Gita Govinda

Gita Govinda manuscript c. 1550.

The Gita Govinda (Odia: ଗୀତ ଗୋବିନ୍ଦ, Bengali:গীতগোবিন্দ, Devanagari: गीत गोविन्द) (Song of Govinda) is a work composed by the 12th-century poet, Jayadeva, born in either the village of Kenduli Sasan in Odisha or the village of Jayadeva Kenduli in Bengal are likely candidates though another Kenduli in Mithila is also a possibility.[1] Recent studies point to the Odisha birthplace as the more likely one.[2] It describes the relationship between Krishna and the gopis (female cow herders) of Vrindavana, and in particular one gopi named Radha.

The Gita Govinda is organized into twelve chapters. Each chapter is further sub-divided into twenty four divisions called Prabandhas. The prabandhas contain couplets grouped into eights, called Ashtapadis. It is mentioned that Radha is greater than Krishna. The text also elaborates the eight moods of Heroine, the Ashta Nayika, which has been an inspiration for many compositions and choreographic works in Indian classical dances.[3]


The work delineates the love of Krishna for Radha, the milkmaid, his faithlessness and subsequent return to her, and is taken as symbolical of the human soul's straying from its true allegiance but returning at length to the God which created it.[4]


  1. Sāmodadāmodaram (Exuberant Krishna)
  2. Akleshakeshavam (Blithesome Krishna)
  3. Mugdhamadhusūdanam (Winsome Krishna)
  4. Snigdhamadhusūdanam (Tender Krishna)
  5. Sākāṅkṣa puṇdarīkākṣham (Passionate Krishna)
  6. Dhrṣta vaikuṇṭa (Audacious Krishna)
  7. NāgaranārāyanaH (Dextrous Krishna)
  8. VilakṣyalakṣmīpatiH (Apologetic Krishna)
  9. Mugdhadamukunda (Unpretentious Krishna)
  10. ChaturachaturbhujaH (Tactful Krishna)
  11. Sānandadāmodaram (Joyful Krishna)
  12. SuprītapītāmbaraH (Exultant Krishna)


RasaLila by Krishna, in Prem Mandir Vrindavan

The poem has been translated into most modern Indian languages and many European languages There is a German rendering which Goethe read by F. H . van Dalberg Dalbergs version was based on the English translation done by William Jones published in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society, Calcutta in 1792 A verse translation by the German poet Friedrick Rukert was began in 1829 and revised according to the edited Sanskrit and Latin translations of C. Lassen in Bonn 1837.

Notable English translations are: Edwin Arnold's The Indian Song of Songs (1875); Sri Jayadevas Gita Govinda: The loves of Krisna and Radha (Bombay 1940) by George Keyt and Harold Peiris;[5] S. Lakshminarasimha Sastri The Gita Govinda of Jayadeva Madras, 1956; Duncan Greenlees Theosophical rendering The Song of the Divine Madras, 1962; Monica Varmas transcreation The Gita Govinda of Jayadeva published by Writers Workshop Calcutta, 1968; Barbara Soler Miller Jayadevas Gitagovinda :Love song of the Dark Lord; Oxford University press Delhi,1978; Lee Siegel Gita•govínda: Love Songs of Radha and Krishna; clay Sanskrit series; There is a Sanskrit text and literal translation”Gita govindam 2008 There is also a rendering into poesy The Songs of Radha from the Gitagovinda 2013

Since the first English translation of the Gita Govinda by Sir William Jones in 1792, where Kalinga (ancient Odisha) is referred to as the origin of the text. Since then, the Gita Govinda has been translated to many languages throughout the world, and is considered to be among the finest examples of Sanskrit poetry. Barbara Stoler Miller's translated the book in 1977 as Love Song of the Dark Lord: Jayadeva's Gita Govinda (ISBN 0-231-11097-9). The book contains a foreword by John Stratton Hawley and includes extensive commentary on the verse and topic of the poem.

See also


  1. Miller, Barbara Stoler (1977). Love song of the dark lord : Jayadeva's Gitagovinda. Columbia University Press.
  2. Reddy, William M. (2012). The Making of Romantic Love: Longing and Sexuality in Europe, South Asia and Japan 900-1200. University of Chicago Press.
  3. "Learn the lingo". The Hindu. 14 September 2007.
  4.  Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Jayadéva". Encyclopedia Americana.
  5. The lives of Keyt by Tissa Devendra (Sunday Observer), Retrieved 22 October 2015
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