Sanatana Goswami’s Commentary to Damodarastaka
November 5th, 2007

Verse 1 today; other verses following in the coming days of Kartika.From Sanatana Goswami’s Dig-Darsini-Tika — Bengali translation by Tridandi Swami Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Maharaja. Rendered into English by Dasaratha Suta dasa and Vaiyasaki dasa Adhikari, and taken from the book “Radha Damodara Lila” by Vaiyasaki das:

I have added the insights of Srila Prabhupada and other Vaisnava acharyas to further enhance our appreciation of the unique position of Lord Damodara.

Originally from the Padma Purana, Sri Damodarastakam is recited during a conversation between Narada Muni and Saunaka Rishi. A benediction accompanies these verses. It is said that anyone who recites or even hears this prayer, especially in the month of Kartik, will attract the eternal shelter of devotional service at the lotus feet of Sri Damodara. (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 16.1.198)

Sri Damodarastakam
Verse 1
namamisvaram sac-cid-ananda-rupam
lasat-kundalam gokule bhrajamanam
paramrstam atyantato drutya gopya

“I bow down to the supreme controller, Sri Damodara, whose form is the embodiment of eternity, knowledge, and bliss. His glistening earrings swing playfully to and fro upon His cheeks. He manifests super-excellent pastimes in Gokula, stealing fresh butter suspended from the rafters of the gopis’ storerooms. In fear of Mother Yasoda, He jumps down from a wooden grinding mortar and quickly runs away. She runs swiftly after Him and finally catches Him from behind.”

The specific attributes of the Absolute Truth of the Lord, tattva-visesa, are addressed first. Satyavrata Muni begins with the offering of obeisances (namami) as an auspicious invocation, mangalacarana. He invokes the mercy of Lord Damodara to empower him to offer this prayer by the word isvara, the supreme controller. It also indicates that the Supreme Lord alone is worthy of the highest praise. It further implies the specific nature of devotional service, bhakti. The Lord manifests Himself in a form that embodies eternal existence, knowledge, and bliss, sac-cid-ananda-rupam. Thus, His supreme sovereignty is established.

The attribute of His enchanting beauty, rupa visesa, is described next. As He runs from Mother Yasoda, His earrings begin to swing back and forth (lasat-kundalam). The earrings naturally sport upon His cheeks as He plays in the courtyard of Mother Yasoda. All the ornaments that adorn the Lord have become super-excellent by contact with His divine body, yet these earrings have attained superiority overall by the great fortune of constantly kissing His divine cheeks while swinging. They are glistening (lasanti) due to being enriched with the effulgence from the Lord’s complexion.

Uddhava describes Krsna’s beauty as so supremely enchanting that His transcendental body is the ornament of all ornaments. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.2.12)

Only in Gokula does Krsna display His most splendid pastimes that surpass all other manifestations of His excellence (gokule bhrajamanam). The word, gokule, indicates the place where cows and cowherds reside. The attributes of His family, parivara-visesa, thus further portray His unique excellence.

The last two lines of the verse describe the lila-visesa, the attributes of His excellent pastime as the butter thief. In fear of Mother Yasoda (yasoda-bhiya) He quickly runs away (dhavamanam) from the mortar (ulukalat). Then, she also runs very swiftly (atyantato drutya).
“Krsna, at that time, was sitting on an upside-down wooden mortar for grinding spices and was distributing milk preparations, such as yogurt and butter, to the monkeys as He liked. Because of having stolen, He was looking all around with great anxiety, suspecting that He might be chastised by His mother. Mother Yasoda, upon seeing Him, very cautiously approached Him from behind. When Lord Sri Krsna saw His mother, stick in hand, He very quickly got down from the top of the mortar and began to flee as if very much afraid. Although yogis try to capture Him as Paramatma by meditation, desiring to enter into the effulgence of the Lord with great austerities and penance, they fail to reach Him. But Mother Yasoda, thinking that same Personality of Godhead Krsna, to be her son, began following Krsna to catch Him.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.9.8-9)

The word, paramrstam, meaning caught from behind, also intimates the supreme love that Sri Krsna has for Yasoda. Therefore, gopya lovingly denotes Mother Yasoda and implies the great fortune of the cowherd caste that the Supreme Lord prefers to mingle amongst them.
Quoting from the Vaisnava-tosani of Sanatana Goswami, Srila Visvanath Cakravarti Thakur explains that the pastime of baby Krsna’s breaking the pot of yogurt and being bound by Mother Yasoda took place on the Dipavali Day, or Dipa-malika. In India, this festival is celebrated in the month of Kartik with fireworks and lights.

“Among all the cows of Nanda Maharaja, several of mother Yasoda’s cows ate only grasses so flavorful that the grasses would automatically flavor the milk. Mother Yasoda wanted to collect the milk from these cows, make it into yogurt, and churn it into butter personally since she thought that this child Krsna was going to the houses of neighborhood gopas and gopis to steal butter because He did not like the milk and yogurt ordinarily prepared.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.9.2, Purport)

These eight specific cows were called padmagandha, and their milk was as fragrant as the lotus flower. Just as swans live only on lotus stalks, so these cows ate only special grass. Mother Yasoda took particular care of these cows and used their milk to make special sweets for Krsna. She hoped that he would lose interest in the butter and yogurt from the houses of other gopis. In this way she made an attempt to rectify his stealing habit.


40 Responses to “Sanatana Goswami’s Commentary to Damodarastaka”

  1. Vijay gowryshanker V says:

    Excellent revelation Maharaj. All glories to lord Radha Damodar.

    your servant