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Raas Leela

Raas Leela
Availability: Out of stock
Batik Painting On Cotton
3.4 ft x 278 ft
Item Code: BD45
Price: $75.00
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Viewed 7921 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
Philosophically the most important dance of Krishna is the Rasamandala or Rasalila, meaning circle of delight or ecstasy, when he dances with the milkmaids on the night of the full moon in autumn ( in the month of Kartikka - October-November ) in the celestial Brindaban as well as in the human heart. It should be noted, however, that the dance is not described in the Bhagvatapurana but has an important place in important devotional literature, which is what inspired numerous artistic versions in painting. Perhaps the most elaborate and impassioned description of the dance occurs in the Premsagar ( Sea of love ) of the blind poet Surdas (1478-c1580):

Krishna used the yoga-illusion
and his body became many parts,
To all, the pleasure they were wishing he gave,
sport and the highest affection.
As many cowherdesses were there,
just so many bodies Shri Krishna Chandra assumed,
And taking all of them on the terrace of the dancing ring,
again began to dance and sport.
And there was such harmony of the Ragas and Raginis,
that, hearing it wind and water also no longer flowed, And the moon
together with the starry firmament,
Being astonished,
rained down nectar with its rays.
Meanwhile night advanced,
then six months had passed away
And no one was aware of it.
From that time,
The name of that night has been
The Night of Brahma.

( Translation by Walter M. Spink )

Clearly such verses emphasize, however circumspectly, the cosmic nature of the circular dance bringing it conceptually closer to Shiva's ananda tandava. In this dance of delight, Krishna is the source of eternal bliss and the gopi represents the individual human soul longing for salvation. Visually too, the form is closer to that of dancing Shiva than one might think at first. Just as Shiva dances in the center of the universe symbolized by the ring of fire, so also Krishna does surrounded by the milkmaids. The Shvetashvatara Upanishad states: 'The vast universe is a wheel. Upon it are all creatures that are subject to birth, death and rebirth. Round and round it turns and never stops. It is the wheel of Brahman. As long as the individual self thinks it is separate from Brahman, it revolves upon the wheel in bondage to the laws of birth, death and rebirth. But when through the grace of Brahman it realizes its identity with him it revolves upon the wheel no longer. It achieves immortality.'


Pal Pratapaditya (Ed). Dancing to the Flute, Music and Dance in Indian Art: Australia, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1997.

Spink, Walter M. Krishnamandala: Ann Arbor, The University of Michigan, 1971.

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