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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Sanatana Goswami > Damodarashtakam > Appendices



verses from Shri Brhad Bhagavatamrta quoted by the author Shri Shrila Sanatana Gosvamipada in his Dig-Darsini commentary on Shri Damodarastakam (as elucidated by Shri Bhakti-Prajnana Kesava Maharaja)


Appendix A

(ref. Text 4, page 14)

Brhad Bhagavatamrta 1.14-15:

          Those who worship Bhagavan Shri Krishna without any motive for personal gain (the niskama-bhaktas), go directly to the abode of Vaikuntha.  That abode is composed of condensed bliss, it is pervaded with transcendental consciousness, and it is rarely attained even by the liberated souls.  (That is, those who become mukta, liberated by dint of their cultivation of brahma-jnana (impersonal knowledge), can never attain that Vaikuntha-dhama). (14)

          Those niskama-bhaktas who live in Vaikuntha perpetually enjoy the happiness of directly serving the lotus feet of Shri Krishna.  They sport along with Him in numerous pastimes and thereby become immersed in the ocean of bliss.  Compared to the pure happiness felt in performing this seva, such devotees consider amrta (the nectar of impersonal liberation) to be totally insignificant.


Appendix B

(ref. Text 4, page 15)

Brhad Bhagavatamrta 2.86-96

(Editor's note: The devotee named Gopa Kumara was wandering throughout the universe, from one planetary system up to the next, in search of the flute-playing Lord.  By the power of a mantra given by his guru, he now found himself on the planet called Tapo-loka.  Surrounded by austere and peaceful urdhva-reta yogindras and naistika-brahmacaris, his thirst for meeting the Lord face to face grew more and more urgent.  Finally, he became very restless for running away to meet Lord Jagannatha in Nilacala; consequently the great sage Pippalayana could read his heart and addressed him as follows,, outlining the meditative philosophy of the jnani-bhaktas thus:)

          Shri Pippalayana, the son Rsabhadeva, said: Why do you want to leave this Tapo-loka, the exalted abode of great sages, to go elsewhere?  And why do you wander about, aspiring for the vision of paramesvara Shri Krishna, Who is not perceivable by any of the senses including the eyes? (86)

          First concentrate your mind on deep meditation within, and in such a condition you will naturally see the Lord.  Svayam Bhagavan perpetually lives everywhere, both within and without, and thus He is just as perceptible as any other plainly visible thing. (87)

          The Lord Vasudeva, Who is known as Paramatma (the Supreme Soul), remains within the heart as the monitor of the soul, and His very form is sac-cid-ananda-vigraha - composed of eternity, knowledge and bliss.  Thus He is manifest only unto a heart that is continuously being purified by the mode of visuddha-sattva (pure goodness); He is not perceivable by other senses.  (In other words, because His form is composed of sac-cid-ananda, and due to His power of self-manifestation and eternal consistency, He cannot be grasped by the external senses).(88)

          (The attainment of bhagavad-darsana in the heart is called dhyana, and if one obtains this, then is that not vision by the eyes?  Specifically, is there any need to leave this Tapo-loka and go elsewhere to have His vision with the eyes?  In response to this argument, the answer is given:)  When one beholds Shri Hari directly with the eyes, that vision is also perfectly accomplished by the mind.  This is because when one sees Bhagavan, then no other thoughts can arise within the mind.  (That is, upon beholding the darsana of Shri Bhagavan-murti within the deeply absorbed meditative mind, that is verily perceived as a vision of the eyes). (89)

          (If someone says that all this is acceptable, but still there is more pleasure in beholding Him directly with the eyes, then the response is given:) Upon the arising of pleasure within the mind, then (why just the eyes?) all the senses naturally become pleased.  (Due to the mind's centralised functioning, the pleasure of all the senses is included in the mind's pleasure).  The functions of all the senses including the tongue, eyes, ears and so forth are accomplished through the sole means of the mind.  (that is, the senses cannot independently grasp their objects such as taste, form and sound without the mind accepting them with its perception.) (90)

