As mentioned in a previous Harikatha mail-out, Srila Maharaja's Hindi lectures on Sri Damodarastakam are practically the same as the English lectures he gave on this subject in 1996. So that you are able to relish the lecture during the Kartika month, please accept this 1996 class. This is the first time this lecture – and all the Damodarastakam lectures we are sending this year (from 1996) – is being published.][From the Lecture Series on the Song Sri Damodarastakam Verse 2 - Part 1]
Part 1We are explaining Srila Sanatana Gosvami's commentary on the second verse of "Sri Damodarastakam." In his explanation of this verse, Srila Sanatana Gosvami has described the profound beauty and sweetness of Lord Krsna and His flute playing. By seeing the beautiful face of Krsna, and by hearing the sweet sound of His flute, the nature or mood of a person, tree, creature, and even a river, is transformed.
rudantam muhur netra-yugmam mrjantam
"I worship that Damodara who, afraid of the stick in His mother’s hand, cries and time and again rubs His eyes with both His lotus hands, whose eyes express extreme fearfulness, whose sobbing makes the jeweled and pearl necklaces upon His neck marked with three lines shake, and whose belly is bound only by His mother’s devotion."
(Sri Damodarastakam, verse 2)
Srila Sanatana Gosvami now speaks about the eternal associates of Sri Krsna. Sri Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but without His associates He is not the Supreme Personality. His pastimes depend upon whom He is surrounded by. It is a speciality of Sri Krsna that His associates in each pastime reflect and complement His mood in that particular pastime.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami has spoken on these topics in detail in his Brhad-Bhagavatamrta. There he has expressed how, by the two qualities of His beauty and His flute playing, Sri Krsna attracts the minds of all those who came in contact with Him. Srila Sanatana Gosvami has described the specialities of His associates in his comment on the words "Gokule brajamanam". What is the meaning of Gokula? "Go" refers to cows, gopas and gopis. "Kula" means groups: groups of gopas, groups of gopis, groups of cows and groups of calves. All these are referred to by the word "Gokula." Everything is revealed to the pure hearted devotees of Sri Krsna when they hear the word Gokula, and Srila Sanatana Gosvami reveals how this is so.
Sri Krsna’s grandfather Parjanya Maharaja, his sons Nanda, Upananda, Sunanda, and Abhinanda, their wives and children, and all of Krsna’s relatives, are in the category of "gopa", cowherd people. Sometimes Krsna sits in the lap of His father or grandfather, and sometimes in the laps of His uncles.
Vrsabhanu Maharaja and his four brothers Bhanu, Subhanu, Abibhanu, Brihadbhanu, and their sons are also all in the gopa community, and Krsna sometimes sits in their laps as well. When Krsna is embraced by the gopas of Gokula, how lovely He looks.
Moreover, when Sri Krsna is surrounded by His cowherd boyfriends, Dama, Sudama, Sridama, Vasudama, Atul-Krsna, Labanga, Arjuna, Ujjvala, Subala and Madhumangala, how beautiful He looks as they play.
Srimati Radhika and Mother Rohini prepare delicious lunch prasada for Krsna and His friends. All are laughing, joking and looking towards Krsna as they sit together to take prasada. How beautiful is that assembly when they are all together in this way.
Mother Yasoda and Mother Rohini are gopis. Krsna’s aunts (the wives of Nanda-baba’s brothers), Radhika’s mother, Kirtika and the wives of Vsabhanu Maharaja’s brothers are all gopis. How beautiful Sri Krsna appears when He plays in their laps as they pass Him amongst themselves. How beautiful He is, surrounded by them all.
Srimati Radhika and Her group, such as Lalita, Visakha, Citra and the manjaris are gopis. Candravali and her group, such as Padma, Saibya, Syamala and Bhadra are also gopis. Sri Krsna is the most beautiful of all when He’s playing with them. He always enjoys His pastimes with His associates.
Lord Ramacandra, Dvarakadisa Krsna and Vaikunthanatha Narayana don’t have the same caliber of associates as Nandanandana Krsna. Explaining this verse, Srila Sanatana Gosvami describes how beautiful, marvelous and unparalleled are Krsna’s Vraja associates.
The cows are just like Krsna’s mothers. They have vatsalya-bhava for Him and they love Him so much. They cannot be milked unless He is there with them. Upon seeing Him, their milk flows automatically from their udders. If He is not present, however, even if their calves are with them, no milk comes at all.
Sometimes Krsna plays with the calves, embracing them just like His cowherd friends, and all the birds, deer and other forest creatures of Gokula also think themselves to be His friends and beloveds. This is so sweet and beautiful. Krsna’s Vraja associates form the ground for His pastimes. When a ground is good, flowers will grow, bees will come. Without associates with whom to share such intimate, loving relationships, Krsna cannot play.
