The divine dancer – Shri Krishna

Bhagwan Vishnu incarnated as the Shri Krishan to teach mankind the importance of man’s journey through various phases of life and how he needs to implement his duties towards each phase dutifully to make his life purposeful. Hence he is called the Lila Manusha Avatar wherein he made mankind experience all kind of emotions through his divine lilas including love, duty, courage and abiding to Dharma through these three. Love was truly defined by Shri Krishna as the true path of devotion wherein one surrenders totally to him and feels the ecstasy of it immaterial to the world. This beautiful aspect was portrayed by him during his days in Vrindavan where he danced the Ras Lila with the Gopis of Vrindavan, and showed how beautiful a dancer he is. The Ras Lila is merely not a dance of plain love, but signifies the individual soul uniting with the Supreme Being in devotion.

The Ras Lila is described in the Bhagavat Puran. It took place one night in Vrindavan on the banks of River Yamuna. Shri Krishna on a full moonlight day takes out his flute and plays it and calls out the Gopis of Vrindavan. The Gopis leave their houses and families, reach the banks of Yamuna and dance with Shri Krishna throughout thenight.

The Ras Lila in fact, is a promise kept by the Almighty from his previous incarnation. When Shri Ram was in the Dandak forest during his exile days, he visited the hermitages of great Rishis and protected them from the demons roaming all over the Forest. Filled with great happiness for being in the presence of Shri Ram, every Rishi requested him to stay back with them for more time and accept their hospitality. However, bound to the mission of eliminating the evil forces of the Dandak forest, it was not possible for him to stay at a single place. But, he promises them that he would spend time with them in his next avatar as Shri Krishna. The Rishis were re born as the Gopis of Vrindavan and their love was nothing but the pure devotion towards the Almighty. To keep up his promise, Shri Krishna stretches the Ras Lila night into the time span of Bramha Ji‘s one night which is equal to 4.32 billion years and fulfils their desire.

The Ras Lila is a dance surrounded by an aura of love and devotion. It indicates the nature of true devotion. Here, Shri Krishna is the Absolute God, the Gopis are the devotees and the surroundings of Vrindavan are the calm representation of one’s mind when he is filled with the pure thoughts of God.

The Ras Lila is one of the very popular dance themes in the Hindu tradition. Apart from being a celebrated dance in the varied folk dances of India, it has been practised as a prominent theme amongst the various classical, folk and other forms of dance and festivities of our country and is the very essence of our culture which sees love as surrendering oneself to the Almighty with devotion and understanding that the Almighty always accepts pure love in anyform.