeta-Govinda made Radha so popular that today it is impossible to find any temple of Krishna without Radha. The term "Raadhe-Krishna" by Jayadeva has immortalized this love story which is lost in obscurities of history.

It became interesting to see, what the meaning of Raadha is. The term Raadha (राधा) comes from two words, Raa (रा) and Dhaa (धा).. The word root "Raa (रा)" means "To desire".. "Dhaa(धा)" means knowledge. Raadhaa is any person OR individual who desires knowledge. The knowledge here refers to Paraa-Vidya or Moksha/nirvana. Thus, a person ardently desiring nirvana is Raadha. And Krishna refers to Supreme Ishwara in Dvaita traditions (Dualistic traditions of Vedanta).

The treatise of "Geeta-Govinda" is famous for generous use of "Shringaar-rasa" (erotica) to describe the love between "Raadhaa" and "Krishna". While the descriptions are elegant and fantastically beautiful, one has to keep in mind the real meanings of "Raadha" and "Krishna" while reading them. Without these metaphors at the back of the mind, the meaning and purpose and the delight of these poems is lessened, although not lost.

This treatise also tells us a lot about liberal nature of Indian society prior to Abrahmic onslaught. The beauty of "sex" was banned and tabooed by the Victorian moral police of 19th century under British rule and the ability of Indians to appreciate the beauty of erotica and sex lost. In modern times, the "protectors of Indian culture", who go on cheaply harassing lovers and artists, need to stop being such losers and read up themselves, how our ancestors enjoyed the delights of the most beautiful art and science in human life - The art and science of Love-making.

Little background before reading the poem

Krishna has left Vrindavana for Mathura and Radha is lamenting his going away. She is reciting her agony and pain of loss by remembering the beautiful moments of love between her and Krishna to her friend (a fellow Gopi) in this poem and wishing that those beautiful days soon return. Wishes that Krishna were here... now... I have tried to do a feeble justice with the translation, however, readers are requested to read it few times in the specific rhythm for added pleasure. With decent knowledge of any Indian language, the reader will understand the nuances and subtle similes in the poem. 

अक्लेश केशव मंजरी तिलकम् - अष्टपदी 8.

निभृत निकुञ्ज गृहम् गतया, निशि रहसि निलीय वसन्तम्...
चकित विलोकित सकल दिशा, रति रभसभरेण हसन्तम्
सखि हे केशि मथनम् उदारम्,
रमय मया सह मदन मनोरथ भावितया सविकारम्... (Dhripad)

Oh (girl)friend, one night when I visited a lonely prearranged alcove to meet him, he, that bounteous pleasure-giver was, already there waiting for me but hiding in the darkness... and while I was startled not finding him there and started searching him, he appeared with all his lustful smile looked at me... and then he, filled with hastiness for an intimacy, embraced me... now why don't you make him take delight in me, when my heart is filled with love for him..

प्रथम समागम लज्जितया, पटु चाटु शतै: अनुकूलम् .
मृदु मधुर स्मित भाषितया, शिथिली कृत जघन दुकूलम्
सखि हे केशि... २.

"On my first meeting I was bashful, but he spoke hundreds of reassuring words, and while I was speaking softly, sweetly, my silken dress slipped off my hips... now why don't you make him to take delight in me, when my heart and mind are filled with love for him...

किसलय शयन निवेशितया, चिरम् उरसि ममैव शयानम् .
कृत परिरम्भण चुम्बनया, परिरभ्य कृत अधरपानम् .. ३..
सखी हे केशमथनम् उदारम् ... (धृपद)

"After reposing me on a bed of tender grass, he lay on my chest all the time, and on making embraces and kisses, he hugged me and swill my lower lip, graspingly... now why don't you make him to take delight in me, when my heart and mind are filled with love for him... 

अलस निमीलित लोचनया पुलक आवलि ललित कपोलम्, 

श्रमजल सकल कलेवरया, वर मदन मदाद् अति लोलम् .. ४..
सखी हे केशमथनम् उदारम् ... (धृपद)

"My eyelids were slouching with pleasure and fatigue, his delicate cheeks too, experienced a series of tingles, and our bodies were drenched in sweat, while he was wholly jiggling with passionate intemperance... such as we were, now why don't you make him to take delight in me, when my heart and mind are filled with love for him...

कोकिल कलरव कूजितया, जित मनसिज तन्त्रविचारम् .
श्लथ कुसुम आकुल कुन्तलया, नख लिखित घन स्तनभारम् .. ५..
सखी हे केशमथनम् उदारम् ... (धृपद)

"I was cooing and moaning like a koel and a pigeon, he, who has mastered every art of Love, was pondering... and then, my flowers in my hair crushed and braids tousled, the scratch-marks of his nails arose on my busty bosoms... such as we were, now why don't you make him to take delight in me, when my heart and mind are filled with love for him... 

चरण रणित मणी नूपुरया, परि पूरित सुरत वितानम् 
मुखर विशृङ्खल मेखलया सकच ग्रह चुम्बन दानम् .. ६..
सखी हे केशमथनम् उदारम् ... (धृपद)

"My anklets that usually jingle in my feet started jingling more as he copulated with me in different conjoining postures, and while at it the golden chain in my girdle fell down, while he grasped my hair bun to give a dole of kiss, such as we were, now why don't you make him to take delight in me, when my heart and mind are filled with love for him...

रति सुख समय रसा अलसया, दर मुकुलित नयन सरोजम् .
निःसह निपतित तनु लतया, मधुसूदन मुदित मनोजम् .. ७..
सखी हे केशमथनम् उदारम् ... (धृपद)

"I, with my vine-like curvacious and delicate body lay on bed of tender grasss, relaxing delightedly because of union, he too was weakened, and his lotus like eyes were half-closed, though while laying on lawn, there again arose passion in him for me... such as we were, now why don't you make him to take delight in me, when my heart and mind are filled with love for him

श्री जयदेव भणितम् इदम् अतिशय, मधु रिपु निधुवन शीलम् .
सुखम् उत्कण्ठित गोपवधू कथितं वितनोतु सलीलम् .. ८..

This song that contains the accounts of Krishna's romantic frolics, as said by poet Jayadeva, who always worships the feet of Goddess Lakshmi, and as retold by me, an ecstasied milkmaid Raadha, let this song broadly pass blessedness all round..


al brazzakh said...

Great post. I agree wit all that has been written.

Shringar rasa has know been reduced to a spiritual union between the seeker and the divine.
The physical and emotional aspect of the union has been stymied under the onslaught of Victorian morality.

The custodians of culture harass people as they have adopted Victorian morality as Sanatan Dharma.

However, as an example, see the height of our Macaulised minds. We want to give munhtod jawab to the fake custodians of culture by exchanging multiple coloured flowers on V-Day. In a display of extreme irony, we don't know that exchanging flowers started in the time of Victoria because outward expressions of love were prohibited!

Kama is enjoying the physical, emotional and spirituals comforts of life acquired in the means of doing your Dharma. Sadly, our Victorian minds have given a bad name to the same. There are many sanghatans which propagate Kama as the chief cause of problems and preach extreme forms of detachment, examples being Brahkumaris and others. We now foolishly club Kama with krodha and lobha, which exactly is the evangelical abrahmic definition of sins of humankind

I think when you find time, please detail the journey of Kama from Dharma-Artha-Kama to abrahmic Kama- krodh-lobha.

काय चालूये.. said...

Diyar brazzakhuddin.. Many many Shokran for your gracious comments..

I agree with confused minds of our youth while they oppose the custodians of culture. Isn't it ironic that, in this game, both the parties are victims of same foe, although are ignorant and unaware of this.

You have provided excellent insight regarding the flow of "kaama" in dharmic and abrahmic systems. I will definitely start thinking over it.. It is a very useful insight. I experienced the moment of clarity, when I read this comment of yours..

Thanks again.. May all your khushboos smile upon you and never have headache when you wish to fulfil the kaama.. :P

al brazzakh said...

Diyar Cheerharan,
Where are the next parts of Geeta Govinda hain? A follow up post is needed phor that.

Click the appropriate part in the link.

For Victorian morality, read this written from a abrahmic pov, but a good read.

Since writer is abrahmic herself/hismelf, words like "Xians, God's chosen people" are used. Other than that, the text is fine.

Looking forward to your treatise of journey of Kaama like Lance Dane's illustrated sutras book :P

Chinmay 'भारद्वाज' said...

I agree with your thoughts about gradual transformation of Indian society from liberal to ultra-conservative. But I think it's cyclic and we will be liberal again. Because Sanatan Dharma is inherently liberal in nature.

On the topic of Shri Krishna and Radha - As much I appreciate beauty of Geeta-Govinda, I don't think it was appropriate on part of Jaydev to create a completely fictional character playing consort to Shri Krishna.

I understand that meaning of the word Radha paints different picture of what he (Jaydev)actually wanted to achieve but he could have called Rukmini as Raadha and wrote poems about her and Shri Krishna.

It would be interesting to think about the damage, this character of Radha has done to Karma-yogi life of Shri Krishna.