Damodar Lila – Radhanath Swami

Nanda maharaj had 9 lakh cows and Yashoda mayi had selected special cows which gave the best quality fragrant milk. She would churn butter from the yogurt made from the milk of these cows and feed her darling son Krishna.

On the day of Diwali, she woke up early in the morning and personally began to make butter for Krishna. As she was churning, she was singing the beautiful pastimes of her beloved son. She was perspiring because of the hard work and because of her affection for Gopal, milk was flowing from her breast.

Little Krishna was sleeping in the next room. He came to mother Yashoda and held her churning rod since He wanted her to feed Him. As mother Yashoda was feeding little Gopal, the milk that she had left for heating on the stove began to boil over. The milk was thinking, “Mother Yashoda’s love for Krishna is unlimited and Krishna can go on drinking her milk then what is the use of my existence.” Thinking like this, the milk began to boil over and fall off in the fire. Seeing this mother Yashoda kept Krishna aside and immediately rushed to put the pot off the stove. When the milk saw mother Yashoda approaching it jumped back into the pot.

Krishna became transcendentally angry. He picked up a stone and broke the pot of yogurt. He went into the next room, climbed on a wooden grinding mortar and began distributing the butter to the monkeys. It is explained that the Lord wanted to reciprocate with the services rendered by the monkeys in His pastimes as Lord Rama.

Meanwhile Yashoda mayi came back and saw the broken pot. Knowing well that Gopal had done it, she took a stick in her hand and followed the little buttery foot prints of Gopal. When the monkeys saw mother Yashoda approaching, they jumped off in fear and started running. Little Gopal jumped off the grinding mortar and began to run. As she was running her hair loosened and flowers decorating her were falling at her feet. The flowers were thinking ‘who is this Yashoda? The power of her love has conquered the supreme Lord Sri Krishna.’ They wanted to take shelter at her lotus feet.

Ultimately Yashoda mayi caught Krishna and started to chastise Him. He was crying and repeatedly requesting mother Yashoda to put the stick down. Yashoda mayi said, “You are the king of butter thieves.” And Krishna said,“You are calling Me the king of thieves. Well I definitely didn’t get it from My father’s side, I must have got it from your side.”
Krishna was afraid of His mother. This is the power of the love of Vrindavan. Krishna was not pretending to be afraid, it was not a show.

Finally mother Yashoda put the stick down and decided to tie Gopal up, so that He doesn’t do more mischief. She took a beautiful silken rope to tie Krishna. However every time mother Yashoda tried, the rope was two fingers too short. She tied over 150 feet of rope still she could not tie Him up. Then all the elderly gopis work Lord Krishna agreed to be bound.

Commenting on the rope being two fingers too short, Srila Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakur says that one of the fingers represents a sincere devotee’s heartfelt endeavor to serve, to perform sadhana, to remain pure and to please Krishna. And the second finger represents Krishna’s causeless mercy. When both these aspects are present in a devotee’s life, Krishna agrees to be bound by the love of that devotee.

– Radhanath Swami
Damodara lila