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Krishna's pastimes

Damodarastakam

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Damodara

This song describes Krishna's early childhood pastime of running from His mother when she tried to punish Him for stealing butter from the gopis, the cowherd women of Vrindavan.

For this special month of Karttika, devotees around the world sing these prayers every day. Each verse describes various exceptional qualities or features of Krishna. Sing along with the lyrics below, which include the English translations.

This year, Karttika starts on October 29th and ends on November 28th.

More information on Karttika

Included here is an audio recording of the late Aindra dasa singing Damodarastakam during Karttika at the Krishna-Balarama temple in Vrindavan, India.

(1)

namāmīśvaram sac-cid-ānanda-rūpam
lasat-kuṇḍalam gokule bhrājamanam
yaśodā-bhiyolūkhalād dhāvamānam
parāmṛṣṭam atyantato drutya gopyā

To the supreme controller, who possesses an eternal form of blissful knowledge, whose glistening earrings swing to and fro, who manifested Himself in Gokula, who stole the butter that the gopis kept hanging from the rafters of their storerooms and who then quickly jumped up and ran in retreat in fear of Mother Yasoda but was ultimately caught - to that Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, I offer my humble obeisances.

(2)

rudantam muhur netra-yugmam mṛjantam
karāmbhoja-yugmena sātańka-netram
muhuḥ śvāsa-kampa-trirekhāńka-kaṇṭha-
sthita-graivam dāmodaram bhakti-baddham

Upon seeing His mother's whipping stick, He cried and rubbed His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes were fearful and His breathing quick, and as Mother Yasoda bound His belly with ropes, He shivered in fright and His pearl necklace shook. To this Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, I offer my humble obeisances.

(3)

itīdṛk sva-līlābhir ānanda-kuṇḍe
sva-ghoṣam nimajjantam ākhyāpayantam
tadīyeṣita-jñeṣu bhaktair jitatvam
punaḥ prematas tam śatāvṛtti vande

Those superexcellent pastimes of Lord Krishna's babyhood drowned the inhabitants of Gokula in pools of ecstasy. To the devotees who are attracted only to His majestic aspect of Narayana in Vaikuntha, the Lord herein reveals: “I am conquered and overwhelmed by pure loving devotion.” To the Supreme Lord, Damodara, my obeisances hundreds and hundreds of times.

(4)

varam deva mokṣam na mokṣāvadhim vā
na canyam vṛṇe ‘ham vareṣād apīha
idam te vapur nātha gopāla-bālam
sadā me manasy āvirāstām kim anyaiḥ

O Lord, although You are able to give all kinds of benedictions, I do not pray to You for liberation, nor eternal life in Vaikuntha, nor any other boon. My only prayer is that Your childhood pastimes may constantly appear in my mind. O Lord, I do not even want to know your feature of Paramatma. I simply wish that Your childhood pastimes may ever be enacted in my heart.

(5)

idam te mukhāmbhojam atyanta-nīlair
vṛtam kuntalaiḥ snigdha-raktaiś ca gopyā
muhuś cumbitam bimba-raktādharam me
manasy āvirāstām alam lakṣa-lābhaiḥ

O Lord, the cheeks of Your blackish lotus face, which is encircled by locks of curling hair, have become reddened like bimba fruits due to Mother Yasoda's kisses. What more can I describe than this? Millions of opulences are of no use to me, but may this vision constantly remain in my mind.

(6)

namo deva dāmodarānanta viṣṇo
prasīda prabho duḥkha-jālābdhi-magnam
kṛpā-dṛṣṭi-vṛṣṭyāti-dīnam batānu
gṛhāṇeṣa mām ajñam edhy akṣi-dṛśyaḥ

O unlimited Vishnu! O master! O Lord! Be pleased upon me! I am drowning in an ocean of sorrow and am almost like a dead man. Please shower the rain of mercy on me; uplift me and protect me with Your nectarean vision.

(7)

kuverātmajau baddha-mūrtyaiva yadvat
tvayā mocitau bhakti-bhājau kṛtau ca
tathā prema-bhaktim svakām me prayaccha
na mokṣe graho me ‘sti dāmodareha

O Lord Damodara, in Your form as a baby Mother Yasoda bound You to a grinding stone with a rope for tying cows. You then freed the sons of Kuvera, Manigriva and Nalakuvara, who were cursed to stand as trees and You gave them the chance to become Your devotees. Please bless me in this same way. I have no desire for liberation into Your effulgence.

(8)

namas te 'stu dāmne sphurad-dīpti-dhāmne
tvadīyodarāyātha viśvasya dhāmne
namo rādhikāyai tvadīya-priyāyai
namo 'nanta-līlāya devāya tubhyam

O Lord, the entire universe was created by Lord Brahma, who was born from Your abdomen, which was bound with a rope by Mother Yasoda. To this rope I offer my humble obeisances. I offer my obeisances to Your most beloved Srimati Radharani and to Your unlimited pastimes.

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Balarama, A Biographical Sketch

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From Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.11.16-17, Purport, by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada:

"Baladeva [Balarama]: He is the divine son of Vasudeva by his wife Rohini. He is also known as Rohini-nandana, the beloved son of Rohini. He was also entrusted to Nanda Maharaja along with His mother, Rohini, when Vasudeva embraced imprisonment by mutual agreement with Kamsa. So Nanda Maharaja is also the foster father of Baladeva along with Lord Krishna.

Lord Krishna and Lord Baladeva were constant companions from Their very childhood, although They were stepbrothers. He is the plenary manifestation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore He is as good and powerful as Lord Krishna. He belongs to the vishnu-tattva (the principle of Godhead). He attended the svayamvara (selection of her bridegroom) ceremony of Draupadi along with Sri Krishna.

When Subhadra was kidnapped by Arjuna by the organized plan of Sri Krishna, Baladeva was very angry with Arjuna and wanted to kill him at once. Sri Krishna, for the sake of His dear friend, fell at the feet of Lord Baladeva and implored Him not to be so angry. Sri Baladeva was thus satisfied. Similarly, He was once very angry with the Kauravas, and He wanted to throw their whole city into the depths of the Yamuna. But the Kauravas satisfied Him by surrendering unto His divine lotus feet.

He was actually the seventh son of Devaki prior to the birth of Lord Krishna, but by the will of the Lord He was transferred to the womb of Rohini to escape the wrath of Kamsa. His other name is therefore Sankarsana, who is also the plenary portion of Sri Baladeva. Because He is as powerful as Lord Krishna and can bestow spiritual power to the devotees, He is therefore known as Baladeva.

In the Vedas also it is enjoined that no one can know the Supreme Lord without being favored by Baladeva. Bala means spiritual strength, not physical. Some less intelligent persons interpret bala as the strength of the body. But no one can have spiritual realization by physical strength. Physical strength ends with the end of the physical body, but spiritual strength follows the spirit soul to the next transmigration, and therefore the strength obtained by Baladeva is never wasted. The strength is eternal, and thus Baladeva is the original spiritual master of all devotees.


Sri Baladeva was also a class friend of Lord Sri Krishna as a student of Sandipani Muni. In His childhood He killed many asuras along with Sri Krishna, and specifically He killed the Dhenukasura at Talavana.

During the Kurukshetra battle, He remained neutral, and He tried His best not to bring about the fight. He was in favor of Duryodhana, but still He remained neutral. When there was a club-fight between Duryodhana and Bhimasena, He was present on the spot. He was angry at Bhimasena when the latter struck Duryodhana on the thigh or below the belt, and He wanted to retaliate the unfair action. Lord Sri Krishna saved Bhima from His wrath. But He left the place at once, being disgusted at Bhimasena, and after His departure Duryodhana fell to the ground to meet his death.

The funeral ceremony of Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna, was performed by Him, as He was the maternal uncle. It was impossible to be performed by any one of the Pandavas, who were all overwhelmed with grief. At the last stage, He departed from this world by producing a great white snake from His mouth, and thus He was carried by Sesanaga in the shape of a serpent."

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Krishna Kidnaps and Marries Rukmini

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Amala bhakta Dasa narrates this history from the book, Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in which Krishna saves His father from being devoured by a huge snake. The snake, it turns out, was a highly conscious being who had been cursed to become a snake. Not your average father-swallowing snake, and not an average story.

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Krishna Subdues Kaliya

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Mother Yashoda Binds Krishna

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