Friday 26 June 2020




Rasa Dance, Rajalila, Krishna Thandava, Rajaleela

VAISHAMPAYANA said: - Thereupon after the departure of Sakra, the beautiful Krishna the holder of Govardhana, entered Vraja honored by the inhabitants, thereof (1). The elderly Gopas and his kinsmen and comrades, assembled together, welcomed him and said.

"O Govinda, we have been honored and favoured by thy conduct and as well as that of the best of mountains (2). Indeed thy prowess is like that of the celestials. By thy favour the kine have tided over the fear of excessive rain and we too have been relieved of the great fear (3). O Krishna, O lord of kine, beholding thy superhuman feat of raising up the mountain we consider thee as a divinity (4). O thou of great strength, art thou Rudra, Marut, or one of the Vasus? Why hast thou taken thy birth as the son of Vasudeva (5)? Beholding this thy low birth amongst us, this thy prowess, sport and feat in thy boyhood our minds are filled with fear (6). We see, thou art like one of the Lokapālas. But why art thou, in thy wretched guise of a milk-man, engaged in sport with us and in protecting kine (7) ? Art thou a Deva, a Dānava or a Gandharva now born as our friend? Whatever thou mayst be we bow unto thee (8). If thou art present here, of thy own accord, for any work of thine, do thou consider us as thy dependants and votaries (9)."

VAISHAMPAYANA said Hearing the words of Gopas, the lotus-eyed Krishna, smiling a little, said to his assembled kinsmen :-(10)

"Ye of dreadful prowess, let not the conviction, that you have all formed about me, take root in your hearts. I am one of your clan and a friend (11). If however you are all bent upon hearing then wait you will soon listen to an account of (my origin) and see my true form (12). I am one of your respected friends like unto a god. If you have any affection for me, do not wish to learn anything more about me (13)."

Thus accosted by Vasudeva's son and covering their own faces and resorting to silence the milk-men went away in in various directions (14).

Thereupon beholding the charming autumnal night and the beautiful moon the powerful Krishna felt a desire of sporting (15). Sometimes he made the haughty bulls fight with one another in the roads of Vraja adorned with cow-dung pastes. He again set the powerful cow-herds against one another. He sometimes got hold of the kine in the forest like a crocodile. (16-17). Sometimes thinking of his boyhold and bringing the youthful women of Gopas under his control in night he used to enjoy there (18). With their glances those Gopa women used to drink as if the ambrosia of his beautiful face who was like the moon come down on earth (19). Krishna was by nature beautiful but clad in a silken raiment of shining yellow colour he appeared more beautiful (20). Having his arms adorned with Angadas and bedecked with garlands of wild flowers Govinda beautified the entire Vraja (21). Filled with surprise at witnessing the wonderful conduct of that powerful (being) the beautiful Gopa women used to call him by the name of Dāmodara (22). And casting again and again their glances accompanied by various gestures they began to assail him with their rising breasts (23).

After a few days had passed away in this way the parents of those milk-women prevented them (from doing so). Those damsels however, fond of amusements, used to hunt Krishna in night (24). Sometimes arranging themselves in rows and sometimes in circles they, singing hymns relating to Krishna's glories, used to satisfy him. And all of them appeared in pairs with Krishna (25). Casting loving glances at Krishna and following his course those youthful damsels of Vraja imitated all his sports (26). Sometimes striking their palms in the forest they used to imitate him and sometimes they used to take delight in imitating his songs and dances accompanied by lovely smiles and looks (27-28). Singing sweet songs describing the profuse love for Krishna these beautiful women, devoted to Dāmodara, used to range at pleasure in Vraja (29). As she-elephants, covered with dust, enjoy with an infuriated elephant so those milk-women, their limbs covered all over with dust and cow-dung, used to sport with Krishna encircling him on all sides (30). Drinking repeatedly his ambrosia-like beauty with their eyes accompanied by side-long and smiling looks the Gopa-women, having antelope eyes, could not attain to the consummation of delight (31). When Dāmodara used to exclaim "O! Alas !" the damsels anxiously and delightedly used to listen to the words given vent to by him (33). Thus encircled by the milk-women Krishna used to sport, of his own accord, in the autumnal night adorned by the moon [1] (35).

