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UNDER THE AUTUMN MOON by Krishna Kanta Dasi

Tonight's first full moon of autumn draws my mind to a particular love poem that begins with its rising. Of all the poems in the world, some of the most celebrated over the ages have been love poems. When those love poems describe amorous love between souls and the Supreme Divine, they draw one in on a whole other level!

 From the ancient Arabic poems of Majnun who was mad after his Layla, to the biblical book Song of Solomon, love mystics across cultures and throughout time have described the soul’s love for God in beautiful, poetic verses full of all kinds of wonderful metaphors and meters, which I find very inspiring.

One of these most ancient, sacred love poems is found in the Bhagavata Purana of India. It is called the Rasa Lila, and describes the amorous relationship Krishna has with his Gopis, or the cowherd maidens of Vraja. This is my very simple summary of that eventful night in autumn, with the content drawn entirely from the tenth book of that classical, Sanskrit text: 

Under the Autumn Moon

It all began with the eastern horizon
  birthing a reddish moon,
Autumn announcing His passion
  soon to be set in a tune.

Across the blooming lotuses
  through a forest thick with desire,
His musical invitation traveled
  to fill their beings with fire.

From the fifth note of his flute
  emerged the thief of their hearts,
Stealing the maidens from their homes
  so that the love-dance may start.

Teasing them with verbal seduction
  Rasaraja began his test:
Confusing them with feigned rejection
  their yearnings in a state of unrest.
Anxious to taste His lips,
  Vraja’s ladies spoke in demonstration,
Of love so deep it even captured
  Madhava Himself under its subjugation!

So with glances and with smiles
  and the fragrance of jasmine in bloom,
He brought them into his arms
"Bee and Lotus" by Vincent Chen
  just as if he were their groom.

On Kalindi’s bank they sported
  forming a mandala of delight,
Of love at its highest pinnacle
  dancing all through the night.

Expressions of pure pleasure
  became the movements of their forms,
Heavenly bodies encircling
  the moon that they adorned.

With ankle bells and bending waists
  and flowers falling from their hair,
The eager maidens relished
  in loving beyond compare.

Decorated in sparkling perspiration
  like lilies covered in dew,
The Gopi’s sweet scent attracted bees
  who wanted His nectar too!

Syamsundar played with the girls
  like a child with his own reflection,
On a surface of a transcendental lake
  where beauty had reached perfection.

His garland crushed by their passion
  their kumkuma reddening his chest,
Leading them into Yamuna’s waters
  His splashes were the best. 

The heavens showered petals,
  night's breeze pregnant with scents so sweet!
The maidens massaged their lover
  and on their chests placed His lotus feet.

Then, as the autumn's night drew to a close
  Krishna asked the girls to return,
And to keep their meeting a secret
  so that passions continue to burn.

And if you so happen to know their secret
  please let it enter into your heart,
For only then will true love bloom
  and unwanted lust, depart.

February 11, 2004

Catherine L. Schweig has practiced yoga in the Bhakti tradition since 1986. Her regular treks into nature, and relationships with others, are a valuable part of her spiritual journey. Passionate about inspiring women to honor their voices, in 2012 Catherine founded the Journey of the Heart: Women’s Spiritual Poetry Blogthrough which emerged a trilogy of poetry anthologies, the latest is Poetry as a Spiritual Practice: Embracing the Awakened Woman (Golden Dragonfly Press 2016). Catherine is also the creator of the Vaishnavi Voices Poetry Project. As co-founder of The Secret Yoga Institute, with her life partner, Graham M. Schweig, Ph.D., she designs yoga workshops and publishes in various yoga magazines, and co-authored Yoga in the Gita: Krishna & Patanjali, The Bhakti Dimension, (Golden Dragonfly Press, 2016) with Braja Sorensen. Catherine lives in Virginia with her partner, younger son and cat, where she also makes vegan, Waldorf-style dolls. You may connect with Catherine on Facebookemail her or visit her website:

~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~ 


  1. Love it! May Gopisvara Mahadeva grant us all entrance to this most secret of dances.... !!

  2. Thank you Braja! I'll meet you there! ;))

  3. Got lost in this pastime of krishna.Especially the 2nd last stanza of the poem,was like fire that builds passion inside you.A wonderul poem mataji. <3 it.


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