[From the Lecture Series on the Song Sri Damodarastakam (Verse 2 Part 3)]
rudantam muhur netra-yugmam mrjantamAt last, Mother Yasoda cau ght hold of Krsna from behind. "Rudantam muhur netram yugmam mrjantam." Her raised right hand held the stick, and with her free left hand she caught hold of Krsna. Krsna tried to hide behind her, but forcing Him to stand in front of her, she said, "Come here. I am going to teach a monkey like You a good lesson.” Holding the stick in a threatening manner, she said. "Now I am going to beat You!"
["I worship that Damodara who, afraid of the stick in His mother’s hand, cries and time and again rubs His eyes with both His lotus hands, whose eyes express extreme fearfulness, whose sobbing makes the jeweled and pearl necklaces upon His neck marked with three lines shake, and whose belly is bound only by His mother’s devotion."
(Sri Damodarastakam, verse 2)]
Krsna began to weep, and the tears that flowed from His eyes were black from the kajal. Weeping very loudly, He cried out, "O brother Baladeva, where are You? O brother Baladeva! Where are You, where are You?" But Baladeva was not there; He had gone with His mother to their family home.
Krsna's weeping and breathing very heavily caused His earrings (kundalas) to dance and kiss His cheeks. He had many signs of a beautiful person on His body, like three folds in His neck and also on His belly. He wiped away His tears with H is free hand, and the other one was held by Yasoda.
Yasoda asked Him, “Will you do it again?"
"No mother, I will not. Mother, you should not beat Me.”
Yasoda replied, “I will not beat You, but I will teach You a lesson that You will not forget for Your whole life. I will tie You to the grinding mortar – You and Your helper.”
Krsna had used the mortar to stand on as He distributed butter to the crows and monkeys.
Yasoda continued, “I will bind you two together so that you are both punished. The thief and helper of the thief are both guilty, and therefore both should be punished.”
"Muhuh svasa-kampa." At that time Krsna was very afraid and was therefore trembling. Yasoda's sakhis, seeing her with Krsna in this way, cried out, "Sakhi! You should not beat Krsna. Give up your stick." But Yasoda was very determined; she wanted to teach Krsna a lesson. She had been very merciful up until now, but Krsna had become so naughty that she felt that she had to punish Him. She told her sakhis, “I must punish Krsna in order to teach Him a lesson. Bring some ropes. I will tie Him up, rather than beat Him with the stick."
Hearing this, the sakhis began to laugh. They again requested Yasoda, “Don't beat or bind Krsna to the mortar," but then they went anyway to fetch ropes from throughout Nanda Maharaja's house. When they returned with the ropes, Yasoda put her stick down and began to try to tie Krsna to the heavy wooden grinding mortar.
The width of Krsna’s belly was about twelve fingers around, and therefore Yasoda chose a piece of rope that was about three yards in length. She tried to tie the rope around Krsna’s belly, but it would not go all the way around Him. Somehow it had become short by two fingers length. She reached for another rope to join onto it, but w hen she tied it on and tried to tie it around Krsna’s belly, it was not sufficient in length, it was again two fingers too short. She tied all of the ropes together, but every time the rope was too short by two fingers in length. All the ropes in Nanda Maharaja's house, combined together, were two fingers too short.
Next, she ordered the sakhis to bring ropes from their own houses. Seeing how the rope was always too short, the sakhis were laughing at how wonderful this was. They said, “Yasoda, You will not be able to bind Krsna to that mortar, even if you try for the whole of your life. Brahma has not written on Krsna's forehead that He will be bound." [meaning it is not Krsna's destiny to be bound] You will never be able to do it." Saying this the sakhis were laughing and clapping.
Upset, Yasoda replied," He has come from my womb, He is my child. Can I not bind my child? I will surely bind Him. If it takes millions of births I must tie Him up, even if at this moment He cannot be bound by me.”
Yasoda was now joining all of the ropes together. They were many miles in length, but still she could not tie them around Krsna; they were always two fingers too short.
What is the significance of them being two fingers too short? One finger represents the attempt of the sadhaka (spiritual practitioner); the nature of the sadhaka is to attempt or endeavor.
A sadhaka follows this verse:
sravanam kirtanam visnohThe sadhaka practices in this way, without cessation, and his spiritual endeavors are like the continuous flow of the current that carries the water in a river. This flow is just like the flow of madhu, honey; which flows in an unbroken stream. Our bhakti towards Krsna should be spontaneous, without any break in the day and night. Only then we can see Krsna and bind Him; only then will He come under our control.
arcanam vandanam dasyam
["Prahlada Maharaja said: 'Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one’ s best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)—these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krsna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.'"
Lord Brahma, Sankara or Laksmi also cannot bind Krsna; only Yasoda can bind Him. So, one finger represents our practice of bhakti.
There are five kin ds of bhakti that are most prominent:
sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravanaOffences are the only barrier, so we should not commit any offence. We should be in the association of bona fide, qualified Vaisnavas, especially those who know all siddhanta and are bhavuka and rasika. We should do nama-sankirtana – always chant Krsna’s names. There are two types of names: mukhya and gauna, primary and secondary. Examples of gauna, secondary, names are Isvara, Allah and Brahma. Krsna’s mukhya, primary, names are names like Narayana and Rama, but the mukhya of the mukhya names, the topmost superior names of Krsna are Radha-Govinda, Radha-Madhava, Radha-Gopinatha, Radha-Vallabha and Radha-Ramana. These are His supreme names. We should try to chant these names in accordance to the order of Srila Rupa Gosvami, under the guidance of our Gurudeva and bona fide Vaisnavas – in Vrndavana. This order is the essence of Srila Rupa Gosvami’s instructions. If we follow this advice, we will receive Krsna's mercy.
mathura-vasa, sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana
["One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura and worship the Deity with faith and veneration."
(Cc. Madhya 22.128)]
sakala-sahana-srestha ei panca anga
krsna-prema janmaya ei pancera alpa sanga
["These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all. Even a slight performance of these five awakens love for Krsna."
(Cc. Madhya 22.129)]
So, of the two fingers too short, one finger represents our practice of bhakti. We perform bhakti and by this we want to control Krsna, but by our sadhana, by our endeavor alone, Krsna will never be bound. When Krsna sees that we are making serious endeavor towards bhakti He will have some mercy on us. His mercy is the second finger. If both are there – our endeavor and Krsna’s mercy – then we can control Him; otherwise it is not possible.
Yasoda had been trying to tie Krsna with the many lengths of rope since morning, and it was now noon. She had vowed, “I must bind Krsna. If I cannot, I shall not eat anything. I may die, but nevertheless I have vowed to tie this boy with these ropes to teach Him a lesson.”
Yasoda's endeavor had caused her to perspire; her beautiful face was flushed and her eyes were filled with tears. She was wondering what to do. She prayed, "O Narayana, I cannot bind my child, Krsna.”
She was worried, her eyes were full of tears, and Her face was becoming so many different colors. Sri Krsna saw this, and He became so merciful. His svarupa-sakti (internal potency), His Yogamaya (spiritual, desire potency), made place for His krpa-sakti (power of mercy). He became very thin, and He could easily be bound – by only the one rope from Mother Yasoda's hair.
Krsna is all-mighty; He possesses all power, but among His powers, His krpa-sakti (mercy) or bhakta-vatsalya (desire to please His devotees) is superior to all others.
The inner meaning of "two fingers" is this: we should try to serve Krsna and follow the process of bhakti spontaneously. If Krsna sees that we are fully endeavoring, at that time He may give His mercy and He may be bound. Without His mercy we cannot bind Him, even by performing millions of activities in sadhana-bhakti (devotional practices).
Krsna has revealed that fact by this pastime. If we are very learned but we are not practicing properly, if our desire to serve Krsna is not very developed and we are not feeling separation, Krsna will not be bound. On the other hand, if He sees that we are very sincere and that we cannot live without Him, and He will at once be merciful.
Two different theories were discussed in a conversation between Srila Ramanujacarya and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. One theory is: “We are surrendered to Krsna. We don’t have to do anything, Krsna is causelessly merciful. When He will show mercy to us, we will then have His service and attain His darsana. At that time He will be controlled. We should not worry.” The second theory is: “We should work very hard in our practices to attain Krsna. He will be controlled by our sadhana and He will give us His darsana.”
If we look at the life of a kitten, we will see that he does not have to make any endeavor. He simply cries, "Meow! Meow!" and his mother picks him up in her mouth. So one school of thought is: "The mother has to do everything. God is like a mother; Krsna is like mother. He will do everything. I don’t need to make any endeavor."
On the other hand, if we look at a monkey, we see that the mother does nothing. When she decides that she is going to jump from one roof top to another, she looks at her child and the child at once jumps onto her back or lap, holding on to her tightly with his hands and feet. She does not hold on to her child, and if he falls off her back or stomach, never in her whole life will she take that child back. She thinks, “He is not qualified to be my child,” and she gives him up.
So the second type of disciples thinks that Krsna is like a mother monkey. Such disciples think, “We must jump. We must do so much labor, so much sadhana-bhajana, to attain the darsana of Sri Krsna or Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”
Neither of these theories alone is correct; we must mix both. We will have to do labor to have the darsana of Krsna; and at the same time, like the mother cat, He will carry us. When both elements are there, we will have the mercy of Krsna; otherwise it is not possible. We should try our best to please Krsna and to perform sadhana-bhajana, and when He sees our sincere endeavor He will be at once merciful and come under our control. Those in the second type think, “We should work very hard, be very sincere in our practices to attain Krsna. He will be controlled by our sadhana and He will give us His darsana.” Hard work alone will not do. We must receive special mercy from Sri Krsna.
Mother Yasoda was trying so hard to bind Krsna. When He saw her beautiful face become reddish, and saw that she was about to cry, Krsna became pleased and at once ordered His Yogamaya and krpa-sakti to allow her to bind Him. Without this understanding, Krsna cannot be controlled. No one can bind or control Krsna without bhakti, and therefore we must try to do bhakti.
Editorial Advisors: Sripad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanath dasa
Editors: Premavati dasi, Bhadra dasi, Syamarani dasi
Transcriber: Govinda Priya Dasi
HTML: Bhutabhavana dasa