It was the morning of Deepavali. Yashoda had her oil bath, dressed in new clothes and ornaments and adorned her hair with fresh flowers and hurried to churn.
She had sent all of her servants away either on errands or on leave. That day she wanted to churn herself. For long she had heard complaints about her Kanha stealing butter from the neighbours maybe the servants at her home were not churning properly and so Kanha was stealing butter. She had seen to it that her choicest of cows had eaten the best of grass. And from the milk they gave, she had set curd the previous day and today she would churn herself for her Kanha.
As she churned, she sang the glories of her son, his beautiful face, of his footsteps tinkling with anklets, of how he had slain Puttana and so on.
She was not used to such hard labour. Beads of sweat broke through her forehead. Th flowers adorning her head were now all strewn here and there. Her combed hair were now all array. Her whole visage looked as if dark clouds had clouded on an otherwise sunny day and tiny droplets of water had started falling.
Hearing the sound of the glass bangles on her hand and her sweet songs, Kanha got up from his sleep and demanded to be held and fed.
Yashoda took him in her lap and lovingly started feeding him. Kanha kept looking at her and she stared at his beautiful face……
At that moment she heard the sound of milk about to boil over.
She put Kanha on the ground and said, ‘The milk, the milk…..’ and rushed off.
Kanha was angry, ‘How dare she leave me with my stomach only half-full’ and in his anger he took a stone and broke the churning pot.
But no, his anger had not yet abated and he looked for more mischief.
And so her ran to the other room where the previous day’s butter lay in a pot hanging from the ceiling. As he ran his feet stepped on the spilt curd and butter and he left a trail of white footprints to the other room.
There was a big mortar lying on the floor. He pushed it so it was just below the hanging pot and had butter to his heart’s content and if that was not enough, called upon the birds, the monkeys and the Gopas to have their fill.
Yashoda came to the churning room to see the mess and laughs. ‘So Kanha is angry that I left him hungry…but no he is becoming too impudent. I have to teach him a lesson.’ And so saying she picks up the churning stick and follows his white footprints.
And then what she sees, stuns her. Her Kanha is eating stale butter and if that is not enough has invited all of his friends too. ‘Kanha…you have had it today’, she screams and runs at him.
But Yashoda is a bit old and a little hefty. Kanha is young and agile.. He jumps from the the mortar and runs.. He runs across rooms, stairways, balcony, and the open ground just in front of their home when he glances back to his mother to check, how far she is. And then she sees the sweat on her brows and notices her heavy breathing. And out of intense love for her, he stops and allows to be caught by her. Who can catch the Supreme Lord? It is only the love of devotees like Yashoda which attracts him.
‘So here you are’, says Yashoda, ‘you have made me run quite a bit today and today for the first time I am going to beat you for your mischievousness’. As she raises the churning stick to beat him, Kanha starts crying. As tears flow down mixed with the kohl of his eyes, he looks so beautiful and adorable that Yashoda cannot beat him and throws away the stick.
‘The child is scared I cannot beat him and yet I have to teach him a lesson’ and she thinks of a plan.
‘Kanha, I will be back in a minute, don’t move’, she says.
She goes inside the house and returns with the big mortar and a rope. Kanha awaits patiently. And then Yashoda makes him stand in front of the mortar and tries to tie him to it with the rope but whats this …. the rope is two fingers short. So she brings another rope and ties the two ropes and again attempts to tie the Lord but then the rope is two fingers short. Again she adds some rope, again it is short. In no time all the rope in Nand Baba’s house and their neighbours are used up but still the rope is two fingers short.
How can we attain the Lord? By our constant endeavors and His mercy. That is what the Lord wanted to show to us with the rope always being short of two fingers.
And then He notices how tired his mother is and allows himself to be tied up and thus he got the name “Damodara”. For Dama in Sanskrit means Rope and Udara means the stomach.
Damodara Bhagvan ki Jai!!
For Vaishnavas a sacred month begins tomorrow-Damodar Month. The month when the Lord performed his Damodar Leela. It is said that the one who offer the ghee Lamp to the Lord in this month eradicates the sins of all his previous karmas and gains the love of the Lord.
What happens after the Lord is tied up to the mortar is matter for the next post. Stay tuned.
*first picture courtesy Google images. The rest courtesy Krishna.com