Jaur Gita Govinda, Part 9


Sep 15, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — Reprise of a 2005 month-long series on the illustrious Jaur Gita-Govinda.

Text Folio No. 17

Bhava 19

From Bhava 19 onwards, this folio takes us back to the scene of the separation of the lovers. Krsna has again moved back to the woods. Bhava 19 in folio 17 describes Krsna on the banks of the Yamuna, reminiscing on his tryst with Radha. At one place, he halts as if unable to walk. Krsna then admits that his thoughts were far away with his beloved Radha and in his mind's eye, he saw the beautiful eyes of Radha. He longs to go back to her and can contain himself no longer.

Text Folios No. 18 and 19

Bhava 20

Bhava 20 is another conversation between the sakhi and Radha. The former tells Radha of the anxiety and the anguish of Krsna. The sakhi says that it is impossible for her to describe his state and Radha must agree to meet him. She advises Radha that salvation lies only in Radha's meeting Krsna. Radha's reply is full of complaints and resentment. Krsna, according to her, does not care for her, and he ran away in the early hours of dawn. She imagines he plays and dances with others, is oblivious that Radha seeks him alone, longs for him every minute. 'I have', says Radha, 'tested him this time enough. He ran away before dawn.'

Text Folios No. 20 and 21

Bhavas 21, 22 and 23

These Bhavas continue with the sakhis advising and attempting to persuade Radha to meet Krsna. Once she rebukes her for being narrow-minded, at another time she tells her that it does not behoove one like her to behave thus when he anxiously waits for her. She compares Radha to the gardener of the flower-bed and says, how can the garden flower if its keeper is angry? She speaks of her fading away without his love, and teller her how onlookers can discern that she too pines and yearns, and wastes away without him. The sakhi asks Radha to give up her pride and meet him eye to eye. The sakhi once again loads her narration with many similies and metaphors, signs and symbols of the conventional motifs of love and asks her to merge with her Lord as the fish immerse themselves in water. She reminds Radha that the night is passing and she must not delay. Finally she entreats Radha to accompany her.

Illustration Folios 17, 18 and 19

The folios portray these emotions, not by following a line sequence but by generally depicting the essence of the mood. In two sections of folio 17 there are two separate figures, each going his and her way. Krsna is moving away towards the Yamuna, while the sakhi watches and beckons him. In folios 18 and 19, Radha is seen sitting under a tree in utter loneliness in the first section of both folios. In section two of folio 18, a sakhi is seen sporting with Krsna. This may portray Radha's fears of Krsna's sporting with others.

Section 3 of folio 18 shows two stylized trees, without any human figures, suggesting a pause or an impasse in this quarrel of the divine lovers. The trees denote a silence through their static aloofness. This is in deep contrast to the mood of despair of Radha, and the anxious conversation of Krsna and the sakhi. With a minimum use of line and changes in the portrayal of eyebrows and eyes and a variety of sitting postures, the artist successfully captures the drama of the emotions of the three characters.

In the first panel of folio 19, Radha sits and pines, obviously in no mood to listen to the sakhi. There are variously sized trees, with a charming lines for the trunks. While the cross-cross lines of Radha's sari suggest her inner agitation, her posture reflects a sense of restraint and outer composure. This panel of Radha is in deep contrast with the vivacious drama playing out in the second section, where a sakhi is seen pulling at Krsna's scarf. A yellow background with red specs frames the sakhi in a very energetic light. The sakhi is apparently trying to persuade Krsna to go to Radha. She is narrating Radha's state to him. Fish swimming in the Yamuna and a solitary tree are the only observers to the drama.

Illustration folio 20 continues in the same strain with a complaining Radha, still meditating upon Krsna and his dalliance with other women. Again we see Radha talking with a parrot, who may be the proverbial messenger. We see the Yamuna below and the sky above. The colors and composition of this panel clearly communicates an ill-at-ease feeling.

In the second panel Krsna is seen with another sakhi in an animated movement of dance. Again, this might be seen as a recreation of Radha's mental imaginings. The vivacious pose, the movement of the pull in the central panel are counterpoised against the static but eloquent pose of Radha in the third section. Here, she is seen sitting in darkness, which is suggested by the appearance of a snake in the foreground. Radha sits lonely and waiting, imagining Krsna's love-play with other women. The echoes of the Gita-Govinda are many, both in the text and the illustration.


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