Mother Yasoda binds Lord Krishna
Once, seeing that her maidservant was engaged in different household work, mother Yashoda personally churned butter. While she churned butter, she sang the wonderful childhood pastimes of her son Krishna and relished thinking of Him. At that time Krishna appeared there and was hungry. He wanted her to stop churning the butter and feed Him first.
Mother Yashoda took her son on her lap and started feeding Him. While Krishna was sucking the milk, mother Yashoda smiled and enjoyed the beauty of Her child Krishna. Suddenly, the milk which was on the stove began to boil over. Just to stop the milk from spilling, mother Yashoda at once put Krishna aside and went to the stove. Left in that state by His mother, Krishna became very angry, and His lips and eyes became red in rage. He pressed His teeth and lips, and taking up a piece of stone, He immediately broke the butter pot. He took butter out of it, and with false tears in His eyes, He began to eat the butter in a secluded place.
In the meantime, mother Yashoda returned to the churning place after setting the overflowing milk pan in order. She saw the broken pot, in which the churned yogurt had been kept. Since she could not find her boy, she concluded that the broken pot was His work.
She smiled as she thought, “The child is very clever. After breaking the pot He has left this place, fearing punishment.” After she sought all over, she found her son sitting on a big wooden grinding mortar, which was kept upside down. He was taking butter from a pot which was hanging from the ceiling on a swing, and He was feeding it to the monkeys.
She saw Krishna looking this way and that way in fear of her because she was conscious of His naughty behavior. After seeing her son so engaged, she very silently approached Him from behind. Krishna, however, saw her coming toward Him with a stick in her hand, and He immediately got down from the grinding mortar and began to flee in fear. Mother Yashoda chased Him to all corners, trying to capture the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is never approached even by the meditations of great yogis. In other words, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, who is never caught by the yogis and speculators, was playing just like a little child for such a great devotee as mother Yashoda.
Mother Yashoda, however, could not easily catch the fast-running child because of her thin waist and heavy body. Still she tried to follow Him as fast as possible. Her hair loosened, and the flowers in her hair fell to the ground. Although she was tired, she somehow reached her naughty child and captured Him. When He was caught, Krishna was almost on the point of crying. He smeared His hands over His eyes, which were anointed with black eye cosmetics. The child saw His mother’s face while she stood over Him, and His eyes became restless from fear.
Seeing the child is too fearful of her, Mother Yashoda then threw away her stick. In order to punish Him, she thought to bind His hands with some ropes. But when she tried to bind Him, she found that the rope she was using was too short—by two inches. She gathered more ropes from the house and added to it, but still she found the same shortage. In this way, she connected all the ropes available at home, but when the final knot was added, she saw that the rope was still two inches too short. Mother Yashoda was smiling, but she was astonished. How was it happening?
In attempting to bind her son, she became tired. She was perspiring, and the garland on her head fell down. Then Lord Krishna appreciated the hard labor of His mother, and being compassionate upon her, He agreed to be bound up by the ropes. Krishna, playing as a human child in the house of mother Yashoda, was performing His own selected pastimes.
The pure devotee surrenders himself unto the lotus feet of the Lord, who may either protect or vanquish the devotee. But for his part, the devotee never forgets his own position of surrender. Similarly, the Lord also feels transcendental pleasure by submitting Himself to the protection of the devotee. This was exemplified by Krishna’s surrender unto His mother, Yashoda.
After binding her son, mother Yashoda engaged herself in household affairs. At that time, bound up to the wooden mortar, Krishna could see a pair of very tall trees before Him (which were known as arjuna trees) which He thought of pulling down.
In their previous lives, the trees were born as the human sons of Kuvera, and their names were Nalakuvara and Manigriva. Fortunately, they came within the vision of the Lord. In their previous lives they were cursed by the great sage Narada in order to receive the highest benediction of seeing Lord Krishna. This benediction-curse was bestowed upon them because of their forgetfulness due to intoxication.
As soon as He pulled, the two trees, with all their branches and limbs, fell down immediately with a great sound. Out of the broken, fallen trees came two great personalities, shining like blazing fire. All sides became illuminated and beautiful by their presence. The two purified personalities immediately came before child Krishna and bowed down to offer their respects and prayers. Hence, human sons of Kuvera, - Nalakuvara and Manigriva were delivered by Lord Sri Krishna.
Since that day, Kartik (Damodar) Maas is celebrated as month-long festival commemorating Damodara-lila, the sweet pastime of baby Krishna stealing butter and consequently being tied to a mortar by His dear mother Yashoda. In Sanskrit, “dama” means rope and “udara” means belly. Damodara refers to Krishna who was bound with a rope of affection by His mother Yashoda.