The citizens of Ayodhya, the family members of Lord Ramchandra, for 14 years lived in separation. In those days, there was no television, newspapers, internet, text messaging, cellular phones or any type of phones. When the citizen of Ayodhyaya went to Chitrakut, headed by Bharat, although it broke their hearts to see Ram and Laxman with matted hairs and tree bark and seeing the most delicate, elegant Sita living in a straw hut, wearing tree bark, it broke their hearts. But still even when they refused to return, they knew that the ultimate and only true objects of their love were on a peaceful, beautiful place on the banks of Mandakini River in Chitrakoot in the company of some of the greatest yogis, sages and rishis in all the worlds. But then certainly news came to them that they left Chitrakut for the Dandakaranya forest and in Panchavati Ravana stole Sita. Ram and Laxman were travelling throughout Eastern, Southern India, part of Western India, searching and searching. So they really didn’t know, where Ram and Sita were– there was no news, only the longing of their hearts for them to return. On this day of Diwali, Ram sent a message through Hanumanji, that he would return to Ayodhyaya. The fourteen years of exile have expired. Lord Sri Ramachandra fulfilled the mission that he promised the demigods that he would do by descending into the world. He liberated mother earth and all of her children from the exploitative, cruel Ravana and along with Sita, Laxman and all of his devotees headed by Hanuman, Jambava, Sugriva in the Puspak, the beautiful chariot of Kubera he was coming back to Ayodhyaya. Pushpak arrived in Nandigram, where Bharat was living as a hermit in a little straw hut, wearing only tree bark with his hair matted, eating the simplest of all foods. For 14 years, he had placed Lord Ram’s wooden shoes (padukas) on your throne and he ruled his citizens. He ruled the whole kingdom by performing all the duties without accepting any of the comforts. He lived as Ram and Laxman and Sita did in the forest. The citizens of Ayodhyaya were absolutely thrilled; it was the ultimate festival of all festivals to welcome Ram, Sita and Laxman back to their homes.
The Essence of Diwali By Radhanath Swami
As Ram was coming, he saw the citizens of Ayodhyaya in the night. They lit lamps, little fire lamps, some little, some bigger. All the citizens had lit their little lamps as an offering of their love to welcome Ram home and this is Diwali.
The principle is that each and every one of our hearts is Krishna’s home or Ram’s home, Sita’s home; but due to darkness, darkness of ignorance, ignorance in the sense, forgetfulness of our true nature and what our real purpose of our life is, We allow the ahankara, the false ego, to keep us in the darkness of limitless misconceptions which give rise to so many fears and desires, attractions and aversions.- Radhanath Swami
Not just 14 years but since time immemorial, for countless lifetimes, we have lived in such a condition. Bhakti is to light the lamp of our devotion–our love– to welcome Krishna, Sri Radha or in this case Ram and Sita back home, into our hearts. Back home back to Godhead. That home is within us– but we have forgotten. It’s never lost; it’s simply forgotten. Like a person who has an enormous treasury but forgets where it is. The person suffers in poverty but as soon as he is reminded… by modern day analogy, if you have a bank account with hundreds of millions of rupees but you forget your bank account number and you don’t know anybody who knows it, you are living in desperation. You are starving, you are in poverty, doing all kinds of things, stealing and exploiting and enduring so much bad karma just to somehow or the other try to survive and enjoy and alleviate your suffering. But actually your wealth is there, you just forgot where it is.
Similarly, we are seeking trying to find out our wealth, our happiness, in money, in fame, in sensual pleasures, even in health and all of these things. These things can all be used for a very divine purpose; but the purpose is only divine when we understand what our wealth really is. It’s at home, within our own hearts, bhakti is that light, that lamp that lights our heart. – Radhanath Swami
Radhanath Swami Expounds The Supremacy of Bhakti
Bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah
Krishna said it’s only through such bhakti, through the light of love that I can be understood as I am. Because Krishna is the husband of Goddess of fortune, He is the controller and proprietor of everything that exists and he is atmarama, he is completely self-satisfied. He does not need any of the temporary objects of this world but is bhaktavatsal, He is attracted by love and even a simple little leaf or flower or a little water, if its offered with love, Krishna would consider that to be more precious than all the treasuries of kings.
In a few days, we will be going to Udupi. There is, in the Udupi Krishna temple, a painting on the wall, that painting depicts a very special pastime, where Narada Muni came to Dwarka and was going to take Krishna away and the queens of Dwarka, headed by Satyabhama, they were pleading don’t take Krishna away! Krishna is the ultimate supreme wealth, so it was arranged that Krishna would sit on a scale. In those days, the scales were at two ends and balanxxxxce would balance each other and Narada muni said, “If you put your most precious jewelry the weight of Krishna, then you can have Krishna and I will take jewels.” So Krishna sat on one end of the scale and Satyabhama brought all her jewelry and the scale didn’t move. Then all the other queens started bringing enormous amounts of jewelry. There was a huge pile on the other side of the scale and still, Krishna out-weighed all. Krishna is heavier than the heaviest, but if you wish, he is the lighter than the lightest. Rukmini came and she saw what was happening because it was really a crisis, Krishna was going to leave. So Rukmini had all the jewels taken off and she took a single tulsi leaf and put it to her heart and with humble prayerful mood, she chanted Krishna’s names with love. And, there was nothing else on the scale, she placed that single leaf and Krishna flew up to the top. Krishna wanted to show that there is no greater wealth and there is nothing else he wants except the simplicity of our love and devotion. The citizens of Ayodhyaya, they had great wealth, but Ram didn’t need any of that. They all offered a little lamp of their love to light the way for him back home, into the home of their hearts. For us this is what Diwali means when we offer our lamp, its not just offering fire, Krishna really doesn’t need fire. He is Surya Narayan, He is the controller of the sun planet. The sun is millions of times bigger than the earth and its fire. Does He need a little lamp? But yet Surya Narayan is conquered by a little flame this big, if, it is offered with love. Godhead is light. So Diwali was the great time when all the citizens of Ayodhaya welcomed Ram back home to Ayodhya, back home into their heart. It is one of the greatest, most beautiful celebrations historically from the time of Tretayuga and the same principle of premā pumartho mahān
Chatianya Mahaprabhu explained: the greatest perfection is prema, divine love for Krishna. That is the story of Damodar lila which was also enacted on this day. In Gokul, Vrindavan, where everyone was preparing to celebrate Diwali in a very beautiful way, Yasoda Mayi, she rose very early in the morning because according to Srimad Bhagavatam, and many of the Acharyas writings, Krishna, as soon as He learnt how to walk with his friends, began His pastimes of stealing butter from the homes of Gopis and the Gopis would come. It’s interesting how people in India celebrate Diwali with so many fireworks. Doesn’t sound like Ram coming back to Ayodhaya; sounds like the battle of Srilanka. Kaliyuga, everything is mixed up. It’s not going to stop either.
Krishna wants us to adjust to the circumstances and carry on our devotional service. This is the principle. We cannot always change the circumstances, but we can always adjust our consciousness. – Radhanath Swami
Radhanath Swami on True Success
matra-sparsas tu kaunteya
tams titiksasva bharata
Krishna tells that in this world, there are always dualities. There are always changes and often times we just have no power to change the environment. But, our real success in life is; how we sustain our spirit of seva, of service in devotion, we sustain the faithfulness and loyalty of our integrity and sadhana, whatever may come.
Sita remained totally faithful to Ram, twenty fours a day remembering Ram, whether she was sitting beside him on the throne of Ayodhyaa, whether she was walking through darkest, most dangerous forest barefoot or even when she was surrounded by rakshasis and being threatened cruelly by Ravana. Ravana could not defeat her because he could not take away her will to serve Ram, to please Ram, and that’s really our success. Everyone has to die. Some people think, what’s the use of becoming a devotee, you still have to get sick, you still have to die; but that’s only the body. The real victory of a devotee is in life and death, in happiness and distress, honor, dishonor, pleasure and pain, victory, defeat, health or disease, in life and death. We adjust ourselves and remember Krishna and the simplest way to remember God is to remember the name of God, by chanting:
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE
Radhanath Swami on the Essence of Damodar Lila
So as the fireworks and the bombs explode, we will try to carry on talking about this very sweet Damodar lila. Why does Krishna steal butter? Actually Krishna doesn’t steal butter because a thief is usually one who takes somebody else’s property. Krishna is sarva loke maheshwaram, Krishna is the proprietor of everything that exits. All the world, all living beings are Krishna’s property– nothing is ours. Whether we are rich or poor or whatever in between, we understand whatever we have, our intelligence, our abilities, our property, our wealth, they are all entrusted in our care and we could utilize it for a divine purpose and attain the highest perfection, or we could use it on so many other levels of material consciousness and entangle ourselves in complexities of life.
So Krishna is not stealing– because its His– but yet he is Makhanchor, he is the butter thief, because when our heart becomes soft and sweet like fresh butter, Krishna, who is Hari, He steals our heart, that is bhakti. – Radhanath Swami
So the residents of Vrindavan, their only desire was to make Krishna happy and in order to exchange the most intimate pastimes of affection with His devotees, Krishna covered His supremacy and appeared like a little child. In his Bal lila, he is a baby– he is crawling. When he is only a day or two years old, he is killing Putana, who is more powerful than all the armies on earth, and Krishna effortlessly just squeezed her and sucked her and he did it in such a way that nobody even thought that he was strong. They just thought he is a baby and that God must have saved him. When he was only a year old, Trinavartha took Him high into the sky. He became heavier than the earth and Trinavartha came crashing down to the earth and then He crawled into Yashoda Mayi’s arms and the other Gopis. They would just toss him in the air like a little feather and He would smile. They will toss Him and catch Him, toss Him and catch Him. Just like I see you mothers do with their babies. So Krishna appeared so ordinary so that he could be loved with intimacy. The love of a mother for a child, or a friend for a friend, or lover for a beloved is much deeper and sweeter than the love for an almighty master. And it is in Vrindavan that Krishna gives the facility for the most intimate pastimes of love.
In Vrindavan, Krishna learns how to walk. He is the ability for all of us and Nanda Maharaja is teaching Krishna how to walk. He is holding out his little finger and little child Krishna is holding on to his little finger and Nanda Maharaj is saying, “Come, come, walk!” and Krishna takes a few steps and he falls down and starts crying. Nanda Maharaja says, “Please try again, try again, hold on to my finger!” He falls down and cries and Nanda Maharaj’s heart is flooding over with affection, “He is my child.” The same love that the great denizens of Vaikuntha have for Narayan is there but so much deep and sweeter with Nanda and Yasoda who were loving Krishna as their own child. And actually all the older Gopis and Gopas are loving Krishna in the same way. As soon as he learnt to walk, He and Balaram and His friends would go to the houses to steel butter from the Gopis and the Gopis would come to complain to Yasoda Mayi in so many ways but actually their complaining was not complaining– that was glorification. It was Krishna katha because it was so pleasing to them that Krishna was coming to their houses because they only made their butter for one reason: so the Krishna would come to take it. If Krishna didn’t come to take it, they were longing and praying, “Gopal come!” and when then He would come, He would do in such a way that they would complain, but in complaining it was Hari katha.
Radhanth Swami Tells The Pastimes of Damodar
They were speaking, they were glorifying, they were remembering. So on the day of, there are many stories. Krishna would even steal butter from Yasoda Mayi. In the Anandavrindavan Champu, it tells how Krishna was stealing and eating butter and he happened to see, He was just a little tiny child, next to Him was jeweled pillar and in that inlaid jewel he saw a reflection of himself and he got scared. He told the little boy in the reflection: “Don’t tell my mother what I am doing.” He said, “if you don’t tell my mother, I will share the butter with you and you will enjoy it very, very much.” and His mother, Yasoda, in a hiding place, was watching the whole thing, with great happiness, she was smiling and then she came out and Krishna, very much afraid, He said, “I am not stealing butter, I am not stealing butter.” He said, actually that, He pointed to the reflection of Himself in the pillar, He said, “He is stealing the butter! I told him not to do it, I told him that I would be very angry with him if he steals the butter but he stole it anyway and I am angry with him but I am not stealing butter.” Another time, Yasoda Mayi went outside and Krishna’s hand was in butter pot and as soon as Krishna saw Yasoda Mayi, He said, “I am not stealing butter.” He said, actually because His hands are in the pot, He said, “You put these bangles, these bracelets on me and the bracelets have ruby jewels and they are so hot, they are burning my hands and I can’t tolerate it, I put my hands just to cool them off.” Yasoda Mayi smiled and she put little Gopal on her lap and embraced him and looked at his wrist and she said, “Oh just see how your wrist is all burnt! I will take the bangles off and not put them on anymore.” Sometimes, He would be eating their butter and they would come to catch Him, so that they could take him to Yasoda Mayi and say, “You see its true! You don’t believe us, he is stealing our butter!” But as soon as they would come to catch Krishna, He would smile at them and they would enter into a state of such deep ecstasy they couldn’t move, they just stood there like paralyzed in transcendental bliss and right there, in front of their eyes, Krishna would eat all their