O Lord Kṛṣṇa, Viṣṇu, enemy of the Madhu and Kaiṭabha demons; O Supreme Personality of Godhead, enemy of Mura, merciful upon the devotees; O Keśava, Lord of the worlds, Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava, please deliver me.
Though desiring to sell milk, dahī, butter, etc., the mind of a young gopī was so absorbed in the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa that instead of calling out "Milk for sale," she bewilderedly said, "Govinda!", Dāmodara!", and "Mādhava!"
The younger brother of Balarāma, playing mischieviously, was dodging about her with restless eyes. Taking a ball of fresh butter to lure Him over, a gopī called Him: "O Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava . . ."
विचित्र-वर्णाभरणाभिरामेऽ- -भिधेहिऽवक्त्राम्बुज-राजहंसे सदा मदीये रसनेऽग्र-रङ्गे गोविन्द दामोदर माधवेति ।। (९)
O my tongue, since my mouth has become like a lotus by dint of the presence there of these eloquent, ornamental, delightful syllables, you are like the swan that plays there. As your foremost pleasure, always articulate the names, "Govinda," "Dāmodara," and "Mādhava."
The one and only Lord of Lakṣmīdevī, as an inconspicuous little cowherd baby, was seated in the lap of mother Yaśodā, drinking her breast-milk. Merged in bliss, she addressed Him as "Govinda," "Dāmodara," and "Mādhava."
In His own courtyard, Kṛsṇa was carelessly playing with a bracelet. So the gopī took a ball of butter to Him, and shutting His eyes with her palm, she distracted Him, "O Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava . . .(Guess what I have for you!)"
(17) jagdho ‘tha datto navanīta-piṇḍo gṛhe yaśodā vicikitsayantī uvāca satyaṁ vada he murāre govinda dāmodara mādhaveti
Having churned and then set aside a fresh lump of butter in the house, mother Yaśodā was now suspicious–it had been eaten. She said, "Hey–Murāri! Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava, now tell me the truth . . ."
Having finished worship at home, a young gopī, (like) a strong current of love for Kṛṣṇa, churned the butter, and then joins together with all the gopīs and their friends and they sing, "Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava!"
(Without having even bathed or eaten,) Kṛṣṇa was absorbed in play. Overwhelmed with affection, mother Yaśodā, who thought only of her son’s welfare, called out, "Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava! (Come, take your bath and eat something.)"
Devaṛṣi Nārada and other Munis are always surrendered to Lord Viṣṇu, who rests upon His couch. They always chant the names of "Govinda," "Dāmodara," and "Mādhava," and thus they attain spiritual forms similar to His.
विहाय निद्राम् अरुणोदये च विधाय कृत्यानि च विप्रमुख्याः वेदावसाने प्रपठन्ति नित्यं गोविन्द दामोदर माधवेति ।। (२२)
(22) vihāya nidrām aruṇodaye ca vidhāya kṛtyāni ca vipramukhyāḥ vedāvasāne prapaṭhanti nityaṁ govinda dāmodara mādhaveti
After giving up sleep at dawn, having completed their ritualistic duties, and at the end of their Vedic chanting, the best of the learned brāhmaṇas always loudly chant, "Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava!"
"After speaking these words, the ladies of Vraja, who were so attached to Kṛṣṇa, felt extremely agitated by their imminent separation from Him. They forgot all worldly shame and loudly cried out,’O Govinda! O Dāmodara! O Mādhava!’"
Sometimes a gopī is engaged in teaching a parrot within a jewelled cage to recite names like: "Ānanda-kanda" (source of bliss), "Vraja-candra" (moon of Vraja), "Kṛṣṇa," "Govinda," "Dāmodara," and "Mādhava."
In the early morning a group of His favorite cowherd boys arrived, stick-canes in hand, to take care of the cows. They addressed the unlimited, primeval Personality of Godhead, "Hey, Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava!"
Seeing the Lord of the Yadus proceeding towards Mathurā upon Akrūra’s chariot, the cowherd boys, upon realization of their impending separation, said, "O Govinda! Dāmodara, Mādhava! (Where are you going? Are You actually leaving us now?)
