Say Damodar Ashtakam daily in the month of Karthik to Lord Damodara. This is a prayer which beautifully describes the Damodara Lila of Lord Krishna.

Sri Damodarashtaka : found in the Padma Purana of Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa,
spoken by Satyavrata Muni in a conversation with Narada Muni and Saunaka Rishi

Eight verses in Praise of Lord Krishna in His form as Damodara

Verse 1

namamisvaram sac-cid-ananda-rupam
lasat-kundalam gokule bhrajamanam
yasoda-bhiyolukalad-dhavamanam
paramrstam atyantato drutya gopya

Meaning : “I bow down to the supreme controller, Sri Damodara, whose form is the embodiment of eternity, knowledge, and bliss. His glistening earrings swing playfully to and fro upon His cheeks. He manifests super-excellent pastimes in Gokula, stealing fresh butter suspended from the rafters of the gopis’ storerooms. In fear of Mother Yasoda, He jumps down from a wooden grinding mortar and quickly runs away. She runs swiftly after Him and finally catches Him from behind.”

Satyavrata Muni begins with the offering of obeisances (namami) as an auspicious invocation, mangalacarana. He invokes the mercy of Lord Damodara to empower him to offer this prayer by the word isvara, the supreme controller.

Verse 2

rudantam muhur netra-yugmam mrjantam
karambhoja-yugmena satanka-netram
muhuh svasa-kampa-tri-rekhanka-kantha-
sthita-graivam damodaram bhakti-baddham

Meaning : “He cries and rubs His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes are fearful and His breathing quick. As Mother Yasoda binds His belly with ropes, He shivers in fright and the pearl necklace shakes upon His neck, which is marked with three lines like a conch shell. To the Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, whose belly is bound by His mother’s pure love, not by rope, I offer my humble obeisances.”

Verse 3

itidrk-sva-lilabhir ananda-kunde
sva-ghosam nimajjantam akhyapayan
tamtadiyesita-jnesu bhaktair jitatvam
punah prematas tam satavrtti vande

“O my Lord, by Your own childhood pastimes, You continually immerse the residents of Gokula in pools of ecstasy. You reveal to those who are attracted to Your majesty and opulence, that You are only conquered by the love of Your pure devotees. Again I offer my obeisances with love and devotion hundreds and hundreds of times.”

Verse 4

varam deva moksam na moksavadhim va
na canyam vrne ’ham varesad apiha
idam te vapur natha gopala-balam
sada me manasy avirastam kim anyaih

“O Lord Damodara, although You are able to give all kinds of benedictions, I do not pray to You for liberation, nor the supreme goal of eternal life in Vaikuntha, nor for any other boon. My only desire, O Lord, is that Your form as Bala Gopal in Vrndavana may constantly remain in my heart. I have no use for any other boon besides this.”

Verse 5

idam te mukhambhojam atyanta-nilair-
vrtam kuntalaih snigdha-raktais ca gopya
muhus cumbitam bimba-raktadharam me
manasy avirastam alam laksa-labhaih

“Your supremely enchanting face, encircled by shining locks of dark blue curling hair, resembles the fully blossomed lotus, tinged with a reddish luster, due to being kissed again and again by Mother Yasoda. May this vision of Your lotus face, with lips as red as bimba fruit, remain forever in my heart. Millions of other benedictions are of no benefit to me.”

Verse 6

namo deva damodarananta visno
prasida prabho duhkha-jalabdhi-magnam
krpa-drsti-vrstyati-dinam batanu-
grhanesa mam ajnam edhy aksi-drsyah

“O Damodara! O Lord of divine beauty and unlimited mercy! O all pervading Visnu! I offer my obeisances unto You. May You be pleased with me. I am drowning in an ocean of sorrow and feeling almost dead. Shower Your nectar laden glances upon me, thereby uplifting me and enthusing me with life. Please accept me, O Lord, and become visible before my eyes.”

Verse 7

kuveratmajau baddha-murtyaiva yad-vat
tvaya mocitau bhakti-bhajau krtau ca
tatha prema-bhaktim svakam me prayaccha
na mokse graho me ‘sti damodareha

“O Lord Damodara, although Mother Yasoda bound Your divine form to a wooden grinding mortar, You mercifully delivered the sons of Kuvera, Manigriva and Nalakuvara, who were cursed to stand as trees, and You gave them the gift of devotional service. Please bless me in this same way with Your most wonderful prema bhakti. I have no eagerness for any other type of liberation.”

Verse 8

namas te ‘stu damne sphurad dipti-dhamne
tvadiyodarayatha visvasya dhamne
namo radhikayai tvadiya priyayai
namo ‘nanta-lilaya devaya tubhyam

“O Lord, I offer respectful obeisances unto Your belly, the abode of the entire universe, which is bound by Mother Yasoda with a brilliantly effulgent rope. To this rope I offer my humble obeisances. I offer repeated obeisances to Your dearmost beloved Srimati Radharani, and I bow before You, who are performing unlimited super-excellent pastimes.”

This song describes Krishna’s early childhood pastime of running from His mother when she tried to punish Him for stealing butter from the gopis, the cowherd women of Vrindavan.

