The Ras lila or Ras dance or Krishna Tandava, is part of the traditional story of Krishna described in Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavata Purana and literature such as the Gita Govinda, where he dances with Radha and her sakhis (gopis). The Indian classical dance of Kathak evolved from the ‘Raslila of Braj and Manipuri Classical Dance’ (Vrindavana) also known as Natwari Nritya, which was revived in 1960s by the Kathak dancer, Uma Sharma.
The term, rasa meaning “aesthetics” and lila meaning “act,” “play” or “dance” is a concept from Hinduism, which roughly translates to “play (lila) of aesthetics (rasa),” or more broadly as “Dance of Divine Love”.
The rasa lila takes place one night when the Gopis of Vrindavana, upon hearing the sound of Krishna’s flute, sneak away from their households and families to the forest to dance with Krishna throughout the night, which Krishna supernaturally stretches to the length of one Night of Brahma, a Hindu unit of time lasting approximately 4.32 billion years. In the Krishna Bhakti traditions, the rasa-lila is considered to be one of the highest and most esoteric of Krishna’s pastimes. In these traditions, romantic love between human beings in the material world is seen as a reflection of the soul’s original, ecstatic spiritual love of Krishna, God, in the spiritual world.