          Without the function of the mind, the functions of all the senses are ineffective.  If the senses grasp their respective objects, and if the mind has not accepted such stimuli, then the objects are still not perceived by the soul.  This is because in the absence of the mind's functions, the jivatma cannot perceive those sense objects.  (Therefore Bhagavan is manifest within a purified mind's function - visuddha-chitta-vrtti-visesa - that is actual darsana.  The vision that is directly perceived by the eyes is not darsana, because He is imperceptible by the functions of the senses.) (91)

          (At this, another question may be raised - we have heard that Shri Dhruva, Prahlada and other devotees have seen the Lord with their own eyes; how was that?  In answer to this, it is stated:) When the Lord sometimes appears before the eyes of His devotee, due to His attribute of bhakta-vatsalya (extraordinary affection for His devotees), then that vision is actually observed through the mind's eyes.  (The word kadacit (sometimes) herein indicates that His appearance is not fixed according to some strictly-calculable rule).  This darsana takes place by the faculty of jnana-drsti - the eyes of knowledge within the functioning of the mind - and not by the physical eyesight.  (This is because the external senses are fully under the sway of temporary things, being completely incapable of grasping objects whose nature is supremely limitless transcendence.  Then we note the reason for the celebration of the above-mentioned vision by the eyes:) Upon receiving the darsana of the Lord within one's mind (purified to a state of suddha-sattva), then the devotee only thinks proudly that this is a vision seen with the eyes.  (Although in actuality, it has not been perceived with the physical eyes). (92)

          (Additionally it is said) Bhagavan occasionally becomes visible to the external eyes of a devotee out of His potency of mercy (for what cannot be accomplished by His all pervading energies?); even upon this form of darsana, the bliss created thereof is manifest only in the heart (since the heart or mind is the seat for the arising of ananda). (93)

          And furthermore - if one obtains the darsana of Bhagavan and afterwards He disappears, then the bliss generated in the heart by His vision sports about within the heart, resulting in the experience of many kinds of successive visions and re-visions.  Therefore bhagavad-darsana (the vision of the Lord) is resolved only in the mind.  And the mind is the single most great receptacle capable of realising the bliss of His vision.  (Therefore there is no need of endeavouring to see Him with one's eyes).(94)

          (Someone may say - the mind, just like all the other external senses, is also limited to perceiving only temporary material things; therefore it is similarly incapable of experiencing the darsana of the supreme transcendental bhagavan-murti.  The response to this is given:) Even though the mind is limited to matter, by the mercy of the Lord (prasada) the mind can become pure enough to experience the increase of bliss associated with His direct vision, and such a transformed mind gradually expands in its capacity to behold Him.  Other than the mind, the other senses cannot be elevated and illumined in this way because they are all external.  (That is, because the purified mind is so subtle, it is actually capable of perceiving the form of spirit.  This principle is well-known - that upon obtaining the form of something seen in the mind's eye, one experiences the arising of knowledge of that thing.  None of the other senses have this property; this is because they are external, very dull and bound by strict material limitations). (95)

          (One may say - it is accepted that darsana in the mind is superior to seeing with the eyes, but it is only possible to enjoy the bliss of conversing with Shri Bhagavan (about the requesting and granting of boons) during the time of seeing Him with one's eyes.  This question is resolved thus:) When the transparent mind becomes absorbed in uninterrupted meditation and Shri Bhagavan becomes visible in the heart, then that vision is just like the direct sight of the eyes.  At that time, Prabhu (the Lord of all potencies) is very pleased and shows His special mercy in bestowing the requested boons (of His jnani-bhaktas)*  The chief witness who bears testimony to this process is Lord Brahma, who was born from the lotus. (96)

