Portrait of Upendra Bhanja

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Rasakalloḷa was composed c. the late 17th/early 18th century by Dīnakr̥ṣṇa Dāsa. The work tells of the exploits of the youthful Krishna. Each line begins with the consonant ka.

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After flattering and cajoling: that is, after flattering and cajoling Kr̥ṣṇa on behalf of Rādhā.
amarī: a.k.a. “apsarā,” a heavenly nymph
Epithets for Āṭhagaṛa
Āṭhagaṛa (lit. “eight forts”), the princely state (in what is now the Ganjam district of South Odisha) where Kavisūrya composed KCC, has been given many names derived from its characteristics or historical role. These include:

Aṣṭadurga: “eight forts,” a synonym of Āṭhagaṛa.

Śaraṇa Dharaṇī: “the land that gives shelter.” The kings of Khurda, the main power center in the Odisha region from 1568 to 1803, are said to have taken refuge in Āṭhagaṛa from time to time during foreign invasions. During the Muslim invasion of the 18th century even Lord Jagannātha was hidden there for a time.
the blue lotus-eyed one: having eyes like blue lotuses, an epithet for Rādhā. Kalicharan Pattanayak’s version has “unnidra śatapatranetrā” (Campū-Prabeśa [Cuttack: United Book House, (1962?)], 20), “the sleepless/restless lotus-eyed one.”
Candramukhi: a term of endearment for females, literally “moon-faced one”; also the name of a heavenly nymph
Śyāmaḷa tāra (“dark-colored gem”) also can be read as śyāmaḷatāra (“of darkness”). The line could then refer to “The radiance of the darkness within the keḷikadamba creepers on the bank of the Ravisutā.”
dark blue: “śyāma,” a name for Kr̥ṣṇa.
enchanting beauty: “mohana līḷā,” also perhaps referring to the “sporting of Kṛṣṇa (a.k.a. Mohana).”
flame lily: jāṅgaḷa, which can refer to Gloriosa superba or Hydrolea zeylanica. Members of the Gloriosa genus are called “flame lily,” “fire lily,” “glory lily,” “creeping lily,” and so on in English. They are toxic but are also used in preparing traditional medicines.
Gaṅgā: a.k.a. the Ganges, to Hindus the most sacred river in India. Bathing in the river is considered a spiritual act causing, among other things, the remission of sins and facilitating liberation from the cycle of life and death.
ghee: traditional South Asian clarified butter, i.e., butter that has been cooked and filtered until it becomes translucent. Used in cooking and ritual, ghee solidifies when cool but melts with heat.
kadamba: Neolamarckia cadamba, a tropical evergreen tree.
kaḷā nāga: a very poisonous cobra of dark color
Epithets for Kāmadeva, the God of Love/Desire
Jhaṣadhwaja (aka Jhaṣaketana): lit. “mark of the fish.” After Kāmadeva was burnt up by Śiva (having distracted the latter from his meditation), he was reborn as Pradyumna, a son of Kr̥ṣṇa (in his later life) and Rukmiṇī. As an infant the demon Sambara threw Pradyumna into the sea whereupon he was swallowed by a large fish (the fish was later caught and presented to Sambara, whose wife—or a servant in some versions—later discovered and then raised the child inside).

he with the arrow: like his Roman counterpart, Cupid, Kāmadeva wields a bow and arrow
keḷikadamba: A type of tree (Nauclea parvifolia) on which grow fragrant, pale-colored flowers. Kadamba trees figure often in stories about Kr̥ṣṇa, and their blossoms are sometimes compared to Rādhā.
khañjanākṣi: a woman whose eyes are dark and quickly-moving like the wagtail bird (khañjana)
khañjarīṭa: a species of wagtail bird
Epithets for Kr̥ṣṇa
Chief among the Naughty Youths (“nūānaṭapaṭaḷīmukuṭa”): Kr̥ṣṇa is renowned for his mischievous activities as a child.

Mohana: lit. “infatuating,” “charming,” “attractive”

Patron of the Cowherds (“gopa-saṅkhāḷi”): Kr̥ṣṇa grew up in a cow-herding community and participated as a cowherd.

Śyāma: lit. “black” or “dark blue,” referring to Kr̥ṣṇa’s complexion.
Lebbeck-tree-body: body having soft limbs like the Lebbeck tree (Albizia lebbeck, śarīṣa in Odia).
the old woman: here referring to Rādhā’s mother-in-law, Jatila.
outside and inside: body and mind/soul.
rasa: lit. “juice” or “essence.” In aesthetic theory rasa is the dominant emotion of an artwork, or the sentiment that is evoked in and savored by the audience. Here it may mean more generally a strong emotion or delight in existence. Or, on the other hand, in this context the term could be used in the sense devloped by Rūpa Goswāmī (1489-1564), an associate of Caitanya, who gave rasa theory a spiritual component. In this framework bhakti (devotion) is the primary sentiment to be evoked through “art” (if that is still the proper term), particularly by means of representations of Kr̥ṣṇa-līḷā, the divine play of Kr̥ṣṇa (as described in various Purāṇas and related works).
re: every line of this and several other songs end in this word, an interjection meaning something like “O” or “Friend.” In some interpretations of some songs “go,” having a similar meaning, is used instead. I have often omitted this term from the translation, as the repetition sounds strange in English.
Śrī Bālukeśa: The ruler of Āṭhagaṛa (crowned in 1810) in southern Odisha, at whose court Kavisūrya composed KCC. Kavisūrya served there as dewan (chief administrator) and poet.
standing embrace: “ubhā rati,” love-making in the standing position.
sura taru: a heavenly tree
tamāḷa: a type of tree with dark wood; it is typically associated with Kr̥ṣṇa (as opposed to the kadamba, associated with Rādhā).
this desire: Rādhā is being compared to lightning and Kr̥ṣṇa (and Rādhā’s hair) to the dark clouds. Rādhā’s desire is apparently to play in the embrace of Kr̥ṣṇa like the lightning playing in the clouds.
ẏāma: a period of about three hours.
Epithets for the Yamunā River
Ghasranāthanandā: lit., “daughter of the lord of the day (i.e., the sun).” In Hindu mythology Yamunā is the daughter of the sun god Sūrya.

Ravisutā: lit., “daughter of the sun.”