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Gita Govinda by Shrila Jayadeva Goswami
Translated by Gadadhara Prana Dasa
Published by Rasbiharilal and Sons, Loi Bazaar, Vrindavan
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Gita Govinda (The song of Govinda) is one of ancient India's most renowned classics; it lucidly focuses on Radha and Krsna intimate love affairs.Sensuous is Jayadeva's sweet language, yet his message in Gita Govinda paints the accurate picture, for our Sri Govinda is 'Amorous love Personified'.
The story's first chapter provides the evidence:
visvesamanuranjanena janayannaandamindivara srenisyamla komalair upanayanangairotsavam svaccandarh vrajasundearibhirabhiramitam pratyanganmalingitah srngarah sakhl murtimaniva madhou harihkridati.
A sakhl tells Radha:
"O vinodini Rai, just see how krsna enjoys the spring! He is making love with all of the Vraja sundaris as they embrace and fondle every limb of His soft, syama body which is more deli¬cate and colorful than blue lotus. Thus Krsna inaugurates 'Cupid's festival' to enlivent he gopls and the entire creation— as He is Himself—srngara (Amorous love) Personified."
Gita Govinda is for the bhaktas who wish to know about this side of Krsna's personality; and Jayadeva begins by saying so:
jadi hari smarane sarasam mano
jadi vilasa kalasu kutuhalam
madhura komala kanta padavalim
srnu tada jayadeva sarasvatim
"Hey rasika bhaktas! Would you like to freshen your minds in remembering Sri Krsna (with in his madhura lila)! Has your curiosity awoken to learn about His erotic affairs (with the Vraja gopis)? Then, by all means, let's begin to hear the sweet, heart-rendering poetry composed by Jayadeva.As Krsna is depicted as Srngara rasa Personified, naturally, His bhaktas will strive to follow in the wake of His amorous desires to serve Him. Gita Govinda provides the intriguing purport to this account. Jayadeva's language is bubbling over with srngara; perhaps because, he too, is a romantic, or a rasika, as Sri Krsna.Sex, in our world, is one thing...yet the srngara (divine, erotic love descriptons which flow from Sri Jayadeva's pen are coming from a completely different realm. The two compare like the opposite poles on a sphere. Sex (in most cases) binds us to this world; yet Krsna's srngara is liberating. Its transcendental quality can be the very cause for a bhakta's taking a spiritual birth right within Krsna; Vrandavana lila. Hearing about it just a little bit has amazing sideeffects. Gita Govinda's sev¬enth chapter affirms:
srijayadeva bhanita hari ramitam
kali kalusam janayati parisamitam
"Hearing Sri Jayadeva's descriptions of Sri Krsna's rati-keli-lila (lovemaking pastimes) can purify all of the impurity of Kali Yuga.Thus rasika bhaktas can employ such hearing like a tool; it will serve as the needle for removing the thorn of perverted, selfish sex desire which plagues one's heart. This siddhanta is confirmed in the Bhagavatam :
vikriditam vrajabadhubhir idan ca visnoh
sraddhanvito anusanuyad atha varnayedyah
bhaktim parambhagavati pratilabhya kamam
hrdrogam asvapahinotyacirena dhirah
"By the constant faithful hearing, or speaking, about krsna's pastimes with the gopls, one attains param-bhakti. With such bhakti's help, one then gains sense control, the ability to re¬move lust from the heart, and peace.
Sri Jayadeva Gosvami is a forerunner or a trendsetter with his style of Giti Kavya (Poetic prose which is meant for sing¬ing). Gita Govinda has been copied by the greatest poets, who earnestly tried, but who could never duplicate its charm.Rupa Gosvami follows after his style in Gltavali, Srlla Prabodhananda Saraswati follows suit in Sanglta Madhava, as Govinda dasa's poetry and Raya Ramananda's Jagannatha ballabha play also do . More over, Sri Rupa's Bhakti rasamrta sindhu and Ujjvala nilamani, as well as Krsna dasa Kaviraj's Caitanya caritamrta, include many references taken from Gita Govinda. Yet perhaps the greatest credit which can be attrib¬uted to Jayadeva is that Bhagavan Sri Krsna Caitanyadeva would Himself regularly relish Gita Govinda's rasa in the com¬pany of Raya Ramananda and Svarupa Damodara. Hence readers are assured that in taking Gita Govinda to heart, they are the authentic, pleasure-filled world of Radha-Govinda's prema keli.
Padmavati was an exceptionally beautiful and talented woman, who, from early childhood, learned how to sing and dance for the pleasure of Lord Jagannatha at Puri. When she became of marriageable age, Padmavati was wedded to Jayadeva by the wish of Lord Jagannath, Who personally appeared to her father in a dream of give the order. Because Jayadeva mentions her in many places in Gita Govinda, her love surely must have inspired his writing. Although, in using the name "Padmavati", Jayadeva also refers to Srimati RadharanI, the source of every Laksmi.
Most readers of this edition won't know Sanskrita; never¬theless, the Sanskrita has been left in. The reason is that Jayadeva's language has a powerful effect, like that of mantra. Just as the Kama bija and the Kama gayatri infuse within their reciters prema anuraga for Vrndavana's transcendental cupid, Madana Mohana-so does the mantra sakti contained within each line of Gita Govinda.
One could describe this book's composition to be like an amrt a-confection;There are 24 delectable songs, held together with the sa¬vory batter of a few auxiliary slokas placed in between. I wish our readers happy tasting
Gadadhara prana dasa