butter. But one time one of Krishna’s aunts, in India you say aunty, she actually caught Krishna. “Krishna is a little child,” ,she said, “I am going, Yasoda Mayi never believes us but today I caught you and there is butter all over you. I am going to bring you to your mother and then she going to know what you do!” And then little Gopal looked at her, very innocent but very firm and He said, ‘I warn you, do not bring me to my mother.” She said, “I am going to bring you now.” He said, “I warned you.”She pulled little Gopal and she had Gopal holding his hand and she said to Yasoda Mayi, “You see your Gopal?! I caught Him, there is butter all over Him, you see– I caught Him. He denies it, you don’t believe, but I caught Him.” Yasoda Mayi looked at her and said, “I don’t understand what are you talking about.” She [Aunty] said, “I have your son, look!” She [Yasoda Mayi] said, “I don’t understand what are you saying.” She [Yasoda Mayi] said, “look!” and she looked down–– to her surprise, he wasn’t Krishna, it was her own son. She was really bewildered, so she walked away with her son and she was walking down the road and then she heard some laughter and she looked down and in her hand was Krishna! Krishna said, “I warned you. You see how embarrassed you were?” He said, “If you do this again, next time, I will manifest myself as your husband.” So the Gopis used to come and they would tell so many incredibly sweet pastimes of what Krishna would do and Yasoda Mayi would say, “Then I will somehow keep Krishna at home.” and they said, “No, No! Don’t do that.” They loved Krishna to come to take their butter. He was accepting their love.
The Damodar Lila
So on the day of Diwali, Mother Yasoda, she sent all of her assistants (she is Vrajeswari) to perform other duties. And she decided to rise very early, while Gopal was still sleeping, to personally churn the yoghurt, the dahi, herself. Her idea was, she grew a special kind of grass called Padmagandha, it was sweet and fragrant, she watered the grass with the best of cow’s milk and that grass was so intoxicatingly fragrant and she had the very, very best. Nanda maharaja had nine hundred thousand cows, among them there were 108, among them 8, among them, were two and they were the ones that had their milk because they only took this particular type of grass and they were loved so dearly that it was and it was the ultimate sweetest milk and it was with that milk that she made yoghurt, dahi and she was churning it with her own hands, with her own personal heart’s motherly love.And as she was churning, she was singing sweet songs about Krishna. Srila Prabhupada quotes from the previous acharyas and Sukhadeva Goswami that, in Vrindavan, this was one of the ways that everybody was always remembering Krishna. Whatever He did, they would make a festival for it. If the wind made His cloth go up a little, they would make a festival and they would compose songs. Everything He did was so special, every little detail, every rising of His eyebrows, every smile of His lips, everything was celebrated with so much love. When the Gopas would come home after herding the cows later, with Krishna or the calves, they would sing beautiful songs about what Krishna did that day and the whole next day, the elderly Gopas and Gopis would compose more and more poetry and songs just to remind each other of what Krishna did the day before. This way there was constant kirtan in Vrindavan.
Golokera prema–dhana, hari-nama–sankirtana,
That this kirtan has descended from the highest realm of the spiritual world, it’s eternal pastimes of the most loving and elevated devotees, the eternal associates of the Lord. So as Yasoda Mayi was singing songs about Krishna’s beautiful form, his characteristics, qualities and childlike pastimes, she was keeping rhythm. As she was churning, the bangles or the bracelets on her wrist were making sounds, keeping rhythm and the sound of the churning rod in the yoghurt was making different types of rhythmic musical notations and as she was singing beautiful, flowers decorating her hair would fall and, remembering Krishna, so much motherly love was awakening in her heart and it manifested with the milk of her love coming out from her breast as an offering to Krishna. Krishna was in the next home sleeping, but Krishna is always hungry for the sweetness of his devotee’s love. As that milk was flowing Krishna woke up hungry to receive it to reciprocate with that love. So He ran towards where his mother was churning and with one hand, He held the churning rod and He said, “No more churning!” and He climbed on her lap, and she began to feed him her milk, and as she was feeding little Gopal, she was looking at His face. His eyes were like lotus petals, His nose was like a sesame flower, His lips were fresh and red like Bimba fruit. His face was round like the moon with the most enchanting complexion–– like a monsoon rain cloud. And around his moon like face was beautiful, beautiful hair, like silk, curling around His face. He looked so helpless, so innocent, so supremely lovable and as she gazed upon him with tears of ecstasy in her eyes, the milk flowed as Krishna drink it.
Suddenly she heard. She was boiling some milk for Krishna for later in the day and it was boiling over. This was the pushpakgandha, padmagandha milk. Padmagandha is the precious milk, that’s special for Krishna. So she wanted to save it. So she placed Krishna down and ran to kitchen. Krishna bit His lower lip with his upper teeth because he was angry. His lips were red, His teeth were white. Krishna was giving the world a good lesson: that the way we control the passion of anger, because raja-guna is characterized by the red color like the lips and sattva-guna is characterized by the white color like the teeth. So Krishna wanted to show that we control our anger, we control raja-guna with sattva-guna. This was why we are giving these regulative principles. We can control our lower modes by learning how to live in the mode of goodness. And the Srimad Bhagavatam says from the mode of goodness we could actually transcend the modes of nature through bhakti or the devotional service, from the platform when we come to the mode of goodness, living with character, honesty, humility, integrity.
When we are engaged in the loving service of the Lord without expecting anything selfish in return then we transcend the modes of nature forever and attained the highest liberation. – Radhanath Swami
But Krishna was doing it as an act of transcendental anger. He took a stone, which was used for grinding spices, and he cracked the clay pot that the yoghurt was being churned in. It spread out on the floor and then Krishna went to another room. Yasoda Mayi came back and she saw the pot was cracked, the yoghurt was on the floor, and she knew that Krishna had done it. So she followed the little buttery footprints of Krishna into a courtyard where she saw and she was watching from a hidden place, Krishna had piled a wooden grinding mortar and He was standing on top of it to reach butter and yoghurt that were hanging from the ceiling from ropes and He was feeding it to the monkeys. According to some Acharyas, Hanuman, Sugriva, all of these greats, Susena, Nila, Nala, so many of these monkeys, there were many, they risked their lives to build that bridge across Indian Ocean. They searched even enduring hunger and thirst to find Sita. They fought an entire battle and Ram was living in the forest; he never gave them anything in return.
He just accepted their love. That’s all they wanted but he was feeling indebted. So he called those monkeys to appear like monkeys in Vrindavan. This was his spirit; come, let me give you this fresh butter that was being churned by my mother and they were all coming. Could you imagine, how happy those monkeys were, taking butter from Krishna’s hands? That was a festival. All the monkeys were eating and jumping and chattering and Krishna was giving them more and more and more. Yasoda Mayi, she took a little stick because she wanted to teach Krishna a little lesson. As a mother, she is thinking, “If I don’t teach Krishna, how will he ever learn?” and meanwhile Krishna, because He knew that He is doing something naughty, Yasoda Mayi saw Krishna looking, His little eyes, beautiful lotus eyes, they were darting in different directions and He was turning in fear that He would be caught by his mother and as Yasoda Mayi came close to him, the monkey started going, and the crows that were coming in trying to get some butter too. They saw Yasoda Mayi and they started flying and flying around and Krishna looked behind them and there was Yasoda Mayi with a stick. Krishna jumped off the grinding mortar to run away. Yasoda Mayi ran after him. Krishna ran and Yasoda ran. As she was running, it’s impossible to catch the Supreme Absolute Truth but, Yasoda Mayi caught him.
Krishna willingly accepted being caught by His mother because He wanted to show the world that He is subordinate to the love of His devotee by His own sweet will. When we say God is great, there are so many levels of understanding it. Yes God is the Supreme creator of everything that exists; yes God, by his will, can destroy everything that exists, (the controller of all controllers). But the greatest of all the greatness of God is He is conquered and willingly accepts subordination to intimate love– that is Krishna lila. – Radhanath Swami
Now, Yasoda Mayi was holding Krishna with one hand and she is holding a stick with the other. Satyavarth muni, he is explaining in this beautiful song the Damodar Ashtakam, Krishna was trembling, His lips were quivering, He had black ointment kajal in His eyes and His eyes were crying in fear and he was rubbing his eyes and then black masquerade was flowing down his face, such a beautiful sight and he said to his mother, “Yes I stole butter, I broke the pots, I did it. Please put down that stick, and I am very afraid.” Queen Kunti offers her prayers; that although Krishna is feared by fear personified, he is afraid of his mother.
