In the 20th Chapter of Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, there is a description of the eternal presiding deities of the twelve months of the year, according to the moon calendar, all of whom are incarnations of Viṣṇu. They are as follows:
- Madhusūdana is the predominating Deity for Vaiśākha.
- In the month of Jyaiṣṭha, the predominating Deity is Trivikrama.
- In Āṣāḍha the presiding Deity is Vāmana.
- In Śrāvaṇa the Deity is Śrīdhara.
- In Bhādra the Deity is Hṛṣīkeśa
- In the month of Āśvina, the predominating Deity is Padmanābha.
- In Kartik the pastime expansion of Viṣṇu is Dāmodara.
- Keśava is the predominating Deity of Agrahāyana
- Nārāyaṇa is the predominating Deity of Pauṣa.
- The predominating Deity for the month of Māgha is Mādhava.
- The predominating Deity for the month of Phālguna is Govinda.
- Viṣṇu is the predominating Deity for Caitra.
Damodara expansion mentioned above is not Vrajendra Nandana Krishna, but one of the divine expansions of the pastime forms of Lord Vishnu.
According to Sastra there are certain specific Vratas to be followed during the month of Kartik and they are known as Damodara Vrata. This month is also referred to as the niyam seva month due to the fact that there is an arduous striving to maintain all the rules and regulations stipulated especially for this month.
Niyamena vina chaiva, Yo nayet karttikam mune
Caturmasyam tatha caiva, Brahma-ha sa kuladhamah
(Hari Bhaktivilas, 8th chapter)
Among the many rules and regulations to be observed during the month of Kartik the first and foremost are the hearing and chanting the holy Names of the Lord and His transcendental glories. The sense of servitude insofar as following the instructions of guru and senior vaiṣṇavas in all aspects of temple worship as well as other related duties should predominate and for this reason Kartik is known also as the month of rules and regulations. Those who do not observe any of these rules for Kartik are said to be the destroyers of their own dynasty. Vratas as defined in Vaisnava philosophy and tradition.
In general such Vratas are defined as fasting, controlling the mind, performing austerities and also the giving of charity according to spiritual injunctions. In this way one can obtain the resultant benefits of religiosity, economic development, material satisfaction and liberation. However, in vaiṣṇava philosophy the taking of Vratas goes beyond achieving results for one’s own welfare. As vaisnavas we understand that simply by torturing our body or causing distress to one’s self by severe austerities does not necessarily lead to the attainment of wealth, sense gratification, religiosity or liberation. For vaiṣṇava the primary objective of all Vratas and spiritual activities is to please the transcendental senses of the Supreme Lord and to increase our level of God consciousness and spiritual development. In this regard it is stated in the nineteenth verse of the Third Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam vratāni cere hari-toṣaṇāni which means that the actual object of our Vratas is to give pleasure to the Lord.
The month of Kartik is most dear to the Lord in comparison to the other months of the year.
In the nineteenth chapter of Sri Hari-Bhakti-Vilasa the evidence supporting the above statement is quoted from the Padma Purana. Therein it is stated that of the twelve months of the year the most dear to Lord Viṣṇu is the month of Kartik. Without any doubt during this month only with the barest articles which when offered in worship and devotion will enable the worshipper to attain the abode of Viṣṇu. It is well known that Damodara Sri Krishna is very loving to His devotees as by His nature in the same way, this month of Kartik is very dear to Him and even a little service performed for the Lord during this month is highly auspicious and meritorious.
This destructible human body is very difficult to attain in comparison to other species; however, even more difficult than that is the opportunity of devotional service in this auspicious month of Sri Hari. Various scriptures describe all types of glories regarding the month of Kartik. In the next section the Kartik Vrata with its many rules and prohibitive activities as well will be described in detail. Sri Sanatana Goswami, using the evidence extracted from the Skanda Purana, the Padma Purana and other such revealed scripture has profusely described the glories of Kartik.
Kartik Vrata (or Damodara Vrata; Urjja Vrata):
The word Urjja can be defined as enthusiasm, strength or potency. The specific reason for naming the Vrata taken for this month as Urjja is because Krishna allowed Mother Yaśodā to bind Him with the rope of pure devotion. In another pastime Radharani bound Lord Krishna with the rope of pure loving devotion. In this way the devotional service of those devotees who hear and chant about these wonderful pastimes of Lord Krishna during this month become more enhanced and enthusiastic. The underlying truth is that in actuality the spiritual potency for this month is awarded by Sri Radhika and thus She can be called Urjjaswari, or presiding Queen, and hence this Vrata is also called the Urjja Vrata.
