This is the month of devotion and prayers; this is the most special month of Kartik, when Krishna performed delightful and amazing pastimes in Vrindavan.
Devotees happily remember Krishna’s childhood pastimes, and especially His Damodar lila, where He allowed His mother Yashoda to bind Him to a grinding mortar. This is probably the only pastime of Krishna that is sung and glorified twice daily for the whole month. Devotees offer a small lamp reverentially, as the song glorifying this pastime is sung in all ISKCON temples. Devotees remember how the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is unapproachable for all the great scholars and yogis is bound by a simple cowherd woman, for the Lord is conquered only by pure devotion, and not by any material powers or abilities.
As a small child, Krishna performed many mischievous activities that brought great joy to the hearts of His devotees in Vrindavan. Once He broke many butter pots, and made a mess at his house. He also profusely distributed the butter to His friends and monkeys. Mother Yashoda to teach her son a lesson picked up a stick to scare Him to submission. Little Krishna, whom fear personified is fearful of, began running in fear of mother Yashoda, and eventually she caught Him. This incident has astonished the greatest devotees and philosophers; how amazing the Supreme Lord is that He agrees to be caught by a pure hearted, simple devotee when the whole creation is a mere plaything for Him. This astounding sweetness of Krishna bewilders the non-devotees but astonishes the devotees who out of boundless joy celebrate the event the whole month.
Then another interesting event happened; after mother Yashoda caught Krishna, she tried binding Him to a grinding mortar so that he could be prevented from making further mischief. She used silken ropes to tie Krishna but the rope fell two fingers too short. She then fetched more ropes, but despite getting a large quantity of ropes and Krishna’s belly refused to grow, yet the ropes fell two fingers short. It was a beautiful rope festival as all ropes of Vrindavan were collected to bind Krishna to the grinding mortar. Finally, being pleased by mother Yashoda’s endeavour, Krishna agreed to be tied to the mortar.
The ‘two finger too short’ lesson has inspired spiritual practitioners for hundreds of years. One finger represents a devotee’s sincere endeavour to get Krishna’s blessing, and the other represents Krishna’s causeless mercy. We can only try our best, and independent of our effort, when Krishna decides to bestow His blessing, we’d become the most fortunate. Till then like mother Yashoda, we keep endeavouring.
Therefore all our efforts in Krishna consciousness are simply to attract this grace of Krishna. We can never conquer Krishna by our day long chanting or herculean services. We can only offer them to Krishna as a sincere effort to attract His grace. All our hard work and dedication is useless if we are not pleasing Krishna by it. On the other hand if we are humble, and sincere in our efforts, then like mother Yashoda, we too could bind Krishna in our hearts.
The goal of a Hare Krishna chanter is to somehow arrest Krishna in the prison of our hearts. We also want to bind Him and remember Him always, so that as we leave our bodies, we are ready to go back to our eternal home, the abode of Lord Krishna, Shri Vrindavan dham.
So let’s make the best use of this month of Kartik to increase our remembrance of Krishna, and let’s try to please Him by our devotional service.