Krishna - Ricardo Delgado
Radha - Randy Rosenthal
The closest devotees of Lord Krishna were the milkmaids of Vrindaban. They were called the gopis. These Indian girls could conceive of no greater love than that which they felt for their shining Lord. Indeed, their songs of joy at being part of His incredible Lila, or divine play, and their days filled with weeping when He would leave them, have been passed down as legend throughout all India.
ACT I: The dance opens as the gopis awaken and begin their day's activities, dreams of Krishna still fresh in their minds. They perform their duties, but their hearts will not open until they behold the face of He who gives them life. Soon Krishna comes. As always, His arrival is signaled by the magical flute with which He has so often entranced the villagers, forcing them to put aside their chores and come to play with Him. The gopies do not resist, and with their Lord they perform a joyous dance of reunion. Traditional Indian hand mudras (symbols) enhance their interweaving movement. The elusive Krishna cannot be held for long, and too quickly the dance is over. As He turns to go, Radha, most beloved of the gopis, presents the Perfect Master with a lotus flower.
ACT II: Alone with His beloved servant Uddho, Krishna seems to have forgotten the young milkmaids who are weeping ceaselessly, praying for His return. In a beautiful mime-dance sequence, Krishna and Uddho frolic in a crystal blue river. The Lord and His disciple play as friends. A lotus flower floats by the two in the midst of their play and Krishna becomes sad, for He is reminded of Radha and the strength of her pure love. In a pas de deux, Krishna dreams that He has never left her, but is even now dancing with sweet Radha in the forests of Vrindaban.
ACT III: We return to Vrindaban for the final act of Krishna Lila. Here, the gopis are still in misery, waiting for the return of their Krishna. Mistaking the playful call of a bird for Krishna's flute, they fall into even greater sorrow. Perhaps He will never return. Finally drawn by their love, Krishna appears. He has been hiding, watching His loved ones, and knows the depth of the sorrow they have been feeling. Manifesting Himself many times over, Krishna takes each gopi as His partner in dance. Laughing through tears of joy, all perform the Rasa Dance.
Conceived by Guru Maharaj Ji late in 1971, Krishna Lila premiered one year later before an audience of 5,000 at the Guru Puja festival in Colorado. Jule Voel, director of the play, had assembled the cast via nation-wide auditions, and the initial choreography was done by Ricardo and Randy.
The troupe took Krishna Lila across America in the fall of 1972, concluding their tour with a special performance at the United Nations, and appearing before 500,000 at the 1972 Hans Jayanti Festival in India.