Why Obeisances? Sri Damodarastakam Verse 1


Kartika, 1996: Vrindavan, India
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja



Srila Narayana Maharaja spoke on the glories of Sri Damodarastakam at a house program near Akrura Ghat on October 16th, 2006

[Respected Readers,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
Vraja Mandala Parikrama 2006 has begun successfully. As in previous years Srila Narayana Maharaja is speaking each morning on the song Sri Damodarastakam. Because of the parikrama, our typists are not available to make transcriptions, before parikrama began they typed the lectures given by Srila Narayana Maharaja in 1996 (spoken in English, whereas this year it is spoken by him in Hindi and Bengali), wherein practically the same harikatha was spoken. Really and truly it is practically the same. Please enjoy the following transcription of his explanation of Verse 1:]

namamisvaram sac-cid-ananda-rupam
lasat-kundalam gokule bhrajamanam
yasoda-bhiyalukhalad dhavamanam
paramrstam atyam tato drutya gopya

["I worship the Supreme Isvara, Sri Krsna, whose form is sac-cid-ananda, whose fish-shaped earrings swing and play upon His cheeks, who is supremely splendorous in the transcendental dhama of Gokula, who, due to breaking the yoghurt pot, is very fearful of Mother Yasoda and jumping down from the wooden grinding mortar quickly runs away, and who, chased by Yasoda, who hastily runs after Him, is ultimately caught from behind." (Sri Damodarastakam, Verse 1)]

Yesterday I discussed the meaning of this verse, but today I’d like to explain it further, through the commentaries of Srila Sanatana Gosvamipada.

In this Damodarastakam, Sri Satyavrata Muni is offering obeisances to the lotus feet of Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead – Nanda-nandana, Yasoda-nandana. Yasoda-nandana plays in the forests of Vrndavana, Nandagrama and Varsana. Here, Satyavrata Muni especially refers to His Gokula-Mahavana pastimes, which are so beautiful.

Who is Yasoda-nandana? To whom is Satyavrata Muni offering his obeisances? He is the personification of sac-cid-ananda, the Supreme Controller, whose form is made of eternity, unlimited bliss and unfathomable knowledge. Sri Krsna is the Controller of all controllers, the God of gods. Still, He runs along the roadside of Gokula and is playing like an ordinary child.

In Srimad-Bhagavatam, the first guru in our disciplic succession, Lord Brahma prays:

naumidya te 'bhra-vapuse tadid-ambaraya
gunjavatamsa-paripiccha-lasan-mukhaya
vanya-sraje kavala-vetra-visana-venu-
laksma-sriye mrdu-pade pasupangajaya

[“My dear Lord, You are the only worshipable Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore I offer my humble obeisances and prayers just to please You. O son of the king of the cowherds, Your transcendental body is dark blue like a new cloud, Your garment is brilliant like lightning, and the beauty of Your face is enhanced by Your gunja earrings and the peacock feather on Your head. Wearing garlands of various forest flowers and leaves, and equipped with a herding stick, a buffalo horn and a flute, You stand beautifully with a morsel of food in Your hand.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.14.1)]

Who is "pasu-pa", the cow herder? It is Nanda Baba, the father of Nanda-nandana, Yasoda-nandana. In this verse, Lord Brahma is offering obeisance to the Lord. Not only Lord Brahma, but all of our acaryas have offered prayers in this way, and we should follow them.

We should try to know the differences between ragatmika-bhakti* [See endnote 1] and vaidhi-bhakti.* [See endnote 2] We see that obeisance is also there in ragatmika. Nanda-nandana Krsna Himself touches the feet of both Yasoda and Nanda-baba. He always offers His obeisances to them. Also, we see that sometimes even the gopis, who are ragatmika, offer obeisances to Krsna while in their separation mood. There are times when Nanda-baba offers his obeisances to Krsna, as he told to Uddhava. So we see that obeisances are offered in ragatmika, but with what mood are they offered?

I am not a raganuga-bhakta. I am also not a vaidhi-bhakta. I am third class; not even a kanistha-bhakta. I have heard these topics from authorities and I am relating them like a parrot.

Srila Rupa Gosvami has stated in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu that we should follow Sri Krsna and His associates. He has written the words "Krsna janam casya." What is the meaning? There are two meanings: "krsna janam" are the ragatmika associates, and also the raganuga associates, such as Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami. Regarding how to follow the Gosvamis:

sankhya-purvaka-nama-gana-natibhih kalavasani-krtau
nidrahara-viharakadi-vijitau catyanta-dinau ca yau
radha-krsna-guna-smrter madhurimanandena sammohitau
vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri-jiva-gopalakau

["I worship the Six Gosvamis, who passed all their time in chanting the holy names, singing songs and offering dandavat-pranama, thereby humbly fulfilling their vow to complete a fixed number daily. In this way they utilized their valuable lives and conquered over eating and sleeping. Always seeing themselves as completely worthless, they became enchanted in divine rapture by remembering Sri Radha-Krsna's sweet qualities." (Sri Sad-Gosvamyastakam, verse 6)]

We have to follow their example, whether we are in vaidhi-bhakti or raganuga-bhakti. If we wish to follow, we are bound to offer obeisance and perform the devotional practices they performed. The followers of raganuga-bhakti will have to follow all the rules and regulations, because Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami and all of the Gosvamis have done so.

Sankhya purvaka nama gana nathibhi. What is the meaning of nathibhi? It is the offering of satstang-pranama, or full obeisances, with all eight parts of the body. We will follow them, but in a different mood. A vaidhi-bhakta cannot have their mood. Whether one is a raganuga-bhakta or vaidhi-bhakta, he will have to bow down to Krsna, to the associates of Krsna, and to the associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Satyavrata Muni is first bowing down to Sri Krsna – to His name, form, qualities, and His associates in His pastimes.

Srila Sanatana Gosvami has explained in his commentary to this verse that offering obeisances is "mangala vaca." "Mangala" means auspicious and "vaca" means sound or words. Therefore, obeisances is offered with the desire that Sri Krsna's name, attributes, qualities and form, along with His associates, may manifest Themselves within in our hearts.

"Namami" (offering of obeisances) comes under the category of dasya-rasa or servitorship. We should try to understand that only Sri Krsna is the Lord, and all others are His servant. Baladeva Prabhu, Nanda-Baba, Gargacarya (Nanda-Baba’s priest) and all other respectable superiors think, “I am the servant of Krsna.” The knowledge that all are Krsna’s servants has been given in scriptures like Caitanya-caritamrta.

Here, Srila Sanatana Gosvami reveals who Krsna is – He who is playing in the courtyard of Nanda-Baba and Yasoda, and in the lanes of Gokula, is the Supreme Controller – and Satyavrata Muni is offering obeisances to Him.

Who is that Supreme Controller?

isvarah paramah krsnah
sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah
anadir adir govindah
sarva-karana-karanam

["Sri Krsna, Govinda, is the embodiment of eternity, knowledge and bliss. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the controller of all lesser controllers and the source of all incarnations. He has no beginning or origin, though He is the source of everything and the cause of all causes." (Sri Brahma-samhita 5.1)]

This verse establishes that Krsna is sarva-saktiman, the all-powerful. His heart contains His many moods and His desires, and He wants these desires to be fulfilled. Who can fulfill them? He Himself is almighty, omnipotent and omniscient, so only one possessing these attributes can fulfill His desires. If we have desire for Vraja-prema and pray to Ramacandra or Lord Narayana of Vaikuntha, They cannot fulfill all our desires. Dvarakadisa Krsna and Rukmini-ramana (the husband of Rukmini) also cannot fulfill our desires.

Satyavrata Muni is offering obeisances to Krsna, in the mood that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He possesses all attributes and all powers, but who is that power? It is Srimati Radhika Herself. She is the root cause of Yogamaya and Vrnda; all potency is Srimati Radhika.

It is Krsna, in His various forms, who can fulfill all of our different desires: the desire for liberation, going to the Vaikuntha and serving Laksmi-Narayana, serving Rama-Sita in Rama-lila, and serving Rukmini, Satyabhama and Mathuresa Krsna. However, Krsna in His Vrndavana-lila satisfies all varieties of desires. He is sarva-saktiman, and therefore gives us the inspiration to desire this or that. At this time we don’t have good desires; they are not the best. However when the time comes that Krsna will inspire us with good desires, at that time He will also fulfill those desires.

We have seen how Krsna mercifully gives salvation to those who want it, but to them He does not give prema-bhakti. He can give also prema-bhakti, but He will not easily give vraja-bhakti. He can give vraja-bhakti, but not sakhya-rasa. He can give dasya-sakhya-rasa, but vatsalya-rasa is very rare; it is for a very, very rare person. He can give also vatsalya-rasa, but he will not easily give the service of Srimati Radhika. Unless He and His associates mercifully inspire us, we cannot desire these attainments. Satyavrata Muni is offering obeisances to Krsna, requesting Him to inspire in him the best desires. He can do this.

There is a second meaning of the word "isvara", the Supreme Controller – He is worshipable by all. The third meaning is that He is the embodiment of eternity, bliss and knowledge (sat-cid-ananda rupa). His form is not like that of us mortals. The predominating Deity of Sat is Baladeva Prabhu, the predominating Deity of Cit is Krsna, and the predominating Deity of Hladini is Radhika. The combination of these three is sat-cit-ananda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti
bhagavan iti sabdyate

["The Absolute Truth is realized in three phases of understanding by the knower of the Absolute Truth, and all of them are identical. Such phases of the Absolute Truth are expressed as Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.11)]

Our Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Prajana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, revealed a special point on this topic. We have heard the word "Brahman" (the Spirit Whole) but there is another word, "Parama-brahman" (the Supreme Spirit Whole). We have also heard of the word "atma," (soul) and there is also the word "Paramatma," (Supersoul). Bhagavan has no other word, however; there is no word "Parama-bhagavan." There is only the word "Svayam-bhagavan (svayam means “original”). Therefore, the word "Bhagavan" is superior to "Brahman" and "Paramatma." Within Bhagavan, Svayam-bhagavan is Krsnacandra, (Krsna in Vrndavana). This is the special point made by our Gurudeva.

Sri Satyavrata Muni is saying that although Krsna's form is sat-cit-ananda, He is weeping – but we should not think that He weeps as we weep. He is fighting with many demons, but we should not think He is like us. He is dancing and singing, but we should not think that He does so like us, in an ordinary way. We should always think in this way.

Krsna was dancing with the gopis, and at that time He appeared to be thousands upon thousands of Krsnas – one Krsna between each gopi. This is not an act of madhurya-rasa, sweet, human-like pastimes. This is aisvarya-lila, an act of great opulence; yet Krsna's form was not like that of four-handed Visnu. At this time He was Kisora-Krsna, a youth, a teenage boy.

He cannot give up His bhagavata (Godhood) at anytime, whether in Vraja-lila or rasa-lila. He picked up Govardhana Hill with His little finger, and that is also an act of aisvarya, but Krsna remained a boy of only seven years.

Satyavrata Muni is offering obeisances to this sat-cit-ananda Krsna. He is telling us how beautiful Krsna is. Playing in Gokula, Krsna is quite naked and His mother has put one golden chain around His waist that makes a tinkling sound – tun-tun-tun.

This boy Krsna was playing in the lanes of Gokula, and Durvasa Muni, who was a brahma-jnani, a yogi, was watching Him and became charmed. He could not understand if Krsna was God or not. He wanted to test Krsna, who was playing in Gokula, Raman-reti and near Brahmanda-ghata with His thousands of cowherd friends. At that time the cowherd boys were not yet youths, but very young children. In their play, they were challenging and defeating each other in fighting games. At that time Sridama and Krsna were mock fighting together. Sometimes Sridama defeated Krsna and sometimes Krsna defeated Sridama, and they were both covered in dust.

As Durvasa Muni watched this he thought, "Who is He? I have heard that Param-brahma, the Supreme Lord, has come to the courtyard of Yasoda-devi and Nanda-Baba, but this boy does not look like Param-brahma. How can He be playing like an ordinary boy?"

Durvasa saw the very beautiful form of Sri Krsna, and especially His beautiful face and sweet play. Moreover, as he watched, the pastime was becoming more and more sweet. Krsna's movements were sweet, His friends were all sweet, and His laughing and smiling were sweet. Watching this, Durvasa Rsi was charmed.

When Krsna saw Durvasa, He and Sridama at once approached him and He said, "Baba. Have I defeated Sridama? You should agree that I have defeated him, because you were watching the fight." Krsna put His hand on Durvasa's chest, and then He took hold of his ears. He said, "Baba, why are you not saying anything? Are you dumb?”

Durvasa could only watch; he could not say anything. He began to tremble and at once Krsna climbed onto his lap and again demanded an answer. Sridama said, "Baba, I have defeated Krsna, did you see?" But Durvasa was stunned; he was not in the mood to say anything. He had become dumb.

Krsna smiled, and by the influence of His Yogamaya potency, Durvasa entered His mouth. Durvasa began roaming in His stomach, and continued to do so for millions of years. He saw there millions of universes, and millions of Visnu manifestations, Brahmas and all other personalities. He saw Prahlada Maharaja. He went from one universe to another as millions of yugas (Ages) passed. He saw the cosmic devastation, and he then went to a universe where Krsna's pastimes were going on. There he saw Krsna playing with Sridama, and he saw himself enter Krsna's mouth. He saw that Krsna was playing with all the boys, and they were asking, "Who has defeated whom? You should decide."

Nanda-nandana has so many opulences, but He is still in His madhurya-bhava (the sweet mood of a cowherd boy) in Vraja. Satyavrata Muni is offering obeisances to this Krsna. Here he is describing how beautiful Krsna is, and how beautiful His pastimes are.

