The Glorious Damodara - Part 3

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Gurudeva. 

We have been meditating on the various meaning of the Lord's name 'Damodara' and the qualities revealed by that name. In the previous offerings we saw below two points.

1. dāmnā udare baddha iti dāmodaraḥ - One who was tied around His waist with a rope.

2. udare dāmani asya iti dāmodarah - One who has all the worlds in His belly.

Now we will see the next meaning of this name. 

3. dāmāt dāmodaram viduḥ - One who give happiness (daama) to the gods. The Mahabharata states this as follows, 'devānām sukhasamsitvat daamaat damodaram viduḥ' - "They know Him as Damodara because He has "dāma" or great joy, indicating that He brought great happiness for the gods." (Udyoga parva 71.9) In this pastime, we can see that the two sons of Kuvera namely Nalakuvera and Manigrīva were cursed by Narada Muni to become trees. And they were released from this condition by the touch of Lord Damodara and thus He brought great happiness to them. In addition, He also purified them by His darshan and with the result, the two gods prayed to the Lord for pure devotional service as follows.

SB 10.10.38
vāṇī guṇānukathane śravaṇau kathāyāṁ
hastau ca karmasu manas tava pādayor naḥ
smṛtyāṁ śiras tava nivāsa-jagat-praṇāme
dṛṣṭiḥ satāṁ darśane ’stu bhavat-tanūnām

Henceforward, may all our words describe Your pastimes, may our ears engage in aural reception of Your glories, may our hands, legs and other senses engage in actions pleasing to You, and may our minds always think of Your lotus feet. May our heads offer our obeisances to everything within this world, because all things are also Your different forms, and may our eyes see the forms of Vaishnavas, who are non different from You.

Lord Damodara immediately granted their prayer and blessed them by saying "O Nalakuvara and Manigriva, now you may both return home. Since you desire to be always absorbed in My devotional service, your desire to develop love and affection for Me will be fulfilled, and now you will never fall from that platform." And pure devotional service without expectation of any material rewards (gross or subtle) alone can give ultimate bliss and this was awarded to the two sons of Kuvera by Lord Damodara. Srila Prabhupada writes in his purports, "The highest perfection of life is to come to the platform of devotional service and always engage in devotional activities. Understanding this, Nalakuvara and Manigriva desired to attain that platform, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead blessed them with the fulfillment of their transcendental desire."

Also from the sons of Kuvera we can see that practicing bhakti is possible in any situation and any species of life, provided we have the grace of Lord's pure devotees. Narada Muni cursed them to become trees but he also stated that after becoming trees and until they’re released, they will be fully conscious. So even though they became trees and they could not move and do any activity, they were patiently waiting for 100 celestial years for the Lord's arrival, remembering Him and lamenting for their sinful activities. And they were also tolerating all the onslaughts of nature such as rain, severe cold and heat for this long period. While they were gods, they did not practice bhakti but they practiced bhakti after becoming trees and received the Lord's blessings.

Srila Prabhupada states in the purport, "A tree has no consciousness: when cut, it feels no pain. But Narada Muni wanted the consciousness of Nalakuvara and Manigriva to continue, so that even after being released from the life of trees, they would not forget the circumstances under which they had been punished. Therefore, to bestow upon them special favor, Narada Muni arranged things in such a way that after being released, they would be able to see Krishna in Vrindavana and thus revive their dormant bhakti. Therefore, to bestow upon them special favor, Narada Muni arranged things in such a way that after being released, they would be able to see Krishna in Vrindavana and thus revive their dormant bhakti."

So in the Damodarashtakam we pray to the Lord to bestow us pure devotion in the same way as follows:

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

Lord Damodara, just as the two sons of Kuvera-Manigriva and Nalakuvara–were delivered from the curse of Narada and made into great devotees by You in Your form as a baby tied with rope to a wooden grinding mortar, in the same way, please give to me Your own prema-bhakti. I only long for this and have no desire for any kind of liberation.

Krishna willing we shall continue to meditate on the other meanings of Lord's name 'Damodara' in the subsequent offering.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Narahari Krishna das