H. N. WITH LOVE AND ADMIRATION ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I am deeply indebted to Dr. A.L. Basham for generous guidance throughout the preparation of this book, to George Keyt for permitting me to quote extensively from his brilliant translation of the Gita Govinda, and to Deben Bhattacharya who supplied me with new translations of later poems and discussed a number of important points.
i The Triumph of Radha ii The Gita Govinda iii Later Poetry iv The Rasika Priya VI THE KRISHNA OF PAINTING NOTES BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX PLATES AND COMMENTARY SOURCES
All this later poetry differed from the Gita Govinda in one important respect.
In about 1450, one version of the Gita Govinda and two of the Balagopala Stuti were produced in Western India.
The Gita Govinda of Jayadeva had become in fact as much a Western Indian text as the Balagopala Stuti of Bilvamangala.
It is once again a copy of the Gita Govinda and was probably executed in about 1590 in or near Jaunpur in Eastern India.
Illustrated versions of passionate love poetry were executed and as part of the same vogue for poetic romance, the Gita Govinda may once again have been illustrated.
Such interest by the Emperor may well have spurred Hindu members of the court to have other texts illustrated for, ten to fifteen years later, in perhaps 1615, a manuscript of the Gita Govinda was produced, its illustrations possessing a certain fairy-like refinement.
In 1730, a Basohli princess, the lady Manaku, commissioned a set of illustrations to the Gita Govinda and Krishna's power to enchant not only the male but also the female mind was once again demonstrated. This series of illustrations is in some ways a turning point in Indian painting for not only was it to serve as a model and inspiration to later artists but its production brings to a close the most creative phase in Basohli art.
The other is yet another version of the Gita Govinda where Krishna is shown consorting with the cowgirls in blissful abandon.
Hymns to Krishna were sung in the villages and as part of this fervid adhesion, local manuscripts of the Bhagavata Purana and the Gita Govinda were often produced.
In 1947, he published the translation of the Gita Govinda, excerpts from which have been quoted in the text, and throughout his career his work has been distinguished by a poet's delight in feminine form and sensuous rapture.
His paintings and line-drawings of Radha, Krishna and the cowgirlsat once modern yet vitally Indian in spirithave the same qualities as those in the Gita Govinda.
Much of the Gita Govinda's power arises from the endowment of Nature with romantic ardour, the forest itself being presented as a highly sensitive and symbolic setting for the behaviour of lovers.
The Gita Govinda was one of the first Sanskrit poems to be rendered into EnglishSir William Jones publishing a mellifluous version in Asiatick Researches in 1792.
Sri Jayadeva's Gita Govinda (Bombay, 1947).
[Illustration] PLATE 20 The Beginnings of Romance Illustration to the Gita Govinda Garhwal.
Punjab Hills, c. 1790 National Museum, New Delhi The first poem to celebrate Radha as Krishna's supreme love is the Gita Govinda of Jayadeva, written at the end of the twelfth century.
[Illustration] PLATE 21 Krishna playing on the Flute Illustration to the Gita Govinda Kangra, Punjab Hills, c. 1790
[Illustration] PLATE 22 Krishna dancing with the Cowgirls Illustration to the Gita Govinda Western Rajasthan, c. 1610
[Illustration] PLATE 23 Krishna seated with the Cowgirls Illustration to the Gita Govinda Jaunpur, Eastern India, c. 1590 Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay After flute-playing and dancing (Plates 21 and 22), Krishna sits with the cowgirls. 'With his limbs, tender and dark like rows of clumps of blue lotus flowers.
The style with its sharp curves and luxuriating smartness illustrates a vital development of the Jain manner in the later sixteenth century. [Footnote 130: For a first discussion of this important series, see a contribution by Karl Khandalavala, 'A Gita Govinda Series in the Prince of Wales Museum,' Bulletin of the Prince of Wales Museum.
[Illustration] PLATE 25 Krishna repentant Illustration to the Gita Govinda Garhwal, Punjab Hills, c. 1790 Learning of Radha's plight, Krishna longs to comfort her.
[Illustration] PLATE 27 The closing Scene Illustration to the Gita Govinda Basohli, Punjab Hills.
JAYADEVA, a Hindu poet, born near Burdwân, in Bengal, flourished in the 12th century, whose great work, the "Gita Govinda," the "Song of the Shepherd Krishna," has been translated by Sir Edwin Arnold as the "Indian Song of Songs," in celebration of the love of Krishna and his wife Radha; it has often been compared with the "Song of Songs," in the Hebrew Scriptures.