Verse One

namāmīśvaraṁ saccidānanda-rūpaṁ
lasat-kuṇḍalaṁ gokule bhrāja-mānam
yaśodā-bhiyolūkhalād-dhāvamānaṁ
parāmṛṣṭam atyaṁ tato drutya gopyā

SYNONYMS

namāmī – obeisances; īśvaram – to the Supreme Controller, the possessor of all potency; sat-cit-ānanda-rūpam – the origin of all incarnations, the very embodiment of eternity, knowledge and bliss, Śrī Kṛṣṇa; lasat-kuṇḍalam – on whose cheeks makara-shaped earrings are frolicking; gokule – in the transcendental abode of Gokula, the home of the gopas, gopīs, cows, calves and so forth; bhrāja-mānam – He is splendidly situated as the brilliant conception; yaśodā-bhiyā – out of fear of Mother Yaśodā; ulūkhalād – after jumping from the the grinding mortar; dhāvamānam – running away; parāmṛṣṭam – forcefully seized from behind; atyantataḥ – ultimately; drutya – running very swiftly; gopyā – by Mother Yaśodā.

TRANSLATION

I offer obeisances unto Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the possessor of all potencies, whose beautiful form is the entirety of concentrated existence, knowledge and bliss. On His cheeks, makara-shaped earrings are swinging playfully. His infinite brilliance shines forth from His most splendid residence, the transcendental abode, Śrī Gokula. He was afraid of Mother Yaśodā (because He smashed the earthen pot of yoghurt). When He saw her coming He leapt down from the grinding mortar and ran away. Nevertheless, Mother Yaśodā ultimately caught hold of Him from behind, for she ran more swiftly than He did.

Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā

śrī rādhā-sahitaṁ natvā śrī-dāmodaraṁ īśvaram
dāmodarāṣṭaka’-vyākhyā digeṣā darśyate’dhunā

tatrāgre kim api prārthayitum ādau tasya ‘tattva’-‘rūpa’-‘līlā’-‘guṇādi’-viśeṣeṇotkarṣa-viśeṣaṁ, “gokula-prakaṭita-nija-bhagavattā-sāra-‘sarvasva-bhūtaṁ’ ” varṇayan bhaktyādau namaskaroti – namāmīti. tacca maṅgalārthaṁ sarva-karmasu prāgeva dāsya-viśeṣeṇa vidhānādādau nirdiṣṭam. kam? īśvaraṁ – sarva-śaktimantaṁ, jagadeka-nāthaṁ, nija-prabhuṁ vā. tatrādya-pakṣaḥ – stuty-ādi-śakty-arthaḥ, dvitīyaḥ – parama-vandyatārthaḥ, antyaśca – bhakti-viśeṣeṇeti dik. katham- bhūtaṁ? sat-cit-ānanda-rūpaṁ sat-cit-ānanda-ghana-vigraham ity arthaḥ – iti ‘tattva’-viśeṣenotkarṣa-viśeṣa uktaḥ.

[rūpa]-saundarya-viśeṣeṇotkarṣa-viśeṣam āha – lasantī śrī-yaśodā-bhiyā dhāvamānāt, satata-bālya-kṛīḍā-viśeṣa-paratvāt vā nirantaraṁ lolatayā gaṇḍayoḥ krīḍantī kuṇḍale yasya tam – iti ‘śrī-mukha-śobhā’-viśeṣa uktaḥ; yadvā, śrī-gaṇḍa-cumbana-mahā-saubhāgyataḥ kuṇḍalayoḥ sarva-bhūṣaṇeṣu mukhyatvāt tābhyāṁ tāni sarvāṇyevopalakṣyante; tataśca lasantī śobhamāne kuṇḍale yasmāt taṁ bhūṣaṇa-bhūṣaṇāṅgam ity arthaḥ.

ataevoktaṁ śrī-gopībhiḥ daśama-skandhe – “trailokya-saubhagam-idañca nirīkṣya rūpaṁ, yad-go-dvija-druma-mṛgāḥ pulakānya-vibhran.” Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.29.40) iti, uddhvena ca tṛtīya-skandhe – “vismāpanaṁ svasya ca saubhagarddheḥ, paraṁ padaṁ bhūṣaṇa-bhūṣaṇāṅgam” Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.2.12) iti.

‘parivāra’-viśeṣenotkarṣa-viśeṣam āha – gokule gopa-gopī-govatsādi-nivāse, bhrājamānaṁ yogya-sthāna-viśeṣe pūrvato’pi utkarṣa-viśeṣa-prakaṭanena gokulasya svābhāvika-śobhā-viśeṣeṇa vā śobhamānam; tacca śrī-daśama-skandhādau – “cakāsa-gopī-pariṣad-gato’arcitas-trailokya-lakṣmy-eka-padaṁ vapur dadhat.” Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.32.14) ityādinoktam.

‘līlā’- viśeṣenotkarṣa-viśeṣam āha – yaśodeti sārddhena. yaśodāyā mātuḥ sakāśāt, bhiyā dadhi-bhāṇḍa-bhedanādyaparādha-kṛta-bhītyā, udūkhalāt śik-sthita-navanīta-cauryārthamudvarttya tale samārūḍhāt udūkhalataḥ dhāvamānaṁ tvarayāpasarantam. atra ca viśeṣāpekṣakaiḥ daśama-skandha-navamādhyāyoktam – “udūkhalāṅghrerupari vyavasthitaṁ, markāya kāmaṁ dadataṁ śici sthitaṁ. haiyaṅgavaṁ caurya-viśaṅkitekṣaṇaṁ, nirīkṣya paścāt sutam āgamacchanaiḥ. tāmāttayaṣṭiṁ prasamīkṣya satvaras-tato’varuhyāpasasāra bhītavat. gopyanvadhāvan na yamāpa yogināṁ, kṣamaṁ praveṣṭuṁ tapaseritaṁ manaḥ” Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.9.8–9) ityādy-anusandheyam.

tataśca atyanta-tatodrutya vegena dhāvitvā; samāsaika-padyena yap-ādeśaḥ, gopyā śrī-yaśodayā, parā āmṛṣṭam pṛṣṭhato dhṛtam; atra ca atyantato-drutyetyanena śrī-yaśodāyā api stana-nitamba-gauravādi-saundarya-viśeṣaḥ sneha-viśeṣaśca sūcitaḥ. gopyeti premokti-paripāṭyā gopa-jātīnām eva tādṛśaṁ mahā-saubhāgyam iti dhvanitam. parāmṛṣṭam ityanena tasyāṁ bhagavataḥ sneha-viśeṣo dhvanita iti dik. atra ca – “anvañcamānā jananī bṛhac-calac-chroṇī-bharākrānta-gatiḥ sumadhyamā, javena visraṁsita-keśa-bandhana-cyuta-prasūnānugatiḥ parāmṛśat.” Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.9.10) ityartho’anusandheyaḥ. (1)

iti śrī-dāmodarāṣṭake prathama-śloke śrīla-sanātana-gosvāmi-kṛtā digdarśinī-nāmnī ṭīkā samāptā.

~ Thus ends the Dig-darśinī ṭīkā on the First Verse ~

Maṅgalācaraṇa

ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana śalākayā
cakṣur-unmīlitaṁ yena tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ

I offer my humble obeisances to śrī guru. With the torchlight of divine knowledge he has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance.

namaḥ oṁ viṣṇu-pādāya ācārya-siṁha-rūpiṇe
śrī-śrīmad-bhakti-prajñāna-keśava iti nāmine
atimartya-caritrāya svāśritānāñca pāline
jīva-duḥkhe sadārttāya śrī-nāma-prema dāyine

I offer my humble obeisances to the lion-like ācārya, jagad-guru Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, who always resides at the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord. His character, which is completely beyond mortality, is such that he nurtures those who take shelter of him with immense divine affection. But moreover, he always feels distress because of the suffering of the conditioned souls, and he blesses them with prema for the holy name.

gaurāśraya vigrahāya kṛṣṇa-kāmaika-cāriṇe
rūpānuga-pravarāya vinodeti svarūpine

He is the personification of one who has taken complete shelter (āśraya) of Śrī Gaura and he is solely committed to satisfying the loving desires (kāma) of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He is the foremost follower of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, and by his constitutional identity (svarūpa) he is the pleasure (vinoda) of Śrī Rādhā Kṛṣṇa.

prabhupādāntaraṅgāya sarva-sad-guṇa-śāline
māyāvāda-tamoghnāya vedāntartha-vide namaḥ

He is the intimate associate of Śrīla Prabhupāda and he is endowed with all auspicious qualities. He devours the dark ignorance of impersonalism by his knowledge of the true meaning of Vedānta. I offer my obeisances to him.

vairāgya-yug-bhakti-rasaṁ prayatnair-
apāyayan-mām-anabhipsum-andham
kṛpāmbudhiryaḥ para-duḥkha-duḥkhī
sanātanaṁ taṁ prabhuṁ āśrayāmi

Due to being blinded by ignorance, I was unwilling to drink bhakti-rasa, the nectar of devotion imbued with intense attachment for Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the consequent detachment from worldly existence. But Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, with great effort, induced me to drink it because he is an ocean of causeless mercy and cannot tolerate seeing the suffering of others. I therefore take complete shelter of him.

namo mahā-vadānyāya kṛṣṇa-prema-pradāyate
kṛṣṇāya kṛṣṇa-caitanya-nāmne gaura-tviṣenamaḥ

I offer my humble obeisances to that supremely magnanimous personality, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. He is the original form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, but now, as Śrī Gaurasundara, He has assumed the golden complexion of Śrīmatī Rādhikā and He is freely bestowing śrī kṛṣṇa-prema. I bow to Him.

I offer prostrated obeisances again and again at the lotus feet of my śrī gurudeva, āṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, who is an ocean of causeless mercy; to the ācāryas of the śrī guru-paramparā; and especially to jagad-guru Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmīpāda, who is very distressed by the sorrow of others; as well as to the greatly magnanimous Śrī Śacīnandana Gaurahari, who is imbued with the mood and complexion of Śrīmati Rādhikā. After begging for their mercy, I am now presenting the bhāvānuvāda of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī’s Dig-darśinī commentary on Śrī Dāmodarāṣṭakam.

Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā Bhāvānuvāda

śrī rādhā-sahitaṁ natvā śrī-dāmodaram-īśvaraṁ
‘dāmodarāṣṭaka’ vyākhyā digeṣā darśyate ’dhunā

After offering obeisances to the Supreme Controller, Śrī Dāmodara accompanied by Śrī Rādhā, this explanation of Śrī Dāmodarāṣṭakam, known as Dig-darśinī (the insight that guides us toward the inner meaning), is herewith presented.

With the intention of making his prayer, Śrī Satyavrata Muni first offers his devoted obeisances to Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa with the word, namāmī, which invokes auspiciousness. He offers his obeisances by extolling Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s supremacy through descriptions pertaining to the speciality of His tattva (profound fundamental truths related to Him), His form, His pastimes and His qualities. Thus, Śrī Satyavrata Muni declares the unique supremacy manifested by Śrī Kṛṣṇa in Gokula, to be the very essence and entirety of Godhead.

It is vital to offer respects to one’s worshipful deity before beginning any task. Also, by this gesture Śrī Satyavrata Muni exhibits his special feeling of dāsya-bhakti, devotion to Śrī Bhagavān in the mood of a servant. For this reason he begins his prayer by offering his obeisances to the Supreme Lord.

[The commentator, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, first discusses the profound fundamental truths underlying the identity of Śrī Bhagavān (kṛṣṇa-tattva). Herein he relates Śrī Satyavrata Muni’s thoughts:]

“To whom am I offering obeisances? To Īśvara, the supreme controller. He is (1) sarva-śaktimān – the possessor of all potency; (2) jagat-eka-nātha – the sole Lord of the entire world; and (3) nija-prabhu – my own dear master. I am offering my obeisances to that Īśvara.” In the first facet of Īśvara, “the possessor of all potency”, Śrī Satyavrata Muni seeks the potency to offer prayers in glorification of Śrī Bhagavān, the Supreme Lord. The second facet, “the sole Lord of the entire world”, conveys that Īśvara is alone his topmost worshipful and praiseworthy Lord. Finally, in relation to the last facet of Īśvara, that He is “my own dear master”, Śrī Satyavrata Muni expresses his own special bhakti for his Lord.