The following verse has been quoted by Srila Sanatana Gosvami, and it describes Sri Krsna’s beauty as He played His flute on the full moon night. The sound "klim" came from His flute at that time. Our Gosvamis like Srila Jiva Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami and Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura have all explained this in their commentaries.

drstva kumudvantam akhanda-mandalam
ramananabham nava-kunkumarunam
vanam ca tat-komala-gobhi ranjitam
jagau kalam vama-drsam manoharam

["Lord Krsna saw the unbroken disk of the full moon glowing with the red effulgence of newly applied vermilion, as if it were the face of the goddess of fortune. He also saw the lotuses opening in response to the moon's presence and the forest gently illuminated by its rays. Thus the Lord began to play sweetly on His flute, attracting the minds of the beautiful-eyed." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.29.3)]

Kalau consists of the two syllables, "ka" and "la." The sound from Krsna’s flute entered the ears of the gopis, and at that time they all came to the place where He was playing His flute. He told them, “You should return to your homes. Wild beasts are roaming here. Your babies are weeping and your husbands are searching for you. Your fathers and mothers are also searching for you, and your cooking has been hampered; so return to your homes at once."

The gopis were silent, thinking, “What is His mood?” Krsna continued, "You should return to your homes and serve your husbands. Even if a husband is very poor, ugly, lame or dumb, a wife should serve him; otherwise she will go to hell. This is the instruction of scriptures like Smrti, Veda and Purana; so you should follow it."

The gopis replied, "You are our Guru. Gurudeva must be served first, and then others may be served. Because You are our Guru, we are serving You first. You should accept our services; otherwise You will be committing an offence. You have said:

ye yatha mam prapadyante
tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
mama vartmanuvartante
manusyah partha sarvasah

["As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Prtha." (Bhagavad-Gita 4.11)]

In whatever mood one serves You, You should repay that person in the same mood. But You Yourself are not following this etiquette, so we consider that You are committing an offence.”

Finally, they said,

ka stry anga te kala-padayata-venu-gita-
sammohitarya-caritan na calet tri-lokyam
trailokya-saubhagam idam ca niriksya rupam
yad go-dvija-druma-mrgah pulakany abibhran

[''Dear Krsna, what woman in all the three worlds wouldn't deviate from religious behavior when bewildered by the sweet, attractive melody of Your flute? Your beauty makes all the three worlds auspicious. Indeed, even the cows, birds, trees and deer manifest the ecstatic symptom of bodily hair standing on end when they see Your beautiful form." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.29.40)]

"We have left our homes, husbands and children, and everything else for You. We have come here to be with You, but You are telling us to return to our homes. We see that You are acting against dharma, (religious principles). You are committing an offence at the lotus feet of religion. Why? The cause of our leaving our husbands is You. Why have You taken such a beautiful form? Why do Your play Your flute in such a sweet way? Your music has stolen our hearts, so we were bound to come to You. Not only us, but anyone who sees You and hears the sweet sound of Your flute meets with the same result.

Rama is very beautiful, and Narayana and Dvarakadisa Krsna are also beautiful. But they are not as beautiful as Krsna.

How beautiful is Krsna? The gopis tell us something by saying to Him, “Why did You come here, in this beautiful form, in front of us? You are guilty for our leaving our husbands, children, and homes. What to speak of us ladies, whose hearts are so pure, soft and sweet, even the trees, deer, creepers, birds, and every creature in the world are affected. There are none who are not attracted to You. There is no one who will not be attracted by Your form. Why did You come in this form, and why have You played on Your flute? We are not the guilty party. You are guilty, because You have done this. You’ll have to go to hell first, and then we will go.”

Krsna was joking with the gopis in this way, and in their reply the gopis glorified His beauty. We will further explain the commentary of Srila Sanatana Gosvami on another day.

Gaura premanande!

[* Endnote 1 – "The original inhabitants of Vrndavana are attached to Krsna spontaneously in devotional service. Nothing can compare to such spontaneous devotional service, which is called ragatmika bhakti. When a devotee follows in the footsteps of the devotees of Vrndavana, his devotional service is called raganuga bhakti." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 22.149)]

Endnote 2 – "Those who have not attained the platform of spontaneous attachment in devotional service render devotional service under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master according to the regulative principles mentioned in the revealed scriptures. According to the revealed scriptures, this kind of devotional service is called vaidhi bhakti.” (Madhya-lila. 22.109)]

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Editors: Premavati dasi and Syamarani dasi
Transcriber: Govinda Priya Dasi
Typist: Premavati dasi
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