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Govinda Lilamrita : Raas Interlude Abhisaar

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Here are some Rasa lila kirtan padas. The following selection by Govinda Das is famous, for no Rasa kirtan pala or program can begin without this invocation of the lila.


Rāsa Abhisāra

śarada canda, pavana manda, vipina bhoralo kusuma gandha (re)
phulla mallikā, mālatī jūthi, matta madhukara bhoraṇī (re)
herato rāti, aichana bhāti śyāma mohana madana māti (re)
muralī gāna, pañcama tāna, kulavati citta corani (re)
śunoto gopī prema ropi monohi monohi āpana sopi (re)
tāhi coloto jāhi roato muralīka kalā rolani (re)
visari geha nijahu deha eka nayana kājara reho (re)
bahe rañjita kaṅkaṇa eka eka kuṇṭala dolanī (re)
śithila canda nivīka bandha vege dhāoto juvatī vṛnda (re)
khasata vasana rasana coli vigalita veṇī lolanī (re)
tatahi beli sakhinī meli keho kāhuka pathe na geli (re)
aiche milolo gokula cānda govinda dāsa bolani (re)

 

As the autumn full moon rises, Vrindavan’s forest is filled with the scent of blooming mallika, malati and juthi flowers. Thus the enmaddened honey-bees buzz hither and thither. And seeing the lovely moonlit evening, Shyama Mohan is shaken by Madana’s arrows, so taking up his murali, he plays in the fifth scale to steal the Vraja kulavatis’ minds! Hence, blinded by prema, they hurry to fully surrender to him as the murali’s sweet song becomes their guide. But when leaving their homes, the gopis even forget themselves! Thus a gopa taruni puts mascara on only one eye, and others come running with bangles on one hand, or with an earring dangling from only one ear! And while they scurry towards Govinda, their nivi bandhanas loosen, their garments fall off and their blouses come undone! But as some of the sakhis assemble before Muralidhar Krishna, the others have lost their way, blinded by their anurāga! Govinda Das thus describes their milan with Gokula Chand.

(2)

kālindī tīra sudhīra samīraṇa, kunda kumuda aravinda vikāśa
nācata maura bhora matta madhukara,

śuka śārikā pīka pañcama bhāṣa
madhuvane nidhuvane mugdha murāri

mugdha gopa-vadhū adhika laka saiye
raṅge vihāre vṛṣabhānu kumārī
nācata nāṭinī gāoye naṭa-śekhara, gāoata nāṭinī nāce naṭa-rāja
śyāmara gaurī saiye śyāmara, nava jaladhare janu bijuri virāja
heri heri aparūpa rāsa-kalā-rasa, manmathe lāgalo manmatha dhanda
bhulalo gagane sagaṇe rajanīkara, caudiśa phirata dīpa dhara chanda
tārā gaṇa saiye tārāpati heri, lāje lukāolo dinamaṇi kati
govinda dāsa pahu jaga-mana-mohana, vihari bhelo kalāpa sama rati

The gentle breeze blows from the Kalindi’s bank, and the kunda flowers, lilies and lotus flowers bloom. The peacocks are dancing, the intoxicated bees are buzzing, and the shukas, sharis and kokilas sing in the fifth scale. Thus madhura Vrindavan enchants Rasika Murari, as thousands of enchanted Vraja sundaris appear to enjoy Rasa-vihara with Vrishabhanu kumari. The gopis dance and Nata-shekhara sings, but sometimes he dances as they sing. When Shyama and Gauri dance in circles they look like a lightning streak within the dark cloud! So while viewing their wonerful talent, Madana casts his magic spell! Thus the sky, the moon and their family of stars even forget themselves. For when the Vrajacanda dances with his galaxy of star-like maidens, all the other luminaries lose their glitter! Govinda Das says, “Thus the Jaga-mana mohana* Prabhu enjoys Rasa-vihara for a night lasting one kalpa.”