How is Īśvara manifest? Addressing this question, Śrī Satyavrata Muni says, “Īśvara is manifest as the beautiful form of concentrated pure, eternal existence, full knowledge and unlimited bliss (saccid-ānanda-rūpam).” Thus the sage has explained the unrivalled supremacy of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the object of his prayers, by narrating the special, profound fundamental truths (tattva) underlying His identity.

[Now, the commentator discusses Śrī Bhagavān’s beautiful form.]

Śrī Satyavrata Muni shows the exceptional supremacy of Śrī Kṛṣṇa by describing the unique beauty of His form. He describes how His earrings are swinging, lasat-kuṇḍalam. Because He is running away from His mother – Śrī Yaśodā – out of fear, or else because it is His nature to always make transcendental childish mischief due to unceasing restlessness; makara-shaped earrings constantly swing near His cheeks and seem to be playing there. In this way, the sage describes the speciality of the extraordinary splendour of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s worshipful face.

Yet another meaning of lasat-kuṇḍalam is, “Those two makara-shaped earrings have achieved the celebrated fortune of kissing Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s cheeks and are therefore the most exalted of all His ornaments. Consequently, simply by mentioning Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s earrings, the special fortune of all other ornaments adorning His various limbs is implied.”

For this reason Śrī Satyavrata Muni is indicating, “I am offering obeisances to that personality whose bodily lustre beautifies His earrings.” In other words, Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s limbs even beautify their own ornaments. For this reason the gopīs have said:

trailokya-saubhagam idaṁ ca nirīkṣya rūpaṁ
yad go-dvija-druma-mṛgāḥ pulakāny abibhran

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.29.40)

Dear Kṛṣṇa, as a result of beholding Your beautiful form, which has enhanced the fortune of the three worlds, even the bodies of the cows, birds, trees, deer and others have erupted with horripilation. [Is it at all surprising, then, if Your beautiful form bewilders us?]

Also, while Śrī Uddhava was describing Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beautiful form to Vidura, he said:

vismāpanaṁ svasya ca saubhagarddheḥ
paraṁ padaṁ bhūṣaṇa-bhūṣaṇāṅgam

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.2.12)

Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s form is so captivating that even He is astonished when He sees Himself. His beautiful form embodies the topmost limit of exceedingly good fortune and opulence. Indeed, ornaments usually beautify the person wearing them, but Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s form is so beautiful that He actually increases the beauty of His ornaments. [In other words, compared to all other divine forms in existence, the beauty of His form is supremely divine.]

Next, Śrī Satyavrata Muni shows the extraordinary excellence of Śrī Kṛṣṇa by describing His special associates present with Him in Gokula. He says, gokule bhrāja-mānam – how splendid it is when Śrī Kṛṣṇa is in Gokula (gokule), the home of His gopas, gopīs, cows, calves and others. In this place, which is particularly befitting, He manifests the exceptional supremacy (bhrāja-mānam) of His pastimes which He has never manifested anywhere else [in any of the pastimes performed by His previous incarnations]. Another meaning is that the outstanding environment of Gokula is effulgent with the mood of natural love, so when Śrī Kṛṣṇa is situated there He is certainly most splendid (bhrāja-mānam).

This is also described in various places in śāstra. In the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is described as follows:

cakāsa gopī-pariṣad-gato ’rcitas
trailokya-lakṣmy-eka-padaṁ vapur dadhat

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.32.14)

Śrī Kṛṣṇa [for whom perfected mystic yogis prepare a seat in their purified lotus-like hearts] appeared as the reservoir of all beauty unequalled within the three worlds. He accepted the seat offered by the gopīs and was worshipped by them. When He sat in their midst He appeared even more splendorous.

Now, in the remainder of this line, beginning with yaśodā as well as in the whole next verse, Śrī Satyavrata Muni affirms the unparalleled excellence of his worshipful Lord by describing His extraordinary pastimes. Due to its surrounding context, yaśodāyā means “from His mother, Śrī Yaśodā”. The meaning of bhiyā is that “Śrī Kṛṣṇa feared being punished for breaking the earthen pot of butter, as well as raiding its contents and making other types of mischief”. A pot of butter had been hung from the ceiling, high above the ground for protection, but Kṛṣṇa had climbed upon an overturned grinding mortar and was stealing butter from it. The meaning of ulūkhalāt is, “When He saw
His mother coming with a stick in her hand, He immediately leapt from the grinding mortar” and, dhāvamānam, “ran away very quickly”.

The Ninth Chapter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam’s Tenth Canto con-tains a detailed narration of this pastime. It is recommended that one reflect upon it.

ulūkhalāṅghrer-upari vyavasthitaṁ
markāya kāmaṁ dadataṁ śici sthitaṁ
haiyaṅgavaṁ caurya-viśaṅkitekṣaṇaṁ
nirīkṣya-paścāt sutamāgamacchanaiḥ

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.9.8)

After climbing on top of the overturned grinding mortar, Śrī Kṛṣṇa began feeding the monkeys to His great satisfaction, giving them the butter from a pot that had been hung from the ceiling in order to protect it. Because He was stealing, He was anxiously looking here and there. Seeing Him like this, Mother Yaśodā slowly approached Him from behind.

tām ātta-yaṣṭiṁ prasamīkṣya satvaras
tato ’varuhyāpasasāra bhītavat
gopy anvadhāvan na yam āpa yogināṁ
kṣamaṁ praveṣṭuṁ tapaseritaṁ manaḥ

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.9.9)

As soon as Śrī Kṛṣṇa saw His mother with a stick in her hand, He hastily jumped from the grinding mortar and began running away, as if totally overcome by fear. Great mystics whose hearts have been completely purified by performing austerities are qualified to merge with brahma, yet they fail to catch Śrī Kṛṣṇa. On the other hand, considering Him to be her little child, Yaśodā-devī ran after that same Śrī Kṛṣṇa, in order to catch Him.

Seeing her son fleeing after being caught making mischief, Mother Yaśodā ran after Him. She ran much faster than He did, and seized Him from behind. By describing that she ran much faster than Śrī Kṛṣṇa with the words atyanta-tato-drutya, Śrī Satyavrata Muni alludes to
the exceptional beauty of Mother Yaśodā’s breasts, hips and full-figured body, and also indicates her special affection for her son.

