Radha’s Tryst

(A rendering of Ashtapadi XX)





(Lecturer S. R. R. College, Bezwada)



Hasten unto the penitent Lord; Radha,

O my foolish happy maid! hasten unto His side.


1.      With soft entreaties and remorse

Did He touch thy feet;

Now does He repose on the couth of love

In the heart of Vanjula grove.


2.      With stately conduct and slow movement

And vibrant breasts and hips,

Defy the lovely gait of the swan

To the tune of thy chiming anklets.


3.      Hearken unto the floating strains

Of the mysterious flute of the Lord,

Entranced are charming maidens;

Mute yearnings stir their souls.

Listen to the mandates of Love

That the cuckoos joyously proclaim;–

(In rapturous notes they herald the spring

This is the hour to live and love.)


4.      New-fledge leaves of glowing amber tint

Sway to the passing wind,

Like friendly has beckoning thee

Along the path He took.

Tarry not, O maiden of creeper-like arms

Linger not, O maid, but follow His path.


5.      Like a happy augury presaging 

Thy celestial embrace with Krishna,

Thy bosom quivers with rippling love,

Shaking thy stringed pearls

As unto the outpourings of a laden pitcher

Tossed about on sea.

If my words command no faith,

Why, then; ask thine own bosom.


6.      Forbear from sentiment and doubt

That but assail and weaken intent.

Thy maids perceive and know very well

Thy body quivers, O perverse one!

For love’s impending battle.

Thy jingling golden girdle

Strikes the chords of war.

Go forth, advance and settle the fight.


7.      With lovely arms and graven nails,

Tapering as the shafts of Love,

Lean on the shoulders of thy maid

And draw unto the Lord

With hesitant steps of grace,

While the bangles tinkling music

Heralds thine approach.


8.      Flawless and passing fair

The beauty of wreathed pearls,

May this song of glory ever adorn

Hearts devoted to Krishna!


70.  In the leafy arbour of love, my friend,

The gentle shades of night extend their sway

And round the bridal forms their sable garb

They cast, as though their eyes and lashes fine

Were touched with collyrium; while Tamala’s

Dark floral clusters seem to hang and sway

From their shapely ears; decked are their heads

With fragile lotus garlands of blue-black;

Their bosoms are inscribed with streaks of musk;

These kind offices, Radha, night performs

As unto a bride’s maid at such an hour.


71.  Darkness, blacker than black Tamala leaves,

Streaked with vermillion glow of errant

Maids who amble in quest of love at night,

Is as unto the touchstone setting off

And irradiating Krishna’s golden love.


72.  Coming unto the threshold of the cove,

Dark erstwhile, but luminous with the sheen

Of belt and bangles, inlaid with diamonds,

And necklaces of pearls from ocean depths;

Radha cast a furtive look at the Lord,

Saw Him and paused; and felt abashed with love,

Whereon to her a maid addressed these words.