Thinking that Kṛṣṇa was in the forest, a gopī fled into the forest in the middle of night. But seeing that Kṛṣṇa wasn’t actually there, she became very fearful, and cried, "Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava!"
(38) sukhaṁ śayānā nilaye nije ‘pi nāmāni viṣṇoḥ pravadanti martyāḥ te niścitaṁ tanmayatāṁ vrajanti govinda dāmodara mādhaveti
Even the ordinary mortals comfortably seated at home who chant the names of Viṣṇu, "Govinda, Dāmodara," and "Mādhava," certainly attain (at least) the liberation of having a form similar to that of the Lord.
O my tongue, you are fond of sweet things and are of discriminating taste; I tell you the highest truth, which is also the most beneficial. Please just recite these sweet syllables: "Govinda," "Dāmodara," and "Mādhava."
The knowers of the Vedas say that this is the cure-all of the worst diseases of mankind, and that this is the seed of the destruction of the threefold miseries of material existence–"Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava!"
"O Lord Viṣṇu, be gracious! Lord of the Raghu clan, cause of the happiness and distress of gods and demons alike, O Govinda, Dāmoadara, Mādhava!" Thus Sītā cried, (by the time she had been carried) over the middle of the ocean.
Accepting Durvāsa Muni’s request (that she feed his thousands of disciples, even though she hadn’t the means to do this) Draupadī mentally called out to the Lord within, the Lord of a forest dweller (like her), and she said, "Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava!"
ध्येयः सदा योगिभिरप्रमेयः चिन्ता-हरश्चिन्तित-पारिजातः कस्तूरिका-कल्पित-नील-वर्णो गोविन्द दामोदर माधवेति ।। (४९)
He is always meditated upon by the yogīs as being inscrutable. He is the remover of all anxieties, and is the desire-tree of all that is desireable. His bluish complexion is as attractive as Kastūrikā. Govinda! Dāmodara! Mādhava!
I am fallen into the deep, dark well of material life, which is full of illusion and blind ignorance, and I am tormented by sensual existence. O my Lord, Viṣṇu, Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava, please grant me Your supporting hand to uplift me.
O my tongue, O knower of rasa, for release from the hellish bondage of material existence, just worship the charming, easily obtainable mantra that is chanted by Vedavyāsa and other sages: "Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava!"
(56) sukhāvasāne tv idam eva sāraṁ duḥkhāvasāne tv idam eva geyam dehāvasāne tv idam eva jāpyaṁ govinda dāmodara mādhaveti
This indeed is the essence (found) upon ceasing the affairs of mundane happiness. And this too is to be sung after the cessation of all sufferings. This alone is to be chanted at the time of death of one’s material body–"Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava!"
Somehow or other accepting the unavoidable command of Duḥśāsana, Draupadī, like a frightened doe, entered the assembly of princes and within her mind cried out to the Lord, "Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava!"
श्री कृष्ण राधावर गोकुलेश गोपाल गोवर्धन-नाथ विष्णो जिह्वे पिबस्वामृतमेतदेव गोविन्द दामोदर माधवेति ।। (५८)
(65) dharābharottāraṇa-gopa-veśa vihāra-līlā-kṛta-bandhu-śeṣa jihve pibasvāmṛtam etad eva govinda dāmodara mādhaveti
"O uplifter of the earth’s burdens in the guise of a cowherd boy, Lord of sportive pastimes in which Ananta-śeṣa has become Your brother! O Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava!" O my tongue, just drink this nectar.
"O Rāmacandra, O life and soul of the beautiful daughter of Janaka Mahārāja, enemy of the night-roving demons, O elder brother of Bhārata!" O my tongue, just drink this nectar–"Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava!"
Thus the Śrī Govinda Dāmodara Stotram composed by Śrī Bilvamaṅgalācārya is completed.
