By Swami Harshananda
Gīta-govinda literally means ‘song concerning Govinda or Kṛṣṇa’.
One of the most popular of all the lyrics in Sanskrit is the Gitagovinda of Jayadeva (12th cent. A. D.). It comprises of 12 sargas or sections. Each section contains 24 stanzas set to music. The poet himself has fixed the rāgas (tunes) and tālas (time-beats) so that they can be sung by musicians and also adopted by dancers. The peculiarities of this work are:
- The main theme is the love of Rādhā for Kṛṣṇa and his response.
- The work is considered as a master-piece in Sanskrit poetry and a model for many later writers.
- Perfection of metrical form and a wonderful display of human feelings and sentiments, mark it out as an extraordinary piece of Sanskrit literature.
- It also shows to what heights the Sanskrit language can rise as regards beauty, elegance and even sublimity.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore