Sri Sri Damodarastakam - Text 1
lasat-kundalam gokule bhrajamanam
paramrstam atyam tato drutya gopya
I offer my respectful obeisances unto that Supreme Lord
Whose form is composed of eternity, knowledge and bliss
Whose earrings swing and play upon His cheeks
Who is splendrously manifest in Gokula
Who is very fearful of mother Yasoda,
and jumping down from the wooden grinding mortar quickly runs away
Who is chased by Yasoda running very quickly after Him
and is ultimately caught from behind
Dig-Darsini-Tika by Srila Sanatana Gosvami:
Bowing before Sri Damodara-isvara Who is accompanied by Sri Radha I now commence my purport of Damodarastaka entitled Dig-Darsini.
In the beginning of the mula-sloka, the very first intention is expressed by the word namami - "I bow down." Obeisances are thus offered with love and devotion before commencing the description of the Lord's specific characteristics of excellence that are exhibited by His tattva, rupa, lila, guna and so forth. Also mentioned is the essence of His own divine supremacy as the Supreme Personality of Godhead manifested in Gokula, and also His distinctive features as the origin of all. Furthermore, the word namami is indicative of an auspicious invocation (mangalartham). At the start of all functions it is customary to offer respects to isvara which express an attitude of devotional service unto the Lord. For this reason, obeisances are offered first unto the Lord in this verse.
(Now the commentator, Sri Srila Sanatana Gosvami examines tattva-visesa or the excellence of the Lord's truth:) Obeisances unto whom? Unto Isvara, the supreme controller. Namely - He who is (1) sarva-saktimanta (endowed with all potencies), (2) jagat-ekanatha (the only Lord of the universe) and (3) nija-prabhu (my own Master). In the first instance He is addressed as such in order to obtain the power of sakti needed to offer the prayer, in the second instance, He is addressed as such to indicate that He is the one and only Lord Who is praiseworthy; in the final instance, He is addressed as such to signify the specific nature of bhakti or devotion. How is He manifest? As sac-cid-ananda-rupam or a form composed of compressed clouds of eternity, knowledge and bliss. This is the statement of His supreme sovereignty in regards to His tattva-visesa attribute or excellence of truth.
(Now rupa-visesa, the excellence of His beauty is described:) His distinct excellence of beauty is illustrated as follows: lasanti (the swinging of His earrings) was manifested when He ran away in fear of Sri Yasoda; or also, His earrings sport upon His cheeks as a result of His continuously playing in the transcendental pastimes of childhood. Thus, His divinely splendrous face is especially portrayed. Or also, yet another meaning of lasat-kundalam is - due to the maha-saubhagya or great fortune of personally kissing His divine cheeks, these earrings have attained a position of superexcellence above all His other ornaments. And this superexcellence also indicates the fortune of the other ornaments adorning His various limbs. Furthermore, lasanti indicates that these earrings are glistening because they are enriched with the splendrous effulgence of the Lord's bodily complexion; therefore Krsna's body is the ornament of His ornaments. This is the meaning. Consequently, it is stated by the gopis in the Tenth Canto (Bhag. 10.29.40):
"O Sri Krsna! By seeing Your beauty, which attracts the three worlds, these cows, birds, trees and deer are all experiencing their hairs standing on end!" ("What is the wonder, then, if we are also bewildered?")
In the Third Canto (Bhag. 3.2.12), it is also stated by Sri Uddhava to Vidura regarding Sri Krsna's beauty:
"Sri Krsna's beauty is so enchanting that it even astonishes Himself: that beauty represents the supreme zenith of great opulence, so much so that He is actually the ornament of His ornaments."
Now the parivara-visesa or attributes of His family portray His unique excellence. The word gokule indicates that place where gopas, gopis, cows, calves and so forth reside. The word bhrajamanam indicates a particularly befitting place wherein He can manifest an excellence that surpasses that of previous lilas. Moreover, He is splendrous because only in Gokula does He manifest His svabhavika-sobha, or most natural characteristics of brilliance. It is stated in the Tenth Canto (Bhag. 10.32.14):
"(Bhagavan Sri Krsna, Who sits upon the asana formed in the lotus-like hearts of the siddha-yogis...) Manifesting a body that is the abode of all the splendour of the three worlds, He sat upon the asana presented by the gopis, was worshipped by them, and thereby radiated even more splendour."
His excellence of lila-visesa, or attributes of His pastimes, are stated in the last two lines of the verse. The word yasoda indicates yasodaya, or "From His mother Yasoda". Bhiya indicates the fear of being punished for His offense of breaking the yoghurt pots, stealing fresh butter and so forth. Ulukhalat denotes "from the mortar" - in order to steal the fresh butter suspended from the rafters, He took a large wooden grinding mortar that was kept in the same storeroom, turned it on end, and climbed up on it; but (spotting His mother coming into the room with a stick in her hand) He immediately gets down again. Dhavamanam - He speedily runs away. In this regard, if one desires to know the particulars of this pastime, it can be found in the Tenth Canto (Bhag. 10.9.8-9) thus:
"Then Sri Krsna turned the grinding mortar on end, climbed up on it and began distributing the fresh butter hanging from the rafters to the monkeys as freely as He liked. Due to knowledge of His own mischievous thievery, His eyes fearfully darted this way and that. Mother Yasoda saw Him doing this and slowly crept up from behind to catch Him; but He noticed Her coming with a stick in her hand, and He quickly got down from the mortar and started running away, just like a person stricken with fear. Even though highly advanced yogis are enabled by the strength of their penances to merge their minds with brahma, still they cannot get a glimpse of this scene - of Yasoda-devi chasing her son Krsna from behind while attempting to catch Him."
Then, tato-drutya - she ran very swiftly. Due to the samasa conjunction, these two words become one. Gopya - by Sri Yasoda, para amrstam - catching hold of His back. Here the words atyanta tato drutya (running behind Krsna very swiftly) imply the saundarya-visesa (excellence of beauty) of Yasoda's full breasts, broad hips and so on, as well as the particulars of her affection for her son. The loving use of the word gopya connotes the grand fortune that came upon the gopa caste (by Krsna preferring to appear among them). By the word paramrstam (caught by His back), the unique attribute of superexcellent affection that Bhagavan Sri Krsna feels for Yasoda-mata (sneha-visesa) is intimated. In this regard also, one may search out the following verse from the Tenth Canto (Bhag. 10.9.10):
"While chasing after Krsna, the slim waisted Yasoda's broad hips caused her pace to slow down. From running quickly, the flowers had come loose from her hair and were falling after her, but she still continued to pursue Him. In this fashion, after chasing and chasing Him, she finally caught Him from behind."
Thus ends Sanatana Gosvami's Dig-Darsini-Tika
on the first sloka of Sri Damodarastakam
Padma Purana on Kartika Vrata
Quoted by Srila Sanatana Gosvami in his Hari-bhakti Vilasa
(the standard lawbook for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas)
Intro-if one neglects to perform the Kartika Vrata all his pious merits amassed in the passed are burned to ashes; his study of the Vedas becomes futile; and his performance of japa, charity, and austerity becomes fruitless.
Glories of Kartika Vrata-Kartik is the best, the purest of purifiers, and most glorious of all months. Kartika month is particularly dear to Lord Sri Krsna. This month is full of bhakta vatsalya. Any vrata, even the smallest, will yield huge results. The effect of performing a Kartika Vrata lasts for one hundred lifetimes, whereas ordinary vratas only last for one lifetime! As Krsna says in Gita that He is the month of Nov-Dev, similarly, Srimati Radhika is the holy month of Kartik which precedes His month. Rupa Gosvami and others refer to Radharani as the Kartika-devata or Kartika Devi, in other words, Radhika is the goddess or presiding Deity of the Kartika Vrata.
Daily Offer-tulsi arotik, ghee lamp to Krsna and sing Damodarastakam, bathe in Yamuna if possible, give charity to pure devotees.
Dont Eat: grains given by others, honey, sesame seeds, oils, hing, eggplant, loki, tasty foods like sweets and fried foods, samosas, pakoras.
Dont Do: cut hair, nails, use things of others, criticize Vaisnavas, Vedas or anyone, no oil on body, do not find faults in others or be envious.
Prayer before beginning: "O gopikas! By your mercy may Radha and Krsna be pleased with my Kartika Vrata."
Benefits Observing Kartik Vrata: All sins flee from the heart. Perform other vratas one hundred times not equal to one performance of Kartik Vrata. All the holy places will live within your body. Proper performance of Kartik Vrata gives one a million times the result of chanting mantras, do yatras and other types of vratas. Those who worship Damodara in Vrndavana even once easily attain Krsna bhakti. Dhruva Maharaja attained Hari darsana by worshiping Krsna in Mathura during the Kartika month.
Summary of How to Follow the Kartika Vrata:
Remember--Kartika Vrata is a special time to worship Radha Damodara, and especially get the mercy of Radhika, since it is Her month, and She is very very easily pleased this month if one worships Her along with Her beloved Damodara.
Srila Prabhupada on When to Start Kartika Vrata: "In Vrndavana we should have Kartika Vrata, Urja Vrata, for one month beginning on Ekadasi (Pasanukusa) (Srila Prabhupada Tape 10/6/72)
Pasanukusa Ekadasi Morning: Offer prayer-"O Janardana, O Damodara, O Devesa who are accompanied by Radhika. During the month of Kartika, I will bathe early every morning for Your satisfaction."
1. Rise early every day by Brahma Muhurta, bathe, chant japa offer Mangala Arotik
2. Hear Srimad Bhagavatam, especially Radha and Krsna pastimes in Vrndavana, daily in association of exalted Vaisnavas, if possible. By regularly reading Srimad Bhagavatam during Kartika month, one gets the benefit of reading all the eighteen 18 Puranas. All other duties should be given up in favor of hearing the scriptures from sadhus during this month.
3. Chant continually in japa and kirtan, Krsna nama, do extra rounds and more kirtana with family.
Must maintain celibacy for entire month
Give up favorite food article for entire month (sweets, salties) Try to eat only once in a day. *if you can do and carry on ordinary works*
Eat your meals only on palasa leaves (if possible, will give tremendous punya.)
No oil on body and NO EATING honey, eggplant, portal, pickles, red rajma beans, or sesame seeds, or urad dahl (no kichoris)
Daily sing the Damodarastakam, meditating on meaning
Daily offer a ghee lamp to Krsna Deity or photo (no need of picture of Mother Yasoda-Damodara or photo)
Daily offer arotik and prayers to Tulsi devi praying for eternal residence in Vrndavana and eternal service of the lotus feet of Radha and Krsna.
Daily chant the Radha-krpa katakasam, and Krsna krpa kataksam in Giti Guccha songbook
Also chant other prayers to Radha and Radha Krsna Yugala from the Giti Guccha songbook
ON Ekadasi, Dvadasis, and Purnima chant the one-thousand names of Radha
On the three Ekadasis in Kartik try to observe Nirjala Vrata and stay awake chanting hari nam, especially on the last one, Uttana Ekadasi, when Lord Visnu and all the demigods awake after four months slumber.
Donate charity to pure devotees
Offer special nice foods to Krsna for entire month. For example every day make sweet rice, (khira) which is the favorite food of Krsna.