The use of the loving address gopyā, instead of yaśodayā, signifies that only those who are born in cowherd families have the great fortune of seeing these pastimes. Furthermore, by saying parāmṛṣṭa, that she caught Him from behind, Śrī Satyavrata Muni indicates Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s special affection for Mother Yaśodā. In other words, he is declaring that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is bhakta-vatsala, He has particular affection for His devotees.

Here also, it is beneficial to carefully study the following verse from the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:

anvañca-mānā jananī bṛhac-cala-
chroṇībharā-krānta gatiḥ sumadhyamā
javena vistraṁsita-keśa-bandhana-
acyuta-prasūnānugatiḥ parāmṛṣat

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.9.10)

As slender-waisted Yaśodā chased Śrī Kṛṣṇa, her pace was slowed down by the weight of her large swaying hips. As she ran after Him, her hair loosened and the flowers that were woven into her braid fell to the ground, as if following behind her. Despite all of this, she continued to chase Kṛṣṇa and at last she caught hold of Him from behind.

~ Thus ends the English Rendition of the Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā on the First Verse ~

Dig-darśinī-vṛtti

In order to glorify his worshipful Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and hopeful of attaining his most cherished desire, Śrī Satyavrata Muni starts his prayer with maṅgalācaraṇa, an auspicious invocation, beginning with the word namāmī. Invocations of auspiciousness are of three types: those which offer respects, those which point out the subject being discussed, and those which grant a benediction. Here, the sage invokes auspiciousness by first offering his respects through the word namāmī, and then continues his maṅgalācaraṇa by indicating the subject being discussed.

Īśvara – Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original Lord (īśvara) of all lords. Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī provides the evidence for this in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:

ete cāṁśa-kalā puṁsaḥ
kṛṣṇastu bhagavān svayam
indrari-vyākulaṁ lokaṁ
mṛḍayanti yuge yuge

Śrīmad-Bhagavatam (1.3.28)

Among the incarnations described in the preceding verses, some are expansions of the puruṣa-avatāra, Kāraṇārṇava-śāyī Mahā-Viṣṇu, and some are āveśa-avatāras. All of these incarnations descend in each age to protect the world when it is tormented by the demons. However, Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the son of the King of Vraja, is Svayam Bhagavān, the only form of Bhagavān with no other source than Himself. He is the original, primeval personality, and Mahā-Viṣṇu is His expansion.

Śrī Brahmā, the original guru for our sampradāya, states in his prayers:

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
saccidānanda vigrahaḥ
anādir-ādir-govindaḥ
sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam

Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā (5.1)

Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord and Master of all other lords and He is the embodiment of pure eternal existence, full knowledge and unlimited bliss. He is the primeval Lord, Govinda, for He has no beginning or origin, as He Himself is the source of everything, including all the incarnations of Viṣṇu and all His empowered servitors. He is the ultimate cause of all consequent causes.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Lord of the masters of creation who are worshipped by the whole world, and He is the origin of all incarnations. However, in Vraja, He offers respects to his father Nanda Bābā, to Mother Yaśodā and to His other elders. He becomes blissful when He loses the games He plays with His friends and when He eats their remnants and feeds them His own. Even when He is defeated again and again in the assembly of the gopīs, He considers it His great fortune. It was because of His own desire to obtain the pleasing association of the beautiful damsels of Vraja that He called them at the time of the rāsa-līlā; they did not call Him. This Śrī Kṛṣṇa is sat-cit-ānanda, pure eternal existence, full knowledge and unlimited bliss.

Sat means “existence”. Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s inherent nature is that He exists as a fresh youth who is the best of dancers. His extremely charming form as a tender youth is even more attractive than Dvārakādhīśa, the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa when He resides in Dvārakā. It is only because Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s original form, Vrajendra-nandana, exists that all other lords, as well as this whole world, have their existence.

Cit means “that knowledge which manifests all relationships (sambandha) and permanent spiritual emotions (bhāva)”. As bhāva condenses, it gradually passes through the progressive stages of prema, sneha, māna, praṇaya, rāga, anurāga and bhāva, and finally transforms into mahābhāva. Mahābhāva is Śrī Rādhā Herself. She is therefore known as mahābhāva-svarūpiṇī, the embodiment of mahābhāva.

When the three components – pure eternal existence (sat), full knowledge (cit) and unlimited bliss (ānanda) – are manifest in one combined form then the identity of that form is Śrī Rādhā-Kānta, the basis and entirety of sat, cit and ānanda, and the beloved of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. This very entity is Himself the sublimely pure existential substance (viśuddha-sattva).

Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the object (the viṣaya) of all rasas (loving sentiments) and His devotees (the āśraya) are the abodes of love for Him. As the object of love, He cannot comprehend the topmost transformations exhibited by His devotees, the abodes of love for Him, when they experience their various moods, such as rūḍa and adhirūḍa. Therefore, Śrī Kṛṣṇa accepts the form of Śrī Śacīnandana Gaurahari and becomes radiant with the mood and bodily complexion of Śrī Rādhā, the supreme abode of love for Kṛṣṇa. In that form He fulfils His three longings.

In many places throughout Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the sweetness of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beautiful form (rūpa) has been described. However, among all of them, three specific descriptions are extraordinarily wonderful and touch the heart. The first description was spoken by Śrī Brahmā, the Grandfather of the universe:

naumīḍya te ’bhra-vapuṣe taḍid-ambarāya
guñjāvataṁsa-paripiccha-lasan-mukhāya
vanya-sraje kavala-vetra-viṣāṇa-veṇu-
lakṣma-śriye mṛdu-pade paśupāṅgajāya

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.1)

O master, in the entire universe, only You are worthy of being praised. O Vrajendra-nandana, son of the king of Vraja, Your body, appearing like a fresh rain-cloud, is adorned with a yellow cloth that glistens like lightening and appears amazingly brilliant.

Because You are wearing makara-shaped earrings and a peacock feather on Your head, Your lotus face radiates an uncommon splendour. Around Your neck is a garland made of innumerable kinds of forest flowers and leaves. Tucked under Your arm are a cane and a buffalo horn. Your flute, which is tied by Your waist-belt, looks very beautiful. In Your lovely, soft hands is a morsel of yoghurt and rice. Even You are attracted by this cowherd boy attire of Yours. I simply fall to the ground like a stick again and again at Your feet, which are softer than lotuses and which are marked with all the auspicious signs.

