Dhanurdhara Swami November 6th, 2000
?O Lord, although You are able to give all kinds of benedictions, I do not pray to you for liberation, nor eternal life in Vaikuntha, nor any other boon. My only prayer is that your childhood pastimes may constantly appear in my mind. O Lord, I don’t even want to know Your feature of Paramatma. I simply wish that your childhood pastimes may ever be enacted in my heart.? (Damodarastakam 5)
When one has devotion he does not perform devotional service with the mindset that he has to attain something else by it, nor that he will accrue some benefit for doing it. His consciousness will be that now Krishna should be pleased by my activity. One should therefore chant because Krishna is pleased by our glorification, or at least that our chanting will purify us, and thus one day Krishna will be pleased by our devotion. The gopis do not chant on beads, but they chant Hare Krishna for the pleasure of Krishna. Our chanting should be done sweetly for the Lord’s pleasure.
If one is chants the Damodarastakam properly, it will express and nourish one’s own aspiration for devotional service. I am very attached to the intimate ceremony here. One should take advantage of kartika by simply offering the Lord these sublime prayers, wherever one might live.
Without bhakti, devotional service can even feel burdensome?like working for someone you have no relationship with and without recompense. That same service done with bhakti is the deepest pleasure of the heart, like doing humble service for one’s most beloved.
Without at least some austerity, however, it will be difficult to get bhakti and devotional service will remain a burden. Even singing these simple prayers and
offering a lamp to the Deity, a moderate vow for kartika, can bring some devotion to our hearts and make our devotional service easier. Who will not avail himself of such an opportunity?
“As indicated in the Padma Purana, this practice is extremely powerful, especially when performed in Vrindaban. In his commentary, Jiva Goswami says that if one performs kartika-vrata in Vrindaban, even without devotion, the Lord will very easily offer his personal service.” (Waves of Devotion, p.93)
His Holiness Giriraja Swami once told me?though I forget his reference?that kartika is like a sale for bhakti. What is usually sold at a very high personal price, bhakti, is given away cheaply during kartika for a relatively minimal effort.