Krishna, performing the Rasa-lila with the gopis
The Rasa lila or Rasa dance is part of the traditional story of Krishna described in Hindu scriptures such as the BhagavataPurana and literature such as the Gita Govinda, where he dances with Radha and her sakhis. The term, rasa meaning aesthetic/s and lila meaning act, play or dance is a concept from Hinduism, which roughly translates to "play (lila) of asthetics (rasa)," or more broadly as "Dance of Divine Love".
The rasa lila takes place one night when the gopis of Vrindavan, 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 merely a diminished, illusionary reflection of the soul’s original, ecstatic spiritual love for Krishna, God, in the spiritual world.
In the BhagavataPuranait is stated that whoever faithfully hears or describes the Rasa lila attains Krishna's pure loving devotion (Suddha-bhakti). Just as a child plays at its own will with its reflection in a mirror, even so with the help of His YogamāyāBhagavānŚrī Krishna sported with the Gopīs, who were like many shadows of His own form. (Wikipedia)
The Radha-Krishna Romance ~ Romantic Stories from Hindu Literature The Radha-Krishnaamour is a love legend of all times. It's indeed hard to miss the many legends and paintings illustrating Krishna's love affairs, of which the Radha-Krishna affair is the most memorable. Krishna's relationship with Radha, his favourite among the 'gopis' (cow-herding maidens), has served as a model for male and female love in a variety of art forms, and since the sixteenth century appears prominently as a motif in North Indian paintings.
Radha, daughter of Vrishabhanu, was the mistress of Krishna during that period of his life when he lived among the cowherds of Vrindavan. Since childhood they were close to each other - they played, they danced, they fought, they grew up together and wanted to be together forever, but the world pulled them apart. He departed to safeguard the virtues of truth, and she waited for him. He vanquished his enemies, became the king, and came to be worshipped as a lord of the universe. She waited for him.
He married Rukminiand Satyabhama, raised a family, fought the great war of Ayodhya, and she still waited. So great was Radha's love for Krishna that even today her name is uttered whenever Krishna is referred to, and Krishna worship is though to be incomplete without the deificationof Radha.
One day the two most talked about lovers come together for a final single meeting. Suradasain his Radha-Krishna lyrics relates the various amorous delights of the union of Radha and Krishna in this ceremonious 'Gandharva' form of their wedding in front of five hundred and sixty million people of Vraj and all the gods and goddesses of heaven. The sage Vyasa refers to this as the 'Rasa'. Age after age, this evergreen love theme has engrossed poets, painters, musicians and all Krishna devotees alike.(about.com)
Krishna's youthful dalliances with the 'gopis' are interpreted as symbolicof the loving interplay between God and the human soul. Radha's utterly rapturous love for Krishna and their relationship is often interpreted as the quest for union with the divine. This kind of love is of the highest form of devotion in Vaishnavism, and is symbolically represented as the bond between the wife and husbandor beloved and lover.