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It is supposed to be religious:

http://www.ocasopress.com/jayadeva-gita-govinda.html

WithJayadeva's poem became the focus of a religious sect in India. Buddhism and Hinduism sought to release the enlightened from worldly illusions through renunciation, meditation and physical austerities. Particularly to be avoided was carnal pleasure. In Gita Govinda, however, Krishna embodies the erotic sentiment, and in that sense the cowgirls serve him with rapture and unselfishness. Jayadeva developed the aesthetic experience of love, and the songs typically end with dedications to Krishna, which urge readers to cultivate an appreciation of a taste that is both mental discrimination and physical relish. The two are inseparable, each growing from the other. The poem combines the sweetness of the experiences described, the poetry itself, and the joy that devotees find in relishing Krishna through the text. Indian theologians took this concept of taste further, seeing the lover as someone lifted from the particular into an abstract and universal experience of love, which is the ultimate joy or beatitude, a taste of Brahman itself. The aesthetic experience became a religious one, a state of total absorption in, devotion to and enjoyment of Krishna.

But it has quite explicit depiction of erotic love.

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  • Gita Govinda is not a scripture but a devotional work dedicated to Krishna. Commented Sep 11, 2021 at 0:02
  • There is nothing erotic in Geeta Govind honestly. If u ever read Soundaryalahari it has detail explaination of every ang of Bhagwati devi. And that is not erotic it is pure love and devotion it is ecstasy dripping from the bhakta as he mentions the deity and try to help other sadhakas 'think' and contemplate on the deity n his leelas. Because ppl like us can't neither see prabhu nor his leelas. Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 15:13

2 Answers 2

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Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of the Gaudiya Vaishnavism, loved to listen to Gita-Govinda written by Jayadeva Goswami. Bhaktivinod Thakur (Srila Prabhupada's Paramguru), one of the acharyas in Gaudiya Vaishnavism, also admitted its importance. In Gaudiya Vaishnavism websites, you will find Jayadeva Goswami's book, biography etc. So it is indeed religious text in Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

References:

  1. https://iskcondesiretree.com/page/sri-jayadeva-gosvami
  2. https://gaudiyahistory.iskcondesiretree.com/sri-jayadeva-goswami/
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  • Anything written by Gaudiya Mutt or pre-ISKCON Gaudiya teachers about this? @amritendumukhopadhyay
    – S K
    Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 17:51
  • For me to accept the answer - I'd like to see a credentialed Gaudiya teacher explicitly declare Gita Govinda to be scripture or otherwise validate it from a religious standpoint @amritendumukhopadhyay . I don't want to be difficult - I'd like to see something more authoritative, if you don't mind.
    – S K
    Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 18:25
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Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami (born in 1496) has stated that Sri Gita Govinda was heard and sung by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of the Gaudiya Sampradaya. This was several centuries before ISKCON or the Gaudiya Math

So it has always been an important religious text for the followers of Sri Chaitanya.

Below are a few relevant verses from Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta written in the Bengali language by Krishnadas Kaviraj.

ei-mata gaura-prabhu prati dine-dine vilāpa karena svarūpa-rāmānanda

Thus absorbed in transcendental pain (in separation from Krishna), Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu lamented day after day in the company of Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī and Rāmānanda Rāya.

karṇāmṛta, vidyāpati, śrī-gīta-govinda ihāra śloka-gīte prabhura karāya ānanda

The Lord especially liked to hear Bilvamangala Ṭhākura’s Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta, the poetry of Vidyāpati, and Śrī Gīta-govinda, by Jayadeva Gosvāmī. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu felt great pleasure in His heart when His associates chanted verses and sang songs from these books (CC Antya 15.26-27).

vidyāpati, caṇḍīdāsa, śrī-gīta-govindabhāvānurūpa śloka paḍena rāya-rāmānanda

To complement the ecstasy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Rāmānanda Rāya would quote verses from the books of Vidyāpati and Caṇḍīdāsa, and especially from the Gīta-govinda, by Jayadeva Gosvāmī (CC Antya 17.6)

Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī recited a verse from the Gīta-govinda just suitable to the Lord's emotions. Caitanya Mahāprabhu then exhibited the ecstatic transformations known as bhāvodaya, bhāva-sandhi, bhāva-śābalya and so on. The Lord experienced all eight kinds of ecstatic transformations, and He relished them very much.

Another incident where Sri Chaitanya hears Sri Gita Govinda:

eka-dina prabhu yameśvara-ṭoṭā yāite sei-kāle deva-dāsī lāgilā gāite

One day when the Lord was going to the temple of Yameśvara, a female singer began to sing in the Jagannātha temple.

gujjarī-rāgiṇī lañā sumadhura-svare 'gīta-govinda'-pada gāya jaga-mana hare

She sang a gujjarī tune in a very sweet voice, and because the subject was Jayadeva Gosvāmī's Gīta-govinda, the song attracted the attention of the entire world.

dūre gāna śuni' prabhura ha-ila āveśa strī, puruṣa, ke gāya,—nā jāne viśeṣa

Hearing the song from a distance, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu immediately became ecstatic. He did not know whether it was a man or a woman singing (CC Antya 13.78-80).

Hence, Sri Gita Govinda is held in high regard even today by the Acharyas of the Gaudiya Sampradaya.

Sri Jayadeva Gosvami was a very high class of maha-bhagavata, and he wrote a book called Gita Govinda. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw this book, He made a copy and instructed His followers to also obtain one (Srila Narayana Maharaj, Gaudiya Math Acharya).

However, this book is not meant for the general public who misunderstand it to be mundane erotic poetry.

Gita-govinda is a special poetry book, full of transcendental mellows of devotional service, and it describes the exalted pastimes of the Para Brahman. There is no other such book in the world. Since the ordinary readers cannot realize the conjugal mellows of the Supreme Lord and since they are fond of material enjoyment, their study of Sri Gita-govinda is not perfect. The poet Jayadeva Goswami has not offered his book to such readers; rather he forbade them to study this book. For persons who are inexperienced in the transcendental mellows of Vraja, discussing Jayadeva Goswami and his work is proof of their shamelessness. (Bhaktivinode Thakur in Sajjana-toshani 7/2)

Caitanya Mahāprabhu used to read Gītā-Govinda, Caṇḍīdāsa, amongst with His confidential devotees. The Gītā-Govinda, the loving affairs of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, it is not for the neophyte student. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu... You'll find Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaching... Generally, He was talking with Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, He was talking with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, He was talking with Rāmānanda Rāya—but the subject matter was not the same. When He was talking officially with the Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, there is no talk about Kṛṣṇa's pastimes with Rādhārāṇī. Simply on the basis of Vedānta He was talking. (Srila Prabhupada, Founder Acharya of ISKCON).

Our master did not allow us to read the books where the higher lilas are described: Govinda-lilamrtam, Stava-kusumanjali, Ujjvala-nilamani, and Gita-govinda. He did not allow us to study and to discuss them. Rather, he would be very much disturbed if he heard that someone was interfering with the higher lilas in those books. He did not like it. (Sridhar Maharaj, Gaudiya Math Acharya).

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