The Pastimes of Damodara

by Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

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[From a Lecture Series on the Song, Sri Damodarastakam in Vrndavana, India: 1996]

Respected Readers,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
The month of Kartika (Oct-Nov) bares one of the most significant devotional festivals of the Gaudiya Vaisnava year. For its duration, there is a special program of worship of Sri Krsna in His Damodara-lila, in which He is bound with a rope by His mother, Yasoda. For this reason, it is also known as the month of Damodara.

The beautiful prayer affiliated with this month, "Sri Damodarastakam", which was spoken in ancient times by Sri Satyavrata Muni in a conversation with Sri Narada Muni and Saunaka Rsi and which appears in the Padma Purana, is sung morning and evening throughout the month of Damodara.

Srila Narayana Maharaja's erudite discourses on the multiple levels of meaning surrounding Damodara-lila and "Sri Damodarastakam" have been nurturing and uplifting devotees for many years during the month of Kartika. Although the different topics and siddhantic points are repeated every year, Srila Narayana Maharaja's sublime understandings give each lecture its own subtle slant, providing deeper and deeper perspectives. Srila Narayana Maharaja wants us to take hold of these messages and process them deep within our hearts.

Hundreds of fortunate souls are presently gathered in Sri Vrndavana-dhama with Srila Narayana Maharaja, daily visiting the many places of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna's pastimes on Vraja-mandala parikrama. Srila Narayana Maharaja’s beautiful lectures are delivered on the mornings and evenings of these parikrama-filled days, and as such, we do not get time to prepare them for publication. Therefore, please be happy to receive a series of lectures spoken by Srila Narayana Maharaja in past Kartikas.

These past few years he is speaking in Hindi and his disciples translate them into English. The lecture series you are now receiving was spoken by him in English. They were especially relishable and nourishing at the time they were spoken, and they remain all the more so today.

We pray you will enjoy the following:]

namamisvaram sac-cid-ananda-rupam
lasat-kundalam gokule brajamanam
yasoda-bhiyolukhalad dhavamanam
paramrstam atyan tato drutya gopya

["I worship the Supreme Isvara, Sri Krsna, whose form is sac-cid-ananda, whose fish-shaped earrings swing and play upon His cheeks, who is supremely splendorous in the transcendental dhama of Gokula, who, due to breaking the yoghurt pot, is very fearful of Mother Yasoda and jumping down from the wooden grinding mortar quickly runs away, and who, chased by Yasoda, who hastily runs after Him, is ultimately caught from behind."
(Sri Damodarastakam, verse 1)]

We have been explaining Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s commentary on this first verse of Sri Damodarastakam.

In the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam the gopis say to Sri Krsna, "We have left our pati-vrata-dharma (chastity to our husbands). We have come to You, having given up our relationships with our husbands and families. We have left everything to come to You, and now You are telling us that we will have to go to hell for this?! According to dharma (religious codes), the wife should properly honor her husband, whether he is lame or poor, or has any other type of affliction; but we have left our husbands and come here to You. We do not think that we will have to go to hell, but if we do have to, You will have to go also. Why have You taken such a beautiful form, and why do You play on Your flute so sweetly?

“We think that, what to speak of any lady, there isn’t anyone in this whole world whose mood or dharma doesn’t change when that person hears the sweet sound of Your flute. The natures of all creatures, animals, birds and even rivers and mountains, are transformed when they hear Your flute. Therefore we are not at fault. We are not the offenders; You are the only offender, because You have such a beautiful face and qualities. You play Your flute in such a captivating way; therefore You are the guilty party, not us.”

Sri Krsna is so beautiful. Lord Narayana in Vaikuntha is very beautiful, Sri Ramacandra is even more beautiful than Narayana, and Sri Krsna of Dvaraka and Mathura is more beautiful than Ramacandra. However, when Krsna appears as Vrajendra-nandana and is associated with the gopis, He is the most beautiful of all. It is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam that when Krsna is with the gopis, He becomes manmatha-manmathah, the attractor of Cupid. Neither Dvarakadisa Krsna nor Krsna in Vaikuntha are manmatha-manmathah. Nanda-nandana Krsna, especially when He meets with the gopis, has unparalleled beauty. It is only with the Vraja gopis that He carries His flute. When He is with Satyabhama or Rukmini as Mathuradisa or Dvarakadisa Krsna, He does not have it.

"So, we are not guilty,” the gopis said. “If anyone is guilty, it is Your face, Your beauty and Your sweetness. All these things are the guilty party; not us."

When Krsna disappeared from this Earth and entered into aprakat-lila (His un-manifest pastimes) in Goloka Vrndavana, Uddhava felt deep separation from Him. On the order of Krsna, Uddhava went to meet with Vidura and Maitreya at Badrika-asrama. As he was approaching Vraja, he met Vidura on the banks of the sweet Yamuna. Upon meeting Vidura he began to weep, rolling upon the ground with tears flowing from his eyes. Vidura was bewildered, not understanding what was happening to him.

