Sri Damodarastakam, Verse Seven

krishna-mortarIn 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 7:

kuveratmajau baddha-murtyaiva yad-vat
tvaya mocitau bhakti-bhajau krtau ca
tatha prema-bhaktim svakam me prayaccha
na mokse graho me ‘sti damodareha

O Damodara! Although you were bound to the mortar with ropes tied by mother Yasoda, you mercifully liberated the sons of Kuvera who were cursed by Narada Muni to stand as trees, and you gifted them with your own devotional service. Therefore, please also bestow upon me your own prema-bhakti. This is my exclusive longing. I have no desire for any other type of liberation.

Dig-darsini-tika by Srila Sanatana Goswami

In this way, by the attributes of pure ecstatic love (prema-visesa) one becomes infused with supreme longing and prays for direct audience with God (saksat-darsana).  From the attributes of that prayerful longing arises ecstatic loving service (prema-bhakti), which demonstrates the supreme rarity of saksat-darsana. This prema-bhakti is verily the only means for attaining Krishna’s darsana. In this verse, after first establishing this as a fact, a prayer is then offered.

If one does receive the direct vision of Krishna but once, the mind is unsatisfied, and (due to not seeing him the very next second) the agony of separation sets in. That such an anxiety perpetually brings the Lord under one’s sway is a feature of prema-bhakti, which is the one and only means of maintaining such a condition. This being the case, then how could it possibly be accomplished by such an utmost offender like me? The answer to this concern is that Sri Bhagavan’s quality of bhakta-vatsalya (affection for his devotees) makes the impossible quite possible. In order to resolve this for certain, the proposal of moksa is again rejected here in the seventh verse, and a prayer is made purely for attaining prema-bhakti.

The words “baddha-murtya” indicate that Sri Krishna’s vigraha (divine bodily form) was bound with ropes tied to the grinding mortar by Sri Yasoda, and by that sri vigraha he liberated the two sons of Kuvera. Thus by dragging the mortar between the two trees known as yamalarjuna, Bhagavan personally demonstrated the supreme fortune that comes from seeing his form, personally touching his form, and so forth, all of which are integral attributes of his supremely beautiful pastimes. The word “mocitau” denotes that the sons of Kuvera were liberated not only from the curse of Sri Narada, but from samsara as well; they were not awarded with kevalam or impersonal liberation of merging into the Brahman effulgence, but it is definitely stated that they were gifted with prema-bhakti.

These two boys are described as “bhakti-bhajau,” they took shelter of bhakti as the supreme goal. Those who cannot give up the shelter of devotion in any way are called bhakti-bhajam. Here it is the intention of the author to specifically declare that not only were they liberated, but that they were also awarded with prema-bhakti. In this regard, Sri Krishna spoke the following to these two boys in the Bhagavatam: “The sprout of prema for me, which was your most supremely cherished goal, has now fully arisen in both of you. From this ecstatic mood, you will never take birth in the material world again.” (10.10.42) In other words, Krishna is saying that “The most desired thing you have prayed for is parama-bhava, and you both have fully developed this prema for me. Therefore you will never again experience the repeated birth and death in the material world, nor will you feel the misery of samsara even while living here.”

Beginning with “tatha prema-bhaktim svakam,” the prayer petitions that Krishna please “bestow upon this insignificant soul that same prema-bhakti that was given to the sons of Kuvera. Other than iha, this goal called prema-bhakti, I have no eagerness for any other type of liberation, O Damodara (na mokse graho me asti damodara)! One may think, ‘If the samsara is destroyed by engaging in prema-bhakti, let it be,’ or, ‘If prema-bhakti doesn’t destroy the samsara, then let me not cultivate bhakti.’ I truly have no inclination for either mentality.” The lesson is that if a cintamani stone lies in the palm of your hand, then all activities you undertake will be perfect; therefore what is the value of grasping a tiny, insignificant thing (like moksa)?

The statement “prema-bhaktim svakam me prayaccha” can also mean that Bhagavan’s belly is bound with ropes, so from him one prays for prema-bhakti in order to perpetually bind his belly; the eagerness for this reciprocation makes it actually possible. Apprehending such, the prayer continues (na mokse graha, etc.), wherein the alarmed devotee questions, “Do I not have eagerness for you to become liberated from the ropes?” and answers, “Yes, I certainly care, but all I want from you (in your bound up form) is that you bestow my most cherished benediction of prema-bhakti. Yet another meaning is the word iha indicates “please bestow prema-bhakti here in Vrindavana.” To interpret further, one prays thus because Sri Vrindavana is the exclusive agent for the arising of prema-bhakti‘s unique happiness, also, only in Vrindavana Sri Krishna especially appears; also, the attributes of his saksat-darsana are found there in that form with his belly bound; and further, one prays for perpetual residence in Vrindavana because only there does Sri Bhagavan desire to especially manifest as the enjoyer of the forest—Vrindavana-Vihari. All this is additionally evidence.

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

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11 Responses to Sri Damodarastakam, Verse Seven

  1. Dandavat pranams to Sri Damodarastakam, Satyavrati Muni, the commentator, the commentary and its students.

    In the first paragraph of the commentary to this verse, it’s not clear to me what exactly it is that demonstrates the rarity of saksat-darsana and in way. Can someone enlighten me?

    • *in what way

      • Syamananda Prabhu, the translation of Sanatana Goswami’s commentary is incorrect here.
        It should be: “After praying for a direct vision with intense devotion and ardent expectation, Satyavrata Muni is now stirred by devotional emotions, and he realizes that the Lord is achieved only by few, and only by loving devotion. Thus he recites this verse— kuverätmajau…” Alternatively, these are his thoughts, “My heart will not find solace in a single vision and the anguish of separation will follow. Only by loving devotion I may have Him forever. But I am a great offender; how can this possibly happen to me?” Still, certain that the Lord’s affection is so glorious that it fulfils even the impossible, he asks for loving devotion discarding liberation—kuverätmajau….”

        • Thank you, dear Sastra-vani Prabhu.

          Can you suggest any connection between his realization of the rarity of saksat-darsana, and his impulse to bring up the lila of Sri Damodara liberating the sons of Kuvera? To me, it makes more sense with the alternative reading of his thoughts, since they were offenders and cursed by Narada. But the latter is presented as an alternative, whereas the first reading seems to be presented as primary.

        • Haribol Syamananda Prabhu,

          Thank you for your points.
          It is not that the reading that is spoken first is always primary.
          Sometimes it is the peripheral understanding. A deeper understanding is presented later sometimes.
          Here, Srila Sanatana Goswami first mentions that Satyavrata Muni understood that saksat-darsana of Krishna can only be achieved by prema-bhakti, and thus he prayed for it in the verse.
          In the next thing, Sanatana Goswami makes a progression from the earlier. Satyavrata Muni, after understanding that prema-bhakti is the only means, feels that he is a great offender and then has the conviction that anything is possible by the mercy of Bhagavan. Thus, I would say that the second understanding progresses from the first one. It is not necessary that the first is secondary and the next is primary either.

  2. Thank you very much Sastra Vani Das prabhu for the clarification y and new traduction, I also had this doubt when trying to understand and answer the question of Syamananda Das prabhu, I said to myself, How would someone with attributes of pure ecstatic love have to pray for Krsna’s darshan to obtain prema bhakti if being in that state you already have both darshan and prema, or not? Perhaps only because of his extreme humility is that he continues to do so. I looked for texts published Harmonist blogs that reminded me of this, maybe they could be related at some point, but not at another, I’m not sure, this was my follow up…

    In “The Gopala-tapani Upanisad: Klim and Om”. “Sri Prabodhananda Saraswati comments as follows: The place where both the knowledge of the Lord and bhakti-yoga are revealed in their most complete and perfect manifestation is known as Mathura”; but afterwards the doubt arose from this verse …” One should visualize myself situated in the heart on a blooming eight-petalled lotus and meditate on my feet, which are marked with the divine signs of the flag and the umbrella. Prabodhananda suggests that the spirit of this verse is that one should meditate on Narayana / Krishna being situated in Mathura as if his heart is that holy abode”. At first I thought that reaching the state of Mathura or practices of knowledge and devotion which is mentioned here as jnana-bhakti-sadhanam (but, meditating is not the same as praying? although they could be related).

    These lines founded in “The Origin of Kama Gayatri” I believe clarified me “That this spiritual passion alone, and not the blessing of the goddess (referring to rituals and in analogy mentioned to meditation) which ensured its success. The sincerity of their approach is evident from the fact that Krsna accepted their proposal”.

    Finally in the blog of “The Lotus Flower in the Heart”: “Sri Brahma-samhita mentions that God is literally experienced in the hearts of his devotees on the basis of their mutual love and by the power of the inconceivable potency of God, premanjana churita bhakti vilocanena santa sadiava hrdayesu vilokayanti yam saymasundaram actintya gunua svarupam. As this verse says, seeing Krishna-Syamasundara within the heart requires eyes anointed with divine love (prema), because wherever there is prema. God is present. The two are one and different at the same time”.

    Pranama, I hope you can give me your Light in feedback. Jaay! =)

    • Dear Annapurna Devi,
      Thank you for your interesting thoughts.
      I would say that pure bhakti is not exactly the same as darsana of Bhagavan. Bhakti is the cause, and darsana of Bhagavan is the effect of bhakti. The cause always exists before the effect.
      Satyavrata Muni is praying to achieve pure bhakti so that he could have direct darsana of Krishna.
      Because pure bhakti is so powerful that it immediately brings Krishna under control, it sometimes thought that achieving pure bhakti is seeing Krishna face to face. But actually, first comes pure bhakti and then comes direct darsana.

      Regarding the explanation of Mathura, there is no contradiction if you understand the points stated by me above.
      It means that with a pure heart immersed in pure bhakti, one should meditate on Krishna.

      Yes, meditation and praying are different activities. But please do not think that one is superior to the other.

      • Very grateful dear Sastra Vani for these great details in connection that help me to find more sense to all in sambandha to try a better abidheya. =)

      • I was missing this to close something that I had postponed and that was encouraged with their responses, now to integrate it more and more. Just excuse my confusions, and please always receive my humble obeisances and appreciation Dear Sastra Vani Dasa Prabhu.
        Thank you so much for everything. Jaay! =)

  3. Sorry Prabhus it’s “On the Lotus of the Heart”, your questions and comments are helping focus me and don’t deviate and try to understand better. Thanks. =)

  4. Thank you, Sastra-vani Prabhu, for further clarification. I also listened to two talks of Guru Maharaja (Swami Sri Bhaktivedanta Tripurari) to understand this passage better:

    Sri Damodarastakam, Verse 7: I Will Untie You, Will You Please Give Me Bhakti?
    Sri Rupa’s Teachings On Bhava-Bhakti, Part 2: It Is Rarely Attained

    What I gathered relevant to the passage is that even if one “deserves” a blessing, Krishna gives it in his own time.

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