Gita Govinda:
The divine love-song



Gita Govinda



Leda Shantala
Narrator voice:
Leda Shantala
Leda Shantala, Smt Kalanidhi Narayanan
Musical composition:
Shanta Dhananjayan, T.K. Padmanabhan
The music was recorded in a studio in Madras (today's Chennai)
Sets design and construction:
Kostas Mathioudakis,
Manos Parmaxizoglou
Costume design:
Leda Shantala
Costume creation:
Props and masks:
Caterina Varvaressou,
Manos Parmaxizoglou
Lighting Director
Leda Shantala
Michalis Bourikis

Gita Govinda

("The Divine Love Song") is a classic of Indian metaphysical literature. It was written in the 12th century C.E. by the renowned poet Jaya Deva. It includes 24 songs.

The poet
Jaya Deva lived during the Middle Ages and was a great mystic and Sanscrit writer, whose life is often wrapped in myth. He was Krishna's devotee and all his poetry is inspired by him and dedicated to him.

According to legend, while Jaya Deva was writing the Gita Govinda, he reached a scene where Krishna falls at feet of his beloved. The devotee in him doubted whether he should follow this inspiration. He left his pen for a while and went to the river to wash. When he came back, he found the scene completed by Krishna's hand.
Gita Govinda, the Divine Love-Song is the pinnacle of his writings, and has greatly and deeply influenced Indian thought, the visual arts, dance and music. Although it is an unequivocal love poem, his muse was not a woman, a human being, but the devotional feeling (bhakti in Sanscrit) towards his beloved god, Krishna, whom he saw and recognized within the whole of nature. He was totally devoted to him and his soul was burning from this sacred passion.

The metaphysics of love

According to the Vedas, the ancient Indian philosophical texts, the Ultimate Truth, the Great One, when it was divided and multiplied into countless forms, feels nostalgia and desires to come back to its previous, non-dualistic nature. This separation and this spiritual quest for union are expressed by the poet through lyrical shades of passionate love, through symbols of the love of God for mankind and of the human soul for God.
For Sanscrit scholars, poets and artists, the experience of love is also a spiritual experience, because it makes the soul's foundations tremble, because it strips the soul from any disguise and protection. The lovers' sexual passion, despair, enjoyment, separation and union are for all Indian arts an endless source of aesthetic dynamics. As many other mystics, Jaya Deva "sees" the Infinite Being as male and the human soul as female, a female who wil give birth to the divinity inside her.
In Solomon's "Song of Songs", a marriage song in the Old Testament, one can see very clearly the relationship between human and god.


The poster from the 2005 reprise of the original performance

Gita Govinda 2005 poster

Video from the performance


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Page last updated on January 1st, 2009