          (At the dawn of creation, Lord Brahma, the first created being who was born from the lotus sprouting from Bhagavan's navel, became immersed in meditation on the Lord for the purpose of begetting progeny in the empty universe; when he attained samadhi, Bhagavan bestowed His darsana.  Seeing the vision of the Lord within the rapture of his samadhi, Brahma respectfully bowed down, and Bhagavan personally took him by the hand and said, “I am very pleased with your penance; now you may request a boon.”  After praying for a boon, Brahma directly obtained from the Lord the catur-sloki bhagavat - the four seed verses of Shrimad Bhagavatam.  The pastime illustrates how in the state of samadhi one perceives bhagavad-darsana and has an experience that is complete with the supremely merciful blessings of seeing the Lord, obtaining boons, conversing with Him, being touched by Him, and so forth.  For more elaborate information in this regard, one may study the Shrimad Bhagavatam, Second Canto, Ninth Chapter, and also the Third Canto, Eight Chapter).

*{Editor's Note:  This entire philosophical presentation of antar-darsana being superior to direct vision of the Lord with the physical eyes is true only for the jnani-bhaktas - the austere, meditative devotees who prefer sitting in seclusion while deeply focusing on the Supersoul, the Lord in the heart.  Later we will find that Shrila Sanatana Gosvami quotes further passages from his Brhad Bhagavatamrta in his commentary on the sixth verse of Damodarastaka, and these verses will ultimately prove that the best type of the Lord's darsana is that which is perceived directly with the senses, as in the case of His suddha-bhaktas or pure devotees}.


Appendix C

(ref. Text 6, page 18)

Brhad Bhagavatamrta 3.179-182

{Previously we have seen the quotes from Shrila Sanatana Gosvami's Shri Brhad Bhagavatamrta, Uttara Khanda, Chapter Two.  Therein, the sage and resident of Tapo-loka, Shri Pippalayana, established the significance of darsana of the Lord within one's mind being superlative to darsana with one's eyes.  Contrary to this position, now in the following group of verses quoted from Shri Brhad Bhagavatamrta, Uttara Khanda, Chapter Three, the Shrimad Bhagavata-parsadas (personal associates of Lord Narayana), who are residents of the transcendental realm of Vaikuntha, will establish the superiority (and supreme effectiveness) of direct darsana with the eyes as compared to seeing the Lord during the samadhi or dhyana within the mind.  They expound their view by using scriptural citations and logical arguments found in the following four verses:)

          The direct vision of the Lord with one's very eyes is the highest grace attained by the successive waves of His merciful benedictions.  (Since Kardama Muni, Dhruva and other devotees received the darsana of Bhagavan and thereby attained His great mercy, these stories illustrate the supreme glories of seeing Him the eyes.)  From this type of direct vision comes extremely profound bliss that surpasses all (other forms of darsana such as in meditation).  This vision of Shri Krishna in person through the eyes is the final reward of practicing the nine-fold process of devotion headed by sravana. (179)

          The direct vision of the Lord is the topmost fruit of all sadhana practice.  Upon attaining this, the nescience of maya within the soul is destroyed down to the root, while simultaneously the illumination of prema increases more and more. (180)

          (Now by citing ancient examples from the scriptures, proof is offered regarding the supreme delightfulness of beholding the Lord with one's eyes:) Shri Prahlada Maharaja, the son of Kayadhu (Hiranyakasipu's wife), as well as other great devotees, although constantly seeing the Lord within their own hearts, still (due to its supremely delightful nature) they always longed for the vision of the all-powerful Prabhu with their eyes - this is a fact.  The proof of this is that one day Prahlada Maharaja was sitting on the shore of the sea and obtained the direct vision of Shri Bhagavan; thereafter the bhava of his ecstatic love especially increased.  (In this regard, one may refer to the book named Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya). (181)

          (Someone may say, on the basis of verses such as the te va amusya verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.15.44) that when the four Kumaras headed by Sanaka were directly beholding Shri Bhagavan, they turned their eyes upward to see His smiling lotus face; and then they cast their eyes downward to see the splendour of His toenails.  At this, since the eyes and all the other senses are bound by limitations and are incapable of grasping the beauty and splendour of all His limbs at the same time, therefore the four Kumaras closed their eyes and meditated upon His entire body from head to toe.  This example portrays how the sages prefer the process of dhyana (meditation within the heart) over that of direct vision with the physical eyes.  Therefore is dhyana superior to direct vision?  In answer to this, the krishnaya verse (182) is given now in order to establish the relative greatness of the different forms of bhagavan-murti-darsana; in ascertaining this, all arguments opposing the supremacy of direct vision of Him with the eyes are settled conclusively.)