In Srimad Bhagavatam, the words manmatha-manmathah, the attractor of Cupid, has been used to describe Krsna. When Sri Krsna is in the association of the elderly gopas or gopis, who are like His fathers and mothers, and when He is in the association of His cowherd-boy friends, He is not manmatha-manmathah. Only when He is in the association of His beloved gopis is He manmatha-manmathah.
tatropavisto bhagavan sa isvaroSrila Sanatana Gosvami is the topmost Vaisnava, being rasika and bhavuka (absorbed in the moods and relationships of transcendental Vrndavana). He is the guru of Srila Rupa Gosvami, who has taken his remnants having heard from him directly. The acaryas in our line of disciplic succession, such as Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Jiva Gosvami, have understood and explained the inner meaning of these slokas due to having heard them from Srila Sanatana Gosvami.
cakasa gopi-parisad-gato ‘rcitas
trailokya-laksmy-eka-padam vapur dadhat
"Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for Whom the great masters of mystic meditation arrange a seat within their hearts, took His seat in the assembly of gopis. His transcendental body, the exclusive abode of beauty and opulence within the three worlds, shone brilliantly as the gopis worshiped Him."
We cannot imagine how sweet-natured and lovable Srila Sanatana Gosvami is. He is the essence of ‘trnad api sunicena’ – humility more than that of a blade of grass. The depth of his rasika, bhavuka nature can only be known by other devotees of the same caliber, but we can begin to understand his glories from the descriptions of Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Raghunath dasa Gosvami.
vairagya-yug-bhakti-rasam prayatnairIn this verse, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami weeps as he expresses how Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s mercy is unparalleled. He says, “I never wanted the mercy of Sanatana Gosvami – never. Nevertheless, Srila Sanatana Gosvami gave his mercy forcibly, and without cause."
apayayan mam anabhipsum andham
krpambudhir yah para-duhkha-duhkhi
sanatanas tam prabhum asrayami
"I was unwilling to drink the nectar of devotional service possessed of renunciation, but Srila Sanatana Gosvami, out of his causeless mercy, made me drink it, although I was otherwise unable to do so. Therefore he is an ocean of mercy. He is very compassionate to fallen souls like me, and thus it is my duty to offer my respectful obeisances unto his lotus feet."
It is due to Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s mercy that "Sri Damodarastakam" has been translated and explained; without his explanation we would not have been able to deeply penetrate its slokas. Srila Sanatana Gosvami is directly the Vrndavana gopi Lavanga-manjari, and that is why he has been able to explain the "Sri Damodarastakam" verses in this manner. Our Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, produced a book on the verses of "Sri Damodarastakam" with all his explanations, and it is available in Bengali, Hindi and English.
cakasa gopi-parisad-gato ‘rcitasIn the company of the gopis, as manmatha-manmathah, the attractor of Cupid, Lord Krsna’s beauty is incomparable. He is never as beautiful or sweet as at that time. After He disappeared from the rasa dance, when He again appeared in front of the gopis, He was smiling somewhat, and feeling shy, as if He’d done something wrong or committed an offence at their lotus feet. The sweetness and beauty He showed in the company of the gopis at that time was exceptionally wonderful.
trailokya-laksmy-eka-padam vapur dadhat
lasat kundalam gokule brajamanam
Speaking about Vrndavana-lila, Srila Sanatana Gosvami describes Sri Krsna running along the main road of Gokula in fear of Mother Yasoda. Sri Krsna thinks, "If Mother catches Me and decides I am guilty, she will punish Me.” He is fearful because, one day, as Yasoda was sitting and churning, the elderly gopis of Gokula came to her complaining about Him.
They said, "Oh, dear friend Yasoda, your darling boy, has become so naughty. He visits our houses and steals butter, and then feeds it to the monkeys and crows. If He can’t find any butter, He destroys everything in our homes. We are concerned that His naughtiness will increase in the future. You should try to discipline Him while He’s young, so that He won’t become a bad boy as He gets older."
Mother Yasoda thought, "My boy is simple-hearted, He cannot be naughty. But perhaps He is stealing butter from other homes because the butter in my home is not sweet. Maybe it is bitter or sour. I should therefore use milk from a special kind of cow to churn butter for Him."
The next day was Dipavali, a famous annual festival in India, and Mother Yasoda gave her servants a couple of days off. She told them, "You can go to your own homes to celebrate Dipavali and to worship your Deity."
The servants went home, and Rohini and her son Baladeva went to Upananda’s house. Yasoda was now alone. She milked her cow with her own hand and, over the fire, prepared some sweet yoghurt. The next morning she woke very early and, taking a rope and putting it around a pillar and the churning stick, she began to churn the butter. How beautiful was MotherYasoda, from whose womb beautiful Krsna had come.