The second description was spoken by the wives of the brāhmaṇas of Mathurā:

śyāmaṁ hiraṇya-paridhiṁ vanamālya-barha-
dhātu-pravāla-naṭa-veṣam anavratāṁse
vinyasta-hastam itareṇa dhunānam abjaṁ
karṇotpalālaka-kapola-mukhābja-hāsam

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.23.22)

His complexion was dark bluish like a fresh monsoon rain-cloud, and the glistening yellow cloth that was draped on His shoulders subdued the splendour of gold. There was a garland of forest flowers around His neck, and a beautiful peacock feather splendidly adorned His head. Playful designs were painted on His limbs with coloured minerals, and He had decorated Himself with bunches of newly sprouted leaves. He looked just like a dramatic dancer. He was resting one hand on the shoulder of His friend, and with the other hand He was playfully twirling a lotus flower. Ornaments decorated His ears, and curls of black hair were cascading down His cheeks as His lotus face blossomed with a mild, playful smile.

The third description found in Veṇu-gīta (when the gopīs sang about Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s flute) was spoken by Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Here, he is describing the sweetness of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beautiful form as revealed in the hearts of the vraja-gopīs:

barhāpīḍaṁ naṭa-vara-vapuḥ karṇayoḥ karṇikāraṁ
bibhrad vāsaḥ kanaka-kapiśaṁ vaijayantīṁ ca mālām
randhrān veṇor adhara-sudhayāpūrayan gopa-vṛndair
vṛndāraṇyaṁ sva-pada-ramaṇaṁ prāviśad gīta-kīrtiḥ

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.21.5)

(Within their hearts, the damsels of Vraja began to see that) Śrī Kṛṣṇa entered the charming forest of Vṛndāvana accompanied by His cowherd boyfriends. A peacock feather decorated the top of His head and yellow karṇikāra (oleander) flowers were resting on top of His ears. He wore a golden yellow garment on His body, and a beautiful, fragrant garland strung from five kinds of forest flowers circled His neck and hung down to His knees. Śrī Kṛṣṇa appeared like the best of dancers performing a supremely captivating drama upon a stage. He filled up the holes of His flute with the nectar of His lips as the cowherd boys followed behind Him singing His glories, which purify the entire world. In this way, the forest of Vṛndāvana, which is more charming than the divine realm of Vaikuṇṭḥa, has become even more splendid from the impressions of His adorable lotus feet, which are marked with all the auspicious symbols like the conch and disc.

There is yet another description of His beauty within the five chapters of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that recount rāsa-līlā. The gopīs, allured by the bewildering potency of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s flute song, left their homes in the middle of the night and went to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Yet when they came before Him, He teased them and told them to return to their homes. At that time, the gopīs described the sweetness of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beautiful form:

kā stry aṅga te kala-padāyata-veṇu-gīta-
sammohitārya-caritān na calet tri-lokyām
trailokya-saubhagam idaṁ ca nirīkṣya rūpaṁ
yad go-dvija-druma-mṛgāḥ pulakāny abibhran

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.29.40)

O Śrī Śyāmasundara, from Your flute come the most endearing, slowly rolling melodies. Your beautiful form brings auspiciousness upon the entire universe! Moreover, upon seeing Your beautiful form, even the bodies of the cows, birds, trees and deer erupt with horripilation. After hearing the sweet melodies of Your flute and beholding Your captivating form, is there any woman in all the three worlds who would not become attached to You and, leaving aside all proper conduct and shyness, deviate from her religious principles?

Upon hearing the sound of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s flute, the gopīs of Vraja forgot everything – their fear, hesitation, patience, dignity and so forth. Regardless of the condition they were in, they eagerly ran to meet Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Without even calling their dear-most girlfriends, the prāṇa-priya sakhīs, they ran to Him. Each gopī thought, “Śrī Kṛṣṇa is calling only me.” When Śrī Kṛṣṇa saw that the gopīs, who are the incomparable treasures of Vraja, had come to Him, He tried to bewilder them with His delightful art of speaking.

O beautiful cowherd girls, why have you come here alone at this time of night? Have you come to see nature’s splendour and the beauty of this forest? If so, then return to your homes now. The duty of a lady of noble descent is to serve her husband, father, brothers and friends. Even if her husband is bad-natured, unfortunate, foolish, old, diseased or poor, her duty is to serve him. Go back to your homes.

Hearing these unpleasant words from their dear-most beloved, the gopīs became morose and pained at heart. They answered:

Dear Śyāmasundara, Your advice is correct, but by instructing us, You have become our guru, and one should first serve one’s guru. Now, please accept our service. Till this moment, our hearts were absorbed in household duties, but now You have stolen our hearts. How will we return to our homes?

When Śrī Kṛṣṇa was concluding His manifest pastimes, He called upon Śrī Uddhava and told him, “Soon I will leave you behind in this world to propagate bhagavat-dharma.” After Śrī Kṛṣṇa actually disappeared from this world, Śrī Uddhava set out for Vraja, overwhelmed by separation from Him. On the way, he met Śrī Vidura and told him that Śrī Kṛṣṇa had concluded His pastimes. In that context, Śrī Uddhava described Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beautiful form as follows:

yan martya-līlaupayikaṁ sva-yoga-
māyā-balaṁ darśayatā gṛhītam
vismāpanaṁ svasya ca saubhagarddheḥ
paraṁ padaṁ bhūṣaṇa-bhūṣaṇāṅgam

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.2.12)

By the power of His internal potency (yoga-māyā), Śrī Kṛṣṇa exhibited His original, eternal form within this mortal sphere – a form which is perfectly suited for His human-like pastimes, a form so captivating that even He is astonished when He sees Himself. His beautiful form is the embodiment of the topmost limit of exceedingly good fortune and opulence. Indeed, ornaments usually beautify the person who wears them, but Kṛṣṇa’s form is so beautiful that He actually beautifies His ornaments. In other words, compared to all other divine forms in existence, the beauty of His form is supremely divine.

Furthermore, when Śrī Kṛṣṇa disappeared from the gopīs at the time of the rāsa-līlā, the gopīs sang about their separation from Him in deep lamentation. Hearing that kīrtana, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, unable to restrain Himself, again appeared in their midst. Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī describes His beauty at that time:

tāsām-āvirbhuc-chauriḥ
smaya-māna-mukhambujaḥ
pītāmbara-dharaḥ stragvī
sākṣān-manmatha-manmathaḥ

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.32.2)

When Śrī Kṛṣṇa appeared before the gopīs, His lotus face blossomed with a mild smile. A beautiful forest flower garland decorated His neck and chest, and a yellow cloth graced His shoulders. He even churned the mind of the god of love, who agitates the minds of all, for He is directly the original transcendental God of love.

He says, pītāmbara-dharaḥ. At first, Kṛṣṇa was clasping the yellow cloth He wore as an upper-garment between His hands. The import of this is as follows:

When Śrī Kṛṣṇa saw the gopīs’ moods of separation from Him, He wiped away their tears with His yellow cloth. He realised that He had given so much trouble to His dear beloveds, and thus He considered Himself an offender. Begging pardon for His offence, He then placed part of his yellow garment between His teeth as though biting a piece of straw (a sign of great humility). The appearance of His beautiful form at that time was capable of agitating the minds of millions and millions of Cupids.

When Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī spoke this verse, he became absorbed in the moods of the gopīs. In that state, forgetful of himself, He became perturbed and addressed Śrī Kṛṣṇa as śauri. By calling Kṛṣṇa śauri in the mood of an irritated gopī, Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī was saying “You are cruel like a warrior. You are not from the soft-hearted cowherd dynasty, otherwise You would not have left all of us.”

When Śrī Kṛṣṇa, manifesting all the splendour of His incomparable form, appeared in the assembly of the gopīs, they became completely overwhelmed with love for Him. The love that Śrī Bhagavān’s associates have for Him within their hearts determines how much His immaculate beauty is revealed. Śrī Bhagavān manifests His personal sweetness according to the greatness of His associates’ love for Him. Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī further clarifies this:

cakāsa gopī pariṣad-gato ’rcitus
trailokya-lakṣmyeka-padaṁ vapur-dadhat

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.32.14)

As Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa sat among thousands upon thousands of gopīs who were all worshipping Him, He appeared so splendid. All the beauty throughout the three worlds, all the beauty ever manifest in the past, all the beauty manifest now, and all the beauty that will ever manifest in the future, is only the dim glow from a drop of Śrī Bhagavān’s own beauty. He alone is the abode of all beauty.

Śrī Nārāyaṇa is also beautiful. Attracted by His beautiful form, Lakṣmī remains engaged in the service of His worshipful feet, day and night. However, as soon as she remembers the sweetness of Śrī Kṛṣṇa within her heart, she longs to see His sweet form directly and resolves, “Since I cannot obtain entrance into rāsa-līlā, I will watch it from a distance.” What is the reason for this eagerness? It has been said that the incomparable form that Śrī Kṛṣṇa manifested within the rāsa-līlā in the assembly of the gopīs was never exhibited anywhere else. What is that form like? His form churns the mind of even Cupid who agitates the minds of all, for He is directly the original transcendental Cupid.

In the first verse of Śrī Dāmodarāṣṭakam, Śrī Satyavrata Muni describes the very same enchanting form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa as a two and a half-year-old baby running away from Mother Yaśodā. As He fled from His mother, He repeatedly looked behind Him with terrified glances. His earrings shimmered on His cheeks, and His neck was decorated by three graceful lines. Other than the auspicious gold cord around His waist and the pair of ankle-bells clasping His worshipful lotus feet, reso-nating with unsurpassed charm, His tiny form was completely naked.

The conclusion that the manifestation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beauty is relative to His devotee’s love for Him is also established by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī in his Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta: “The unique qualities of Śrī Bhagavān’s beauty manifest in accordance with the unique qualities of His associates.” In order to bestow His mercy upon the souls who were indifferent to Him and to bless them with vraja-prema (the love exhibited by the eternal inhabitants of Vraja), Śrī Kṛṣṇa manifested His beautiful form as a fresh youth, the best of dancers, dressed as a cowherd boy holding a flute in His hands. This very form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the origin and basis of all His forms in Mathurā and Dvārakā and is also the source of all other avatāras.

Even though the main subject of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī’s commentary on this verse is Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s childhood pastimes, he has quoted a description of Śrī Kṛṣna’s beautiful form exhibited at the time of the rāsa-līlā, in order to convey the extraordinary glory of that particular form.

In Chapter Nine of the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, there is a description of Śrī Dāmodara-līlā:

Many gopīs constantly complained to Śrī Yaśodā, “Your son steals from our houses and eats our butter. O Yaśodā, worse than that, He throws milk, yoghurt and butter everywhere. If He actually ate it, it would be all right, but He doesn’t. He smashes our pots of milk and yoghurt and unties the calves. How can we tolerate this daily loss of milk and yoghurt any longer? We have all decided to leave your settlement of Vraja and live elsewhere.”

Mother Yaśodā heard these complaints every day. She began to wonder, “Could it be that my darling boy finds the butter that comes from His own home not tasty? Is it sour? Is that why He doesn’t eat it, but instead sneaks into the houses of other gopīs to steal their butter? If that is the case, then today I will prepare sweet butter for my dear son with my own hands. He will surely eat that and not go to others’ houses to steal their butter.” It was the festival of Dīpāvalī so she gave leave to all her servants and maidservants. She personally milked Maṅgalā, Gaṅgā, Piśaṅgī and other cows, and then boiled the milk until it started condensing. When it was the right warmth, she added yoghurt culture to it, and then, in the early morning, she personally set to churning the freshly cultured yoghurt. As she was churning, she became completely immersed in love for her darling son and began to sing.

As the churning rod rotated back and forth it made a deep reverberating sound, dhik, like the large drum-head of a mṛdaṅga, and also a tapping sound, tān, like the small drum-head. Thus, the full sound was dhik-tān, dhik-tān. The meaning implied is that any soul who does not worship and remember Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa leads a life that is so dull (tān) that he is no better than an animal. Such a soul is condemned (dhik).

