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Krishna's Pastimes

Smart Quote of the Day, May 6, 2016

" . . . We work not with our body, actually, but with our mind and intelligence. So if the intelligence and the mind are always engaged in the thought of the Supreme Lord, then naturally the senses are also engaged in His service."

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Today's Smart Quote is from the Introduction to Bhagavad-gita As It Is:

We work not with our body, actually, but with our mind and intelligence. So if the intelligence and the mind are always engaged in the thought of the Supreme Lord, then naturally the senses are also engaged in His service. Superficially, at least, the activities of the senses remain the same, but the consciousness is changed.

The Bhagavad-gita teaches one how to absorb the mind and intelligence in the thought of the Lord. Such absorption will enable one to transfer himself to the kingdom of the Lord. If the mind is engaged in Krishna's service, then the senses are automatically engaged in His service. This is the art, and this is also the secret of Bhagavad-gita: total absorption in the thought of Sri Krishna.

Smart Quote of the Day, June 3, 2016

" . . . No one can see the entire universe while sitting in one place. Even the most advanced scientist cannot see what is going on in other parts of the universe. But a devotee like Arjuna can see everything that exists in any part of the universe. Krishna gives him the power to see anything he wants to see, past, present and future.."

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Today's Smart Quote is from the purport to Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 11.7:

TRANSLATION

O Arjuna, whatever you wish to see, behold at once in this body of Mine! This universal form can show you whatever you now desire to see and whatever you may want to see in the future. Everything--moving and nonmoving--is here completely, in one place.

PURPORT:

No one can see the entire universe while sitting in one place. Even the most advanced scientist cannot see what is going on in other parts of the universe. But a devotee like Arjuna can see everything that exists in any part of the universe. Krishna gives him the power to see anything he wants to see, past, present and future. Thus by the mercy of Krishna, Arjuna is able to see everything.

Smart Quote of the Day, June 5, 2016

" . . Devotees who are correctly situated in a transcendental relationship with Krishna are attracted by loving features, not by a godless display of opulences. The playmates of Krishna, the friends of Krishna and the parents of Krishna never want Krishna to show His opulences. They are so immersed in pure love that they do not even know that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.."

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Today's Smart Quote is from the purport to Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 11.8:

TRANSLATION

But you cannot see Me with your present eyes. Therefore I give you divine eyes. Behold My mystic opulence!

PURPORT (excerpt):

Devotees who are correctly situated in a transcendental relationship with Krishna are attracted by loving features, not by a godless display of opulences. The playmates of Krishna, the friends of Krishna and the parents of Krishna never want Krishna to show His opulences. They are so immersed in pure love that they do not even know that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In their loving exchange they forget that Krishna is the Supreme Lord. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that the boys who play with Krishna are all highly pious souls and after many, many births they are able to play with Krishna. Such boys do not know that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They take Him as a personal friend. Therefore Sukadeva Gosvami recites this verse:

Smart Quote of the Day, June 6, 2016

" . . Ignorance is the cause of sinful life, and sinful life is the cause of one's dragging on in material existence. The human form of life is the only loophole by which one may get out of this entanglement.."

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Today's Smart Quote is from the purport to Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 4.31:

TRANSLATION

O best of the Kuru dynasty, without sacrifice one can never live happily on this planet or in this life: what then of the next?

PURPORT (excerpt):

Whatever form of material existence one is in, one is invariably ignorant of his real situation. In other words, existence in the material world is due to the multiple reactions to our sinful lives. Ignorance is the cause of sinful life, and sinful life is the cause of one's dragging on in material existence. The human form of life is the only loophole by which one may get out of this entanglement. The Vedas, therefore, give us a chance for escape by pointing out the paths of religion, economic comfort, regulated sense gratification and, at last, the means to get out of the miserable condition entirely. . .

Smart Quote of the Day, June 11, 2016

" . . One has to give up this body—today, tomorrow, or maybe the day after that. One has to. But a person who has understood Krishna will not have to take another material body. He goes directly to the spiritual world and takes birth in one of the spiritual planets.."

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Today's Smart Quote is from the Science of Self Realization, Chapter Five, in the section entitled, "Practicing Yoga in the Modern Age"

Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita: "My dear Arjuna, if one understands My appearance, disappearance, and activities, simply because of this understanding he is given the opportunity to take birth in the spiritual world after giving up this body." One has to give up this body—today, tomorrow, or maybe the day after that. One has to. But a person who has understood Krishna will not have to take another material body. He goes directly to the spiritual world and takes birth in one of the spiritual planets. So Krishna says that as soon as one gets this body—it doesn't matter if it is from India or the moon or the sun or Brahmaloka or anywhere within this material world—one should know that it is due to his sinful activities. There are degrees of sinful activities, so according to the degree of sinfulness, one takes a material body. Therefore our real problem is not how to eat, sleep, mate, and defend—our real problem is how to get a body that is not material but spiritual. That is the ultimate solution to all problems. So Krishna guarantees that if one surrenders unto Him, if one becomes fully Krishna conscious, then He will give one protection from all reactions to sinful life.

Smart Quote of the Day, June 13, 2016

" . . 'What is the most wonderful thing in this world? . . . The most wonderful thing is that at every moment one can see that his friends, his fathers, and his relatives have died, but he is thinking, 'I shall live forever.'"

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Today's Smart Quote is from the Science of Self Realization, Chapter Five, in the section entitled, "Practicing Yoga in the Modern Age"

. . . Maharaja Yudhishthira was asked by Yamaraja, "What is the most wonderful thing in this world? Can you explain?" So Maharaja Yudhishthira answered, "Yes. The most wonderful thing is that at every moment one can see that his friends, his fathers, and his relatives have died, but he is thinking, 'I shall live forever.'" He never thinks that he will die, just as an animal never thinks that at the next moment he may be slaughtered. He is satisfied with the grass, that's all. He is satisfied with the sense gratification. He does not know that he is also going to die.

Smart Quote of the Day, June 19, 2016

"No one knows where compassion should be applied. Compassion for the dress of a drowning man is senseless. A man fallen in the ocean of nescience cannot be saved simply by rescuing his outward dress--the gross material body."

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Today's Smart Quote is from the purport to Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 2.1:

TRANSLATION

Sanjaya said: Seeing Arjuna full of compassion, his mind depressed, his eyes full of tears, Madhusudana, Krishna, spoke the following words.

PURPORT (excerpt):

No one knows where compassion should be applied. Compassion for the dress of a drowning man is senseless. A man fallen in the ocean of nescience cannot be saved simply by rescuing his outward dress--the gross material body. One who does not know this and laments for the outward dress is called a sudra, or one who laments unnecessarily. Arjuna was a kshatriya, and this conduct was not expected from him. . .

Smart Quote of the Day, June 24, 2016

" . . Without religious principles what is the difference between a dog and a man? Man can understand religion, but a dog cannot. That is the difference. So if human society remains on the level of dogs and cats, how can you expect a peaceful society? If you bring a dozen dogs and put them together in a room, will it be possible to keep them peaceful? Similarly, if human society is filled with men whose mentality is on the level of dogs, how can you expect peace?"

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Today's Smart Quote is from the Science of Self Realization, Chapter Six, in the section entitled, "Finding Spiritual Solutions to Material Problems"

Lieutenant Mozee: If I understand you correctly, sir, you are saying that we should emphasize a return to religious principles.

Srila Prabhupada: Certainly. Without religious principles what is the difference between a dog and a man? Man can understand religion, but a dog cannot. That is the difference. So if human society remains on the level of dogs and cats, how can you expect a peaceful society? If you bring a dozen dogs and put them together in a room, will it be possible to keep them peaceful? Similarly, if human society is filled with men whose mentality is on the level of dogs, how can you expect peace?

Wonderful Krishna


If God is inconceivable, as the scriptures state, can we really know anything about Him?

Sri Ishopanishad states that Krishna is simultaneously very far away and very close. The Vedic scriptures encourage us: The best way to know Krishna and bring Him closer is to hear about Him.

As we open any book about Krishna, we’ll immediately feel the richness of the clear and scientific knowledge it contains. We’ll also come to understand that Krishna is by nature inconceivable to finite beings. Although some world religions extend that to mean that Krishna is by essence completely inconceivable (not only far away), we cannot agree. Yes, He is ultimately inconceivable, but His name, fame, and form can be known just as we know any person face-to-face. Anyone who wants to be God conscious has to understand this point.

Here’s an example of a statement that ties these two concepts together. It’s from the Srimad- Bhagavatam (10.12.38), in connection with Lord Krishna’s killing and liberating the demon Aghasura, who in the form of a gigantic snake had swallowed Krishna and His friends.

"Krishna is the cause of all causes. The causes and effects of the material world, both higher and lower, are all created by the Supreme Lord, the original controller. When Krishna appeared as the son of Nanda Maharaja and Yashoda, He did so by His causeless mercy. Consequently, for Him to exhibit His unlimited opulence was not at all wonderful. Indeed, he showed such great mercy that even Aghasura, the most sinful miscreant, was elevated to being one of His associates and achieving sarupya-mukti [having the same form as the Lord], which is actually impossible for materially contaminated persons to attain."

Srila Prabhupada comments:

Krishna is the cause of all causes. He is the creator of cause and effect, and He is the supreme controller. Nothing is impossible for Him. Therefore that He enabled even a living being like Aghasura to attain the salvation of sarupya-mukti is not at all wonderful for Krishna. Krishna took pleasure in entering the mouth of Aghasura in a sporting spirit, along with His associates. Therefore, when Aghasura, by that sporting association, as maintained in the spiritual world, was purified of all contamination, he attained sarupya-mukti and vimukti by the grace of Krishna. For Krishna this was not at all wonderful.

“Not at all wonderful” is Srila Prabhupada’s way of saying we shouldn’t be surprised or doubtful when we hear of Krishna’s power and opulence. Krishna killed demons. Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill. Krishna married 16,108 wives. None of these acts is at all wonderful, because Krishna did them effortlessly. Krishna is the source of cause and effect, yet He appears as a child. Does that sound incredible, unbelievable? Well, Krishna has infinite greatness. Nothing is impossible for Him.

But we are wonderstruck. Srila Prabhupada named one chapter of his book Krishna “Wonderful Krishna.” Wonderful is a tasty word if it’s not used superficially; it refers to something filled with joy, a superlative experience.

In the scriptures the devotees express their appreciation of “wonderful Krishna” according to their relationship with Him. Queen Kunti prays that although Krishna is the Supreme Truth, in His childhood form He becomes subordinate to mother Yashoda. Although fear personified is afraid of Krishna, He runs in fear from His mother, who threatens Him with a stick. Kunti says that when she thinks of Krishna running fearfully, His black mascara smeared by His tears, she becomes amazed. What fortune Yashoda has to be Krishna’s mother and to subordinate the supreme controller!

The acaryas, the great spiritual masters of the past, have pointed out another aspect of Krishna’s inconceivable power, beyond even that of His expansions and avatars: He performed amazing feats as a small child. When Krishna killed Putana, He was only a few months old. He was seven when He lifted Govardhana Hill with the pinkie of His left hand. In other incarnations, He assumed large forms to do a large task. To kill Hiranyakashipu He appeared in a huge form as a half man, half lion. Although He begged three steps of land from Bali Maharaja in the form of a dwarf brahmana, He assumed a huge form to reclaim the universe with those steps. Krishna performed equally difficult tasks, yet He performed them in His beautiful Vrindavana form as a cowherd boy. That in itself is wonderful.

When we think of Krishna’s opulence, we see the paradoxes. He is the master, yet He’s subordinate to His devotees. He’s inconceivable, yet He allows us to know Him. In the Third Canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the great devotee Uddhava expresses bewilderment at Krishna’s being unborn yet apparently being born, at Krishna’s being fearless yet leaving Vrindavana out of fear of Kamsa. The contradictions are bewildering, and Uddhava’s separation from such a wonderful Krishna also bewilders him. And of course, the nondevotees are bewildered because they cannot accept Krishna with His apparent paradoxes. Their mundane morality can never accommodate the inconceivable opulence of Krishna.

Krishna’s Most Attractive Feature

Krishna is wonderful, amazing—inconceivably so—but we have not touched on the most mysterious and inconceivable of all His qualities: His ability to express love. He is powerful, He is wise, He is strong and famous, but His inclination to love all living beings, and His expression of that love in a variety of ways, is His most attractive feature. And even more attractive than that is His special love for His devotees. Therefore, a devotee, while recognizing Krishna’s mastership over his or her life, does not ever forget this greatest glory of Krishna’s love.

I recently heard Srila Prabhupada on tape speaking about suffering. A devotee asked Prabhupada how we should understand that even though we are devotees, we still have to suffer. Prabhupada took a strong position. He said it was not our right to question that we have to suffer. And we should never think that we would love Krishna more if we didn’t suffer. Nor does Krishna have to explain to us why we are suffering. A devotee sees Krishna unquestionably as master. In the mood of a devotee, Lord Caitanya prays, “Whether You make me brokenhearted or You handle me roughly in Your embrace, You are always my worshipful Lord, birth after birth.” A devotee never doubts Krishna’s loving intention toward him.

I was raised in a nominally Catholic family. We never discussed faith or the reality of God, never broached doubts. As soon as I entered the larger world of college and was exposed to doubts, I had no answers. I remember one teacher saying, “How can there be God if there is so much suffering in the world?” This is a classic theological puzzle: If God is all-good and all-powerful, why are we suffering? How can He be all-loving if His creatures are feeling pain?

A devotee is not bewildered by these apparent contradictions. We may not understand His purposes, but we are never bewildered by them. A devotee has ultimate trust in Krishna’s most wonderful quality.

Therefore, don’t ask Krishna for sense gratification, and don’t bargain with Krishna for something less than love of God. While we acknowledge that Krishna is far away from us, we also feel His closeness and our ability to address Him, just as a child will go to the father to have his desires fulfilled. On the higher stages of Krishna consciousness, devotees may very well express their own desires, but their desires are always for Krishna’s pleasure. Devotees also express a variety of moods, some submissive and some contrary. Krishna enjoys them all.

We can’t imitate those types of expressions, and if we try, we may end up asking for something not in our ultimate interest. Krishna, as the kind father, will provide the “toy.” In the end we may find ourselves telling Krishna we didn’t want what we received, and Krishna saying, “Well, you asked for it, so now you play with it until it breaks.” How sad when we go to Krishna for such things. And how sad that it may take thousands of years of action and reaction to live out the gift He gave us.

The Gopis’ Example

How pleased Krishna must be when He sees a pure devotee who cares only for Him. Srila Prabhupada was ecstatic to hear that the gopis, Krishna’s cowherd girlfriends, never asked Krishna for anything. Prabhupada offered their behavior as an example of real bhakti. Usually, in a conjugal relationship men and women want something from each other. Women usually want security, and even Krishna’s queens in Dvaraka had that. But the gopis had nothing. They never asked for anything. They went to the forest in the middle of the night at the risk of losing their families and reputations, and Krishna did not provide them with any guarantee or indemnity. Therefore, they are considered the highest devotees; they wanted only to give Krishna happiness, to please wonderful Krishna.

After Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill, the cowherd men were bewildered. Who is this wonderful boy? Nanda Maharaja repeated what the priest Gargamuni had told him at Krishna’s name- giving ceremony. Krishna is narayana-sama, “equal to Narayana, or God,” Gargamuni had said. Although the cowherd men understood, they didn’t abandon their parental affection for Krishna. Rather, they said, “Just let us always live in the protection of wonderful Krishna.”

Damodarastakam

Damodara

This song describes Krishna's early childhood pastime of running from His mother when she tried to chastise Him for stealing butter.

During the month of Kartika, devotees around the world sing this prayer each day while offering ghee lamps or candles to Krishna. Each verse describes various qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who, in this pastime, appears as a child and allows Himself to be captured by the love of His devotees. Sing along with the lyrics below, which include the English translations.

Click on the link to listen to an audio recording of the late Aindra Dasa singing Damodarastakam during Kartika at the ISKCON Krishna-Balarama temple in Vrindavan, India. The link will open in a new tab. Once the song begins to play, return to this page to follow the lyrics.

http://www.bhaktiyoga.com/files/audio/kirtan/Damodarastakam.mp3

(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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