One of the two other Gopis, perhaps Radha’s closer aides, is busy in
loading her pipe with colour-solution, and the other is shooting her
pipe at Krishna, perhaps in an effort to get Radha, her ‘sakhi’ –
friend, released from Krishna’s grip. As for Radha, she has snatched
Krishna’s flute, perhaps with a mind that this will humble down
Krishna and he will spare her on condition of returning it to him,
though the innocent Radha does not know that the flute is dear to
Krishna but Radha is dearer, and he will not let her go for anything.
On the contrary, with one of her hands engaged in holding the flute
her resistance against Krishna has weakened. This reveals the
Vaishnava mysticism. Radha is the devoted soul united with Krishna by
her love and dedication, and Krishna, the Par-Brahma – Supreme Being,
would not separate her from him for anything whatsoever.
The miniaturist has effectively created the atmosphere of Holi, not
only around the figures of Krishna, Radha and Gopis but also beyond in
the nature, in the forms of plantain trees and the sky that seems to
have soaked deep in pink corresponding to the hue of the face of
abashed Radha. Around them lay on the floor jars of coloured water,
plates of ‘gulala’ of various colours, one reflecting as fresh and red
as fresh roses. The artist has used a broad architecture, with main
part – the large terrace hall, constructed of finely worked marble and
on sides are other pavilions which massive curtains hung folded
normally separated from the main hall. Radha and all Gopis are clad in
variedly coloured Mughal style-costume, though Krishna is in his usual
‘pitambara’ – yellow ‘antariya’, a lower wear, and a sash on his
Holi is the festival most closely associated with Krishna, perhaps
being akin to his basic ideology believing in equality with all in
interaction, and the festival of Holi is its epitome. It unites all,
bringing even the enemies together. Hence, Holi has not been merely
the theme of a number of Krishna-related miniatures but also of a vast
body of medieval literature, dozens of poets like Ghanananda devoting
the larger part of their poetry to the theme of Krishna playing Holi.
Even today, most of the songs that Holi celebrating groups sing in
streets are Krishna and Holi related.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend