New Delhi, September 29 : The world knows of Radha as the consort of childhood Krishna, playing on the banks of Jamuna at Gokul. But few are aware of her travails when her consort left her to become the charioteer of Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, and her longing to become the wife of the Lord remained unfulfilled.
Smita Prakash in a Bharatanatyam dance performance on Saturday (Sep.27) narrated the story in an appealing manner at the Triveni Kala Sangam here. The programme 'Radha's dilemma' presented the innermost joys and sorrows of Radha, the girl known for her undying love for Krishna.
Smita presented the emotions of Radha, often described as the problem child of Indian mythology. The opening number told the feelings of Radha, when she sang "Tum mere kaun ho Kanha", demonstrating how she found herself all alone after Krishna departed to uphold justice at the battle of Kurukshetra. She asks herself, " After all what does Krishna mean to me". Deep inside her, Radha was trying to come to terms with her beloved Krishna's departure.
Smita brought out vividly the emotions of Radha, when she comes to know that Krishna is telling Arjuna the values of truth and justice in the battlefield. Arjuna is listening to Krishna talking about Dharma (righteousness) and Adharma (non-righteousness) Shakti (power) and Yog (meditation).
Radha imagines herself as Arjuna, but she is in no turmoil like him and all that she hears is Krishna saying "Radha, Radha, Radha".
It was a poignant scene when Smita enacted the feelings of Krishna wanting to return to Gokul after the battle. Villagers in Mathura know that their King is unhappy. He is not interested in the affairs of the State. The song "Raat bhar maadhav jagat bechain" ( a restless Krishna remains awake the whole night).
People ask him why he wants to return to Gokul, as the woman he intends to return may have picked up the threads of her life. She has wiped her tears and blocked the melody of his flute. But Krishna is too distraught to accept their advice. He goes near River Yamuna and looks at the gentle waters. He is reminded of the times he was there with Radha.
Krishna notices how the lotus was separated from the stem, the fish are not frolicking the water, and the butterflies and bees were not humming with activity. Like Him, they were waiting anxiously for the re-union of Radha and Krishna.
The story climaxes with the song "Na bajao Shyam Baasuri" (O Krishna! Do not play the flute). But nobody can resist the hypnotic magic of his flute. Everybody in Vrindavan hear the sounds of the flue. They come thronging to him...be it the deer, the peacocks, birs, sages or Gopis.
Radha too gets drawn to that music. But when she finds a crowd around him, she tells him that she would accept him on her own terms. (Women's liberation, in Indian mythology!) Radha tells Krishna that if he wants to come to her, he will have to come alone to her, and even stop playing the flute so that she has him exclusively to herself and also promise to never leave for other work.
The conceptualization and choreography was done by Smita's guru Smt.Jayalakshmi Easwar, a renowned exponent of Bharatanatyam who learnt the art from Rukmini Devi Arundale of Kalakshetra, Chennai.
The lyrics were adapted from various sources, chief among them being Dharamveer Bharati's Kanupriya.