Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Radha Kalyanam

This weekend, we celebrated The “Radha Kalyanam” in our colony. It is actually based on *Jaydevar’s lyrical compositions – Geeta Govindam. The function is conducted over two days just like a real wedding, of course minus the extravagant paraphernalia. This is more of a devotional endeavour comprising of songs from the Geeta Govindam interspersed with abhangs, Bhajans and Keerthans. Devotees may or may not participate/contribute- anyway, the residents of our colony all worked together in harmony…and it felt like one family.

While I’m not specifically into rituals and stuff, I enjoyed the music and singing to the utmost. There are several professional toupes who conduct the Radha Krishna Kalyanam repertoire - and since the last three years we have had different troupes performing this for us. The devotional fervor is mainly built up by the tempo of the music and rhythm and it is difficult to remain unmoved.

On the previous day, the songs from the Ashtapadi are sung, and the proceedings stretch well into the night- there is much dancing- along with the singing- and the steps are fast paced, very graceful while the melody is lilting and moving- the dance is usually just clapping and fast footwork- then Kummi/Kolattom ( very similar to the dandiya/garba) - and only the male devotees usually join the troupe members- the entire atmosphere is charged – this year they invited the women folk to also come forward and dance- and they left the centrestage entirely at our disposal- though we were all a bit reluctant in the beginning, soon most of us were up there dancing for all that we were worth-

Just the previous day, I had lamented on my blog space that Destiny/Almighty had perhaps erased Dance from my life , and the very next evening there I was dancing after a gap of about 20 years- it was like I had never stopped. I just cannot find words to express the euphoria of those magical moments- I was totally disconnected from this world and my feet had found wings- It was an amazing experience for which I’m extremely grateful…

*(From the pages of The Hindu on the web)
The theme of Gita Govindam is the love of Radha Devi and Sri Krishna, symbolizing the longing and striving of the individual, for communion with God, culminating in their blissful union.

Composed by the Orissa poet Jayadeva of the 12th century A.D., it is a richly orchestrated symphony of songs in various ragas set in linked situations featuring the spring-time love-play (vasanta vilaasa) of Lord Krishna, which Raasa Panchaadhyaayi (five chapters on the Raasa dances of Krishna with the Gopis) in the Bhagavatam also speak about, without the character of Radha probably unknown in its time.

Jayadeva was a dedicated devotee of Lord Jagannath, the Deity of Puri, and a disciple of Nimbarka, who founded the Radhavallabha sect, giving prominence to Radha as the loving Consort of the Lord (distinguishable from Lakshmi the Consort of His Omnipotence). The Gita-Govinda arose as a stotra, an offering of devotional music to Lord Jagannath. It is sung as part of the worship-ritual before the Deity and it has also been staged many times as a lyrical dance-drama before interested audiences all over India.

The poem is divided into 12 sargas (marking movements in the love-play of Radha and Madhava) with 24 songs including the first two invocatory stotras of noble praise of Krishna's 10 incarnations. There are only three characters - Krishna, Radha and the girl-friend and messenger between them - figuring in the poem; the songs are distributed between them as their speeches, and the links of the story are provided by slokas (verses) introducing each sarga. The songs form a musical sequence of various ragas of unparalleled sweetness. Their cadences based on alliterations, rhymes, and assonances of words that trip on the tongue delight the lover of poetry, the rasika, as nowhere else. )


bharath said...

nice ardra. see things happen as foretold by me :P

Your blog is educational. Do you know about Surdas, he is cool too.


Ardra said...

sure looked like somebody heard the asariri that day bharath...thanks :-)

and yes, there were bhajans by Kabirdas, Surdas,Tukaram,Meera

aria said...

In school - we had to memorize some books n authors. I remember parroting Geet Govindam - Jayadev since then. Heh!
Have read about it -here n there a bit. Nice to know more about it. The festival Radha Kalyanam sounds really sweet - with wedding n all ..

Jithu said...

wished i was part of such a ceremony, which i havent been a part of b4.. any chance? :-)

sinusoidally said...

I am so glad you finally got to dance. Did you find another teacher? Really liked reading about Radha Kalyanam. Never heard of it...probably because of an upbringing in North. Southern India has so much culture.

willowtree said...

Ive never heard of The Radha Kalyanam before Ardra, it sounds very beautiful. Thanks for sharing your first hand experience.
And I think that what you said about parents is true. We are taught to put our parents on a pedestal at a very young age, so when finally we realize they are as human as we are, it can come as a shock, but I think that a parent child can get closer after that, if each party works at it.

Ardra said...

aria! u had to learn the Gita Govindam? I had heard that Bhaja Govindam by shankaracharyar used to be taught-

why not Jithu? Do come over to Trichy- You're welcome- :-)

No sines, havent got a teacher- if its meant to happen it will :-)

Yes Willow, it was a beautiful experience...
and yes once that pedestal is removed- and the parents and children stand on the same level- without one looking up and the other looking down
the bonding comes easier...

Chay said...

Ardra that must have been amazing...to dance like that after so many years. :-)

Here's wishing you a life full of dance and music... :-)))


Bringabrahma said...

Ardra wonderful...but at times I wonder ..how come all gods and godesses had multiple wives? and lovers?..ugh and we mere moratals are left with ONE!!!

sucks mann..;p

seems like all rules are for the downtrodden...

BTW I would love to see your pics(dancing) on this site
irada hai kya?