As she churned, Yasoda was remembering Krsna’s playful boyhood pastimes and singing this beautiful song.
govinda damodara madhaveti…Hearing His mother singing, Sri Krsna immediately wanted to be with her. He climbed down from His bed and cried out, "Mother? Mother? Where are you? Mother! Mother!" He began to search for her, weeping very loudly, but MotherYasoda didn’t hear Him, as she was totally absorbed in churning the curds and singing about His pastimes. The controlling weapon of small boys is loud weeping, and when there was no response, Krsna's weeping became even louder, and then louder still. He approached Yasoda as she churned, but still she didn’t notice Him.
utakale sam…musalaika guptam…
ganantya gopya ca anuraga
govinda damodara madhaveti
Mother Yasoda had applied so much kajal to Sri Krsna’s beautiful, lotus like eyes that His eyes appeared to reach to His ears. Sobbing, Sri Krsna rubbed those eyes with His hands, smudging His kajal. His tears flowed profusely – from one eye the Ganga flowed, and from the other the Yamuna.
Still Yasoda was not seeing or hearing, so Krsna cried still more loudly. Finding His mother churning, He caught hold of her churning stick and her veil. She turned, and then she saw that her little boy had come. Taking Him into her lap, she began to caress Him, offering her breast. There was no need for Krsna to suckle to draw the milk out, for out of her love for Him her milk flowed automatically.
Lord Sri Krsna is the God of gods, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. His stomach is very big. The whole creation – millions of universes, including Gokula Vrndavana – is within His stomach. Mother Yasoda's breast-milk, which is greater in quantity than the milk in the hundreds of Oceans of Milk, can fill up His stomach. All the milk of the entire world cannot satisfy Him, but Mother Yasoda has so much breast-milk that she can totally fulfill His desire. Actually, the origin of all milk has come from the breast of Mother Yasoda, and therefore a competition going on between Krsna and Her breast milk as to who was defeated and who was winning.
In the meantime, some of the milk on the stove began to boil over into the fire. What is the internal reason that the milk was boiling over? The milk was thinking, "If Krsna will not accept my service to Him, better I should die.”
Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has written:
kena va achaye prana ki sukha paiyaA devotee thinks: "If I am not serving Lord Krsna, Gurudeva and the Vaisnavas, better I should die. There is no use to my life.” Thinking in this way, the milk was going to jump into the fire to die. Mother Yasoda, who is so marvelous, with immense compassion and causeless mercy, saw the milk and she ran to save it. "Stop! Stop!” she said. “Don’t jump into the fire. I will engage you in serving Krsna; don’t worry. I will engage you first, and then resume my service.”
narottama dasa kena na gela mariya
"For what type of pleasure do I maintain my life?" Narottama dasa laments, "Why do I not simply die?"
(Aksepa, verse 5)
This is the mercy of Gurudeva and pure Vaisnavas; they give us the opportunity to serve Krsna. Mother Yasoda gave this mercy: "I will serve later, but first I will give you a chance to serve."
As Mother Yasoda hastily got up to save the milk, Krsna clung onto her just as a small monkey clutches onto his mother. Using all His strength, He held onto her with His arms, hands, legs and feet, and His mouth also, trying to prevent her from separating Him from her. But Mother Yasoda very easily pried Him from her and sat Him down.
Lord Sri Krsna is the God of gods, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; He is unlimitedly powerful. However, Mother Yasoda very easily made Him sit down, telling Him, "Sit down here." The witch Putana, who had the power of ten thousand elephants, had gone to Gokula to kill Krsna. Taking Him on her lap, she had put His mouth on the nipple of her breast. She had no milk to offer Him, but she had smeared her breast nipples with a very deadly poison that had the power to destroy anyone in a moment. As she put her breast nipple into the mouth of Krsna, He closed His eyes, thinking, "I don't want to kill someone who has come to Me as a mother." Although she used all her power, that of ten thousand elephants, Putana could not pull Krsna from her, and she was killed when He sucked the life airs from her body. But Yasoda easily separated herself from Him with one hand, saying, "Oh, You should sit here".
Powerless against Mother Yasoda’s strength, Krsna became angry. He thought, "Mother is so cruel-hearted. She has taken her breast-milk away from Me, and has instead gone to save the milk from the fire. I am not her beloved. She loves that milk much more than she loves Me. I should punish her. I will destroy everything in this room."
Although He was only a small child, He was thinking about how He could destroy everything. He thought, "I will break this pot." He tried to pick up a big pot of butter but it was too heavy for Him. Then He saw the stone used for grinding spices and, picking it up He thought, “I’ll use this to smash a hole in the pot. I’ll make a hole near the bottom of the pot, so that all the butter will run out. Not a single drop will remain.”
[To find out what happened next, please read Part 2 of this lecture, called "Running After God"]
Editorial Advisors: Sripad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanath dasa
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