Śrī Govinda Dāmodara Stotraṁ
This Stotra has been composed by Sri Bilvamangala Thakura, who is also known as Lila Sukha. - Bilvamangala, as recorded in the scriptures, was a great Vaishnava devotee that blinded himself due to feeling lust for a prostitute women, and went to Vrindavan, where he performed devotional austerities on the bank of Brahma kunda (close to present day Ranganath temple, also not far from Radha Govinda mandir) - he also wrote other great works like Sri Krishna Karnamrita, that Lord Caitanya recovered from South India a long with Brahma Samhita.
The Govinda-Damodhara Stotram is the ecstatic outpouring of pure unalloyed Bhakti to Lord Krishna. Bilvamangala Thakura pictures in his prayer all the devotees of Lord Krishna, sharing his ecstasy. Intoxicated by Krishnas names, they do not talk of anything else under all circumstances, despite any situation they are in.
Any sincere devotee reading this stotara with pure heart, will also become intoxicated by the name of Lord Krishna!
Many Vaishnavas chant this beautiful prayer and remember the last Verse: "Even though anyone is able to chant, still no one does. Alas! How determined people are for their own undoing! O tongue, just drink the nectar of these names – "Govinda, Damodara, Madhava!"
Srila Prabhupada recounted the story of Bilvamangala Thakura in his room conversation with Allen Ginsberg in Columbus, Ohio - May 13, 1969 and also in the book "Teachings of Lord Kapila Deva" Chapter 14, Text 32:
"This is the experience of Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura, who was a very rich South Indian brāhmaṇa. Due to bad association, Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura became a very staunch prostitute hunter, and he spent all his money on a prostitute named Cintāmaṇi. One night, during a terrible rainstorm, Bilvamaṅgala went to see Cintāmaṇi, but the prostitute was thinking, “Surely tonight Bilvamaṅgala will not come. This is a terrible storm.” Nonetheless, Bilvamaṅgala came, despite all difficulties. Somehow he managed to cross the raging river, and when he saw the gates of Cintāmaṇi’s house closed, he somehow managed to jump over them. Despite all the dangers, he reached Cintāmaṇi’s house, and the prostitute, being very astonished, said, “How is it you have come tonight? Oh, you are so attracted to this body of flesh and skin! If you just had this much attraction for Kṛṣṇa, it would certainly be to your benefit.”
Bilvamaṅgala then came to his senses and immediately left the prostitute’s house and went to Vṛndāvana. The fact was that in his previous life he had executed devotional service up to bhāva-bhakti. Thus the prostitute Cintāmaṇi actually became his guru. While in Vṛndāvana, Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura wrote a book named Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta, which has been recommended by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In that book, Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura writes: “If we have devotion fixed on You, My Lord Bhagavān, then we can easily see Your divine form as kaiśora-mūrti, a young boy."
A nother name for Kṛṣṇa is Kaiśora. The word kaiśora refers to the age before marriage—that is, it refers to a boy between the ages of eleven and sixteen. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is always kaiśora-mūrti. By devotional service, one can see the kaiśora-mūrti of Kṛṣṇa very easily.
When Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura was going to Vṛndāvana, he was still attracted to women. One night he stayed at the house of a very rich merchant, and the merchant’s wife told her husband that Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura was attracted to her. She asked her husband what to do, and the merchant simply said, “Serve him.” Finally Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura came to his senses, and he thought, “These eyes are my enemies.” When the beautiful woman approached him, Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura said, “Mother, please give me the pins out of your hair. I am very mad after the beauty of women. So let me pluck out my eyes.” In this way, he blinded himself. Although he could not see, in Vṛndāvana he was supplied milk by Kṛṣṇa Himself. Thus he personally realized Kṛṣṇa through bhakti and wrote of his personal experience.
He wrote, “Mukti is not a very important thing. She is always at my service with folded hands, saying, ‘My dear sir, what can I do for you?’ ” Thus a devotee is not very anxious for mukti because he is already liberated. If a man has a million dollars, why should he hanker after ten rupees? Mukti is not very important for a bhakta. In the words of Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura: muktiḥ svayaṁ mukulitāñjali sevate ’smāt. “Mukti herself is standing with folded hands, waiting to serve the devotee.” (Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta 107)