47 As Krishna and the gopis sit beneath Vamshivata, they look towards the beautiful Yamuna, who sees them and her thirst to experience the joy of gazing at them becomes exceedingly great. So she laughs with her bubbling foam and sings with the songs of her waterbirds.
48 Her waves brush forward to festively touch Krishna’s charana kamala, her eyes in the form of the wind-restless blooming lotus flowers are wide open, her nose raised in the form of the surfacing crocodiles’ beaks, and her ears take the form of whirlpools that are eager to hear Krishna’s speech.
Rasa-taraṅginī Tīkā: Although it is here described that crocodiles swim in the Yamuna, one need not worry; they behave just like tame pets for everyone’s pleasure. They are also Krishna’s bhaktas.
49 Seeing the beauty of the Yamuna and her banks, Krishna yearns to cross the river so he can enjoy playing with the gopis on the sandy banks. Thus they all get up.
50 When Krishna and the gopis step into the water, Yamuna’s hand-like waves repeatedly offer lotus flowers to their lotus feet. In this way she offers puja and praise.
51 Both the male swans and their female partners are intrigued hearing the ruffling clothes and ankle-bells of the gopis, so they glide near, practicing making their own enchanting sounds as it were.
52 At first Yamunaji’s water swelled up from the joy of seeing Krishna, but then knowing his intention to cross, she became very shallow in the rapid movement of her waters.
53-54 Thus her main current was only knee deep and the rivulets running through the sand only ankle deep. 54 After crossing both the main current and the rivulets, Krishna and his priya sanginis promenaded on the sandbars.
Rasa-taraṅginī Tīkā: The sandbar where the Rasa lila takes place is called Ananga Rangambuja Pulina. It is on the north-eastern side of Govinda Sthali. To go there one has to cross many small rivulets of the Yamuna.
55 Krishna loves to excite the gopis’ desires for vilasa. Thus he eagerly smiles, glances, jokes and exchanges sweet words. Then he embraces them, touches their breasts and kisses them, too.
Rasa-taraṅginī Tīkā: The manjaris observe: Krishna curiously looks at the gopis’ pretty lips, and says, “What are these? Are there white kunda flowers blooming among the red bandhuli? And who says that the bandhuli flower has no fragrance? A kunkum and lotus-fragrance is coming from them, making my nose restless! Oh, let me see if they’re really filled with madhu. I’ll test them!” So thinking, he samples the nectar of each gopis’ lips, saying: “Aha! These bandhulis are definitely filled with madhu…and so are these…!”
56-57 Then Shyamasundar and his priya sanginis come to the merry-go-round (chakra bhramana) and step onto it. The round platform rests on a pivot eighteen inches above the ground. Radha and Krishna stand in the middle and the gopis form three circles surrounding them.
Rasa-taraṅginī Tīkā:This amazing Rasa mandala rotates in a circle. The gopis stand on three platforms each of which is slightly higher than the former.
58 Aho! As Shyama-natavara embraces Rai Rangini amidst the others—he looks like a tamal tree embraced by a golden lata. 59 Then Radha and Krishna, the best of all dancers, request Lalita and others to begin hallīśaka-nṛtya, putting their hands on each other’s shoulders.
Rasa-taraṅginī Tīkā: (Hallīśaka-nṛtya) is circular dancing performed by women when they place their hands on each other’s shoulders. In the center, Shyama Nataraja and Rasamani Rai also begin dancing. The merry-go-round is made to turn by the drumbeat of the gopis and Krishna’s dancing.
60 Thus the rasa chakra or merry-go-round rotates like a potter’s wheel from the beating of everyone’s skillful dancing steps. 61 Krishna places Radha between Lalita and Vishakha sometimes placing hands on one or the other of their shoulders, he sings and the other gopis sing with him, or he dances and they dance with him.
62 When Krishna and the gopis dance slowly, the merry-go-round moves slowly; and, as they speed up, it keeps pace with the rhythm of the dancing. 63 Then Krishna expands into many murtis and places his arms above each gopi’s shoulders. So now it appears that many golden lata-entwined tamal trees are dancing together! 64 Krishna moves swiftly like a twirling firebrand. Thus each gopi thinks, “Oh! Krishna hasn’t gone elsewhere—he’s right here beside me!”
Rasa-taraṅginī Tīkā: When a burning stick is twirled in the air it appears like an unbroken fire circle called an alāta chakra. As Nataraj Krishna swiftly dances, his dazzling yellow dhoti and chaddar frantically twirl, making him appear stationary even though he is continually shifting.
65 Aho! Rasa Vihari directs the gopis’ three circles into one. Then he dances beside each Vraja kishori along the edge of the speeding Raas chakra!
Rasa-taraṅginī Tīkā: Removing their hands from each other’s shoulders. Krishna and the gopis now begin dancing with freely flowing movements while showing different hand poses.
66 Then Krishna performs another wonder: As the merry-go-round swiftly rotates, he steps off it and onto the ground and then steps back up again — all the while dancing in harmony with the Vraja nitambinis! Sometimes he does this in all his forms at once, and sometimes he does it in sequence. 67 Then the gopis follow, sometimes stepping down and back aboard simultaneously, and sometimes individually.
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