          Sometimes it happens that when someone attains the direct darsana of Shri Krishna, their eyes close as the other senses become inert.  When this occurs, it is not because they are meditating on Him within.  Rather, it is an expression of ecstatic symptoms as the devotee becomes overwhelmed with bliss; this is a specific transformation of love (prema-vikara) that is similar to the eight sattvika-bhava symptoms headed by shivering (kampa).

          (Here it is also worth considering - it was described that Lord Brahma executed severe penances, and only while deeply absorbed in meditative samadhi did he attain bhagavad-darsana and was touched by the Lord, engaged in a conversation with Him, and thereby received great mercy from Lord Krishna personally.  The purport is that by the process of dhyana or samadhi some devotees receive the favour of the Lord (as indicated previously in B.B. 2.92 by the word kadacit).  In this matter, there is never any fixed rule governing the Lord's appearance.  He has been perceived only by Lord Brahma and other bhagava-bhaktas of his calibre.  But the conclusive truth is - compared to seeing the Lord within the mind during meditation, the most profound bliss is definitely attained by beholding Him personally with the eyes or the other senses).


Appendix D

(ref. Text 8, page 22)

Footnote by Tridandi Swami Bhakti-Prajnana Kesava Maharaja

          The statement namo 'nanta-lilaya is usually understood to mean “obeisances unto ananta-lila-bhagavan Shri Krishna”, or He Whose pastimes are limitless.  But Shrila Sanatana Gosvami looks toward the esoteric intention of Satyavrata Muni and also according to his own mood of realisation has revealed a very confidential purport.  Thus - “Obeisances unto shri rasa-lila.”  The word ananta indicates “that which has no end”; namely perpetual, inexhaustible, countless, and so forth.  In the expression lilaya, the word lila is of the fourth case ending in the singular number (in conjunction with the word namah).  The derivation of lila is - li + la = lila.  The meaning of the word li is “to embrace”, and the meaning of la is “to accept”.  Therefore, the word lila is indicative of that sportive pastime in which Lord Krishna accepts the embraces of the gopis; thus it is understood to mean in this context that obeisances are being offered unto the rasa-lila and other associated pastimes.  For this reason it is stated ananta-lilaya.  And as Shrila Sanatana Gosvami has written in his tika - “ is suggested to include all the pastimes associated with the realm of Gokula Vrndavana.  I offer my obeisances unto all those lilas; such a mood is most certainly expressed in this way.”  By writing this, he has himself fulfilled the quotation of madhurena samapayet - “all undertakings should be completed sweetly.”

          Yet another topic is necessarily indicated at this point.  Shrila Gosvamipada has revealed that the final sloka of Damodarastaka shows Shri Krishna's pastimes headed by the rasa-lila to be the topmost of all.  He states “...since these are the topmost of confidential topics, they are not mentioned directly ...  Therefore such confidential pastimes are referred to by a mere hint only, as they are offered obeisances in the words namo 'nanta-lilaya.”  The meaning of this is - because the rasa-lila is the most highly confidential pastime of the Lord, therefore Satyavrata Muni has mentioned it only with the briefest clue or tiniest glimpse.  By so doing, he has made it known that is always inappropriate to casually hear and chant about the rasa-lila here and there, whenever and wherever.  Not only that, but if an unqualified person deceives himself with an attempt to banish lust, but then contemplates, performs or imitates the rasa-lila, then such a person certainly becomes degraded due to the offense of minimising the glories of the factually transcendental rasa-lila.  Eventually he will fall down to become a lusty debauchee and attached householder just like the prakrta-sahajiyas who prematurely dabble in the highest truth.