As she churned, the ringing of her bangles sounded like the ringing of kārtalas. Lost in thoughts of her darling son, she started to sing. In his stotram, Śrī Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura has also described how Mother Yaśodā began to sing in this pastime:

kvacit prabhāte dadhi-pūrṇa-pātre
nikṣipya manthaṁ yuvatī mukundam
ālokya gānaṁ vividhaṁ karoti
govinda-dāmodara-mādhaveti

Śrī Govinda-Dāmodara Stotram (19)

Once, at dawn as Yaśodā-devī was about to place the churning rod in a pot of yoghurt, she gazed upon her child, Mukunda. At once she became overwhelmed with love and sang this wonderful song, “O my Govinda, my Dāmodara, O my dear Mādhava.”

Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the darling son of Mother Yaśodā, forever begs parental love from His mother. Mother Yaśodā was completely absorbed in the moods of her song and was brimming with affection for Kṛṣṇa. When He heard her singing, her voice saturated with love for Him, He could not restrain Himself. He began to think, “Every day, Mother sings little songs with great tenderness to awaken Me, but today she has not come and I am so hungry.” The Supreme Lord of everything, who is independently blissful and self-satisfied (ātmarāma and āptakāma), was hungry. He began to cry loudly for His mother’s breast-milk.

My dear Lord, how glorious You are! On this day, the effect of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s crying remained unknown to anyone. It simply merged into the fathomless ocean of Mother Yaśodā’s parental affection, for she was so absorbed in her saṅkīrtana that she was unable to hear Him.

With great difficulty, Kanhaiyā, who was lying on His belly, moved little by little to the edge of His bed and then got down. Rubbing His eyes and crying, He somehow made it to where His mother was churning, tottering like an intoxicated elephant along the way. He caught hold of the churning rod and stopped it from twirling. Mother Yaśodā’s absorption broke. Seeing her darling son at her side, she immediately sat Him on her lap and began breast-feeding Him. Just by seeing her dear Kṛṣṇa, her limbs became decorated by all of the aṣṭa-sāttvika bhāvas (the eight types of bodily transformations arising from ecstatic love of God). Furthermore, the special emotion of motherly affection manifested – namely, milk began to flow from her breasts.

According to Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, baby Kṛṣṇa is the viṣaya-ālambana of vātsalya-rasa – that is, He is the object upon which motherly love depends; His mother, Śrī Yaśodā, is the āśraya-ālambana, or the reservoir of love for Him; baby Kṛṣṇa’s gorgeous face is the uddīpana, or the stimulus that rouses motherly love; and Mother Yaśodā’s tears, the standing on end of her bodily hairs, the flowing of milk from her breasts and so on are the sāttvika-bhāvas, or transformations of ecstasy in her body.

All of these ingredients of love, namely vibhāva (viṣaya-ālambana, āśraya-ālambana and uddīpana), anubhāva (deep emotions that are realized through outward expressions on the body)and so forth then combined with Mother Yaśodā’s own sthāyī-bhāva, namely vātsalya-rati, and began to make her relish vātsalya-rasa.

Suddenly, the milk started boiling over as if it were thinking, “Mother Yaśodā’s breasts are the source of all the milk contained within all the universes. Her supply of breast milk is inexhaustible and the stomach of baby Kanhaiyā is not at all small; all the universes can fit inside it. She will never tire of breast-feeding Him, and He can drink forever. In that case, I will always remain bereft of the opportunity to serve Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, it is pointless to maintain my worthless life, a life devoid of service.” Thinking like this, the milk began to sacrifice himself into the fire.

Practising devotees (sādhakas) should also have this type of anxiousness. They should think, “If while performing bhajana, we do not gain even a glimpse of Śrī Bhagavān or realize the mercy of His pastimes and divine abode, then our lives are worthless.” Deprived of seeing Śrī Gaurasundara and His associates, Śrī Narottama Ṭhākura says:

pāṣāṇe kuṭiba māthā, anale paśiba
gaurāṅga guṇera nidhi kothā gele pābo

Prārthanā (Song 41)

I shall dash my head upon a stone or enter into a blazing fire. Where will I find that treasure-house of all wonderful qualities, Śrī Gaurāṅga?

In this regard it is important to carefully deliberate on Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s definition of uttamā-bhakti, or pure devotion:

anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ
jñāna-karmādhy anāvṛtam
ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-
śīlanaṁ bhaktir-uttamā

Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.11)

When bhakti is performed without any other desire than the aspiration to bring happiness to Kṛṣṇa; when it is not covered by the endeavour to accumulate dry knowledge, result-oriented work, or any other practice for attaining a goal unrelated to Him, and when it is cultivated solely with a favourable disposition towards Him and for His benefit, then it is uttamā-bhakti, supremely pure devotion.

In this verse, the characteristics which describe bhakti are divided into two categories: svarūpa-lakṣaṇa and taṭastha-lakṣaṇa. The first category, svarūpa-lakṣaṇa, includes the intrinsic qualities of bhakti. The second category, taṭastha-lakṣaṇa , includes the marginal qualities of bhakti.

To communicate how our bhakti can be perfected, the modifier ānukūlyena (with a favourable disposition) has been used because one cannot perform bhakti with an unfavourable disposition. That is to say, one who acts in opposition to Śrī Kṛṣṇa cannot be performing bhakti.

Certain exalted, realized personalities have stated that ānukūlyena means the tendency to perform activities that bring pleasure to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and that the inclination to please Him with a favourable disposition is bhakti. However, if this latter definition is accepted, one of two faults may arise. Some things are encompassed by this definition which should not be included within a description of bhakti. This is called ativyapti-doṣa (the fault of over-extending the definition). Similarly itexcludes things that should be included within the description. This is called avyapti-doṣa (the fault of under-extending the definition).

For example, in the wrestling match, Cāṇura, Muṣṭika and other demons were striking Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s limbs. Śrī Kṛṣṇa was certainly enlivened by their attack and began to relish the mood of being a great hero (vīra-rasa). How can the attacks of the demons be understood as pleasurable for Śrī Kṛṣṇa? The answer to this is found in part of a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.13.30): “manasvinām-iva sat-saṁprahāra – Although in the eyes of ordinary people a terrifying battle with an enemy seems torturous, it is in fact exhilarating for the fighters.”

In that case, if we conclude that the demons’ horrible attacks during the wrestling match were acts of bhakti because they gave pleasure to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, then the fault of ativyapti (over-extension of the definition) arises. Even though these malevolent endeavours caused Śrī Kṛṣṇa to feel pleasure, which is apparently the quality of bhakti, they were actually strictly opposed to bhakti.

Conversely, consider the example of Mother Yaśodā breast-feeding Śrī Kṛṣṇa as He lay on her lap. At the same time, the milk she had kept on the stove was boiling over into the fire. After taking Kṛṣṇa, who was not yet satisfied, off of her lap, she went to save the milk. This caused Him to experience much displeasure. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.9.6), “sañjāta-kopaḥ sphuritārūṇādharam – His tiny reddish lips began quivering from anger.” Mother Yaśodā’s action greatly displeased Śrī Kṛṣṇa, but if we conclude that her endeavour does not come within the definition of bhakti, then the fault of avyapti (under-extension of the definition) arises.

The nature of exalted devotees (mahā-bhāgavatas) is that they want to engage every soul in Kṛṣṇa’s service. When Mother Yaśodā saw that the milk was sacrificing himself into the fire by boiling over because he was bereft of Kṛṣṇa’s service, she immediately removed her darling boy from her lap and tried to save it.

With both of His hands, baby Kṛṣṇa firmly caught hold of His mother’s breast and with His legs He clung to her waist. He held on to His mother in this way with all His might. Pūtanā, who had the strength of ten thousand elephants, could not free herself from His grip, but in the presence of Mother Yaśodā’s vātsalya-prema, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the possessor of all potency, could not stop her from putting Him down.

With one hand, Mother Yaśodā easily pushed Him from her breast. Then she removed Him from her lap, sat Him down nearby, and went to save the milk.

The siddhānta (perfect philosophical conclusion) behind this incident is that Mother Yaśodā’s love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa is much greater than His love for her. Indeed, Śrī Kṛṣṇa comes under the control of her love. In the presence of this motherly love imbued with deep possessiveness, all of Bhagavān’s unlimited majestic potencies are defeated.

Here, another point is to be considered. Although the superlative manifestation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s unlimited opulence (aiśvarya) is found only in Vraja, it remains submerged in the fathomless ocean of sweetness contained within the Vraja pastimes. That is to say, even when Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s infinite opulence is fully revealed, it easily fits within the all-accommodating embrace of Vraja’s sweetness.

Mother Yaśodā splashed cold water into the pot of boiling milk as if to pacify it. “I am going to use you in Kṛṣṇa’s service right now,” she said. “Don’t give up your life like this.”

In the other room, however, baby Kṛṣṇa was in a fit of rage. He picked up a stone pestle lying nearby and hit the base of the earthen pot of yoghurt that His mother was churning, and made a hole in it. A thick stream of yoghurt began flowing all over the floor as Kṛṣṇa watched with fascination. Although He was captivated by the sight of the stream of yoghurt spilling on to the ground, it made Him remember His mother. Consequently, He fearfully ran into a nearby room that had a doorway leading outside. Hanging from the ceiling was a pot of butter that enticed His mind. He climbed on top of an overturned grinding mortar and started eating the butter out of the pot and at the same time feeding some of it to the crows and monkeys who had come.

When Mother Yaśodā returned to the pot of yoghurt to continue her churning, she saw the stream of yoghurt flowing from the broken pot. She thought, “This is surely the work of my clever son.” Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says in his commentary on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.9.7), “Kṛṣṇa was highly skilful in breaking the earthen pot, for He did not make a sound, nor did His ornaments. Nor did He make any sound in the other room as He climbed on top of the grinding mortar to take butter.” Indeed, this could only have been the accomplishment of her intelligent son. By the tiny footprints of yoghurt on the floor, the sweet smell of butter coming from the room nearby and various other clues, Mother Yaśodā easily guessed: “My beloved son has entered that very room.” Peering inside, she saw Śrī Kṛṣṇa standing on the grinding mortar, stealing fresh butter. She took a small stick in her hand to punish her clever child, and tip-toed into the room like a cat. But as soon as she entered, the crows and monkeys fled. Śrī Kṛṣṇa immediately understood, “Mother has come!” He leapt from the grinding mortar and fled outside towards the royal lane. Mother Yaśodā also ran on to the road, pursuing her son.

The silk cloth on Mother Yaśodā’s somewhat full, bluish limbs fluttered as she swiftly ran, and the beautiful fragrant flowers that were woven into her braid began to fall as if to say, “Mother, you are not alone; we also are with you. Catch Him! Quickly!” Mother Yaśodā’s pace exceeded Kṛṣṇa’s, and thus she caught Him from behind.

If we are to obtain Śrī Kṛṣṇa, then we must love Him more than He loves us. Only then can He be controlled. We will also have to love Him with great intimacy (viśrambha-bhāva) and with the same simple, natural attachment (laukika-sadbandhuvat) as the residents of Vraja, especially the gopas and their wives. Śrī Kṛṣṇa may be pleased by love that is mixed with the moods of awe and reverence (aiśvarya), but He cannot be controlled by it.

Just see, with the mood of a simple mother, Śrī Yaśodā naturally regards Śrī Kṛṣṇa as her son and chastises Him. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is offered worship everywhere else, but when He is in Vraja, He is the servant and the inhabitants of Vraja are His masters. On the command of the gopīs He begins to dance. He puts Nanda Bābā’s slippers on His head and delivers them to him. Under Yogamāyā’s influence, He forgets His supremacy and enacts His pastimes as an ordinary human being. This is called mādhurya-līlā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s honey-like pastimes. Although Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in Vraja are full of opulence, that opulence does not even slightly stifle the love that the inhabitants of Vraja have for Him. Instead, it invigorates their honey-like love causing it to condense even more. This is the speciality of the love in Vraja.

The practising devotee (sādhaka) should also desire to perform activities that will melt Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s heart. Śrī Kṛṣṇa will not be able to resist him for very long. He will accept that devotee with His whole heart and immerse him in His own sublime service.

Thus ends the Dig-darśinī-vṛitti on the First Verse, by Gaudiya Vedanta Publications

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