Vasanta is the melody of spring and is the human reaction to the joy of life
in spring. The solstice festival was celebrated with music, lute-playing,
dancing by women, and the turn of the sun was dramatized by discus-play. The
joy of spring is shown with vivacity in this painting of Raga Vasanta.
Intoxicated with the joy of spring, Krishna dances on the bank of the
Yamuna. Radha beats a drum decorated with a floral pattern and a gopi plays
castanets (karatals). In the foreground are plants of Vasanta covered with
yellow blossoms, which are so common in the Kangra Valley in the month of
March. Against a background of mango trees, alternating with cypresses, are
plums, alternating with peaches. The dark green cypresses provide a solemn
background to the silvery sprays of plums and pink blossoms of peaches, the
emblems of youth, life and joy. The white plum blossom is symbolic of
spiritual strength and beauty, while the pink peach blossom signifies bodily
or sensuous beauty. Raga Vasanta is thus described in Rajasthani Ragamala.
The pleasant Vasanta is a giver of bliss, my friend,
She enacts the plays of the season of Spring,
Putting on the shape of Krishna, what is the song she sings
And with all her companions has made herself fair.
Unparalleled colour, mangoes in flower,
Settled upon them are the swarms of deep-murmuring bees,
Soft are the scented Zephyrs, and the waters very pleasant,
Women disport in delight beside their lovers.
Her comrades sing with the kokil's voice.
The spontaneous gesture and rhythm in the charming painting convey the
ecstasy of the deep madness of spring. Incidentally, this painting
illustrates the unity of poetry, music and paintings, and in it we find the
synthesis of sound, form, colour, and rhythmic movement.
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