Jaur Gita Govinda, Part 15


Sep 21, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — Reprise of a 2005 month-long series on the illustrious Jaur Gita-Govinda.

Text Folios No. 29 and 30

Bhava 41

Radha, enraptured, holds Krsna in her arms. Like a man (purusa rupa), she binds Krsna to her. Krsna, locked in Radha's arms, exclaims what lovely woman can be as man. The rest of the bhava describes the consummation of the ultimate love and is interspersed with exclamations of glory to Lord Krsna. It concludes with an account of the morning after, when Radha lies with hair undone and garments disheveled, her limbs aching and she is a picture of one beautifully wounded with the arrows of Kama.

The bhava finally concludes in folio 30 with a sentence which may be roughly translated thus: "This is a glimpse (jhanki) of the Rangalila Nataka of Sri Bhagavan Govinda Ji and is the gist of the immortal Gita-Govinda composed by Sri Jayadeva. It may not be blamed.' Then follows the colophon on folio 30 which states that the work was created for reading or recitation (pathanartha) in Samvata 1650, Phalguna Sukla, on Sunday, the 7th, in the village (grama) Jaur. It was illustrated through the skill of Sri Kiratadasa.

Illustration Folio 29

The last two prabandhas of the Gita-Govinda have inspired painters in diverse schools of miniature painting to interpret these verses in pictorial terms. The pictorial depictions of this text has been portrayed symbolically, as in the Pahari Schools, especially the Basohli. The Orissan palm leaf manuscripts, known as rati-bandha, feature an entire genre of scenes of Radha and Krsna's loving pastimes. The painter of this Jaur Gita-Govinda appears to be fully acquainted with the original Gita-Govinda.

Folio 29 is divided into two sections. In the first there is an erotic scene that visually presents the text and captures many details of the verbal description. This pictorial composition is based on the phrase, "What lovely woman can be, as a man." The scene is indoors, in an affluent setting. Radha and Krsna are on a red divan, and Krsna's halo merges into the colour of the bed. The rich sensuous imagery of the poem is transformed into this visual picture, which includes the paraphernalia, decorations and furnishings.

There is a lion depicted in the scene, an allusion to the slim waist and passion of Radha. Such poetic imagery, and even metrical patterns, are concretized in decorative motif in various other sets of Gita-Govinda illustrations, particularly in the early 19th century manuscripts from Bundi. The sardulavikridita metrical pattern is often seen in the drawings as a sardula.

In the second panel, Krsna sits on a throne and is seen offering a garland to Radha, who is seated at his feet. Radha now wears a red sari that matches Krsna's halo. Framed against a nighttime background, Krsna sits in a relaxed position, leaning on a green bolster. The line of night clouds is seen in the upper corner.

The pictorial style of this manuscript does not follow the earlier Western Indian paintings on Vaisnava themes. This folio has a distinct, original personality that is entirely pleasing.


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