“O Lord, although You are able to give all kinds of benedictions, I do not pray to You for the boon of impersonal liberation, nor the highest liberation of eternal life in Vaikuntha, nor any other boon (which may be obtained by executing the nine processes of bhakti). O Lord, I simply wish that this form of Yours as Bala Gopala in Vrindavana may ever be manifest in my heart, for what is the use to me of any other boon besides this?” (Shri Damodarashtaka, 4)
How can a small child be a lord? Satyavrata Muni refers to a young boy who was tied to a mortar as “natha,” which in Sanskrit means lord. A small child cannot do much. They aren’t wise enough to know that playing in the fields all day isn’t the best use of time. They don’t know about impending death, or at least they are not affected by it. They can’t cook for themselves and they don’t secure an income through hard work. This child was different, however, and though seemingly small and innocent, He is indeed the ruler of all the worlds.
The muni who authored the famous Damodarashtaka didn’t need much convincing. This small boy is described in the endless pages of the Vedas. Those ancient works are so voluminous for the precise reason that the glories belonging to this boy are without end. Just think of the passage of time. We see images from thirty years ago and reflect on where we might have been at the time. If we weren’t alive, we wonder how people lived back then.
The more you go back in history, the more appreciation you have. There are more events to ponder over, and if you go all the way back to the point that you consider to be the beginning, you get many lifetimes’ worth of material to study. This time is one aspect to that young child who was bound to a mortar in Yashoda’s courtyard.
Time continues forward as well. This means that based on time alone, so much is happening. Everything is ultimately attributed to Yashoda’s son, which means that based solely on time He is worthy of glorification. All that you see on television, all that you read about online and in newspapers, at the origin is Damodara. That pitcher who came in relief in game 7 of the World Series despite having pitched a few days before gets his praise due to time. Without the time factor nothing would happen.
Within His surrounding area, that child had done so much as well. Many nefarious characters came there to kill Him. They disguised themselves, for they were not interested in a fair fight. A witch came and administered poison to Him through her breast. A whirlwind came and took Him high into the air. Another character inserted Himself into a cart that held the infant child. None of these attackers left Gokula alive. It was the young child who survived each attack, though He was seemingly helpless.
The young boy, known as Krishna because of His great attractiveness, has this opulence of strength. No one is stronger than Him, and so no one can defeat Him. His strength alone makes Him a “natha.” Satyavrata Muni prefers the form of Damodara. The young child was tied to a mortar by His mother one time for having broken a pot of yogurt. The muni knows that Krishna has tremendous strength. The time factor says that Krishna’s glories are limitless, and His ability in Gokula to thwart attacks says that He is great.
His form of Damodara is most unique because it shows that He is conquerable in one area. Despite being so strong, He is not powerful enough to stop bhakti. Devotion wins His heart, and in mother Yashoda there is devotion at a level that cannot be imagined. Her mood of loving is through the role of a parent, and Krishna allows her to play this role perfectly. He does not break free of the ropes of affection, though the ropes aren’t physically tight. Though there aren’t enough ropes in the world to go around His transcendental body, mother Yashoda can find a way to keep Him in her courtyard.
A child can only be a Lord if that child is God Himself. The opulences of beauty, wealth, strength, fame, wisdom and renunciation exist in Him simultaneously. He is greater than the greatest and also smaller than the smallest. When He appears as a child, He is the most adorable one. The cows produce so much milk from only seeing Him, and the mothers all think that He belongs to them. Yashoda never stops loving Him, and this love wins the heart of more than just Krishna.
Those who hear about Damodara also appreciate Yashoda. They wish to have that image of mother and son remain manifest before them. Rather than forget it and move on to something else, they continue to concentrate on it. If that concentration breaks, they simply hear the name of Krishna. If no one is around to produce that sound, they make it themselves: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. That darling child who presided over the inhabitants of Gokula through the bhakti offered to Him does the same in the hearts of all devotees, who know that though bound to a mortar, Damodara can do anything and everything.
To child new is everything to see,
Helpless, how then lord can be?
Satyavrata Muni with humility prays,
That Lord as child always with Him stays.
Known to Him is Krishna’s strength,
And how no ropes of proper length.
By devotion only to others He’s bound,
Height of that sentiment in Yashoda is found.