“Radha Svadheenbhartrika (Radha has Krishna to herself in a favourable mood)” by Mumbiram, Watercolor, 1995, Pune
The tenth canto of the Shrimad Bhagavatam is considered to be the authoritative account of Krishna’s appearance on our planet 5000 years ago. It makes no explicit mention of Radha. Yet she is considered to be the fortunate gopi whom Krishna took alone into seclusion after disappearing from the Raasa Dance leaving all other gopis. Other scriptures and Vraja traditions make it quite clear that Radha is the presiding deity of Goloka – the eternal abode of Krishna in the spiritual world. When they appeared on our planet Krishna was the adorable son of Nanda and Yashoda in Nandagaon and Radha was the darling daughter of Vrishabhanu and Kirtida of Barsana. They used to meet secretly at a place called Sanket. Krishna literature composed by authorities such as Jayadev, Rupa Gosvami and Vishvanath Chakravarty give juicy accounts of meeting, cheating, misunderstandings, sulkings and reunions between the divine couple. Mumbiram has translated some of these from original Sanskrit. These are supreme examples of evocation of rasas in a work of literature. It is no wonder. Krishna is Rasaraj- the master of all rasas. Rasas are the primal source of the well-being of all living entities. We are all hankering after rasas.
Here the Divine Couple Radha and Krishna are appearing in their most relaxed ‘natural’ mood. Dark Blue Krishna is doing what He likes to do the most, playing His flute and regaling his associates and devotees. His Beloved Radha is sitting next to Him, alone together, shoulder to shoulder, happy just to be with Him. Krishna’s favourite peacock ‘Tandavik’ is snuggling against Krishna’s raised right thigh, his head bending backwards till his crown is brushing against Krishna’s chest. Radha’s left arm is resting on the back of her pet white calf who is peering at Krishna from under Radha’s raised left arm. The calf’s ears are cocked, her tail is raised. Radha is wearing a short-sleeved white blouse that enhances the beauty of her shoulders. A short necklace of white beads adorns her neckline. It has emeralds in the center. Krishna is wearing cadmium yellow pants. Radha of golden complexion is wearing a soft sheer saree that is of the color of faded blue jeans. It is comfortable and looks beautiful on her. Radha’s head is slightly turned towards Krishna. The expression on her face is one of contentment and admiration. It will take a divine poet to describe the beauty of her forehead, her hairline, her eyebrows, her eyes, her nose and her smile. Krishna’s pouting lips and his fingers show that he is engrossed in resounding his flute. His calm lotus-petal eyes say it is entirely effortless. Much gold leaf is used in this painting. Most of it is on the ground that the Divine Couple is sitting on. But it also adorns their matching bracelets, armbands, hairclips, ear studs and ankle belts. That brings us to the punch line of this portrait. Radha is pressing her right foot on Krishna’s left foot. She is the ultimate ‘svadheenbhartrika’ (Radha has Krishna to herself in a favourable mood). Radha and Krishna would give such a confidential vision only to a confidential servitor.