Sri Sri Damodarastakam


Krsna Tied to a Mortar, Uproots the Arjuna Trees
Illustration from Harivamsha, c. 1590, Mughal

Oct 18, USA (SUN) — Eight Prayers to Lord Damodara Whose Belly is Bound by a Rope

Sri Sri Damodarastakam - Text 1

namamisvaram sac-cid-ananda-rupam
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


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