Canto 10: The Summum BonumChapter 33: The Rāsa Dance

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.33.7

pāda-nyāsair bhuja-vidhutibhiḥ sa-smitair bhrū-vilāsair

bhajyan madhyaiś cala-kuca-paṭaiḥ kuṇḍalair gaṇḍa-lolaiḥ

svidyan-mukhyaḥ kavara-rasanāgranthayaḥ kṛṣṇa-vadhvo

gāyantyas taḿ taḍita iva megha-cakre virejuḥ

SYNONYMS

pāda — of their feet; nyāsaiḥ — by the placement; bhuja — of their hands; vidhutibhiḥ — by the gestures; sa-smitaiḥ — smiling; bhrū — of their eyebrows; vilāsaiḥ — by the playful movements; bhajyan — bending; madhyaiḥ — by their middles; cala — moving; kuca — covering their breasts; paṭaiḥ — by the cloths; kuṇḍalaiḥ — by their earrings; gaṇḍa — on their cheeks; lolaiḥ — rolling; svidyan — perspiring; mukhyaḥ — whose faces; kavara — the braids of their hair; rasanā — and their belts; āgranthayaḥ — having tightly tied; kṛṣṇa-vadhvaḥ — the consorts of Lord Kṛṣṇa; gāyantyaḥ — singing; tam — about Him; taḍitaḥ — bolts of lightning; ivaas if; tāḥ — they; megha-cakrein a range of clouds; virejuḥ — shone.

TRANSLATION

As the gopīs sang in praise of Kṛṣṇa, their feet danced, their hands gestured, and their eyebrows moved with playful smiles. With their braids and belts tied tight, their waists bending, their faces perspiring, the garments on their breasts moving this way and that, and their earrings swinging on their cheeks, Lord Kṛṣṇa's young consorts shone like streaks of lightning in a mass of clouds.

PURPORT

Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī explains that according to the analogy of lightning flashing in clouds, the perspiration on the lovely faces of the gopīs resembled drops of mist, and their singing resembled thunder. The word āgranthayaḥ may also be read agranthayaḥ, meaning "loosened." This would indicate that although the gopīs began the dance with their hair and belts tightly drawn, these gradually slackened and loosened.

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī points out that the gopīs were expert at exhibiting mudrās (precise hand gestures that express feelings or convey meanings associated with the theme of a performance). Thus sometimes Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs would artistically move their interlocked arms together, and sometimes they would separate arms and exhibit mudrās to act out the meaning of the songs they were singing.

The word pāda-nyāsaiḥ indicates that the gopīs artistically and gracefully placed the steps of their dancing feet in an enchanting way, and the words sa-smitair bhrū-vilāsair indicate that the romantic movements of their eyebrows, smiling with love, were most charming to behold.

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