[1] This is one of the principal incidents of Krishna's life on which innumerable poets of India have exhausted their skill and ingenuity. This incident has also been recorded in several Puranas. Some hostile critics interpret this Rāsa dance as one of the blemishes of Krishna's character and proceed to prove that he was an emblem of carnality. They draw upon certain Indian scholars in support of their argument. It is therefore necessary to throw a few suggestions before our readers so that they may understand Sri Krishna aright.

This Rāsa dance is described in a few words in Harivamsha, a little more profusely in Vishnu Puran, but very elaborately in Srimadbhagavatam. There is no mention however to this incident in the Mahabharata. In Vishnu Puran it is described as the out-burst of a tender love of a number of young girls for their youthful companion. In Harivamsha it is the love of youthful damsels for a handsome young man. In Bhagvata it is the passionate love of some women for a young man. In all these books however the different phases of love have been described with a grand esoteric meaning behind them.

This Rāsa was nothing but a "Ball" dance in which all the youthful damsels and girls took part and which was introduced by Krishna. It was a favourite pastime with the Aryans and frequent references to this dance are seen in Mahabharata and other classical works of note. That it was a purely innocent amusement freed from every shade of carnality is beyond all doubts. From the internal evidences of the three great works on Krishna's life, namely Harivamsa, Vishnu Purana and Srimadbhagavatam it is evident that Krishna, at this period, was merely a boy of ten years of age or so. It is impossible for a boy of this tender age to be so very carnal as he is depicted to have been. All the youthful maidens and girls of Vraja were fond of Krishna. It was not only on them that he exercised his wonderful influence but he did so on the elderly men too. This is clear enough from the incident that he succeeded in suppressing the great Indra-yajna. Krishna used to invent and organise various sorts of sports for his comrades, both boys and girls. In the previous Chapter his wonderful influence over his male companions and elderly men has been described. This Chapter is introduced by the poet to show that his influence over the women was equally marvellous. All these incidents go to prove more his superhuman origin. In all these three works no mention is made of the name of a particular woman for whom he cherished a special fancy as Radha. There is a occasional mention of this word in Bhagavat and only once in Harivamsha where it means a worshipper.

This story of the carnal love of Krishna for his various companions is described at a length in Brahma Vaivarta Purana which is regarded as a spurious production and is not considered as an authentic record of his life.

The esoteric meaning underlying this incident is the union between the human soul and the Supreme Soul. Krishna is the impersonation of the Supreme Soul and Radha or the worshipper is the emblem of the human soul. The worshipper can secure unification with the Supreme Soul by love-earnest and deep-seated devotion. This love, this devotion has been described by various poets in various forms