Abhay charanar Vrinda re
One who takes shelter of Krishna becomes fearless forever but Krishna is afraid of his mother. That fear is the greatest opulence; it’s the ornamentation that makes Krishna supremely attractive to His devotees. – Radhanath Swami
So Yasoda Mayi throws this stick away and she didn’t want to punish Krishna, but it was her feeling that she had so many duties to perform for Krishna’s service that day and Krishna was such a naughty child, doing such naughty things today that she was afraid he may run away from home and get in all kinds of troubles and dangers. So to protect Krishna with her motherly love, she took a very soft, smooth rope, to put it around his waist, to tie him to the grinding mortar. But when she placed it around His waist, when she went to tie it, it was the width of two fingers too short. So she took another rope and tied it to that. When she went to put it around Krishna’s little waist, it was two fingers too short. She got more and more ropes and no matter how much rope she got, all the rope in her house, it was still the same distance too short. And the other Gopis, when they heard about this and saw this, it was so beautiful, they were laughing and smiling and singing Krishna’s glories. And so many Gopis were bringing all the ropes from their houses, it was a festival of ropes of all different colors and all different sizes.
There were hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of meters of ropes being tied together and every time Yasoda Mayi put it around Krishna’s waist, it was the width of the two fingers too short. The incredible thing about this pastime, and there are so many dimensions of inconceivable beauty, but Krishna’s waist was not growing. A rope that was two feet in length could have easily tied against him and now there were hundreds and hundreds of meters, thousands of meters of rope tied together. Krishna’s waist was not growing; the rope was not shrinking, but it always the width of two fingers too short. Yasoda Mayi was perspiring. The flowers were falling from her hair and some of the Gopis, they were all just laughing and smiling and they said, “Yasoda Mayi, it seems that its not Krishna’s destiny to be tied up today!” and Yasoda Mayi said, “But I have to protect my child, he is so naughty. I don’t know what trouble he will get into unless I tie him. And besides that, I am really curious to see how much rope it takes to go around the waist of my little Gopal.” and Gopal by his own sweet will allowed Yasoda Mayi to tie him with a knot to the grinding mortar.
Radhanth Swami, The Inconceivable Nature of Prema
So many contradictions are apparently within this story. Krishna is the controller of all controllers, He is the source of Mahavishnu, all the devas (or demigods) get their powers from Krishna but yet He is controlled by His mother’s love. In the Upanishads, it is described that the Absolute Truth, the Paramatama is faster than the fastest, faster than the speed of wind, faster than the speed of mind, can never be caught, even the greatest yogis and jnanis, they cannot catch the Supreme Absolute Truth. Even by lifetimes and lifetimes of tapasya and penances and acquisitions of transcendental knowledge. But yet that Supreme Absolute Truth, who is the source of Paramatama, whose bodily rays form the brahmajyoti (or brahman effulgence) is caught by a simple Gopi, Yasoda– by her love.
Although Krishna is feared by fear personified, He is trembling in fear of his mother, and although infinite hundreds and thousands of Goddesses of fortune serve Him, He is stealing, stealing to eat something, like somebody who is in poverty. This beautiful story is a testimony that the greatest power in all the creation is prema because it is the only power that attracts the all-attractive, Krishna. The name Krishna means all attractive because he possesses all strength, all beauty, all knowledge, all wealth, all fame and all renunciation but Krishna is attracted by the simple sweet love of the heart. Hanuman was a monkey, Yasoda Mayi was just a simple Gopi, the little squirrel that we will talk tomorrow was just a little tiny animal. Every single one of us, whoever we are, whatever are our race, whatever are our sex, whatever are our education, whatever are our financial status, whatever are our age, whatever are our background or the present statuses, the power to love is within us. It’s the intrinsic signature of the soul. It’s so simple and when that love is imbued with intimacy, Krishna is willing to be conquered by that love.
He is longing, He is hungry to be conquered by that love. Satyavarth muni, in his beautiful Damodarastakam, he offers obeisances to the rope of Yasoda; it’s the rope of her love.
