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Sri Damodarastakam, Verse Four

Submitted by on November 12, 2018 – 12:33 am6 Comments

krishna-wallpaper9-bIn 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.

Verse 4:

varam deva! moksam na moksavadhim va
na canyam vrne ‘ham varesad apiha
idam te vapur natha! gopala-balam
sada me manasy avirastam kim anyaih

O Lord! Although you are capable of granting any boon, I do not pray to you for liberation, nor for eternal life in Vaikuntha or for any other benediction. O Lord! May your form as a cowherd child forever remain manifest in my heart. Other than this I have no need of anything.

Dig-darsini-tika by Srila Sanatana Gosvami

Continuing the description of Krishna’s particular excellences, the prayer progresses with a request that mentions one’s cherished desires. This is presented in this verse as well as verse five, starting with the word varamDeva means “O supremely effulgent one!” and it also implies “O Lord engaged in superexcellent sweet sports!” Iha indicates that “here in Vrndavana,” varesad, from Krishna, who can bestow any benediction, varam na vrne, I do not seek any boon.  Specifically, I do not pray for moksa, the fourth purusartha, or goal of human life (to achieve freedom from material contact by merging into the Brahman effulgence); nor do I pray for moksaya-avadhim, the highest supreme zenith of liberation in the form of eternally living in Sri Vaikuntha-loka, where the excellence of life is the nature of thickly condensed happiness. I do not even pray for anyan ca, other things such as the nine methods of devotional service headed by sravana. I do not desire the boons that may be obtained by any of these processes. Even if you want to give them to me, and even if others consider such things to be very appealing, iha, here in Vrindavana I do not have the slightest desire for them.

The word iha can also be used in relation to the statements of the rest of the verse. It is naturally understood that the three benedictions referred to—moksa (liberation), moksavadhi (the highest zenith of liberation) and anya (other things)—all reflect an ascending level of superiority, each being greater than the last. In this regard, the superiority of Vaikuntha to impersonal liberation is clearly described in Brhad Bhagavatamrta, Uttara Khanda. (1.14-15)

The superiority of the nine process of devotion to Vaikuntha-loka is described in the Bhagavatam thus: “(The four kumaras headed by Sanat, after cursing the disrespectful devotees named Jaya and Vijaya, said to Visnu, who had just appeared,) ‘Oh Lord, we pray that you let us be born in any hellish condition of life, as long as our ears are always filled with the chanting of your transcendental qualities.'” By these words, it becomes evident that the nine processes of devotion beginning with sravana can be perfected even while living in hell. Wherever one is, and in whatever condition of life, one thereby experiences the perfection of living in the eternal abode of Vaikuntha. This being the case, then what boon does one want from the Lord? The answer is given in this fourth verse of Damodarastakam: “he natha!”, “iha idam te vapur gopala-balam“—”O Lord! This form of yours as a cowherd child in Vrindavana,” sada me manasi avirastam, “may such a form ever be manifest in my mind.”

Since Krishna is antaryami, situated as the indwelling Supersoul, he may be seen manifesting the divine beauty of his every limb within one’s heart, just as clearly as one sees directly with the eyes. Still, (even if Krishna were to personally address the devotee and offer) “O he! The above-mentioned three kinds of boons beginning with moksa are not ordinary; they are most desirous, and anyone would immediately accept them… would you accept them?” The answer is given herein: kim anyaih—”What is the use of all these things? They have no value to me.” This is the meaning.

The reason behind this attitude is Sri Krishna is composed of all the bliss in the universe, so if he is attained then everything else is automatically and perfectly attained. But if one cannot attain Krishna, then the imperfection perceived in the absence of the desired goal especially creates a grand distaste and lamentable misery at the mere thought of attaining something of lesser value. Therefore it is said here that other boons are useless, kim anyaih. This is the mood.

Additionally, the words kim anyaih show yet another meaning: (again the Lord may ask) “Even though you do not pray for the boons beginning with moksam, would you care then for the boon of directly seeing and conversing with my supremely worshipable four-armed form (of Sri Narayana and other aisvarya-maya-murtis)?”  The answer remains the same, kim anyaih. The thought behind this is as follows: “If your divine form of a cowherd child (which is the crest-jewel of all splendors) would always be manifest in my heart, then I would feel very, very pleased; nothing short of that would satisfy me.” This is the mood. For further details regarding the glories of antar-darsana (seeing God within the heart), please see Brhad Bhagavatamrta, Uttara-Khanda (2.86-96). Therein the sage Sri Pippalayana on the planet Tapoloka has explained all these principles very elaborately. Now the Damodarastaka prayer offered by Satyavrata Muni similarly demonstrates that the longing for inner darsana is the best goal of all. From this prayer all these things can be clearly understood.

Thus ends Sanatana Gosvami’s Dig-darsini-tika on the fourth sloka of “Sri Damodarastakam.”

6 Comments »

  • gaurasundara das

    I don’t fully understand why Sanatan Goswami comments that one would not even want the nine methods of devotional service? Is it because they are vaidhi bhakti?

    • madan gopal das

      I think you are on the right track – nava-laksana bhakti (vaidhi) leads one to Vaikuntha wherein one can achieve four of the five types of liberation (salokya, sarsti, samipya, sarupya). When Sanatana Goswami explains here that the Lord is asking if one wants to see his Narayana form face to face, one would have achieved these types of liberation and be situated in Vaikuntha. Though these are superior to impersonal liberation (sayujya), the Gaudiya vaisnava’s want nothing to do with all five types of liberation. We aspire for raga, which is the law only in Vraja.

