Jaur Gita Govinda, Part 5


Sep 11, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — Reprise of a 2005 month-long series on the illustrious Jaur Gita-Govinda.

Text Folios No. 9, 10 and 11

Bhavas 12 and 13

These bhavas take us back to the sakhi's entreating Krsna, who is addressed as Mohan. She describes the love-lorn state of Radha, whom neither sun nor shadow pleases. She is distraught and beside herself with longing. The moonbeams are the piercing arrows of Kama and the notes of the kokil intensify her anguish.

'Radha', says the sakhi, 'paints and repaints him and she has care for neither dress nor coiffure.' She is pale and emaciated with the craving and the waiting. Her ear-ornaments are like stinging snakes, the beads of her necklace are like the heavy weight of mountains on her breast. All her garments and ornaments are a burden. She can no longer bear the anguish, for it is Sri Krsna she wants. She counts the stars at night, is startled by the slightest sound, and it is the name of Krsna and Krsna alone which she repeats. She likes neither heat nor cold, and is beside herself with the pain of her desire. This bhava is a close prose-rendering of Sarga IV, prabandha 9.

Text Folio No. 12

Bhava 14

Bhava 14 continues the entreaties of the sakhi through a series of similies, one piled up on the other where all the motifs and conventions of medieval poetry are invoked in a simple, but effective prose style. The metaphors and the affectations are drawn from many sources and not from the Gita-Govinda alone. Although echoes of the latter are clear in the reference to the kokil pancama raga, etc., the bhava is not a literal prose rendering of corresponding verses.

Illustration Folio 10

Illustration folio 10 (not pictured here) portrays Radha and Krsna in two sections. In the first she is offering puja to something which has the appearance of a siva-linga. In the second, Krsna is seen again with two cows, against the background of mountains and hills, along the Yamuna. But this time he is seen with a plough, not with a flute.

Illustration Folio 11

The text of bhavas 14 and 15 poignantly describe Radha in a weakened state. She is compared to the setting sun and the waning moon. She is all shriveled up with longing for Krsna. In the first panel of folio 11 we see a sakhi and Krsna together, the former obviously persuading him to meet Radha. Set on a background that is night-colored, we see Krsna standing aloof, and the sakhi looking agitated and ready to move away. Other than Krsna's bright effulgence and a night-flower, all else is dark and gloomy.

In the next panel we see Krsna and a number of sakhis. This panel provides an interesting detail of the sakhi's carrying another woman on their shoulders, either to suggest a real person or to show a picture of Radha to Krsna. Krsna looks away in an opposite direction. Framed on a yellow background, Krsna is standing outdoors, and we see a tree and flower nearby. The jagged line above his head appears like a dark, cloudy sky. Given the three different colour schemes used as background in this panel, we have the suggestion of movement and different times of day and night.

Movement is also indicated in the repetition of pattern where a small version of Radha, perhaps indicating a picture of her, is held aloft by the sakhis The sakhis move towards Krsna, bearing Radha from the red panel into the dark blue panel. Krsna seems aloof, his back to the entourage. He holds his flute, and is pointing in the opposite direction. All this creates a dramatic tension, making this folio a kind of jhanki, a tableaux-like recreation of a dramatic moment.


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