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Krishna in many Indian texts
- Kasturika Mishra
Photos: Kkrishnan Chakraborty

September 8, 2023

Krishna Bhakti is an easy vocation. They say simple chanting of sixteen rounds of 108 times of "Hare Krishna", a simple vegetarian diet, and holistic viewpoint is enough to last a lifetime of bliss. Krishnamaya samsara within you and illumination around spells the magic of peace and happiness. On this premise, within two hours, Geeta Chandran's docu-dance presentation 'Govinda gatita' totally consumed us into an exhilarating divine space. To add to the trance were hymns, verses and anecdotes on the life of Krishna culled from Surdas, Meera Bai, Vallabhacharya, and Haveli sangeet tradition. To support her, Sudha Raghuraman swayed the entire production on her shoulders with a stellar combination of raags Bhairavi, Malkauns, Kalavati and Yaman to name a few.

Geeta Chandran

She set free the Krishna leela mood in Geeta Chandran to dance in gay abandon. In the opening hymn "Bhu paadyo ya say nabhivyadsuranilachandra...." she displayed the whole world as parts of the body of lord Vishnu, the primordial lord. She described how various animals, birds etc also reside in him as the elements of panchabhuta i.e. water, fire, air, earth, and the sky.

In her second composition Geeta used the poem by Paramananda, the saint poet on Krishna consciousness. A besotted Yasoda goes gaga over the angelic kid in her cradle, his beautiful round eyes and the extreme joy of the arrival of the boy in Brijbhumi. The training in abhinaya under Jamuna Krishnan and Kalanidhi Narayanan was in full form in this padam. The child is the 'atma' even sages did not find after so much penance. She excelled in her action as the possessed mother who carried the small baby in her bosom moving in circles till he fell asleep. The related thought is how a parikrama in a Krishnalaya makes life come full circle.

She moved later to verses from Vallabhacharya and illustrated sequence of Kalia dalan, the serpent whose ego was badly bruised by Krishna playing with his playmates. Being an ardent Krishna bhakt, Geeta's body movement and energetic sequence of "chira haran" where Krishna steals clothes of Radha and her sakhis had hilarious dramatic moments, albeit it was a bit too long.

Geeta Chandran

The sequence of Surdas pada reminded us about "Yahi Madhava Yahi Kesava," the Gita Govinda verse by Jayadeva. Surdas is seen disregarding Krishna. He accuses Krishna of deceit and to go to the other person whom he embraced and stop be-fooling with sweet words. The additional stage decor was banana stem installations all around the stage on three bold symbols associated with Vishnu. A sankha (conch shell), chakra and gada, with lotus mandalas were done by Jugal Kishore Sharma and his team from Vrindavan, the land of Geeta Chandran's spiritual guru Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami.

The traditional Bharatanatyam pieces were also introduced in between the texts effectively by the team of Varun Rajasekharan on nattuvangam, Manohar Balatchandirane on mridangam, G. Raghuraman on flute and violin by G. Raghavendra Prasath. The spectacular evening was summed up with the perennial Krishna priya Meerabai looking for her piya. This performance will go a long way in interpreting Krishna by a seasoned Bharatanatyam exponent.

Kasturika Mishra
@Kasturika Mishra is a poet, writer, and dance critic.

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