Friday, February 26, 2010

Watercolor on paper: Radha and Krishna playing Holi

Image: 19th century opaque watercolor and gold on paper showing Radha and Krishna, along with Gopis playing Holi. Source: Smithsonian Freer and Sackler Gallery; Author: Anonymous.

In Vrindavan and Mathura (in Uttar Pradesh, India), where Lord Krishna grew up, Holi festival is celebrated for 16 days until Rangpanchmi in commemoration of the divine love of Radha for Krishna. Lord Krishna is believed to have popularized the festival by playing pranks on the Gopis here. Krishna is believed to have complained to his mother about the contrast between his dark skin complexion and Radha's fair skin complexion. Upon this, Krishna's mother decided to apply colour to Radha's face. The celebrations usher in spring, the celebrated season of love.
Gopi is a word of Sanskrit language origin meaning 'cowherd girl'. In Hinduism the name Gopi (sometimes Gopika) is used more commonly to refer to cowherd girls popular in Vaishnava Theology for their unconditional devotion (Bhakti) to Krishna, as described Bhagavata Purana and other Puranic literatures.

No comments: