Sri Damodarastakam, Verse Six
In honor of the month of Kartika, the Harmonist will be publishing “Sri Damodarastakam” verse by verse, with the Dig-darsini-tika of Sri Sanatana Goswami Prabhupada.
namo deva damodara ananta visno
prasida prabho duhkha-jalabdhi-magnam
grhanesa mam ajnam edhy aksi-drsyah
Obeisances to you, O Deva! O Damodara! O Ananta! O Visnu! O Prabhu! Be pleased with me. I am sinking deeply into the ocean of tribulations. Shower the rain of your merciful glance upon me. Kindly exhibit your favor and deliver me, O Isa! I am totally ignorant. Please become visible to my eyes.
Dig-darsini-tika by Srila Sanatana Gosvami
By the potency of prayer, feelings of spontaneous love arise and one craves to have the direct vision of the Lord. In this regard, when referring to topics about saksat-darsana or direct vision of the Lord, only sri nama-sankirtana is the parama sadhana, or supreme method, for this attainment. After fixing his beauty in the mind, one then offers sorrowful prayers by way of sri nama-kirtana, as in this verse. In the text of a mula-sloka such as this sixth verse, usually the word tubhyam (unto you) would be found in order to complete the sense of the prayer; however, in this case, the excitement of prema causes the reciter to neglect all feelings of awe or reverence. Therefore, in the mood of being in the personal presence of the Lord, the word tubhyam is neglected.
Here prabho means he is madiya isvara, my controller. The word prasida indicates prasadam; the reciter is requesting, “(Krishna) be pleased with me and show your mercy. (My reason for praying is) I am duhkha-jalabdhi-magnam—immersed in the ocean of misery.” Specifically, the word duhkha (pain, misery, distress) indicates either the agony of repeated birth and death in the samsarika material world, or else the torment of not seeing Krishna (resulting in feelings of ocean-like infinite desolation). Jalam, meaning net, illusion, or deception, and abdhih (ocean) denotes the extreme vastness: “By the force of my own karma I am thus magnam (submerged) and ati-dinam, very distressed.” Another meaning of the word ati-dinam is that “I am completely bereft of the association of saintly persons, and consequently, without their assistance, I am extremely fallen.” Yet a third meaning is, “(Due to not seeing you) I am just like a living dead man and I am also ajnam—ignorant about how to resolve this problem.” Then krpaya drsti-vrstya, “Showing your own mercy, please shower me with your nectar-laden glances thereby uplifting me and once more enthusing me with life.” This alone is the purport of the prayer.
Lastly, it is said, aksi-drsyo-edhi, “Please become visible before my eyes.” Prayers are usually made according to the sequence in which this one is spoken, as such it is not appropriate in this case to first mention the boon that is being requested, due to its nature of being the most rarely attained of all benedictions. The glory of attaining the direct vision of the Godhead (saksat-darsana) within the mind is explained very logically by the personal associates of the Bhagavan (sri bhagavat parsada) in the Brhad Bhagavatamrta, Uttara Khanda 3.179-182. From this passage one may gain specific knowledge of these topics.
In this sixth verse the word deva indicates the divya-rupa, Lord of divine beauty. This beauty is the cause for desiring his darsana. The address of damodara intimates specifically that he is glorified for his excellence of bhakta-vatsalya, or affection for his devotees (up to the point of allowing them to bind him around the waist). Therefore I will be qualified only by bhakti to see him with my own eyes. He who has no end (whose mercy has no limits) is addressed as ananta. Therefore He will certainly shower his glance of mercy upon me. Ananta also indicates that he is continuously existent without interval or separation. The address prabhu connotes he is acintya-ananta-adbhuta-maha-sakti-yukta—one who is endowed with inconceivable, limitless, astonishingly grand potency. Therefore he cannot be perceived by the senses and can only become visible to my eyes by dint of this same inconceivable sakti. Addressing him as isa suggests that he is parama-svatantra, or supremely independent. In showing his favor even to unfit souls, he is dependent on no one else. And moreover, the address visnu means he sarva-vyapaka—all-pervading! Furthermore, it means—O You Who are fond of entering into Vrndavana’s secluded caves and bower-cottages! Praying like this indicates that it is not difficult for Him to come before one’s eyes; He does not have to labour hard to come from a distance.
Thus ends Sanatana Gosvami’s Dig-darsini-tika on the sixth sloka of “Sri Damodarastakam.”