          In regard to ascertaining who is qualified to hear and chant about the Lord's rasa-lila, it is especially noteworthy to examine the statements of Shrimad Bhagavatam presented at the conclusion of the rasa-lila description (10.33.30).  Thus:

          “One who is not a great controller should never imitate the behaviour of ruling personalities, even mentally.  If out of foolishness an ordinary person does imitate such behaviour, he will simply destroy himself, just as a person who is not Rudra would destroy himself if he tried to drink an ocean of poison.”

          The purport of this is - one who is not an isvara truly qualified by being endowed with divine potency should never even mentally contemplate, perform or imitate the Lord's rasa-lila.  Only Lord Siva himself is able to drink an entire ocean of poison.  If an unqualified person who is arudra (not Siva) falsely considers himself to be greatly qualified and tries to drink poison in the form of hearing and chanting about the rasa-lila, then he would certainly die - that is, he would become tightly bound within the death-like condition of samsara or gross material existence.

          Lord Shri Krishna's rasa-lila pastimes are the crest-jewel of all His pastimes, and the benefits of cultivating such pastimes are the crest jewel of all benefits.  Therefore those who are qualified to relish these topics will be the crest jewels among all devotees.  The Lord's rasa-lila should never be studied in any way by those who are seized by the disease of the heart, who are lusty for personal gratification, or otherwise unfit.  In matters of ordinary education, if one wants to dispel one's ignorance it is necessary to gradually master the highest knowledge of the university; but a beginning student or someone of little knowledge is never admitted prematurely into the highest class.  Similarly, it is never appropriate to give instructions about the most elevated topic - the rasa-lila - to persons of little knowledge who are simply attached to the external bodily senses.


Appendix E

Shri Shri Damodarastakam

from songs of the Vaishnava Acaryas


(Note: Below is the translation found in the first ISKCON songbook, published in 1974.  It had some slight inaccuracies in the interpretation, and consequently the translation was technically overhauled and revised for the 1979 blue edition of Songs of the Vaishnava Acaryas.  Herein we have included the original version for nostalgia's sake; it is very sweet and this is the way we heard it every night during the month of Karttika by Vishnujana Swami).


          namamisvaram sac-cid-ananda-rupam

          lasat-kundalam gokule bhrajamanam


          paramrstam atyam tato drutya gopya


1)       To the supreme controller, who possesses and eternal form of blissful knowledge, whose glistening earrings swing to and fro, who manifest 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, Shri Damodara, I offer my humble obeisances.



          rudantam muhur netra-yugmam mrjantam

          karambhoja-yugmena satanka-netram

          muhuh svasa-kampa-tri-rekhanka-kantha-

          sthita-graiva damodaram bhakti-baddham


2)       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, Shri Damodara, I offer my humble obeisances.



          itidrk sva-lilabhir ananda-kunde

          sva-ghosam nimajjantam akhyapayantam

          tadiyesita-jnesu bhaktair jitatvam

          punah prematas tam satavrtti vande


3)       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.



          varam deva! moksam na moksavadhim va

          na canyam vrne 'ham varesad apiha

          idam te vapur natha! gopala-balam

          sada me manasy avirastam kim anyaih


4) 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.



          idam te mukhambhojam avyakta-nilair

          vrtam kuntalaih nigdha-raktais ca gopya

          muhus cumbitam bimba-raktadharam me

          manasy avirastam alam laksa-labhaih


5) 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.



          namo deva! damodarananta! visno!

          prasida prabho! duhkha-jalabdhi-magnam

          krpa-drsti-vrstyati-dinam batanu-

          grhanesa! mam ajnam edhy aksi-drsyah


6)       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.



          kuveratmajau baddha-murtyaiva yad-vat

          tvaya mocitau bhakti-bhajau krtau ca

          tatha prema-bhaktim svakam me prayaccha

          na mokse graho me 'sti damodareha


7)       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.



          namas te 'stu damne sphurad dipti-dhamne

          tvadiyodarayatha visvasya dhamne

          namo radhikayai tvadiya priyayai

          namo 'nanta-lilaya devaya tubhyam


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