om ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri gurave namah
"O Gurudeva, you are so merciful. I offer my humble pranama unto you and am praying from the core of my heart that, with the torchlight of divine knowledge, you open my eyes which have been blinded by the darkness of ignorance."
After months of being away, I am so happy to be able to share what I am reading and what is inspiring me once again with you.
Recently we celebrated the holy month of Kartik, the month which Srimati Radhika especially prevails over. Sripad Premananda Prabhu at Radhe Kunj temple in Sri Vrindavana Dham has been giving some very nice classes on the Damodarastakam song.
From the Bhaktabadhava website,here is some commentary on Verse 8 of Damodarastakam:
Sripada Premananda Prabhu: We are going in circles in the cycle of birth and death. We do not know the way to escape. There is only one door to escape this material existence. This door brings us to the lotus-feet of God. We have come here, but we are blind, without faith. The wall is there and the door will come, and we will achieve everything, but we have no faith. Then, we go around and around hopelessly.
We can follow all vratas, but if we have no faith, if we do not take shelter, and if we do not understand anything, then everything is useless. The result will be zero. We may bind ourselves so tightly in rules and regulations, but when we open the knot, we will find nothing.
“Namo radhikayai tvadiya-priyayai—I offer pranama to Srimati Radharani, and to Krsna who is Her beloved. I do not offer pranama to any other.” Damodara’s servants and devotees in other rasas are not as close to Krsna’s heart as those in srngara-rasa. Their hearts are shared with others. But, in srngara-rasa, the gopis hearts are only one-pointedly devoted to Krsna. Srimati Radharani is the crest-jewel of all the gopis.
Namo ’nanta-lilaya devaya tubhyam. We pray to Damodara, “You have so many incarnations. I offer them all pranamas. But, I don’t need their blessings. I am only waiting for the mercy of Your beloveds. Namo radhikayai tvadiya priyayai. If Her mercy comes to me, that is enough. You have given me a chance to really follow Your footsteps, O Damodara. My ultimate welfare lies in giving pleasure to Your beloved gopis. Please help me. In sastras, many different incarnations are described. There are the manvantara-avataras, yuga-vataras, avesa-avataras, and saktyavesa-avataras. They are all glorified extensively by scholars of many different ideas.”
tarko ‘pratishthah srutayo vibhinna
nasav rishir yasya matam na bhinnam
dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam
mahajano yena gatah sa panthah
—Mahabharata, Vana-parva 313.117
All the different sages establish their different points of view, and cut their opponents’ points of view, telling different philosophies. Gautama, Yajnavalka, Javali, Patanjali, Kapila all give different philosophies. One says, “This is the truth,” and then another says, “No, that is wrong. This is the truth.” Which one is really right? Who can tell us this? Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah—follow the footsteps of the mahajanas.
Who are the mahajanas?
svayambhur naradah sambhuh
kumarah kapilo manuh
prahlado janako bhishmo
balir vaiyasakir vayam
—Srimad Bhagavatam 6.3.20
These are the twelve mahajanas. At the end, Vaiyasaki is mentioned. Vaiyasaki is Sukadeva Gosvami.
Sukadeva Gosvami did not openly describe the glories of Radharani in the Bhagavatam. He did not say to follow Narayana. He said to follow Krsna. Prahlada Maharaja and the other mahajanas glorified Krsna Himself. But, how can we please Krsna, conquer His heart, and do everything for Him? This is hidden. You must completely take shelter of Sukadeva Gosvami. In the Bhagavatam, Sukadeva Gosvami does not mention Radharani’s name directly. Her name is not written. Her name is hidden because She is very secret and hidden. That Sukadeva Gosvami indicates that we should go to Vraja-mandala, to the Vrajavasis. Then, we can cross santa, dasya, sakhya, and vatsalya. We can see that Krsna is pleased by their service, but not completely. He is pleased with the sakhas, but only half pleased. He is with them from the morning to the afternoon. With his mother He is even more pleased, but still not completely. Only when He is with Srimati Radharani is He fully pleased.
Now, at the end, Satyavrata Muni finally comes to the ultimate conclusion—the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani. He prostrates at the lotus-feet of Srimati Radharani and begins a vrata. Which vrata? This is called Katyayani-vrata and it is to please Srimati Radharani.
Now he is one-pointed, and he follows Srimati Radharani’s vrata.
patim me kuru te namah
Nanda-gopa-sutam devi—this is direct. This is the vrata we must follow. The son of Nanda Gopa Himself worships Devi. Which devi? Srimati Radharani. Who is the priya, or beloved, of Krsna? That is only Srimati Radharani.
We must take a certificate from this school. We have passed this school, and now we will go to college and university. Which university will we go to? There is only one university—the service center, the Seva-kunja of Srimati Radharani. How can we attain Her service? How can we please Krsna?
Satyavrata Muni says, “O Radharani, I give up all my pride.” Namo means, “Giving up my pride, I offer my obeisance and I surrender unto You.”
“O Srimati, I do not know You,” the sage says. “When the sakhis and manjaris accept me and make me qualified for Your service, then I can serve You.” Therefore, namo radhikayai. This means that Radharani has many groups, or yuthas. There are 108 prominent sakhis and each have eight prominent manjaris, and all together there are millions and millions of gopis. Where should we go? Where is our service-post? Who will teach us and give us shelter?
People chant ‘aham brahmasmi’. They want to become Brahma. They strive for sahujya-mukti. On the other side, in this line even, some people chant ‘aham manjari, aham gopi’. They should more accurately say, “Aham bhogi.”
This behavior will not work. It is not helpful. It is a bogus idea. We must surrender. Namo radhikayai. “Giving up all pride, I have offered myself to You, O Radhe, please, whatever service You see beneficial for me, whether You want me to be a monkey, a cuckoo, a peacock, a deer, or anything—my own choice is useless. I do not know who I am. I don’t know where You will send me or into which species. I don’t know where I will serve. I am completely saranagata to You. If You like, send me to the sakhas, the servants, those in vatsalya-rasa, or those in madhura-rasa. I don’t know who will be my guru and guardian. I have no idea of this. I offer myself. Please, accept me.”Source link
aspiring for the service of Sri Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas,