The Gopis in the Vrindavana, swarm around Radharani’s lotus feet wholeheartedly. These lotus feet are painted by Sri Krishna himself. It is this example that the gopis emulate. It is the treasure house of divine love. The sakhis usually make preparations to ornament Radha’s body just before Krishna comes to meet Radha. Her beauty would cause a turbulence in Krishna’s heart.
Their meetings make good poetic copy and depicted as erotic by Jayadeva in Gitagovinda. Now, Radha, in full throes of sexual excitement rushes to meet an equally ardent lover. She stands out in Krishna’s mind as a lover desired in uniqueness desiring a variety of amatory dalliances. In their place of rendezvous, a playful Radha asks Krishna to rearrange her clothes and her tousled hair. Krishna too awaits this mischief of undoing and doing before the cosmic climax.
Speaking in Radha’s voice, Jayadeva writes: “Paint a leaf on my breasts, put color on my cheeks, lay a girdle on my hips, twine my heavy braid with flowers, fix rows of bangles on my hands and jeweled anklets on my feet!......her yellow robed Lover did what Radha asked.”
It is said that Jayadeva was hesitant to pen down further lines and commit sacrilege of Sri Krishna touching Radha’s feet. So he went to the river to take a bath. Apparently, when he returned, he found Sri Krishna had completed the verse in his absence…..not by writing poetry lines but getting into the romantic task of painting Her feet. These events have mystical allegory of passionate craving and suffering in Krishna’s absence. She is the personification of mahabhava, the great emotional state expressed in the Gitagovinda. This is the bhava that Madhavi expresses for her secret lover, Kovalan, Kannaki’s husband in the Tamil Shilappathikaram.
These are stories of yoga between the lover and the beloved; Jivatman and Paramatman. They portray a complex relationship: the same as, and yet different from the Lord and so even in the joy of union there is the highest devotion and passion for the Supreme. Bhakti is not a one-way relationship. It only appears that there is a reversal in God’s play when Krishna is ‘conquered’ by Radha and the divine bows to the human and the full reality is realised. We also see this in Shaktam where Lord Shiva is subservient to Durga, Mother Goddess Devi’s manifestation.
From the standpoint of the ocean, there is no difference between a drop of water falling as rain from the heavens and that of a mass body of water already contained in the ocean. Waves in a Grand Ocean express intensity of love by its erotic romance of nature.
Yogi Ananda Saraswathi