      • gaurasundara das

        Thanks for the response Madan. I’m still a bit confused because I thought he was saying that nava-laksana bhakti was above vaikuntha. He said:

        “It is naturally understood that the three benedictions referred to—moksa (liberation), moksavadhi (the highest zenith of liberation) and anya (other things)—all reflect an ascending level of superiority, each being greater than the last. ”

        I understand that it leads there but it is superior so I still wonder why you wouldn’t want it. Does he mean just in relation to Visnu, he would reject these things but not in relation to Krsna?

        I also don’t quite get how this is not visnu smaranam? ( I guess it’s Krsna smaranam)

        “he natha!”, “iha idam te vapur gopala-balam“—”O Lord! This form of yours as a cowherd child in Vrindavana,” sada me manasi avirastam, “may such a form ever be manifest in my mind.”

        • madan gopal das

          I can see why this is confusing. It seems to me that Sanatana Goswami is emphasizing (like he does in Brhad Bhagavatamrta) a gradation of bhakti process. Nava-laksana bhakti is superior to residence in Vaikuntha because it can be practiced anywhere, even in hell – he gives the example of the Kumara’s, whose bhakti is meditation. In this case (the Kumara’s), the examples Sanatana gives of Krsna offering face-to-face darsana of Narayana, and the references to Pippalayana’s instructions in Brhad Bhag., the emphasis is on smaranam (of one’s istha-deva) as being superior to moksa, vaikuntha, or nava-laksana bhakti related to Visnu. The Kumaras are bhaktas of Narayana, along with Pippalayana and other sages of Tapoloka who do smaranam of various forms of Visnu. Satyavrata Muni wants smaranam of Gopala-balam.

          Also, when Pippalayana speaks of the superiority of smaranam in B.B., he is instructing Gopakumara as to the necessity for engagement of the mind regardless of what one “sees” with the eyes. Eyes require mind to really “see”. So smaranam is an activity of the superior sense – the mind, that does not require the eyes.
          However, Gopakumara could not relate to that because the sweetness of Vraja overwhelmed his senses (mind included) and he experienced samadhi which is not an activity of the mind. Similar to Gopakumara’s rejection of smaranam, here Sanatana has Satyavrata Muni saying “iha, here in Vrindavana” I don’t desire any of these things. Samadhi-darsan is not a practice, as differentiated from smaranam.

          Maybe some wise sadhus will give some better reasoning…

  • I think that Sanatana Prabhu is distinguishing the nava-laksana bhakti in relation to Vaikuntha from residence in Vaikuntha–the very essence of Vaiknutha to Vaikuntha, and stating its superiority. But Satyavrata is not interested in that. He wants Vraja bhakti. In Brs. Sri Rupa explains that raga bhakti can be supported by nava laksana vaiddhi bhakti in its budding stage. But doing so by way of Krishna kirtana, for example, does blur the line between the limbs of vaiddhi nava laksana bhakti and raga bhakti. Krishna kirtana has been described by Sri Visvanatha Chakravarti as bhava sambandhi, “in relation to raga bhakti.” Bhava sambandhi refers to practices that are in direct relation to the Vraja-bhava (bhava-mahyi) one is cultivating. So it is Krishna kirtana in support of a particular sentiment of Vraja–kirtana of particular names of Krsna corresponding with particular lilas, etc

    On another note, I am not convinced that the last two sentences of this commentary are actually Sanatana Goswami’s but rather part of a footnote written by Pujyapada B.P. Kesava Maharaja who translated this from Sanskrit into Hindi from which it has been translated into English. Unless it is cleared up later on in the tika, I see a problem here. Although the superiority of smaranam and internal darsana (antar darsana) is explained in Tapaloka, later in Bb the Vaikuntha Duttas refute this notion, placing direct darsana of Bhagavan over meditative darsana. Would the gopis be satisfied with meditation on Krishna?

  • prahlada bhakta dasa

    Dear Guru-Maharaja,
    Dandavat pranaams,
    You are right. i just saw the Sanskrit for the last few sentences. The last two sentences should be: “The glories of antar-darsana are descriptively spoken in the Sri Bhagavatamrta Uttara-khanda by Sri Pippalayana on Tapoloka. In this way, due to soliciting him (Vraja-Krishna) as the best of all, his (Satyavrata’s) prayer has also culminated in glorification of the Lord. This will be seen further also.”

    The first sentence of the commentary should read: “In this way after glorifying him by describing his distinguished superiority he (Satyavrata) solicits with two verses beginning with this one.”

    So, Sanatana Goswami is pointing out that although he is asking a benediction from Krishna in verse 4, by asking for Krishna only and no one or nothing else, this request of Satyavrata Muni has also culminated in glorifying Krishna as the most excellent of all.

    To show that the first sentence of this commentary does not indicate the continuing glorification of the Lord in the present verse we can look into the commentary of the previous verse where in its first sentence Sanatana Goswami says: “By mentioning his special qualities he speaks of his distinguished superiority.” The compound ‘utkarsa-visesa’, which means ‘distinguished superiority’, appears in beginning of commentaries of verse 3 and verse 4. So, after describing Krishna’s unique super-excellence in verse 3 Satyavrata Muni asks for a benediction in verse 4. And this request for a blessing has also turned into Krishna’s glorification by asking for Krishna as the best of all.

    Thank you very much.

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