Every day at ISKCON temples throughout the world (and often at other Gaudiya-Vaishnava temples), the song Jaya Radha-Madhava by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur (1838-1914) is sung during the morning worship services. This song, originally written in Bengali, depicts the sweetness of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna's appearance as a cowherd boy in the village of Vrindaban, India, some 5,000 years ago, and hints at His loving pastimes with His devotees.
Bhaktivinode explained: "Krsna is the lover of Radha. He displays many amorous pastimes in the groves of Vrindaban. He is the lover of the cowherd maidens of Vraja, the holder of the great hill named Govardhan, the beloved son of mother Yashoda, the delighter of the inhabitants of Vraja, and He wanders in the forests along the banks of the River Yamuna."
The City of God Temple Orchestra, January 1991.
Bhavisya is the first harpist to our left.
In 1988 Jaya Radha-Madhava was rewritten with English lyrics by Umapati Swami and titled Within Vrindaban's Woods and Groves. It was subsequently orchestrated by the New Vrindaban music director & composer-in-residence Hrishikesh dasa (Henry Doktorski), accompanied by the musicians of the New Vrindaban Temple Orchestra, and sung at nearly 3,000 New Vrindaban morning services from 1988 until 1994.
This 2005 recording, sung by the long-time New Vrindaban resident cantor Bhavisya devi dasi, is very much like the original version sung at the New Vrindaban temple—with the addition of an elaborate flute cadenza/introduction.
Bhavisya devi dasi sang professionally with the popular vocal group The Vogues for six years before joining the New Vrindaban Community, where she lived for fifteen years.
Chorus members in this recording include current and former New Vrindaban residents Damodar dasa, Krpamaya dasa, "Dutiful" Rama dasa, Terry Logan, Janaki devi dasi, and Pundarika devi dasi, as well as more than a dozen Christian friends from several Pittsburgh-area church choirs. The musicians who played on this recording (two violins, viola, cello, double-bass, harp, flute, piccolo, and percussion) include one member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and members of other Pennsylvania and Ohio orchestras.
Within Vrindaban's Woods and Groves
English lyrics by Umapati Swami
Music by Hrishikesh dasa
Within Vrindaban's woods and groves,
Lord Krishna and Radha unite
To taste the joys of spiritual love.
All glories to this holy sight!
Lord Krishna's beauty thrills the soul,
Defeating even Cupid's darts.
The boy who lifted Govardhana
Has won away the Gopis' hearts.
Yashoda-mata's darling son,
Yamuna River's pride and joy;
The treasure of all devotees;
All glories to this cowherd boy!
The composer/music director explained: "This recording of Within Vrindaban's Woods and Groves is our humble attempt to glorify our Lord Krishna and provide pleasure for the worldwide community of Vaishnavas. We believe that Srila Prabhupada approved of the translation of the songs of the Vaishnava acharyas into vernacular languages and their presentation in local musical traditions, and we hope that those who live in English-speaking countries—by hearing Vrindaban's Woods and Groves—will develop greater appreciation for Bhaktivinode's original Jaya Radha-Madhava and increase their love for Krishna. Our aim is to preach Krishna Consciousness—to present Krishna in a way which will be attractive to many people, especially Westerners. Krishna, by definition, is 'all attractive,' and we hope that listeners will come to appreciate Krishna's all-attractive qualities by hearing this song."
To listen to an MP3 file of Within Vrindaban's Woods and Groves, Click Here.
To purchase a compact disc of Within Vrindaban's Woods and Groves, contact the composer/music director at
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