Miracle Plays of Mathura - Repertoir of Rasdharis, Part 2


Taking Krsna's Leave
Pahari, c. 1770

Aug 15, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — Reprise of a 2007 series on the Miracle Plays of Mathura.

Continuation of the collection of 106 distinct lilas typically enacted by the Braj Raslila troupes.

51. Panghat Lila
When the gopis come to the Jamuna to fill their waterpots, Krsna bars their way and demands a tax of butter and sugar candy. He claims ownership of the river and reads a high-sounding title deed. After a struggle the gopis submit.

52. Panre Lila (or Brahman Bhojan Lila)
A priest at the house of Nand prepares rice pudding to offer during worship. While his eyes are closed in invocation, baby Krsna creeps up and eats the rice. The priest prepares another dish, and again the same thing happens. The priest complains to Yasoda, who scolds the child. Krsna explains, 'When my devotee calls, I surely come and accept what He offers!'

53. Putana Uddhar Lila (or Putanabadh Lila)
A female demon attempts to kill the infant Krsna by suckling him at a poisoned breast. Krsna sucks the very life out of her.

54. Prathamanurag Lila
When Radha is born to Kirtti and Vrishabhanu, the child Krsna accompanies Nand on a visit to offer congratulations. When Krsna enters the room, the sleeping baby opens her eyes and smiles.

55. Pralambasur Uddhar Lila
Balarama kills the demon named Pralamba.

56. Prempariksha Lila
To test Krsna's loyalty, Radha sends a gopi to say there is a girl who would like to see Him very much. Krsna replies that He will see no one but Radha. Delighted with His constancy, Radha comes to Him at once.

57. Premsamput Lila
While Krsna is visiting Radha in female disguise, Radha praises Krsna's virtues. The female visitor says she will believe that Radha's love is true only if she can summon Krsna into her presence by meditating on Him. Radha goes into meditation. While her eyes are shut, Krsna removes His disguise.

58. Banjarau Lila
Radha, now the wife of Krsna, wishes to make the annual visit to her father's house, but no one has come to escort her. Through a passing cattle dealer she sends a tearful message, and her brother Sridama comes to take her away.

59. Bansi Lila
Some gopis denounce Krsna's flute because it distracts them from their duties. Radha confesses that it moves her to such love for Krsna that she cares nothing for public opinion but openly stares at Him, fearing only that Her doting gaze will bring discredit to him. Krsna declares that her loving glance is His greatest treasure.

60. Bahula Lila
The cow Bahula, attacked by a lion, obtains permission to go and give suck to her calf before being eaten. Then she returns faithfully, to be devoured. Krsna appears and gives salvation to both cow and lion.

61. Bal Samvaran Lila
Krsna wishes to comb and adorn Radha's hair. After a conflict with the gopis He is allowed to do so.

62. Bisatin Lila
Disguised as a female jewel merchant, Krsna bestows on Radha without cost such splendid ornaments that Radha embraces the vendor. Krsna is overwhelmed with emotion, falls into a swoon, and is discovered.

63. Binavari Lila
Krsna, disguised as a musician, plays the vina before Radha with great emotional effect. But the musician, too, is affected and begins to perform in ecstasy certain dances that are characteristic of Krsna. A suspicious gopi begins to rub perfume on the bodices of all the women present. Krsna's disguise is inadequate for this test, and He is caught.

64. Brajyatra Lila
A miserly gopi goes on the Braj pilgrimage. Her heart remains with her house and wealth, and she returns time after time to check on her property. Krsna breaks into her house, and when He is finished, she has nothing more to worry about.

65. Brahmacari Lila
Krsna comes to the gopis as a palmist who claims to tell present, past, and future. Thus he is able to hold the hands of all the gopis and to predict for Radha a dark man in her future.

66. Brahma Lila
At the time of the birth of Krsna, Brahma makes a congratulatory visit upon Nand and Yasoda. They honor him and offer every sort of gift, but he accepts only a piece of yellow cloth in which the baby had once been wrapped.

67. Brahmavyamoh Lila
Seeing that Krsna eats the leftovers of the cowherds, Brahma doubts His divinity and tests it by stealing away all the herds and herdsmen. Krsna miraculously creates duplicates of the stolen cattle and their keepers. Convinced, Brahma falls at the feet of Krsna.

68. Bhanvara Vari Lila
A black bee annoys Radha at mealtime. Krsna rises and drives it out. A gopi says, 'The black bee has flown away.' Radha thinks it is Krsna that has gone, and weeps.

69. Mani Khambh Lila
Krsna enters a gopi's house and steals butter from a pot which stands before a polished mirror. He becomes angry with his mute companion in the mirror who mocks, refuses to eat a share of the loot, and quarrels with Him.