That love can never be awakened if we try to imitate the great souls but it is awakened when we learn to honor them, to revere them and to follow in their footsteps. – Radhanath Swami
This beautiful vision of Yasoda Mayi, with a saffron colored sari, beautiful tying up Krishna, churning the yoghurt for Krishna, the vision of Yasoda Mayi expressing her love for Gopal is a meditation. We place her feet on our heads,
we want to be the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of the servants of those who love God and in that mood Krishna will be pleased to reveal himself to us. – Radhanath Swami
as with the humble heart we chant his holy names:
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE
The Damodar Lila (Part Two)
Yasoda Mayi goes to perform her seva. Krishna is crying because now He is all tied up, but as soon as Yasoda leaves, he stops crying and He smiles because He had another pastime to perform. He was remembering his beloved devotee, Narada Muni.
Narada Muni is so beloved of Krishna because he travels forever, wherever he wishes, always chanting the names of Sri Radhikaraman, the lover of Sri Radha. He saw in the courtyard, two yamalarjuna trees standing side by side. Now these arjuna trees are formidable, huge trees. They were so big, they were really, really old and arjuna trees. They have a special type of roots, gigantic roots, that make them so strong that even when hurricanes and cyclones knock down every other tree in the forest; the arjuna trees stand strong. So there were two arjuna trees. Krishna understood that they were Nalakuvera and Manigriva.Narad Muni bajaye bina radhika raman name
Radhanath Swami Explains the Danger of Pride
Sukadeva Goswami, in Srimad Bhagvatam, tells the story, they (Nalakuvera & Manigriva) were the sons of Kuvera, the treasurer of the devas, and they were the devotees of Lord Shiva. They had beautiful celestial bodies, incredible knowledge and enormous wealth. They were practically infallible but they were proud and they were enjoying with some beautiful heavenly ladies, naked in the lake of water. Narada Muni came walking by. The ladies saw, here is a sadhu coming, Narada Muni, the great rishi and they were very embarrassed and they got up and covered their bodies with their clothes. But Nalakuvera and Manigriva, they completely ignored Narada muni, “Who cares.” They were so intoxicated by their own material prosperity. Similar to this morning’s talk about Sugriva, when Sugriva was helpless, in fear and he lost everything, he was very, very respectful and attempted to take shelter of Ram. But when he gained his kingdom back and he had incredible wealth, incredible power and no fears. He forgot. He became overwhelmed by material energy.
Daivi hy esa guna–mayi
mama maya duratyaya
This material energy is very difficult to overcome.
In fact queen Kunti prays:
That when we have great wealth, great fame and beauty and strength and high birth, we can become infatuated. In that infatuation, our heart becomes hardened and we cannot humbly take shelter of Krishna or chant his name in that spirit.
trinad api sunicena
taror api sahishnuna
kirtaniyah sada harihi
If we want to really access Krishna, through our devotional practice or through chanting his names, we have to be willing and eager to offer all respect to others and not expect it for us. – Radhanath Swami
Humble like the blade of grass and tolerant and forgiving like a tree. They became so hard hearted not because they were bad but because they were so distracted by worldly pleasures. They became proud. The Bible says: “Pride comes before the fall.” and that’s exactly what happened in this story. When we become proud, when we become arrogant, we are already in the fallen condition. Rupa and Sanatan Goswami, they revealed to us the highest truths of the spiritual world, but if we want to understand their books, we have to follow in their footsteps. They presented themselves as more fallen than Jagai and Madhai, as the most undeserving and the most sinful; And they were offering all honor and respect to all living beings. When we follow in that path, Krishna reveals through the Holy Scriptures, through the lives of others, even through the fireworks of Diwali, He reveals the highest truths to us and we will be able to actually take shelter of the holy names. So Narada Muni saw their condition and wanted to give them medicine to cure their arrogance and he blessed them with a curse: “Because you are so puffed up, so proud, so intoxicated by your beauty and your strength and your wealth and your knowledge, you are not respecting anybody, the whole world and everything is just centered around you–– so selfish, so ego centric–– become trees.”
What is a tree? They can’t move, they just stand there. Nobody is attracted to you. But by Narada’s grace they were trees who, after living for centuries and centuries as trees, totally humbled by the experience, Krishna performed His childhood pastimes and they were in His courtyard. And even though they had the bodies of immovable trees, they had the same consciousness and awareness as they did as Nalkuvera and Manigriva but the apparent pain of what they were going through completely humbled them.
Damodar Lila (Part Three)
So when they saw Krishna’s pastimes, they were really attracted, they were really taking shelter, they were falling in love with Krishna. Krishna saw the trees and remembered Narada. Then He crawled and as he crawled the grinding mortar that was tied behind him was being dragged. He crawled between the trees and the grinding mortar caught between them and Krishna just pulled slightly with a little crawl, the trees fell, millions of times louder than these Diwali fireworks. Everyone in the Vrajabhumi, they felt the whole earth shaking like an earthquake. They heard this enormous roaring sound of the trees falling and collapsing to the ground and they all came running, what happened, such a great calamity and there they saw these massive trees laying on the ground on either side–– just inches away from little baby Gopal. He was smiling with the grinding mortar tied to his waist. Some of the Gopas (the elderly cowherd men) they were asking, “What happened? What happened?!” And the children, they said, “We saw what happened! Little Gopal, He started pulling and He pulled the grinding mortar and when he pulled between the trees and the trees fell down and after the trees fell down, two incredibly, effulgent, beautiful personalities came out of the trees!” And they described what they looked like, “They were demigods and they had folded palms, crying in great happiness and they were offering prayers to Krishna and then Krishna blessed them and they flew up into the sky!” Nalakuvera and Manigriva, they came out of the trees and they surrendered to Krishna and in their beautiful prayers they told how Narada Muni, being such a compassionate devotee, gave them the greatest ,most auspicious blessing, by humbling themselves so that they could actually appreciate the Lord and develop a true taste of hearing about Him and chanting His glories.
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE
The cowherd men were thinking, “How could little Krishna knock these trees over? Why should we listen to these little children?” The little cowherd boys tried to unlock the knot but they couldn’t do it because it was tied with Yasoda Mayi’s motherly love, but Nanda Maharaja, he had fatherly love (vatsalya ras), he untied Krishna. Then he took Krishna on his lap in very protective loving way. Yasoda Mayi along with Rohini, they heard the trees falling, they heard what happened. Yasoda Mayi was feeling so guilty, “I am the one who tied up Krishna to this grinding mortar and look the danger that I created for Krishna!” and Krishna, Nanda Maharaja said to little Gopal, “You see your mother has come for you.” and Krishna wanted to increase her affection. He said, “I don’t want, I don’t want to sit on her lap, I want to stay with you.” And he wouldn’t even look at Yasoda Mayi and Nanda Maharaja said, “Why did you tie him up like this? Look at how Krishna is so disturbed with you.” And Krishna wouldn’t look at her. Nanda Maharaja said, “Your mother wants you.” He (Krishna) said, “No, I don’t want my mother.” Yasoda Mayi was so heart broken. She was weeping, crying and Rohini came to Krishna and told what is your mother’s condition. Then Krishna jumped off Nanda Maharaja’s lap and went running to Yasoda Mayi, “Mata! Mata! Mata!” And she came running to Krishna and they embraced and that time she resumed with feeding Krishna the milk of her love. This is Vrindavan.
Radhanth Swami Speaks on Damodarastakam
In Padmapurana, Satyavartha Muni, in his conversation with Narada Muni and Saunaka Rishi, has composed these eight prayers. In one prayer, Oh Lord although you are able to give all kinds of benedictions, I do not pray to you for the boon of impersonal liberation nor the highest liberation of eternal life in Vaikuntha, the spiritual world nor any other boon. Oh Lord I simply wish that this form of yours as Bal Gopal in Vrindavan may ever be manifest in my heart for what is the use to me of any other boon besides this?
Oh Lord your lotus face, which is encircled by locks of soft black hair tinged with red, is kissed again and again by mother Yasoda and your lips are reddish like the bimba fruit. May this beautiful vision of your louts face be ever manifest in my heart. Thousands and thousands of other benedictions are of no use to me. The story of Diwali, the story of the Damodar Lila, are reminders to us.
bhaktya tu ananyaya sakya aham evam-vidho r’juna
Krishna tells in Gita that only by pure love, bhakti, can I be known as I am, can I be seen in my sat-chit-ananda form. The greatest benediction Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and all of the great acharyas and saints and devotees prayed for is prema pumartho mahan–– this love.
Sri Ramanujacharya, Madhavacharya, Vallabhacharya, Sri Chaitanya Mahabrahu, all their associates, they taught us that there is no higher, no more treasured goal to strive for, than the awakening of this love that is within our hearts. Srila Prabhupada, he saw that potential within all of us and he had complete faith, that:
namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-shaktis
All the power and the beauty and attraction of Krishna is within the name and by sincerely chanting the names in a spirit of unselfish loving service, this love is awakened.
We come on these yatras to inspire one another, to empower one another with faith and enthusiasm to seek this love.
Thank you very much