Previous | Source | Tamil Translation | Next


அக்ரூரன் அக்னி அங்கிரஸ் அசமஞ்சன் அதிதி அதிரதன் அநிருத்தன் அந்தகன் அரிஷ்டன் அருந்ததி அர்ஜுனன் அனு அஜபார்ஷன் அஜமீடன் அஸ்தி ஆபவர் ஆயு ஆரியா தேவி ஆஹுகன் இந்திரன் இளை உக்ரசேனன் உக்ராயுதன் உசீநரன் உதங்கர் உத்தவர் உபரிசரவசு உமை உல்பணன் உஷை ஊர்வசி ஊர்வர் ஏகலவ்யன் ஔர்வர் கக்ஷேயு கங்கை கசியபர் கண்டரீகர் கண்டாகர்ணன் கண்டூகன் கதன் கபிலர் கமலாதேவி கம்ஸன் கருடன் கர்க்கர் கர்ணன் காதி காந்திதேவி கார்த்தவீர்யார்ஜுனன் காலநேமி காலயவனன் காலவர் காளியன் கிருஷ்ணன் குசிகன் குணகன் குணவதி கும்பாண்டன் குரோஷ்டு குவலயாபீடம் குவலாஷ்வன் கூனி கைசிகன் கைடபன் கோடவி சகடாசுரன் சக்ரதேவன் சங்கன் சததன்வன் சத்யகர்ணன் சத்யகர்மன் சத்யபாமா சத்ருக்னன் சத்வதன் சந்தனு சந்திரவதி சந்திரன் சம்பரன் சரஸ்வதி சனத்குமாரர் சன்னதி சாணூரன் சாத்யகி சாந்தீபனி சாம்பன் சால்வன் சிசுபாலன் சித்திரலேகை சித்திராங்கதன் சிருகாலன் சிவன் சுக்ரன் சுசீமுகி சுநாபன் சுனீதன் சூரன் சூரியன் சைசிராயணர் சௌதி டிம்பகன் தக்ஷன் தசரதன் தந்தவக்ரன் தமகோஷன் தரதன் தன்வந்தரி தாரை திதி திதிக்ஷு திரிசங்கு திரிவிக்ரை திருமிலன் திரையாருணன் திலீபன் திவோதாஸன் துந்து துந்துமாரன் துருவன் துர்வாசர் துஷ்யந்தன் தூம்ரவர்ணன் தேவகன் தேவகி தேவாவ்ருதன் தேனுகன் நந்தன் நந்தி நரகாசுரன் நரசிம்மன் நஹுஷன் நாரதர் நாராயணன் நாராயணி நிகும்பன் நிசுந்தன் நித்ராதேவி நீபன் பஞ்சஜனன் பத்மாவதி பத்ரன் பப்ரு பயோதன் பரசுராமர் பரதன் பரத்வாஜர் பலராமன் பலி பாணன் பார்வதி பானு பானுமதி பிரதீபன் பிரத்யும்னன் பிரபாவதி பிரமர்த்தனன் பிரம்மதத்தன் பிரம்மன் பிரலம்பன் பிரவரன் பிரஸேனன் பிரஹலாதன் பிராசேதஸ் பிராப்தி பிருது பிருதை பிருஹதாஷ்வன் பிருஹஸ்பதி பீஷ்மகன் பீஷ்மர் புதன் புரூரவன் பூதனை பூமாதேவி பூரு பூஜனி பௌண்டரகன் மதிராதேவி மது மதுமதி மயன் மனு மஹாமாத்ரன் மாயாதேவி மாயாவதி மார்க்கண்டேயர் மித்ரஸஹர் முசுகுந்தன் முரு முருகன் முஷ்டிகன் யசோதை யது யயாதி யுதிஷ்டிரன் ரஜி ராமன் ருக்மவதி ருக்மி ருக்மிணி ரேவதி ரைவதன் ரோஹிணி லவணன் வசிஷ்டர் வராகம் வருணன் வஜ்ரநாபன் வஸு வஸுதேவன் வாமனன் வாயு விகத்ரு விசக்ரன் விதர்ப்பன் விப்ராஜன் விப்ருது வியாசர் விரஜை விருஷ்ணி விஷ்ணு விஷ்வாசி விஷ்வாமித்ரர் விஷ்வாவஸு விஸ்வகர்மன் வேனன் வைசம்பாயனர் வைவஸ்வத மனு ஜயந்தன் ஜராசந்தன் ஜனமேஜயன் ஜனார்த்தனன் ஜஹ்னு ஜாம்பவான் ஜியாமோகன் ஜ்வரம் ஸகரன் ஸத்யபாமா ஸத்யவிரதன் ஸத்ராஜித் ஸத்வான் ஸஹஸ்ரதன் ஸ்ரீதாமன் ஸ்ரீதேவ ஸ்வேதகர்ணன் ஹம்சன் ஹயக்ரீவன் ஹரி ஹரியஷ்வன் ஹரிஷ்சந்திரன் ஹிரண்யகசிபு ஹிரண்யாக்ஷன்