70. Mathuragaman Lila
Sending Akrura as messenger, King Kans invites Krsna to come to Mathura. Krsna accompanies Akrura after taking leave of the weeping gopis. While the travelers are resting at the riverside, Akrura sees a vision of Krsna and Balaram seated in a chariot beneath the water.

71. Mathura Praves Lila
Entering Mathura, Krsna and Balaram seize the royal clothing from the king's washerman. The royal gardener gladly gives his flowers to them. Kubja's humped back is straightened. King Kans' bow is snapped, and his fierce elephant is slain.

72. Maniharin Lila
Krsna goes to Radha in the disguise of a bangle-seller. While fitting bracelets on Radha's arm, he trembles so with emotion that His identity is betrayed.

73. Mall Lila
In the arena at Mathura Krsna slays the champion wrestlers of King Kans. (Usually a sub-episode in the Kansbadh Lila.)

74. Mahadev Lila
Radha's mother, Kirtti, asks the counsel of the god Mahadev regarding a proposal that Radha be married to Krsna, who is of good family but has the bad habit of stealing. Going into a trance, Mahadev communes about the problem with the god of his special devotion. Sine this ishtadevata is Krsna Himself, Mahadeva's report to Kirtti is that the marriage would be most auspicious.

75. Maharas Lila (or Rasapancadhyayi Lila)
Kamdev challenges Krsna to a battle with him, so Krsna summons the gopois with His flute. He rebukes them for leaving their husbands. They insist that Krsna is their real husband. He relents and dances with them. In the midst of the dance Kamdev attacks Krsna but is defeated. The gopis become proud because of Krsna's favors, so He disappears. They search for Him, forlorn and humble. Satisfied, Krsna returns and dances the maharas dance with them, multiplying His forms so that each gopi may have Him as partner.

76. Man Lila
Radha dreams that Krsna has left her and gone flirting with others. Waking and finding Krsna absent, she is convinced that the dream is true, and pouts. A companion brings Krsna, who appeases her.

77. Man Khandan Lila
Krsna seeks admission at Radha's door, giving all His divine names. Radha pretends not to recognize any of them, so He goes away. Repentant, she comes to Him hidden under the end of her companion's garment. He has His revenge in verbal jibes.

78. Makhan Cori Lila (several distinct texts bear this name)
A gopi catches Krsna in the act of stealing butter in her house. To report Him to Yasoda, she pulls him down the road by the arm. Saying that His wrist is paining, Krsna asks the gopi to grasp the other arm. During the transfer Krsna slips into her hand the arm of a little girl who was gathering cow dung on the road. The heavily veiled gopi does not notice the change, but drags the girl before Yasoda crying that she has at last caught and brought the criminal with butter on His very hands.

79. Malin Lila
Coming into Radha's presence in the guise of a flower seller, Krsna claims to be skilled in massage also, and asks permission to massage Radha's feet. The auspicious gopis look the 'florist woman' over carefully and discover Krsna's characteristic garland, the banmala, hanging down from her skirt.

80. Mundariyacori Lila
Radha takes a dancing lesson from Krsna despite the gopis' warning that He is a thief. After the lesson her ring is found to be missing. Krsna is searched and caught with the goods. In revenge the gopis steal Krsna's flute, crown, and cloak. In hope of getting them back Krsna comes to Radha in the guise of a girl lovelorn for Krsna. Radha tries to console her visitor by putting on the stolen crown and cloak and playing the flute. Krsna catches her in possession of stolen property.

81. Mrittka Bhakshan Lila (or Mantikhaman Lila)
Baby Krsna eats earth. The cowherd boys tell Yasoda, but Krsna denies that He has done so. Yasoda, irritated, compels Him to open His mouth. Looking in, she beholds the gods, the moon, the sun, the sky and the whole universe therein. The stick falls from her hand.

82. Mainavari Lila
Krsna roams in Radha's neighborhood in the guise of a woman who sells maina birds. Radha calls the vendor in and asks her name and background. Krsna is struck speechless by Radha's beauty. Unable to utter a word in reply, His hoax falls through.

83. Mauni Jogi Lila
Krsna sits in the guise of an ascetic vowed to silence. Radha comes amid the crowd and praises the ascetic in His hearing, saying He must be the son of a king and the disciple of a perfect teacher. Krsna's joy at these words overwhelms His self-control. He speaks and is found out.

84. Yugalchadma Lila
Radha takes up the role of Krsna, and tries to woo Krsna in the female role. This Radha proves to be very haughty and intractable. 'Now,' says Krsna at the close, 'you have some idea of the trouble I have in wooing you.'

85. Rangrejin Lila
Krsna comes to Radha's place as a dyer woman who exchanges freshly dyed saris for old. Radha takes one and gives in return some of her own royal clothes. Etiquette requires that royal gifts be donned at once, but the 'dyer woman' is strangely slow. Radha's companions help with the change, and Krsna is literally revealed.

86. Rajdan Lila
Radha and the gopis retaliate for the constant exactions of the cowherd boys by dressing up as king and ministers and demanding payment of toll from them as they pass by.

87. Rasvihar Lila
Radha assumes the role of Krsna and calls the gopis with His flute. (Thereafter the story is similar to that of the Maharal Lila.)

88. Lohasurbadh Lila
Krsna defeats and kills the demon Lohasur.

89. Varunalay Lila
While Nand is bathing in the river, Varuna's messengers seize him and carry him off to their master's capital beneath the sea. Krsna comes at once to recover him. Varuna apologizes, explaining that his only desire was to be blessed by Krsna's appearance in his realm.

90. Vidushi Lila
Krsna comes to Radha in the guise of a learned woman and lectures her on the importance of certain philosophical doctrines. Radha replies, advocating the philosophy of love (prem). Krsna is pleased and removes His disguise.

91. Vivaha Lila
Krsna arrives in procession and is married to Radha, Brahma acting as the officiating priest. (This performance - a spectacle rather than a drama - reproduces the rites of the usual Hindu wedding.)

92. Vaidya Lila
A gopi sees Krsna at the riverside and falls ill of love. Krsna comes to her in the disguise of a physician (vaidya) and cures her.

93. Vyomasurbadh Lila
The demon Vyomasur, sent by Kans, joins the game of the cowherd boys and carries all but Krsna off into a cave. When the demon turns on Krsna it is beaten to death.

94. Sakatasur Uddhar Lila
Krsna destroys the demon Sakatasur, who has taken the form of a cart.

95. Santanu Lila
King Santanu performs austerities in hope of obtaining a son. Krsna accepts cheerfully his offering of parched grain, and pleased, promises him a son. Bhisma is born.

96. Siva Jogi Lila (or Sankar Lila)
Siva comes to the house of Yasoda to have a view of the newborn Krsna. Fearing his grim appearance, Yasoda turns him away. Baby Krsna wails and cannot be silenced until the strange yogi is brought back and admitted. Siva worships Krsna and goes away happy.

97. Syamsagai Lila
Radha's mother hesitates to betroth her daughter to Krsna because of His habit of thieving. Krsna's friends persuade her that this habit will not be a permanent vice. The engagement is arranged.

98. Sudama Lila
Krsna's childhood friend Sudama, who lives in destitution, visits Krsna, who has become a king of great wealth and power. Krsna accepts from Sudama the gift of a handful of broken rice - his last morsel of food - and allows him to depart for home without offering him anything but cordiality. On the way home Sudama's wife complains bitterly of Krsna's hardness of heart, but her husband defends Krsna. When the pair reach the site of their hovel, they find that a magnificent palace has been built for them, complete with every luxury.

99. Sambhram Man Lila
Radha sees her own reflection in the very large jewel which hangs on Krsna's breast. She is jealous of the beautiful woman whose likeness she sees there, and she pouts until the matter is explained to her.

100. Sanvari Saheli Lila
Krsna in a gopi's disguise comes to Radha's playground at Prem Sarovar and swings with her. The breeze disarranges the folds of His dress, and he is recognized.

101. Sanjhi Lila
While Radha is picking flowers, Krsna comes and demands to know on what authority she is picking flowers in His garden. The gopis arrive and compel Him to admit that the garden is hers. He apologizes, and Radha invites Him to her house to see the festival decorations.

102. Saligram Lila
While Nand is at worship before the saligram stone, baby Krsna picks up the stone and conceals it in His mouth. There is a long search for it. Detected at last, Krsna explains, 'I am the Saligram!'

103. Siddhesvari Lila
A sharp word from Radha makes Krsna very ill. His mother searches in vain for a doctor who can cure Him. The gopis bring as a doctor 'Siddhesvari Yogini' (Radha in disguise). At the mere touch of this 'doctor', Krsna is well.

104. Sudarsanbadh Lila
A demon carries off a gopi during the ras dance. Krsna kills him.

105. Sunarin Lila
Krsna goes to Radha's house in the guise of a goldsmith's wife and decorates Radha with golden ornaments.

106. Svapna Lila
Yasoda wakens Krsna from his bed. Krsna protests that when awakened from the dream, he had been just about to be happily married. Visiting gopis remark, 'Who would marry a black-faced thief like you! We would not come to your wedding even as spectators!' Krsna quarrels and cajoles, and in the end they agree to come to His wedding.

Source: The Miracle Plays of Mathura by Norvin Hein.


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