Tuesday (October 19) saw a very special full moon, the Sharad Poornima, the celestial night when Lord Krishna had performed the Ras Leela in Vrindavan. It is said that the night lasted for as long as one Kalpa, which is equivalent to 4.32 billion years on earth. This was a very special night, for beyond what meets the eye, this was Krishna fulfilling the wishes of his most ardent devotees at a very esoteric level, as he split into as many forms as there were gopis, each one of them experiencing Krishna’s individual presence. The holy month of Kartik started immediately after Sharad Poornima, and this has special significance for all Krishna devotees.
In the Uttara Khanda of the Padma Purana, Lord Krishna states that the month of Kartik is his favourite month. It is also believed to represent Shrimati Radha Rani, who is most dear to Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna performed one of his most allegorical pastimes during the month of Kartik, interestingly enough on the day of Deepawali. Mother Yashoda was churning butter, and little Krishna, who was hungry, crawled up to her, pleading with her to be fed. She picked him up and started to feed him, only to realise that she had left milk on the fire, which was spilling over. She put Krishna down gently and rushed to take the milk off the fire, but little Krishna was left fuming as he bit his lips, putting up an act of feeling ignored.
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He decided to start eating up the fresh butter that she was churning and then went on to start feasting on the other pots that she had stored. When she came back, she found him missing and started to follow his little buttermilk footprints only to find him in the middle of broken upturned pots. There he was feeding the monkeys butter. She was half-amused, but she had also had enough with his tricks, and she thought it was important to teach him a lesson, with constant complaints from the gopis. She started chasing after him, and he began to crawl-run, trying to get away, but she finally caught him, telling him this time she would bind him with a rope to prevent him from getting into trouble.
She found a soft rope and started to tie it around his little belly, but no matter how much she tried, she was always two fingers short, despite adding lengths of rope. In desperation, she gave up, tears welling up, complaining that she didn’t know what to do with her naughty Krishna. Seeing his mother submit, Krishna’s heart melted, and he asked her to tie him up, and this time she was able to. We are very much like Mother Yashoda in our pursuit to get close to God. Sometimes no matter how much we try, nothing works.
The two fingers have a profound meaning, the first finger representing our enthusiasm to serve Krishna and our sense of surrender. The second finger represents Krishna’s mercy, for without this, no matter how much we try, nothing would work. The month of Kartik is a very special time to start or supercharge your spiritual journey, deepen your devotion and invoke his blessings through offering a ghee-lamp and singing the Damodarastakam, which narrates the tale of this beautiful pastime and is very dear to him. Hare Krishna!
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