Rope Binding Pastime of Krishna in the month of Damodara:
In this month of Damodara, on the day of Deepavali, Mother Yaśodā, in her intense mood of maternal love for the child Bala Gopal, tied a rope around His belly, fastening the other end to a wooden mortar. Since she tied the rope around his belly to restrict His movements He is also called as Damodar (dama means rope and udara means belly). Every evening the devotees of Lord Krishna, in their expression of the same deep maternal loving mellows of Mother Yaśodā for Krishna, become very ecstatic in singing the Damodarastakam as composed by the saint Sri Satyavrata Muni. By their singing of this song consisting of eight verses, the Lord Vrajendranandana, Krishna, becomes very pleased.
The Glories of Offering of Lights to the Lord in the Month of Kartik:
During the month of Kartik one type of service is the offering of lamps to the Lord in the temple. In this connection the verdict of the different scriptures is that if one engages in offering lights in worship at this time he does not have to come back again to this dismal world of repeated birth and death. In the Hari-Bhakti-Vilas, 19th Vilas, it’s stated that in this holy month activities such as offering of lights with devotion, the maintenance of continuous burning of the lamp throughout the month whether in the temple or in one’s home and the decoration of lamps with the offering of the towering sky lamp, all are meant for the transcendental pleasure of the Lord. It is further described in the Skanda Purana that those who offer a burning ghee wick or a wick steeped in sesame oil attain the fruit of having performed the Aswamedha (horse) sacrifice. In addition, if the offspring of any clan manages to please Lord Visnu by his offering of lighted ghee wicks then all of his dynasty are eligible to attain liberation. Even if one is enmeshed with a mountain of sin equivalent to the highest Mandara Mountain known, the offering of lamps or lighted wicks with devotion to Sri Sri Radha Krishna in the month of Kartik dissipates all such sins to naught without a doubt.
In the conversation between Brahma and Nārada it is mentioned that even if a person has performed millions of sinful activities were to come to the temple of Lord Hari and with proper decorum and behavior offer a lighted wick for the pleasure of the Lord during this holy month he will be freed from all his sinful reactions. In the Padma Purana it is further explained that if one were to offer a ghee lamp burning unabated day and night or a towering burning sky lamp in front of Lord Janardana, he will be deemed extremely fortunate and will become immersed in all increasing opulence. He will have progeny including sons and at the end of his life he will acquire devotion to the Lord and thus be able to ascend to a divine jewel adorned plane and be able to sport and bask happily in the planet of the Lord.
As stated in the Hari-Bhakti-Vilas, there are actually three types of lamps that can be offered in the temple of Lord Vishnu, namely, the camphor lamp, ghee lamp and one using sesame seed oil. It’s further stated that when it comes to lighted wicks fat or lard is prohibited for use in the service of the Lord. The offering of lamps should always be performed with a deep sense of devotion and the offered lights should not be placed in dirty or grimy places. Furthermore, red cloth, old or dirty cloth nor woolen cloth should never be used in the preparation of lamp wicks. Once the wicks are lit they are not to be snuffed out by one’s own hand. In the Skanda Purana there are directions concerning the glories of lamp offerings. Therein Brahma informs Nārada Muni that those who offer camphor light to the Lord with devotion in this way liberate all those born in their dynasty both before and after. By the Lord’s mercy they are promoted to the heavenly planets.
There is an account of one mouse on the holy Ekadashi in the month of Kartik that had accidentally consumed some of the burnt cindering oil wick of the lamp and be freak accident the cloth that enmeshed in his mouth began to burn and in the reverse began to increase in intensity. The mouse, suffering intense pain by the burning cloth, began to hop around in agony and unwittingly succeeded in performing a circumambulation of the temple of Viṣṇu while in dire straits. The result was that the mouse was promoted to Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Visnu.
Observing the Vrata of Kartik is so potent that in comparison even the bathing in all the holy rivers and giving the utmost in charity cannot be considered equivalent to a millionth of a fraction of such observance. Furthermore the month of Kartik is so dear to Lord Kesava that its observance is even equivalent to visiting all the holy pilgrimage spots, performing grand sacrifices, the giving of charity, residing in holy places like Puskara, Kuruksetra or Himachala, or even giving donation in gold amounting in totality to Mount Meru.
Whatever pious activities done in the service of Lord Viṣṇu, O Nārada, all that in truth will become unlimited in value. Just as there is no holy river comparable to the Ganga, no scripture greater than the Veda, no age equivalent to the golden age or Satya Yuga, similarl there is no month equivalent in comparison to the superiority of the month of Kartik.
As this Kartik month is most superior and most dear to the vaisnavas, all things that are produced in this month must be served with devotion by the devotees. The devotees are then able to deliver their forefathers from the hellish planets.
The Decision of Mother Yaśodā to Make Her Own Yogurt and from that to Produce Butter. One day Mother Yaśodā, while going about her usual household chores, began to reflect on which way she could make butter to mitigate the craving of her son Krishna. All the gopis usually made butter with their own hands and with great devotion simply to feed Krishna. She began to ponder why it was that their butter was so delicious. She had never made butter using her own hands since that was usually done by her servants. She decided that from now on she will milk the cow herself, boil the milk and make delicious yogurt from it. After that she would churn the yogurt to make palatable butter for her son Sri Krishna’s consumption. With this plan in her mind she sent all her servants, both male and female, to the house of Upananda, the elder brother of Nanda Baba on the day of Deepavali. She also sent some other servants with Balaram to the house of Mother Rohini as there was a lack of servants in her house to help with the Deepavali festivities. Hence Yaśodā found herself all alone, engaged in the task of churning the yogurt.
With efficient dexterity Mother Yaśodā poured the prepared yogurt into the wooden mortar, placing the huge churning rod into it as well. Next, twirling a rope in a loop around the huge rod in a secure position she then began to churn the yogurt, using the loose ends of the twined rope with her two hands.
The Singing of the Glories of Krishna While Churning What was in the mind of Mother Yaśodā as she began churning the yogurt? She began to meditate upon the childhood pastimes of Krishna while singing “Govinda Damodar Madhava.” Her heart began to melt in ecstatic love while intensely singing and meditating upon the glories of Krishna. Her eyes closed in rapture and tears of ecstasy began to pour onto her breast. Usually when the devotees sing the glories of the Lord their singing is in melodic unison and accompanied with the drum beats and cymbals The mrdangam reverberates the right notes as the singer sings melodiously in harmony with the rhythm of the cymbals in his hand. In the same way Mother Yaśodā, while churning the yogurt and singing the glories of Krishna similarly made a harmonious sound when the churning rod rotated against the mortar as she churned the yogurt. Furthermore, by the movement of her body her golden neck ornaments and the rapport of her bangles on her wrist began to echo some rhythmic melodious notes in harmonious unison all the while churning the yogurt. With all these rhythmic sounds vibrating in unison Mother Yaśodā sang the glories of Krishna as she churned the rod in the mortar filled with yogurt.
Krishna Searches for His Mother After Awakening from Sleep:
While Yaśodā churned, completely immersed in meditation upon her divine son, the Lord was sleeping close to her. His eyelids were still closed but His hands fumbled in attempting to search for His mother. Not finding her He began to sob, crying “Mother! Mother!” in a distraught manner. Suddenly, realizing that His mother wasn’t there, He began to cry even louder. At first He rubbed His drowsy eyes with his small closed fists but there was no sign of tears pouring from His eyes. On the previous night His mother applied a blackish ointment to His big eyes which resembled the petals of the lotus flowers. As the tears from His eyes began to wash over the black ointment he looked extremely beautiful in His tearful state.
When He was not able to perceive the whereabouts of His mother Krishna began to cry, thinking to Himself, “I have just awakened from sleep and am completely hungry and yet my mother has left me to go elsewhere in the same way that ordinary boys cry when searching for their mother.” As He began to cry in that same way Krishna began to hear the sounds emitted by the churning of the yogurt in the mortar thereby coming to the understanding that His mother was unable to hear Him because of the tumultuous sounds caused by her churning along with the added loud accompaniment of her singing the song “Govinda Damodara Madhaveti.” At that time He began to increase the tempo and loudness of His crying but still His mother did not come to His side. It was then that Krishna decided to climb down from his bedstead; however, the bedstead was high from the ground and so how would He be able to descend His small frame? The Lord has an infinity of forms and the entire universe is stationed in His belly but in His present role acting as an ordinary small boy he was unable to descend from that mere bedstead. First, assuming a sleeping prostrate position, Krishna began lowering His feet carefully until finally His feet were able to touch the ground. From His eyes tears that were white as the water of the Ganga mixed with the black ointment and thus were transformed, becoming dark as the water of the Yamuna. His tears continued running down in a zig zag spiral downward motion, assuming the shape of a thin scar running along His neck. Even while crying in such a vehement manner, still His mother was so engrossed in her singing and churning of the yogurt that the crying of the boy remained unheeded by her.
Krishna Moving Towards MotherYaśodā and Her Desire for Him Sucking Her Nipples. Finally Krishna came towards His mother and upon approaching His one hand began to clasp the churning rod while the other hand held the hem of her sari. In her ecstatic mood Yaśodā was overcome by surprise, wondering who had stopped her churning. Then she noticed her child Krishna. She became very pleased upon seeing His intelligence and she left her churning, taking Krishna to her breast. Seeing that her son had been crying she wiped His teary face with the hem of her sari thus pacifying Him in such a way that He stopped crying and began sucking milk from His mother’s breast. Once Krishna stopped crying Mother Yaśodā herself began to sprout tears and gradually her tears flowed in a stream. In that transcendental emotional fit of ecstatic maternal love her hairs began standing on end.
Just as one who is overcome by pure loving devotion is able to develop all twelve signs of divine ecstasy, similarly all such signs were observed in the body of Mother Yaśodā. She began to shed an incessant flow of tears and her body began to shiver and shake with deep rapturous emissions of breath. She exhibited transcendental affection for Krishna who with relish reciprocated with her maternal mellows and because He was hungry for a long while Krishna was still not satisfied though He was drinking the milk from Mother Yaśodās nipples.
While these pastimes were going on Mother Yaśodā noticed that the milk was boiling on the burning stove and it began to spill over. She began to feel as though the personification of the milk was certainly a devotee as he might be thinking, “I have a desire to serve Krishna but the whole universe can easily enter into His stomach. The milk that is present in the breasts of Yaśodā is equivalent to hundreds of thousands of oceans. Just as Krishna is at present thirsty, similarly there is unlimited quantity of milk stored in the breast of Yaśodā to mitigate His thirst. Even if Krishna, in the form of hundreds of thousands of calves were to drink the milk from Yaśodā, still there would be ample milk available. The sad matter is that I am not able to get the opportunity to serve Krishna. Therefore, what is the point of supporting this life. It is better to die in this instant.”
Thinking in this way the milk leaped into the fire. Mother Yaśodā understood that the milk jumped into the fire out of despair and she began to speak consolingly, “Don’t worry, I will give you the chance to again serve Krishna immediately after my service.” A real devotee always engages the newly initiated devotees of the spiritual master in the service of Krishna. The capable individual devotees will serve their spiritual master and those who are foremost enthusiastic in performing devotional service will also be engaged by them in the service of the Lord.
Mother Yaśodā Runs to Save the Boiling Milk from Spilling Over:
Thinking to save the milk, Mother Yaśodā lifted Krishna from her breast and placed Him on the ground. If any person has developed pure unflinching love for Krishna then He appears like a child to them. The sustaining energy of Maya arranges for the appropriate pastime to take place with the absolute opulent manifest potency of Krishna being ignored at this juncture. Hence Krishna appears to be helpless and in dire need of help. Mother Yaśodā intended to feed her son who was pining for milk but for the sake of duty to Him she was forced to leave Him at that time. As a result Krishna, exhibiting anger, began to scream loudly, crying, “My mother has not mitigated my intense thirst, rather she has left me to save the remaining milk on the stove.”
Why the Milk Meant for Service on the Stove was Regarded More than Attending to Krishna by Yaśodā:
Mother Yaśodā, absorbed in her loving mellows, hastily strove to rescue the milk meant for Krishna’s service and which was boiling in the pot. Actually the milk produced by the cows is equally necessary inasmuch as the milk from her breasts and thus she thought, “My milk is not enough for Krishna. I cannot make delicious yogurt from the milk of my nipples and therefore without yogurt there is no possibility of producing butter.” In that regard, saving the milk of the Padma Gandha cow was absolutely necessary. It was for that reason that she ran in haste to save the milk, thus leaving Krishna crying alone. How can we fathom Krishna’s crying at that time? Was he angry or not? Externally one could surmise that he was angry but in heart of hearts He was very blissful. He was, in fact, extremely happy though he appeared to be crying.