(3)

bājata dampha ravaba pakoāja, karatāla tāla tarala eka meli
calata citra-gati sakala kalāvatī, kare kare nayane koru keli
nācata śyāma saṅge vraja nārī, jalada puñje jānu taḍit latāvalī
aṅga bhaṅga koto raṅga vithāri natana hilola lola maṇi kuṇḍala, śrama jala dhala dhala vadana hu cānda
rasa bhore galita lalita kucha kañcuka, nīvī khasata aru kabarika bandha
duhu duhu sarasa paraśa rāsa lālase, alase rahato lulāi
govinda dāsa pahu mūrati manobhava, koto yuvatī rati ārati badhāi

The dampha, ravaba and pakhoaj play as the gopa sundaris clap in time with the rolling beat. The kalavatis gracefully dance with intricate steps, hand in hand, eye to eye! Aho! Shyama-jaladhara is dancing beside and around them, just as a dark, moving cloud formation is garlanded by multicolored lightning flashes! As the dancing sweeps like a rolling wave, everyone’s earrings bob. Then fine beads of sweat glide from the participants’ foreheads like numerous new moons! Aho! The Rasa rasa overflows and the Vraja sundaris’ kanchulis, nivi bandhanas and braids loosen! But as Krishna’s many murtis enjoy their touch with an amorous embrace, they unite together! Govinda Das says. “Krishna’s form as Madana Mohan excites the Vraja yuvatis’ thirst for rati.”

(4)

dekho re sakhi, śyāma cānda, indu-vadani rādhikā
vividha yantra, yuvatī-vṛnda, gāoye rāga mallikā
manda pavana, kuñja bhavana, kusuma gandha mādhurī
madana rāja, nava samāja, bhramata bhramara cāturi
tarala tāla, gati dulāla, nāce nāṭinī naṭana śūra
prāṇanātha, dharata hāta, rāi tāhe adhika pūra,
aṅge aṅge, paraśa bhora, keho rahato kāhuka kora
jñāna dāsa, kohoto rāsa, jaiche jalade vijuri jora

Aha re, sakhi, look! Shyama Chand is dancing with indu-vadani Radhika—and the Vraja yuvatis play numerous instruments while singing the mallika rāga! The soft breeze, the nikunja bhavan, the scented flowers and the restlessly roaming bees all bring madhuri to Sri Madana Raja’s kingdom. And with the swift tāla, natini Rai and nataraja Shyama dance with lively flowing steps. Holding her Prana-nath’a hand Radha feels tremendous ecstasy! Yet due to their repeated touching—the ecstasy escalates! Thus Jnana Das describes the Rasa lila as if it were the tender embrace of lightning and a dark cloud.

Rasa Analysis

For those wishing to make an in-depth study of the Rasa, there are countless other Mahajan padāvali selections. Moreover, the Rasa narrations found in Sri Kavi Karnapur’s Ānanda-vṛndāvana-campū, Sri Jiva Goswami’s Gopāla-campū and Sri Prabodhananda Saraswati’s Āścarya-rāsa-prabandha along with the Bhagavata’s Rāsa-pancādhyāya commentaries of Sridhara Swami, Sanatan Goswami, Jiva Goswami, Vishwanath Chakravarti and many others are all well worth investigating.

Yet there is an important consideration for those who want to ideally meditate on the Rasa. Sri Gopala Guru and Dhyanachandra Goswami advise in their Paddhatis:

eteṣu samayeṣv evam yā yā līlā puroditā
tāṁ tām eva yathā kālam saṁsmaret sādhako janaḥ

The sadhaka should perform smaran of each lila during the time that it unfolds. (Gaura-govindārcana-paddhati, 171)

Hence, the Rasa lila’s meditaion should go on between 12.00 and 2.00 a.m., when most people are asleep. And this brings to mind Krishna’s statement in Gita 2.69, “The sleeping time for all being is the time of awakening for the self-controlled bhakta.” So those wanting to meditate on Rasa lila must practise jagaran, or vigil. In the night’s wee hours, when the world’s busy pace stops and everyone is sound asleep, then the ether becomes pure and peaceful. Thus by nature’s arrangement, these are the ideal moments to focus on Sri Krishna’s lila mukuta mani, the Rasa.

 

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