Sri Gopala Vimsati – 16


The incarnation of Vishnu taking the form of a cowherd to protect all the universes has on its coral-red lips the bamboo flute that tastes the nectar of this Gopala’s mouth. As he plays the flute on the banks of the Yamuna River during the moon-lit nights, the lovelorn Gopis engage in Raasa Kreeta with him. The Gopis beat taaLam to the music of their Lord with their cool hands decorated with golden bangles. Their follow-up with taaLam suggests as though they are teaching the abhinayam step known as LaLitham to the flute of the Lord. (The Abhinaya saastras describe LaLitham as the gesture, where the dancer places her hands on the appropriate portion of the body and change the movement of her eyebrows to mimic the different rasas. The delectable interplay between the Bhavam, Ragam and TaaLam- Bharata Natyam- is suggested here as the Rasa Kreetaa progresses).


Swamy Desikan bows low before the Lord and folds his hands in anjali mudhrA. KaNNan is moved by the devotion of His dear one. He continues with His divine flute music to the accompaniment of the hastha tALam marked by the rhythmic movements of the bangles on the wrists of the Gopis. It is a blissful experience all around. Our Lord becomes one of the assemblies to enjoy this sweet scene. There was no formal tALam from Mrudhangam and there was no VeeNA accompaniment to the VeNu Naadham. Just the beat of the hands of the Gopis wearing the bangles was the sole accompaniment. The scene was very intimate and delectable. Swamy Desikan performs namaskAram to this Lord taking the avavthAram of KrishNan for protecting the beings of the Universe (akhila bhuvana rakshA GopAla Veshasya VishNO:).

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