For this special month of Karttika, devotees around the world sing these prayers every day. Each verse describes various exceptional qualities or features of Krishna. Sing along with the lyrics below, which include the English translations.

श्री दामोदराष्टकं

नमामीश्वरं सच्-चिद्-आनन्द-रूपं
लसत्-कुण्डलं गोकुले भ्राजमनम्
यशोदा-भियोलूखलाद् धावमानं
परामृष्टम् अत्यन्ततो द्रुत्य गोप्या ॥ १॥

namāmīśvaraṁ sac-cid-ānanda-rūpaṁ
lasat-kuṇḍalaṁ gokule bhrājamanam
yaśodā-bhiyolūkhalād dhāvamānaṁ
parāmṛṣṭam atyantato drutya gopyā ॥ 1॥

रुदन्तं मुहुर् नेत्र-युग्मं मृजन्तम्
कराम्भोज-युग्मेन सातङ्क-नेत्रम्
मुहुः श्वास-कम्प-त्रिरेखाङ्क-कण्ठ
स्थित-ग्रैवं दामोदरं भक्ति-बद्धम् ॥ २॥

rudantaṁ muhur netra-yugmaṁ mṛjantam
karāmbhoja-yugmena sātaṅka-netram
muhuḥ śvāsa-kampa-trirekhāṅka-kaṇṭha
sthita-graivaṁ dāmodaraṁ bhakti-baddham ॥ 2॥

इतीदृक् स्व-लीलाभिर् आनन्द-कुण्डे
स्व-घोषं निमज्जन्तम् आख्यापयन्तम्
तदीयेषित-ज्ञेषु भक्तैर् जितत्वं
पुनः प्रेमतस् तं शतावृत्ति वन्दे ॥ ३॥

itīdṛk sva-līlābhir ānanda-kuṇḍe
sva-ghoṣaṁ nimajjantam ākhyāpayantam
tadīyeṣita-jñeṣu bhaktair jitatvaṁ
punaḥ prematas taṁ śatāvṛtti vande ॥ 3॥

वरं देव मोक्षं न मोक्षावधिं वा
न चन्यं वृणे ‘हं वरेषाद् अपीह
इदं ते वपुर् नाथ गोपाल-बालं
सदा मे मनस्य् आविरास्तां किम् अन्यैः ॥ ४॥

varaṁ deva mokṣaṁ na mokṣāvadhiṁ vā
na canyaṁ vṛṇe ‘haṁ vareṣād apīha
idaṁ te vapur nātha gopāla-bālaṁ
sadā me manasy āvirāstāṁ kim anyaiḥ ॥ 4॥

इदं ते मुखाम्भोजम् अत्यन्त-नीलैर्
वृतं कुन्तलैः स्निग्ध-रक्तैश् च गोप्या
मुहुश् चुम्बितं बिम्ब-रक्ताधरं मे
मनस्य् आविरास्ताम् अलं लक्ष-लाभैः ॥ ५॥

idaṁ te mukhāmbhojam atyanta-nīlair
vṛtaḿ kuntalaiḥ snigdha-raktaiś ca gopyā
muhuś cumbitaṁ bimba-raktādharaṁ me
manasy āvirāstām alaṁ lakṣa-lābhaiḥ ॥ 5॥

नमो देव दामोदरानन्त विष्णो
प्रसीद प्रभो दुःख-जालाब्धि-मग्नम्
कृपा-दृष्टि-वृष्ट्याति-दीनं बतानु
गृहाणेष माम् अज्ञम् एध्य् अक्षि-दृश्यः ॥ ६॥

namo deva dāmodarānanta viṣṇo
prasīda prabho duḥkha-jālābdhi-magnam
kṛpā-dṛṣṭi-vṛṣṭyāti-dīnaṁ batānu
gṛhāṇeṣa mām ajñam edhy akṣi-dṛśyaḥ ॥ 6॥

कुवेरात्मजौ बद्ध-मूर्त्यैव यद्वत्
त्वया मोचितौ भक्ति-भाजौ कृतौ च
तथा प्रेम-भक्तिं स्वकां मे प्रयच्छ
न मोक्षे ग्रहो मे ‘स्ति दामोदरेह ॥ ७॥

kuverātmajau baddha-mūrtyaiva yadvat
tvayā mocitau bhakti-bhājau kṛtau ca
tathā prema-bhaktiṁ svakāṁ me prayaccha
na mokṣe graho me ‘sti dāmodareha ॥ 7॥

नमस् ते ‘स्तु दाम्ने स्फुरद्-दीप्ति-धाम्ने
त्वदीयोदरायाथ विश्वस्य धाम्ने
नमो राधिकायै त्वदीय-प्रियायै
नमो ‘नन्त-लीलाय देवाय तुभ्यम् ॥ ८॥

namas te ‘stu dāmne sphurad-dīpti-dhāmne
tvadīyodarāyātha viśvasya dhāmne
namo rādhikāyai tvadīya-priyāyai
namo ‘nanta-līlāya devāya tubhyam ॥ 8॥

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