To Nourish the Maternal Loving Mellows Krishna’s Naughty Attempt to Break the Yogurt Pots Now Krishna began to reflect, “My mother is not mitigating my thirst. She abruptly left me so I will teach her a lesson and do something naughty and improper.” Then He stood up and attempted to overturn the nearby stacked pot of yogurt but He lacked the strength to do so. Even though this same child Krishna was able to kill Putana, a huge witch, still the maternal love of His mother caused Him to act as an ordinary small child and so He pretended to be unable to move the pot even slightly. In this instant the mood of motherly love predominated and thus all His divine opulence was completely forgotten including knowledge of His innate transcendence. On account of His assuming the form of a small frail child He was thus seemingly unable to overturn the pot of yogurt.
The Breaking of the Yogurt Pot by Krishna:
Krishna was thinking, “I am not able to overturn the yogurt pot so what is best to do? I will attempt to break it instead.” In that mood, using a brick he made a small hole at the bottom of the pot. From this hole the churned yogurt flowed out in a white stream, drenching the floor of the kitchen.
Krishna Becomes afflicted with Fear in His Heart:
Seeing the spilled yogurt on the floor of the kitchen Krishna became very joyful, clapping his hands and laughing. Then after some time he began to think, “Oh if my mother sees this mess she will punish me.” Immediately in his fear he began to consider that in His position to leave the place where he committed his offensive action would be the best thing to do. Thinking in this way He adjourned to the adjacent room thinking, “I will remain hidden so that my mother will not be able to notice me.” In this way, under His own pastime potency, He was behaving just as an ordinary boy. He was therefore unable to fathom that His treading over the stream of liquid yogurt he left His most worshipful dainty footprints on the yogurt for his mother to easily trace and thus find His whereabouts. Krishna Climbs Over the Mortar to Steal the Butter and Distributes Same to the Monkeys.
By going to the nearby room to hid Krishna was able to perceive a wooden mortar filled with butter, hanging down from the ceiling. Just thinking about the tasty butter drops of saliva instantly began to drip from His tongue. He climbed on top of the huge pot and began eating the butter while spontaneously also feeding some to the monkeys and crows. A big crowd of monkeys and crows began to gather there in anticipation. Krishna was extremely blissful. He began to think, “Previously in my pastimes as Ramachandra I was banished to the forest and at that time these monkeys helped me greatly. They helped me to build the bridge across the ocean to Lanka which took three days of toil and they also assisted me in the battle with Ravana’s hordes. These crows are also in the same dynasty as my most elderly beloved devotee Bhusandhi so I will definitely feed these crows as well.
Sri Krishna Approaches Mother Yaśodā, While Krishna was thus feeding the crows and monkeys Yaśodā entered the room where she had formerly fed Krishna the milk from her breasts. She noticed the broken churned yogurt pot but there was no sign of her son Krishna. Noticing the footprints of the butter thief she entered the next room and there in the family room she observed Krishna joyfully engaged in feeding the monkeys and the crows. That room had two doors – one that had the entrance from the internal passage and the other led to the outside of the house. Krishna had entered the room with the butter from the inner passageway and thus His back was facing the other door. Mother Yaśodā then entered the room through the other door very stealthily without making any noise and without Krishna noticing she was there. The monkeys and crows, however began retreating instantly in different directions when they saw Mother Yaśodā coming. This caused Krishna to ponder, “Why these monkeys and crows, so engrossed in feeding with joy, are now abruptly fleeing from this place?” Then He understood that somebody must have surely entered the room. At that very moment, as His mother was about to grasp hold of Him, Krishna who was quick to notice His mother, in astonishment and with a jump, began to flee with the greatest alacrity.
Mother Yaśodā Captures Krishna after Quickly Running after Him
Upon seeing His mother Krishna began to run as fast as He could with mother Yaśodā running behind Him all the while saying, “Oh friend of the monkeys, come back here!” As Krishna continued running in a zig-zag manner Yaśodā, due to the weight of her body having a small waist and large breasts, was unable to match His pace. Krishna was so speedy in His flight that to catch Him from behind was extremely difficult. Still, after some time and great effort she was somehow able to catch hold of His hand. With one hand she held the hand of her son firmly while with the other, using a stick, she attempted to coax Him into submission. Seeing the stick in her hand Krishna appeared very frightened, so much so that He began circling His mother in all directions to evade her stick.
