When Srila Prabhupada spontaneously bestowed diksha (initiation) upon me in response to my youthfully naive, persistent request - he gave me the spiritual name "Damodara dasa" after I'd told him my western name (Don) ...
I had recently replaced the fashionably thin leather belt I'd worn since school with a old, golden curtain cord tied around my waist, as a part of my "Hashbury" costume. First, pointing to my knotted rope-like "belt" Prabhupada told the story of the Binding of Lord Krishna, which goes something like this ...
Once upon a time, Mother Yashoda was churning butter. Lord Krishna, appearing as her child, came to her feeling hungry, and wanted Yashoda to stop churning so she could feed Him.
Taking Him on her lap, she began to feed Lord Krishna. Suddenly, the milk on the stove began to boil over.
When Yashoda put Him down to tend to the milk, Krishna became very angry, 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, Krishna began to eat the butter in a secluded place.
After taking care of the boiling milk, Mother Yashoda returned to the churning place. There, she discovered the broken butter pot.
She recognized this as the work of her child, and smiled, thinking, "Krishna is very clever. After breaking that pot, He has left this place, fearing punishment."
Searching for her son, she found a big wooden grinding mortar, Krishna perched on a big wooden grinding mortar. He was stealing butter out of a pot hanging from the ceiling, and feeding it to some monkeys.
Krsna was looking this and that way, in fear of Yashoda because He was aware of His naughty behavior. After seeing her son, she silently approached Him from behind, with a stick in her hand. Krishna, saw her coming, and immediately climbed down from the huge mortar to flee from His mother, in fear.
Mother Yashoda pursued Krishna everywhere, trying to capture the Him - Supreme Personality of Godhead ... Who is never approached even by the meditations of great yogis.
She could not easily catch the running child because of her thin waist and heavy body. Yet Yashoda tried to follow Him as fast as possible. Her hair loosened, and the flower in her hair fell to the ground. Although she was tired, she somehow reached her naughty son and captured Him.
Yashoda tried to restrain Krishna by binding Him by His waist to the grinding mortar with rope. But the rope was too short - by just 2 inches.
Gathering more ropes and tying more of them together, she found the same shortage of 2 inches. Eventually, Yashoda connected all the ropes she had, but when the final knot was tied, it was still 2 inches too short.
Mother Yashoda was smiling, but she was astonished.
How could this happen? ...
Eventually, because of His love for her - as both His mother and devotee - Krishna relented, and allowed Yashoda to bind Him by His adorable waist.
Srila Prabhupada told me that - during this lila ("divine play") - Lord Krishna is known as Damodara (dama meaning "rope" - and udara meaning "waist").
Pointing again to my knotted curtain cord belt, he firmly stated that my name is now Damodara dasa (dasa meaning "servant") ... which means that I am Lord Krishna's servant. "You are not God ... no!" he said. "You are a servant of God."
* The Hare Krishna Mantra *
* Hare Krishna in San Francisco, 1967 - VIDEOS *
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