This sweet and joyful kirtan, or chant, enthusiastically praises the Divine in the form of the handsome god Krishna, particularly in his aspect as the flute-playing cowherd boy who enchanted the people of the village of Gokul in North India. The Bhagavata Purana, a classical text that tells the story of Krishna, recounts that the people did not know Krishna was God; they just knew that they loved him.

One night, during that month's full moon, Krishna multiplied himself and danced in a forest glade with all the village milkmaids. Each of the milkmaids had a selfish thought: "Krishna is mine, and mine alone!" At that moment, Krishna vanished to all except one maiden, Radha, for she was the only one who completely forgot her limited sense of self and her worldly concerns, losing all feeling of separation in her love for him. This story can be read as an allegory about the power of devotion and the sweet beauty of absorbing oneself in contemplation of the Divine. When we sing this mantra, we celebrate the power of the Divine to draw us in completely, merging our awareness with the rapture of eternal love. +

Christopher D. Wallis is a Sanskrit scholar at the University of California, Berkeley

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