Weeping in his deep separation from Sri Krsna, Uddhava began to speak to Vidura. “Krsna has cheated us,” he said. “He went to Goloka Vrndavana." Uddhava spoke to Vidura of Krsna’s life and character, beginning from His boyhood years. He related so many of Sri Krsna’s pastimes, and he especially described the beauty of His form:

yan martya-lilaupayikam sva-yoga-
maya-balam darsayata grhitam
vismapanam svasya ca saubhagarddheh
param padam bhusana-bhusanangam

["The Lord appeared in the mortal world by His internal potency, yogamaya. He came in His eternal form, which is just suitable for His pastimes. These pastimes were wonderful for everyone, even for those proud of their own opulence, including the Lord Himself in His form as the Lord of Vaikuntha. Thus Sri Krsna's transcendental body is the ornament of all ornaments."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.2.12)

Sri Krsna comes to this world by taking shelter of yogamaya. He says in Bhagavad-gita:
naham prakasah sarvasya
mudho 'yam nabhijanati
loko mam ajam avyayam

["I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For them I am covered by My eternal creative potency ; and so the deluded world knows Me not, Who am unborn and infallible."
(Bhagavad-gita 7.25)]

When Krsna appears in the world He is always covered by His yogamaya potency, and therefore general people don’t realize that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

We are standing on the platform of maya, illusion. Even when we are physically present in Mathura-dhama or Vraja-Mandala, we are not truly in those dhamas (holy places of the Lord’s pastimes). This, of course, does not apply to pure Vaisnavas. No one can see Sri Krsna unless he has pure devotion.

santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti
yam syamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

Saintly persons, whose eyes of devotion are smeared with the salve of prema, always behold Sri Krsna within their hearts as Syamasundara, the embodiment of inconceivable qualities. I worship that original personality, Govinda.
(Sri Brahma-samhita Verse 38)

Here Lord Brahma is saying that Lord Krsna performs His pastimes in this world in order to attract the jivas to render loving service unto Him.

Krsna has appeared in this world under the shelter of yogamaya, His eternal creative potency. How is that so? When He comes to this world, He orders His yogamaya potency to arrange everything. His name, form, beauty, qualities, associates and pastimes are all sat-cit-ananda.

At the time of Sri Krsna's prakat-lila, His manifestation in this world, all trees and creepers and everything connected with His pastimes, were sac-cit-ananda. Although Duryodhana and others like him were in this world at the time of Krsna, they were not sat-cit-ananda.

When appearing in this world, Sri Krsna orders His yogamaya potency to arrange His pastimes. With the assistance of yogamaya, He becomes surprised when He sees Himself. One time He was playing around the jeweled pillars of His home, Nanda Bhavan. He was a little naked boy, with a lump of butter in His hand. When He saw His reflection in the jeweled pillar, thinking it to be a boy other than Himself, He became surprised and thought, “Who is this beautiful boy? I want to make friends with Him.” He offered His butter to the reflection, saying, "Here, please take this butter." But the reflection also put His hand out and said, "Here, please take this butter."

Sri Krsna chastised the reflection, saying, "Why are you repeating My words and gestures?” And His reflection simply copied His chastisement. Bewildered, He thought, "I will give this boy a slap.”

Mother Yasoda, churning curd nearby, was watching her boy playing with His reflection in the pillar. Seeing His mother watching Him, He became embarrassed and ran to her lap, hiding Himself within her clothes.

At that time He thought, "How beautiful I am! How can I fully taste My beauty in this world, and also in Goloka Vrndavana? Only Srimati Radhika can fully taste My beauty, therefore I desire to borrow Her mood and thus taste it.” Sri Krsna Himself, what to speak of others such as deer and other forest creatures, becomes charmed by seeing His own sweet, soft, fragrant face.

Not only is Krsna exceptionally beautiful, but all His associates are as well. They are all sat-cit-ananda and they assist Him in all His pastimes. Lord Ramacandra has His particular associates, as do Dvarakadisa Krsna and Laksmi-Narayana. Of Ramacandra’s associates, Hanuman, Sita and Laksman, Hanuman is the topmost servitor. He has the form of a monkey, yet he is so beautiful. Sri Narada Muni is the associate of Laksmi-Narayana. Satyabhama and all the queens of Dvaraka, and Dvarakadisa Krsna's Prime Minister Uddhava, are His associates of Dvaraka. Ramacandra and Dvarakadisa Krsna and Their associates are beautiful, but Sri Krsna’s beauty is unparalleled when He is in the company of the beautiful Vraja gopis.

It is only in Vrndavana that Sri Krsna plays His flute; not in any other lila.

Srila Sanatana Gosvami is establishing here that the associates of Vrajendra-nandana Sri Krsna are superior to Narayana’s associates in Vaikuntha and Dvarakadisa’s associates in Dvaraka.

Srila Sanatana Gosvami has given another instance. Sri Krsna disappeared from the rasa-lila, and the gopis were weeping bitterly, singing Gopi-gita and praying to Him to come to them. He felt ashamed when He again appeared before them. They had left everything for Him, and yet He had disappeared from their sight. He was therefore feeling guilty, but at the same time He was somewhat smiling. The gopis then made a sitting place for Him with their veils. At that time, in the association of the Vraja gopis, Sri Krsna appeared most beautiful. He was so beautiful that there was no need for any ornament or kunkum powder to enhance His beauty.

The dust in Vraja is more beautiful than kunkum powder. If Lord Krsna has this dust on His face, His beauty is increased. When as a young boy He runs naked, His beauty increases even more. When He wears ornaments, those ornaments are beautified by Him.

yan martya-lilaupayikam sva-yoga-
maya-balam darsayata grhitam
vismapanam svasya ca saubhagarddheh
param padam bhusana-bhusanangam

["The Lord appeared in the mortal world by His internal potency, yogamaya. He came in His eternal form, which is just suitable for His pastimes. These pastimes were wonderful for everyone, even for those proud of their own opulence, including the Lord Himself in His form as the Lord of Vaikuntha. Thus His [Sri Krsna's] transcendental body is the ornament of all ornaments.

Krsna is so beautiful.

Gaura premanande!

Editorial Advisors: Sripad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanath dasa
Editor: Premavati dasi and Syamarani dasi
Transcriber: Govinda Priya Dasi
Painting: Syamarani dasi
HTML: Bhutabhavana dasa

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