“O Lord, Your lotus face, which is encircled by locks of soft black hair tinged with red, is kissed again and again by mother Yashoda, and Your lips are reddish like the bimba fruit. May this beautiful vision of Your lotus face be ever manifest in my heart. Thousands and thousands of other benedictions are of no use to me.” (Shri Damodarashtaka, 5)
idaḿ te mukhāmbhojam atyanta-nīlair
vṛtaḿ kuntalaiḥ snigdha-raktaiś ca gopyā
muhuś cumbitaḿ bimba-raktādharaḿ me
manasy āvirāstām alaḿ lakṣa-lābhaiḥ
It is understood that someone who has things is capable of giving away those things as well. They probably don’t need that much for themselves. Such as if someone becomes wealthy in a short time, it’s likely that their friends and family aren’t sharing in the new situation. Thus it is natural for them to ask that newly wealthy person for gifts. The head of state gets petitioned to redress the grievances of the citizens. A fundraiser seeks the help of a philanthropist. It would seem silly, then, to not ask anything from the wealthiest person in the world. Why would you ask for a basic vision to remain in your heart, when you can get thousands of other things?
There is a saying that you should be nice to the people you meet on the way up since they will be the same ones you meet on the way down. If you make your way up the ladder of success, you’re bound to run into people from all walks of life. Today they might be of help to you, but tomorrow, when you are much wealthier, you may not need them. Does this mean that you should treat them differently? Are they not the same person in both circumstances?
The saying is there since fortune is not known to stay with a person indefinitely. Personified she is known as Lakshmi Devi. One of her many names is Chanchala, which means one who is constantly moving. The stock price of your company may be very high today, but tomorrow there could be a crash. The competitor could release a better product, increase their sales, and thereby run you out of the market.
Then what will you do? If you treated the people on your way up poorly, why will they want to help you? Why will they suddenly treat you well? In life reversals of fortune occur all the time, with some being bigger than others. Knowing this, to ask for fortune from someone in power is not very wise.
“Why don’t you ask for fixed fortune, then? God should be able to take care of that. Just ask that He make you wealthy and keep you that way.”
Others ask for similar boons. They too wish to land the job they are interviewing for. If all the candidates for the position ask the man in the sky for success, how is it possible for everyone to get what they want? The material is limited in this way. Not only is fortune chanchala, but it is also finite in a world of duality. Moreover, sometimes not getting what you want can turn out to be a blessing. If you get promoted and then suddenly find yourself involved in a scam that cheats the shareholders, you could face serious punishment afterwards. You were better off before the promotion.
Satyavrata Muni asks only for the vision of Damodara to remain in his heart. What is so special about this vision? It is of a darling young boy tied to a mortar in punishment. In that vision, the boy’s mother repeatedly kisses Him on the cheeks. He has a bluish complexion, with soft black hair encircling His face. Words cannot accurately describe the image; it is too beautiful for anyone seeing it to tell another about it properly.
What does that vision give? Why is it more valuable than thousands of other boons? It gives devotion. Why is devotion important? It is the lone source of true happiness. The spirit soul is thirsty for that devotion. Money, influence, strength, beauty, and intelligence do not come close to bringing that level of happiness. The association of friends and family brings a similar feeling, but the interactions are not pure. Relationships can break very easily. Say the wrong thing to your husband and he won’t talk to you. You’ll then worry that he is trying to find another wife. One day your child will grow up and leave home. They will think of their own family instead of you.
Those relationships come together through karma and they eventually dissipate through the same force. The vision of Damodara, however, stays for anyone who wants it. If you have it in your heart in this lifetime, you will get it again in a subsequent one. Time will not destroy your bhakti. Time operates at the order of Damodara. Time is the great destroyer, but against bhakti it is no match.
In front of Damodara the loving mother is helpless. She is bound by affection, and she makes ropes of that affection to bind Him as punishment for having broken a pot of yogurt. Damodara then binds the devotees who hear about this incident, since they can’t believe how kind He is in allowing mother Yashoda to do this. Then those devotees bind future generations with their artistic words of praise about the incident. In this way more and more fortunate souls find bhakti, which will never leave them when they truly want it.
Lakshmi is chanchala you should know,
Here today, but tomorrow she can go.
Therefore something better should request,
A boon to give lasting happiness, unlike the rest.
Satyavrata asks for an image in his heart to stay,
Where Krishna tied, to mother’s love giving way.
Whether high or low, this life or the next,
With sincerity, bhakti’s presence can expect.