This song describes Krishna's early childhood pastime of running from His mother when she tried to chastise Him for stealing butter. During the month of Kartika, devotees around the world sing this prayer each day while offering ghee lamps or candles to Krishna. Each verse describes various qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who, in this pastime, appears as a child and allows Himself to be captured by the love of His devotees.
namāmīśvaram sac-cid-ānanda-rūpam lasat-kuṇḍalam gokule bhrājamanam yaśodā-bhiyolūkhalād dhāvamānam parāmṛṣṭam atyantato drutya gopyā
To the supreme controller, who possesses an eternal form of blissful knowledge, whose glistening earrings swing to and fro, who manifested Himself in Gokula, who stole the butter that the gopis kept hanging from the rafters of their storerooms and who then quickly jumped up and ran in retreat in fear of Mother Yasoda but was ultimately caught - to that Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, I offer my humble obeisances.
rudantam muhur netra-yugmam mṛjantam karāmbhoja-yugmena sātańka-netram muhuḥ śvāsa-kampa-trirekhāńka-kaṇṭha- sthita-graivam dāmodaram bhakti-baddham
Upon seeing His mother's whipping stick, He cried and rubbed His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes were fearful and His breathing quick, and as Mother Yasoda bound His belly with ropes, He shivered in fright and His pearl necklace shook. To this Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, I offer my humble obeisances.
itīdṛk sva-līlābhir ānanda-kuṇḍe sva-ghoṣam nimajjantam ākhyāpayantam tadīyeṣita-jñeṣu bhaktair jitatvam punaḥ prematas tam śatāvṛtti vande
Those superexcellent pastimes of Lord Krishna's babyhood drowned the inhabitants of Gokula in pools of ecstasy. To the devotees who are attracted only to His majestic aspect of Narayana in Vaikuntha, the Lord herein reveals: “I am conquered and overwhelmed by pure loving devotion.” To the Supreme Lord, Damodara, my obeisances hundreds and hundreds of times.
varam deva mokṣam na mokṣāvadhim vā na canyam vṛṇe ‘ham vareṣād apīha idam te vapur nātha gopāla-bālam sadā me manasy āvirāstām kim anyaiḥ
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 do not even want to know your feature of Paramatma. I simply wish that Your childhood pastimes may ever be enacted in my heart.
idam te mukhāmbhojam atyanta-nīlair vṛtam kuntalaiḥ snigdha-raktaiś ca gopyā muhuś cumbitam bimba-raktādharam me manasy āvirāstām alam lakṣa-lābhaiḥ
O Lord, the cheeks of Your blackish lotus face, which is encircled by locks of curling hair, have become reddened like bimba fruits due to Mother Yasoda's kisses. What more can I describe than this? Millions of opulences are of no use to me, but may this vision constantly remain in my mind.
namo deva dāmodarānanta viṣṇo prasīda prabho duḥkha-jālābdhi-magnam kṛpā-dṛṣṭi-vṛṣṭyāti-dīnam batānu gṛhāṇeṣa mām ajñam edhy akṣi-dṛśyaḥ
O unlimited Vishnu! O master! O Lord! Be pleased upon me! I am drowning in an ocean of sorrow and am almost like a dead man. Please shower the rain of mercy on me; uplift me and protect me with Your nectarean vision.
kuverātmajau baddha-mūrtyaiva yadvat tvayā mocitau bhakti-bhājau kṛtau ca tathā prema-bhaktim svakām me prayaccha na mokṣe graho me ‘sti dāmodareha
O Lord Damodara, in Your form as a baby Mother Yasoda bound You to a grinding stone with a rope for tying cows. You then freed the sons of Kuvera, Manigriva and Nalakuvara, who were cursed to stand as trees and You gave them the chance to become Your devotees. Please bless me in this same way. I have no desire for liberation into Your effulgence.
namas te 'stu dāmne sphurad-dīpti-dhāmne tvadīyodarāyātha viśvasya dhāmne namo rādhikāyai tvadīya-priyāyai namo 'nanta-līlāya devāya tubhyam
O Lord, the entire universe was created by Lord Brahma, who was born from Your abdomen, which was bound with a rope by Mother Yasoda. To this rope I offer my humble obeisances. I offer my obeisances to Your most beloved Srimati Radharani and to Your unlimited pastimes.