Knowing the Leela’s of the Lord
The month of Kartik is very dear to Lord Krishna as many of his leelas were enacted during this month, including the Damodara leela, the Govardhana Leela and the Rasa Leela. These leelas are described in the Shreemad Bhagavatam. The Bhagavatam is not just a book. It reveals the highest and most intimate relationship we can have with God. It is a portal to reveal devotion. Because of this it is seen as the Lord Himself. Each sloka of the Bhagavatam was written for the welfare and good of humanity. It is said that whoever listens to the Bhagavatam is cleansed from misery, will be successful in spiritual and material goals, becomes blissful and attains perfection.
One day Yashoda, Krishna’s mother, was churning the curds for butter. Whilst she was engaged in this, suddenly Krishna came to her hungry. Yashoda gathered Him in her arms, put Him on her lap, and started to feed Him. Suddenly, Yashoda heard the milk boiling over on the fire. She placed Krishna on the ground, and ran to rescue the milk. Yashoda had found something more important than focusing on Krishna! In His anger at Yashoda deserting him, Krishna grabbed the churner and hit the pot containing the curds. The pot shattered, and the curds and butter gushed out onto the floor. He scooped up a large helping of butter, and ran to hide on top of a mortar, where He sat devouring the butter.
Yashoda returned to find the pot broken, and the floor a mess. Krishna was nowhere to be seen, and Yashoda started looking for Him. She found Him on the mortar, and approached Him quietly from behind. Krishna noticed her, and ran away, as though in fear, and Yashoda chased Him.
Soon, Krishna felt sorry for her and allowed her to catch Him. She scolded Him and threatened to beat Him. Krishna appeared scared, and although Yashoda wanted to comfort Him she felt the need to be firm. Instead of beating Him, she decided she would tie Him to the mortar.
She found the longest piece of rope should could and, placing Krishna next to the mortar, attempted to tie Him up, winding the rope around Him and the mortar. When she tried to tie a knot, she found that the rope was too short. So she attached another piece of rope and wound it around Him. Again, she found the rope was too short. She added a further piece of rope, but once again it was not long enough. Thus she exhausted all the rope in the house, but still she couldn’t tie Krishna up: she was trying to tie up the One who cannot be bound. A crowd gathered to watch. She was desperate.
Eventually, Krishna took pity on her and allowed Himself to be bound. Not even the gods could attain this much grace, as the only rope that can bind the Lord is one of love. Yashoda bound Him then with ease, and went back inside to finish her chores.
Deeper meaning of the Damodhara Leela
This story shows how one has to chase the Lord. He gives the devotees problems and worries, so that their mind never wanders, and they only think of Him. When Yashoda’s mind was distracted by the milk, Krishna gave her more problems! Those who surrender don’t care. Saints have a lot of pain in their lives, but they are not disturbed by this pain; their minds are fully focused on the Lord.
Surdas explains the case of the milk boiling over wonderfully: “to get the attention of the Lord, the milk boiled. As the milk didn’t get His attention, the particles couldn’t see the point of living, causing the milk to overflow and commit suicide in the fire.” All living things long for the Lord: even every atom, every cell, longs for the Lord. Surdas continues: “O Yashoda, only for a few drops of milk, you forsake the ocean of bliss.” Likewise, for the sake of petty worldly things, people let go of God. In this Damodhara Leela, Krishna decided to teach Yashoda a lesson for dismissing Him, by causing havoc, thinking “now I will bring your attention to Me, so that you can have single-pointed devotion”. This is the nature of Bhagavan – when He blesses His devotee, He is ready to give Himself fully. But He makes His bhakta also become fully devoted to Him, by removing all obstacles that stand in the way.
Even the great sages who look for the Lord can’t find Him. Yashoda, who symbolises single-pointed devotion, found Krishna hiding on the mortar. In the same way, those who have single pointed devotion will find Krishna seated deep within their hearts.
Yashoda managed to catch Krishna after He ran away. Even the great yogis cannot catch Him, yet Yashoda had a special weapon: her love. When a bhakta runs towards the Lord in such a way, the Lord doesn’t have any choice but to surrender. Kartik is the month where Krishna becomes that much more available, just as He could be bound, we have the chance to bind Him.
Celebrate Kartik Night with us in Southall, London
When: Saturday 27 October from 5pm to 12pm (doors open at 4pm)
Where: SSPC Southall, Drill Hall, Featherstone Road, Southall, UB2 5AQ
Visit Shree Peetha Nilaya
So you love the picture at the top and wonder where it is from? This is one of over 100 glorious murals that were painted by Bhakti Marga Artists at the Bhutabhrteshwarnath Mandir, which is based at Bhakti Marga International’s headquarters – the Shree Peetha Nilaya Ashram near Frankfurt, Germany.
If you are interested in going there in person and wish to travel with others from the UK, then let us know here and we’ll get back to you.