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A courtly Sanskrit poem about the love-play (līlā) of Kṛṣṇa (Govinda), Rādhā, and the gopīs, composed in Bengal by Jayadeva towards the end of the 12th century ce. The poem—a series of erotic lyrics in the kāvya style, linked by a narrative, and intended to be sung—plays on the ideas of ‘love in separation’ (viraha) and reunion. Whether or not Jayadeva intended his poem to have some super-literary religious function, it became a key source for the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava bhakti tradition, which, through Caitanya and the Gosvāmīs, interpreted the relation between Kṛṣṇa and his lovers as a template for that between God (Bhagavān) and his devotees (bhaktas).

Subjects: Hinduism.

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