Perspective History & Culture

Poetic richness of Gita Govinda

Jayadeva’s bhakti for Krishna finds its match in his lyrical prowess

Jayadeva’s Ashtapadi differs from other bhakti compositions because of the predominant element of poetry. There is sensitivity and imagination in every stanza. The main problem in citing examples is the explicit nature of his description of the amorous dalliance of Krishna with Radha and other gopikas. One has, therefore, to be choosy, and be somewhat of a Bowdler, in quoting from Jayadeva.

The beauty (or, is it irony?) of it is that Jayadeva keeps saying that reading his explicit verses will not only confer various kinds of benefits but also neutralise the sins of kali:

“Yadgandharva kalaasu kaushalamanudhyaanam cha yad vaishnavam, Yashrungaara viveka tatva rachanaa kaavyeshu lilayitham, tatsarvam Jayadevapanditha kave: krushnai kahaanaatmanana: saanandaa: parishodayanthu sughiya: shri Gita Govindata”

(From the Gita Govinda composed by Jayadeva, who is extremely devoted to Krishna, the wise may get proficiency in music, uninterrupted contemplation on Vishnu and knowledge of the intricate techniques of erotics (sloka).

“Sri Jayadeva vachasi ruchire sadayam hrudayam kuru mandane, haricharana smaranaamrutha nirmitha kali kalusha jwara khandane:”

(Always remember the words of Jayadeva which dispel the fever, namely, the sins of Kali and express the sweet devotion to the feet of Krishna - ‘kuru yadhu nandana.’)

The apocryphal story is that Jayadeva once toned down his explicit version in one of the stanzas and went to sleep and, on waking up, found that Krishna had appeared and restored the original version!

Let us see some examples of his beautiful poetry:

“Abhinava jaladhara sundara” — beautifully dark-hued like a fresh rain-bearing cloud (shritha Kamala kucha)

“Shrimukha chandra chakora:” — longing for Goddess Lakshmi’s face as a chakora bird longs for the moon (shritha Kamala kucha)

“Shri Radhapathi paada padma bhajanaanandaabdhi magno anisham tham vande Jayadeva sathguruvaram Padmavati vallabham” — I bow down to that foremost preceptor Jayadeva, who is always immersed in the ocean of bliss in worshipping the lotus feet of the consort of Radha and who is the spouse of Padmavati (Dhyana slokam – Shri Gopalavilasini )

Rama avatar

“Vitharasi dhikshu rane dikpathi kamaniyam dasamukhamouli balim ramaniyam, Keshava dhrutha Rama sareera:” — O Keshava! One who has assumed the form of Rama! You scattered the heads of Ravana in ten directions in the battlefield as if offering oblations acceptable to the guardian deities (‘Jaya Jagadisha Hare’)

“Lalitha lavanga latha pariseelana komala malaya samire, madhukara nikara karambita kokila koojita kunja kutire:” — In the soft westerly winds embracing the soft clove creepers and in the bowers filled with the buzzing swarms of honey bees and sweet notes of cuckoos (‘lalitha lavanga’)

“Spuradathi muktha latha parirambhaNa mukulita pulakita chuthe” — As the mango tree blossoms as it were on account of the embrace of the atimuktha creeper, Krishna rejoices with the maidens (’viharathi hari riha’)

“Nityotsanga vasath bhujanga kavalakleshadi veshachalam, praleyaplavanechaanusarati shri khandana shailaanila” The soft breeze from the Malaya mountains wafts north as if it cannot stand the heat produced by the poisonous serpents in the southern mountains and wants to get cooled by the snowclad Himalaya mountains of the north.

“Jalada patala chaladindu vinindaka chandana bindu lalatam” — (The sandal paste pottu on Krishna’s forehead in its beauty mocks at the moon, which moves slowly through the banks of cluds (‘sancharadhara sudha’)

“Varnitam Jayadevakena hareritam pravanena, kindubilva samudrasambhava rohini ramanena” — Just as the moon, which rises from the ocean makes it happy, Jayadeva, who was born in kindubilva makes it happy (‘mamiyam chalita’)

“Shashimukhi! tava bhaathi bhangura bhru yuvajanamohakar aalakaala sarpi” — One who has a beautiful face like the moon! Your curved eyebrow is like the cruel black cobra that stupefies youth (‘dhyana slokam — parihara kruthathanke’)

“Shashimukhi! mukharaya manirashanagunamanuguna kanTaninadam, shrutiyugale pikarutavikale mama shmaya chiradavasadam” — “O moon-faced one! Let the bells in your girdle ring in resonance with the sweet notes of your voice. It will soothe my ears which have found even the notes of cuckoos harsh due to separation from you (‘kisalaya shayanatale’)

Jayadeva ends his kaavyam with a striking compliment to himself: “Saadhvi maadhvika! chintha na bhavati bhavata: sharkare! karkashasi, dhrakshe! dhrakhshayanti ke tvaamamrutha! mruthaamasi ksheera! niram rasasthe, makand! krandha kanthadhara! dhara na thulam gala yachchanthi bhavam, yaavatshrungarasaaram shubhamiha Jayadevasya vaidagdhya vaacha” — O sweet wine, do not consider yourself sweet any longer. O sugar! you are crude and harsh. O grapes! who would bother to look at you? O milk! You are tasteless and insipid. O mango fruit ! You lament that you are worthless. O ruddy lips of lovely women! Do not aspire to any comparison as long as the words of Jayadeva last. (sloka – saadhvi).

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 8:45:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/poetic-richness-of-gita-govinda/article25389131.ece

Next Story