Why Yaśodā Strove to Catch Krishna Explained:
In this connection there is a very nice explanation. We want to bind Krishna with our love. Krishna was quickly fleeing from His mother causing Yasoda to run at a faster pace. In this way the devotees have to cultivate devotional service in such a way that their loving efforts have got to transcend even that of Krishna. In this way there is affection for the devotee by Krishna and similarly there is affection of the devotee for Krishna. If the devotee loves Krishna only in the measure Krishna feels for the devotee then there is no possibility of inviting Krishna into our heart. Only if the devotee feels more devotion and attachment to the Lord then there is the possibility of inviting the Lord. Krishna was very attached to His mother while His mother was even more affectionate and loving toward her divine son. Thus by the power of her love she managed to capture the Supreme Lord. That is the hidden secret of this transcendental pastime.
Loving Disputes Synonymous with the Mood of Fraternal Loving Mellows of Mother Yaśodā. In order to frighten Him, Mother Yaśodā, holding a stick in her hand, admonished Krishna saying “I will beat you.” She continued, “I know you go house to house in order to steal butter, you thief!” In this way she continued to chastise Krishna.
Exhibiting extreme fear Krishna replied with a subdued voice, “Why are you punishing me?” In an innocent manner he questioned, “What have I done?”
His angry mother then asked, “Why did you break the yogurt pot?” to which Krishna replied “That was effected by the Supreme Lord as a deterrent punishment.”
Mother Yaśodā then asked, “Who fed those monkeys?”
Krishna replied, “He who created the monkeys was responsible for feeding them.”
His mother smiling and without a trace of anger, then sternly demanded “Tell me the truth! Who broke that big yogurt pot?”
Krishna replied, “Oh mother! It was you who ran to alleviate the problem of the milk spilling onto the mortar and whilst running with great speed to the kitchen your heavy foot bracelets accidentally struck the huge yogurt pot and by that striking the pot naturally broke. I myself have done nothing.”
“Is that the truth,” Yaśodā asked. “Then how is it your mouth is smeared with yogurt?”
Krishna replied, “Oh mother, every day a monkey comes to eat butter and usually puts his hand in the pot of butter. Today I managed to catch him. He then tried to escape by wrenching his hand from the pot but in his attempted escape his hand happened to smear my whole face with all that butter. Therefore, mother, tell me how I can be responsible for this? Even then you are calling me names such as ‘thief’ and you are ready to beat me.”
Mother Yaśodā simply replied, “You are a big liar!”
In this way the mother and son engaged in the loving quarrels in fraternal love. The Binding of Krishna by Love and Devotion
“Now what can I do? My child is both extremely clever and naughty. He can run fast and escape easily. If I do not discipline Him for His uncouth behavior then in future he may turn out to be a vicious criminal.” Then pondering for some time she remarked, “This mortar has helped you in the stealing of butter and for that reason I will bind you together to that roguish mortar.”
In Order to Bind Krishna there was Always Two Fingers Short in any Length of Rope Used.
Using a silk cord for binding her hair Mother Yaśodā then attempted to bind Krishna to the mortar but it turned out to be short by two fingers. Her female servitors then began to bring more rope. After even adding all these ropes with knots to bind Krishna to the mortar it still remained two fingers short. They again returned to their houses and brought more rope. The most astonishing thing was that through even adding all these ropes with knots to bind Krishna to the mortar it continued to remain two fingers short. All the gopis began to laugh and clap their hands. They remarked to Yaśodā, “Hey dear Yaśodā! I have told you before that your son has an unfathomable delusive potency. He is more clever than even the greatest of all thieves. Mother Yaśodā simply replied, “He is my son from my womb. If I am not able to bind Him myself then that is certainly a shameful matter.” Then, using all her resources, Mother Yaśodā tried from morning until afternoon to bind her son. Gradually she became very tired, her face flushed red and her breaths becoming deeper with the exertion. Her body was completely dripping all over with beads of perspiration. The flowers tied to her hair broke loose and fell to the ground. As long as Krishna was not ready to accept her binding him, all her efforts came to naught.
Mother Yaśodā is Finally Able to Bind Krishna:
Seeing the extremely tired condition of His mother Krishna’s heart began to melt. His mother’s efforts to bind Him was in the mood of seeing to the welfare of her son combined with deep loving affection. Overcome by the sign of pure loving devotion Krishna became agreeable to her attempts. In that instant the pastime potency of the Lord, or yogamaya, began to have a bearing. The same silk cord which Yaśodā removed from her bound hair to bind Krishna had previously failed but now, using the same cord, she was easily able to bind Him.
The Reason why the Bound Rope was Always Two Fingers Short:
What was the reason the rope in binding Krishna seemed to be always two fingers short? One finger implied that one has to put in tremendous effort in cultivating devotion. The other finger is showing that the mercy of Krishna is absolutely necessary for any success in the matter of devotion. Krishna, upon noticing the repeated and determined efforts and resilience of His mother became overcome with compassion for her. Finally, His causeless mercy showered upon the aspiring devotee.
In His Bound Condition Krishna Plans to Free the Two Sons of Kuvera
As this was all taking place, Krishna noticed two huge towering Arjuna trees in the vicinity of the house. The all-knowing Lord then began to remember a pastime which happened long ago. He recalled how His dear devotee Nārada had cursed Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva and for that reason they were present there in the form of the two Arjuna trees. They were the sons of the lord of wealth, Kuvera who was a devotee of Lord Śiva.
The Reason why these Two Sons were Cursed by Nārada:
The treasurer of the demigods was Kuvera and he had two sons named Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva. These two sons were completely engrossed in enjoying their father’s opulent wealth without any inhibition. Once they were engaged in sporting with beautiful heavenly girls in the pure Mandakini River of the heavenly planets. Many heavenly girls were enjoying merriment in the water. All of them were naked and playing hide and seek and similar games in the water with each other. At that time Nārada Muni was trudging along on that path and his glance happened to fall upon these two sons engaged in such sport and understood that they were very degraded. He decided that they had to be taught a lesson for their own welfare. He then pronounced a curse saying that “since you are behaving as trees without consciousness by standing naked without shame nor respect for your mentors and by behaving without any discrimination. Hence you shall take the form of trees.”
Kuvera’s Sons, Understanding their Mistake, Beg Forgiveness from Nārada:
Nārada’s curse had an impact on the two sons. Maṇigrīva and Nalakūvara immediately realized the great mistake they had committed. Understanding their grave position they instantly fell down at the feet of the sage Nārada and began to pray in earnest, “Oh best of the sages! We had not realized that you were that powerful. We were engrossed in our false pride in our bodily designation and now we realize that the Lord has give this bod to us to execute devotional service to Him. We understand now who the Lord is. We have spent our lives worthlessly in sensual pursuits and drinking liquor. Please show mercy to us and release us from the terrible curse thrust upon us by your good self.”
Nārada’s Pacifying Words to the Two Sons of Kuvera Upon hearing the words of Kuvera’s two sons Nārada then spoke as follows: “The curse that I pronounced will definitely take place. Once this curse is pronounced there is no way to bring it back. Still, since you have understood your mistake and since you are the sons of my dear friend I will relate to you a remedy. You will have to take birth as two trees but you will do so in the holy place of Vrindavana in the vicinity of King Nanda’s palace. In the Dwapara Yuga Krishna will sport in that place and in crawling in the dust there and touching both of you He will release you from the curse and you will also receive the gift of devotion.” Hearing this soothing reply from Nārada the two sons became pacified and peaceful.
The Curse of Nārada Became a Most Auspicious Boon for the Two Sons of Kuvera. In a reversal of events the actual curse of the sage Nārada turned out in reality to be a boon in that the two sons of Kuvera were able to get the mercy of Lord Krishna in spite of the curse. These sons of Kuvera then took the form of huge Arjuna trees in the compound of Nanda’s palace. To validate the statements pronounced by Nārada Muni, the Lord Krishna playfully dragged the mortar on the ground thus uprooting the two trees and freeing the two sons. At that time the two sons, Maṇigrīva and Nalakūvara were able to visualize Lord Krishna. By attaining the mercy of the Lord they became great souls and emerged from the uprooted trees. They then began glorifying Lord Damodar with choice verses.
The Damodarastakam as Compiled by Satyavrata Muni:
One great devotee of Krishna named Satyavrata Muni, in adoration of the pastimes of Damodar, compiled in eight verses the nectarine pastimes of Damodar. These eight verses are the life and soul of the devotees during this month. Every day both in the morning and evening they relish these verses by uttering them with devotion. Those who relish and chant these verses attain the merciful glance of Lord Sri Krishna.