Kundalini Splendor

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

from The Gitagovinda by Jayadeva 

Ivan Granger offered a beautiful commentary today on the ancient Indian poet Jayadeva's classic spiritual work called the Gitagovinda:

Something from the Gitagovinda to get the lover's pulse racing on this Valentine's day...

Jayadeva's Gitagovinda is quite passionately erotic, but it is also considered a highly spiritual work, sung daily in many Indian temples dedicated to Krishna.

For many in the Krishna bhakti tradition, the Gitagovinda is revered in a way similar to the Song of Songs in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Through song, it tells of the love play, separation, and union between the God-man Krishna and the cowherdess Radha.

On an esoteric level, Radha is understood to be the individual soul that petulantly feels abandoned by God (Krishna) who, in turn, loves all souls (and is therefore accused of infidelity by Radha). But Radha finally overcomes her hurt and rejoins her lover in passionate union. Using the hugely magnetic power of desire, this bhakti classic describes a pathway to return to Oneness with the Divine.

Jayadeva's name can be translated as "God triumphs" and he plays with that in this poem, where the refrain "Triumph, God of Triumph, Hari!" becomes a signature line.

Whoever your beloved may be, may you be with the Beloved!

Here is an excerpt from the poem itself:

[2] You rest on the circle of Sri's breast, (from The Gitagovinda)

By Jayadeva
(12th Century)

(English version by Barbara Stoler Miller)

You rest on the circle of Sri's breast,
Wearing your earrings,
Fondling wanton forest garlands.
Triumph, God of Triumph, Hari!

The sun's jewel light encircles you
As you break through the bond of existence --
A wild Himalayan goose on lakes in minds of holy men.
Triumph, God of Triumph, Hari!

You defeat the venomous serpent Kaliya,
Exciting your Yadu kinsmen
Like sunlight inciting lotuses to bloom.
Triumph, God of Triumph, Hari!

You ride your fierce eagle Garuda
To battle demons Madhu and Mura and Naraka,
Leaving the other gods free to play.
Triumph, God of Triumph, Hari!

Watching with long omniscient lotus-petal eyes,
You free us from bonds of existence,
Preserving life in the world's three realms.
Triumph, God of Triumph, Hari!

Janaka's daughter Sita adorns you.
You conquer demon Dusana.
You kill ten-headed Ravana in battle.
Triumph, God of Triumph, Hari!

Your beauty is fresh as rain clouds.
You hold the mountain to churn elixir from the sea.
Your eyes are night birds drinking from Sri's moon face.
Triumph, God of Triumph, Hari!

Poet Jayadeva joyously sings
This song of invocation
In an auspicious prayer.
Triumph, God of Triumph, Hari!

As he rests in Sri's embrace,
On the soft slope of her breast,
The saffroned chest of Madhu's killer
I stained with red marks of passion
And sweat from fatigue of tumultuous loving.
May his broad chest bring you pleasure too!

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