Today marks the first day of Kartika the most auspicious month for all vaisnavas.
What is Kartika you may ask. Kartik is a month devotees of Krishna recite particular prayers called “Damodarastakam”. So you may ask where does the Damodarastakam come from? Or what is the Damodarastakam? The Damodarastaka comes from the Padma Purana of Krishna-Dvaipayana-Vyasa, spoken by Satyavrata Muni in a conversation with Narada Muni and Saunaka Rishi.
So why do we chant the Damodarastaka? The Sri Hari-bhakti-vilasa 2.16.198 instructs us that in this month of Kartika one should worship lord Damodara (Krishna) and daily recite the prayers called Damodharastaka every day in a mood of great devotion and love for the supreme being Krishna.
Krishna is unlike any other understanding of God because of the intimate dealings He has with his devotees. It is not possible with other forms of God due to the predominating mood of awe and reverence in these other personalities of God such as Allah Yashua, Yaweh Budha etc etc. But when we, by great fortune, come to under stand the supreme personality of Godhead Krishna, all relationships are contained in full in Him. This is what Srila Prabhupada has given us, this most confidential personal understanding of God Krishna. Normal materialists cannot understand these things. The Supreme being God/Krishna is playing as an ordinary naughty boy to give His devotees the service of loving Him in the mood of parental affection and Himself the pleasure of being chastised by his loving devotees.
Who can imagine the intimacy and loving exchanges that can only be had by the intimate Pure devotees of Krishna.
lasat-kuṇḍalaḿ gokule bhrājamanam
parāmṛṣṭam atyantato drutya gopyā
rudantaḿ muhur netra-yugmaḿ mṛjantam
sthita-graivaḿ dāmodaraḿ bhakti-baddham
itīdṛk sva-līlābhir ānanda-kuṇḍe
sva-ghoṣaḿ nimajjantam ākhyāpayantam
tadīyeṣita-jñeṣu bhaktair jitatvaḿ
punaḥ prematas taḿ śatāvṛtti vande
varaḿ deva mokṣaḿ na mokṣāvadhiḿ vā
na canyaḿ vṛṇe ‘haḿ vareṣād apīha
idaḿ te vapur nātha gopāla-bālaḿ
sadā me manasy āvirāstāḿ kim anyaiḥ
idaḿ te mukhāmbhojam atyanta-nīlair
vṛtaḿ kuntalaiḥ snigdha-raktaiś ca gopyā
muhuś cumbitaḿ bimba-raktādharaḿ me
manasy āvirāstām alaḿ lakṣa-lābhaiḥ
namo deva dāmodarānanta viṣṇo
prasīda prabho duḥkha-jālābdhi-magnam
gṛhāṇeṣa mām ajñam edhy akṣi-dṛśyaḥ
kuverātmajau baddha-mūrtyaiva yadvat
tvayā mocitau bhakti-bhājau kṛtau ca
tathā prema-bhaktiḿ svakāḿ me prayaccha
na mokṣe graho me ‘sti dāmodareha
namas te ‘stu dāmne sphurad-dīpti-dhāmne
tvadīyodarāyātha viśvasya dhāmne
namo rādhikāyai tvadīya-priyāyai
namo ‘nanta-līlāya devāya tubhyam
1) To the supreme controller who possesses an eternal form of blissful knowledge, whose glistening earrings swing to and fro, who manifested Himself in Gokula, who stole the butter that the gopis kept hanging from the rafters of their storerooms and who then quickly jumped up and ran in retreat in fear of Mother Yasoda, but was ultimately caught. To that Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, I offer my humble obeisances.
2) Upon seeing His mothers whipping stick, He cried and rubbed His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes were fearful and His breathing quick, and as Mother Yasoda bound His belly with ropes, He shivered in fright and His pearl necklace shook. To this Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, who is bound with His devotee’s love, I offer my humble obeisances.
3) Those superexcellent pastimes of Lord Krsna’s babyhood drowned the inhabitants of Gokula in pools of ecstasy. To the devotees who are attracted only to His majestic aspect of Narayana in Vaikuntha, the Lord herein reveals: “I am conquered and overwhelmed by pure loving devotion.” To the Supreme Lord, Damodara, my obeisances hundreds and hundreds of times.
4) O Lord, although You are able to give all kinds of benedictions, I do not pray to You for liberation, nor eternal life in Vaikuntha, nor any other boon. My only prayer is that Your childhood pastimes may constantly appear in my mind. O Lord, I do not even want to know Your feature of Paramatma. I simply wish that Your childhood pastimes may ever be enacted in my heart.
5) O Lord, the cheeks of Your blackish lotus face, which is encircled by locks of curling hair, have become reddened like bimba fruit due to Mother Yasoda’s kisses. What more can I describe than this? Millions of opulences are of no use to me, but may this vision constantly remain in my mind.
6) O unlimited Visnu! O master! O Lord! Be pleased upon me! I am drowning in and ocean of sorrow and am almost like a dead man. Please shower the rain of mercy on me; uplift me and protect me with Your nectarean vision.
7) O Lord Damodara, in Your form as a baby, Mother Yasoda bound You to a grinding stone with a rope for tying cows, You then freed the sons of Kuvera, Manigriva, and Nalakuvera, who were cursed to stand as trees, and You gave them the chance to become Your devotees. Please bless me in this same way, I have no desire for liberation into Your effulgence.
8) O Lord, the entire universe was created by Lord Brahma, who was born from Your abdomen, which was bound with a rope by Mother Yasoda. To this rope I offer my humble obeisances. I offer my obeisances to Your most beloved Srimati Radharani, and to Your unlimited pastimes.