The Glorious Month of Damodar


Krsna Tied to the Mortar
Balagopalastuti Manuscript, Gujarat, late 15th c.
Victoria & Albert Museum

Nov 22, 2012 — CANADA (SUN) —

The Exalted Rope Binding Damodar's Waist

Verse Eight of Sri Damodarastakam sings the glories of the transcendental rope with which Mother Yasoda tied Damodar to the grinding stone: namas te 'stu damne sphurad dipti-dhamne -- "O Lord Damodara! I offer my obeisances unto the exalted rope binding Your waist which is the source of splendrously brilliant effulgence."

In his Dig-Darsini-Tika, Srila Sanatana Goswami offers commentary on this divine rope, which Satyavrata Muni is offering his worshipful prayers to. Composed of the vatsalya-prema of Mother Yasoda, the rope binding Damodar's belly is described by the Goswami:

    "Now at the conclusion of the prayer, in order to summarise the presentation of topics that are being prayed for, and also to arouse the attributes of bhakti, obeisances are given separately unto Bhagavan's unique binding, bodily limbs, associates, and so on in the verse beginning with namas te 'stu. It is stated te damne namo 'stu - I bow to the maha-pasa, the magnificent rope that binds Your belly. What is this grand rope like? It is sphurantya dipte dhama - the source or shelter of a splendrous effulgence. In this regard, it is suggested by the author that such a maha-pasa is the very abode of the (endlessly radiant) concentrated brahma-teja, or all-pervading brahman effulgence. "

In Nectar of Devotion 4, that transcendental rope is also described in terms of the composition of Sri Damodar's name:

    "Similarly, there is a statement in Padma Purana describing the ritualistic function during the month of Karttika (October-November). During this month, in Vrndavana it is the regulative principle to pray daily to Lord Krsna in His Damodara form. The Damodara form refers to Krsna in His childhood when He was tied up with rope by His mother, Yasoda. Dama means "ropes," and udara means "the abdomen." So mother Yasoda, being very disturbed by naughty Krsna, bound Him round the abdomen with a rope, and thus Krsna is named Damodara. "

The pieces of rope Mother Yasoda gathered from her household, cobbling them together in an effort to make them long enough to reach around the limitless belly of Damodar, is further described by Srila Prabhupada in Chapter 9 of Krsna Book:

    "Mother Yasoda chased Him to all corners, trying to capture the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is never approached even by the meditations of great yogis. In other words, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, who is never caught by the yogis and speculators, was playing just like a little child for a great devotee like mother Yasoda. Mother Yasoda, however, could not easily catch the fast-running child because of her thin waist and heavy body. Still she tried to follow Him as fast as possible. Her hair loosened, and the flower in her hair fell to the ground. Although she was tired, she somehow reached her naughty child and captured Him. When He was caught, Krsna was almost on the point of crying. He smeared His hands over His eyes, which were anointed with black eye cosmetics. The child saw His mother's face while she stood over Him, and His eyes became restless from fear. Mother Yasoda could understand that Krsna was unnecessarily afraid, and for His benefit she wanted to allay His fears.

    Being the topmost well-wisher of her child, mother Yasoda began to think, "If the child is too fearful of me, I don't know what will happen to Him." Mother Yasoda then threw away her stick. In order to punish Him, she thought to bind His hands with some ropes. She did not know it, but it was actually impossible for her to bind the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

    Mother Yasoda was thinking that Krsna was her tiny child; she did not know that the child had no limitation. There is no inside or outside of Him, nor beginning or end. He is unlimited and all-pervading. Indeed, He is Himself the whole cosmic manifestation. Still, mother Yasoda was thinking of Krsna as her child. Although He is beyond the reach of all senses, she endeavored to bind Him up to a wooden grinding mortar. But when she tried to bind Him, she found that the rope she was using was too short--by two inches. She gathered more ropes from the house and added to it, but at the end she found the same shortage. In this way, she connected all the ropes available at home, but when the final knot was added, she saw that it was still two inches too short. Mother Yasoda was smiling, but she was astonished. How was it happening?

    In attempting to bind her son, she became tired. She was perspiring, and the garland on her head fell down. Then Lord Krsna appreciated the hard labor of His mother, and being compassionate upon her, He agreed to be bound up by the ropes."

In a lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam, October 11, 1974 in Mayapur, Srila Prabhupada explains in very beautiful terms the scene of Damodar-lila in which Mother Yasoda binds Krsna with the rope, as the pastime is remembered by Kuntidevi:

    "Krtagasi... So Krsna was offender before His mother. The mother, Yasoda, was taking care of the milk, and Krsna wanted to suck his (her) breast. So mother was very busy. So when the milk was overflowing, she immediately left Krsna and went to take care of the milk. Krsna became very much angry. So He went to the butter stock and broke the butter pot, spoiled it, and when mother Yasoda saw that the child is breaking the butter pot, he (she) immediately wanted to catch Him, and Krsna fled away. And then, after all, He was a small child, and Mother Yasoda caught Him and wanted to bind Him with a rope. This is the fact. Krtagasi. Then gopy adade krtagasi tvam: "Because You were offender, therefore he (she) wanted to bind You." Dama. Dama means rope. Tavat. "And what was Your condition at that time? The condition was ya te dasa." Dasa means condition. So He was crying. Lord Krsna, out of fear of His mother--"Now Mother will bind Me"--so He was crying. And while crying, the tears washed the, what is called? Kajala? Mascara? So they were dropping, and He was fearful, crying, and He was, His head was down, flapping. This condition. Niniya. Vaktram niniya, face. He felt culprit, that "I have done wrong." Bhaya-bhavanaya. He was so much afraid that "Mother will bind Me. My freedom will be lost."

And in Teachings of Queen Kunti, Verse 20, Srila Prabhupada compares the failings of the conditioned soul's faulty thinking to that rope of Mother Yasoda's, being always 'too short':

    "However intelligent we may be, and however much we may try to cheat Krsna, Krsna is always more intelligent. When mother Yasoda tried to bind Krsna with a rope, she found that the rope was always two inches too short. Our intelligence is like that. We want to cheat God and surpass Him, but this is not possible. People think themselves very advanced in knowledge, but actually, due to their pride, their knowledge is taken away by maya. Krsna actually takes the knowledge away from atheistic, demoniac people like Hiranyakasipu. Atheists do not know that Krsna's intelligence is always at least two inches greater than anyone else's.

    In material life, we simply struggle for existence. We want to exist, and we do not want to die. Nor do we want to undergo the pains of birth, catch diseases or grow old. There are so many miseries in material life that we do not want, but they are forced upon us. Unfortunately, we are not intelligent enough to make a solution to all these problems. We should be inquiring like Sanatana Gosvami about how to put an end to them all. Instead, we are working in such a way that we have to accept another material body. We are experiencing the difficulties arising from this material body, but we are not working in a way to become free. This Krsna consciousness movement is giving information on how to become liberated."

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust


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