By: H.H Jayapataka Swami
Now we are approaching that time of the year where we need to prepare for the Damodar Vrata Month. Once I asked Prabhupada whether we needed to do something special in this month. And he was saying that the month is specially to attract the new devotees, non-devotees. How?
Because the regular devotees, they are doing all the devotional services in all the months, therefore they get all the benefit.
I have been thinking about this and for the past many years we have been trying to give this opportunity to the non-devotees, to the new devotees to take advantage of the month of Damodar. In this way we can also reap many different blessings ourselves. Of course I was a Sannyasi living in Mayapur dham, so I was getting the benefit of living in Vrindavan in the month of Damodar but others may not have this same opportunity, so we are giving them the opportunity to chant Damodarashtakam. So in this way one can attract Krishna even if you don’t perform other rituals, similarly, by simply offering a lamp to Damodar we are giving the people an opportunity to get the mercy of the Lord.
So, like this the month of Damodar is described in the Padma Purana as being one hundred times more than the normal days, but, any activity offered on this month will bring a hundred times benefit. But that’s nothing compared to what some of the mercy one gets by performing the specific activities meant to satisfy Lord Damodara.
Lord Damodar unconquerable, but he was conquered by the love of His mother. This is the message that comes loud and clear from the Damodara month, that mother Yashoda tried to tie Lord Damodar thinking that He was her son. She didn’t realize that He is the unlimited Lord. And so she tried again and again to tie Him, but every time the rope was two fingers too short. So what did these two fingers mean? So one is the desire of a pure devotee and the second is the causeless mercy of the Supreme Lord. That Yashoda had a pure desire and when Krishna agreed He could be tied. That without Krishna’s assent, no one can tie Him. So He was conquered by love of His mother. That’s the message we get.
So this is an opportunity for people to get the mercy of the Lord. It is mentioned in the Hari Bhakti Vilas and Bhakti Rasamrta Sindu and many other places about the importance of following the Damodar month; offering a lamp, offering your prayers, offering your offerings to the Lord. these are some of the normal things we do.
Now what we’ve done is, we’ve marketed in such a way that we give pictures of Lord Damodar to the houses and get them to offer arati to Damodar during the Damodar month. We get them to give some prayers to Lord Damodar. In this way they are getting unlimited mercy; they may not realize it. So Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that those who are getting the people to involve, to engage in His devotional service, they are the most dear of all the devotees. So this is the way we can become very dear to Krishna; engaging everyone into devotional service in this month of Damodar. I remember one time we were in a city hall in Guayaquil of Equador and we had about three/four hundred people there for the program. So it was during the month of Damodar. So we had the picture of Damodar, we had a plate with sand in it and many candles. Of course we couldn’t offer a ghee lamp or sesame lamp, but anyway, we could light candles. So when we asked the people to offer their lamps to Damodar, although these people were basically from another religious background and they had no experience with the offering arati to Lord Damodar, but they lined up and one by one they all offered a lamp to Damodar and they were feeling so blissful by having done this service. So I had a personal experience how this service gives extreme bliss to the participants.
Of course in Mayapur, apart from the devotees, the visitors are all requested to come and thousands of visitors storm in that month and they also offer lamps, ghee wicks to the different deities, and to the picture of Radha and Yashoda and Damodar.
So this Damodar month is an unparalleled opportunity to get people to engage in devotional service in such a way they’ll never forget and they will never be forgotten by Krishna. So I hope that the devotees would take this up with full enthusiasm.
Our Uttama Caitanya Das from Kuala Lumpur, ISKCON in Malaysia, he had gradually built up this program; he collected many quotations from the different scriptures which tell how wonderful the month of Damodar is. So unfortunately for us, that he had to go back to Godhead very suddenly and, so we just hope now that in memory of his commitment to this Damodar month, we can also make it bigger and a more glorious affair, every year and think of new ways to engage the people in Krishna’s service. If we take the contacts from the different people who are engaged in the Damodar month, then it’s easy for us later to follow up and get them to be part of the congregation.
So in this way we are doing an out-reach program which is very simple, sublime and is very effective. So we do hope that everyone takes this up very seriously.
Thank you very much.
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE.