I worship the best of mountains, the mountains of Braj like Govardhan. Their colorful mineral pigments adorn Shri Krishna and his affectionate friends. By the sides of those mountains Krishna herds the cows, and play hide-and-seek with his friends, and in their secret caves he plays with Radha.
yeṣāṁ kvāpi ca mādhavo viharate snigdhair vayasyotkarais
tad dhātu-drava puñja citritatarais tais taiḥ svayaṁ citritaḥ
khelābhiḥ kila pālanair api gavāṁ kutrāpi narmotsavaiḥ
śrī rādhā sahito guhāsu ramate tān śaila varyān bhaje
Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse Das Goswami praises Braj’s wonderful mountains, like Govardhan. In the previous verse he has praised Mansi Ganga, and as he does so he perceives the service Haridas Varya (the best of Krishna’s servants) Sri Giriraj offers to Sri Krishna, his friends and his beloved.
In this mood, he praises Sri Giriraj and other mountains of Braj. Sri Giriraj is the land where Sri Krishna freely plays with his friends.
paripūrṇatamaḥ sākṣāt śrī kṛṣṇo bhagavān svayam;
asaṅkhya brahmāṇḍa-patir golakeśaḥ parātparaḥ
asmin sthitaḥ sadā krīḍām arbhakaiḥ saha maithila;
karoti tasya māhātmyaṁ vaktuṁ nālaṁ caturmukhaḥ
Sri Narad said: “O Lord of Mithila! Sri Krishna, who is the original Lord, the maintainer of infinite universes, and the Lord of Golok, resides on this Govardhana hill and always plays different games with the cowherd-boys there. Even the four-faced Lord Brahmā is unable to describe his glories!”
Before Sri Krishna comes to the base of the mountain to herd his cows with his friends, they first decorate their bodies with Giriraj’s colorful mineral pigments.
Srimad Roop Goswami has written: śaśvad viśvālaṅkaraṇālaṅkṛtimedhyaiḥ premṇā dhautair dhātubhir uddīpita-sāno (Stavamālā) “Sri Krishna, the jewel of the world, is himself decorated by the mineral pigments that beautify the slopes of Govardhan Hill and that are sprinkled with love for him.”
When the time for cowherding comes, Sri Krishna and his friends love to wear these colorful pigments, and clothes and ornaments made of leaves and flowers, more than ornaments of jewels and pearls. phala prabāla stavaka sumanaḥ piccha dhātubhiḥ, kāca muktā maṇi svarṇa-bhūṣitā apyabhūṣayan (Bhāg. 10.12.4) “Although the cowherd boys were already decorated by their mothers with ornaments of made of jewels, pearls and gold, they still decorated their bodies with different kinds of fruits, leaves, bunches of flowers, peacock feathers and colorful mineral pigments when they came into the forest.”
In this way, the cowherd boys also decorated Sri Krishna as they liked with sylvan clothing and colorful mineral pigments, let the cows graze in the large meadows on the slopes of Girirāj, and freely played games like hide-and-seek with Sri Krishna.
Although Sri Krishna enjoys playing different games with his friends in this way, his mind remains fixed on Sri Radha. In Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita it is seen: rātri-dina kuñja krīḍā kore rādhā saṅge; kaiśora boyos saphala koilo krīḍā-raṅge “Day and night he sports in the groves with Radha; in this way he made his adolescence a success.”
One may ask here: “If he plays with Sri Radha day and night, then when will he find the time to play in the meadows with his friends and to exchange love with his parents?”
Actually Sri Krishna always thinks of Sri Radha as he performs these other pastimes. Sri Radha, who is endowed with the mahābhāva known as mādana, pervades Sri Krishna’s entire awareness. From the first time he ever saw her in the beginning of pūrva-rāga, Sri Krishna has always been thinking of her.
nayāna putalī rādhā mora; mana mājhe rādhikā ujora
kṣiti-tale dekhi rādhāmaya; gaganeho rādhikā udoy
rādhāmaya bhelo tribhuvana; tabe āmi koribo kemon
kothā sei rādhikā sundarī; nā dekhi’ dhairaja hoite nāri
e yadunandana mane jāge; ki nā kore nava anurāge
“Radha is the apple of my eyes, and Radhika is shining within my mind. The surface of the earth is filled with Radha and in the sky Radhika also rises. The three worlds have become filled with Radha, so what shall I do? Where is that Radhika Sundari? I cannot remain calm if I don’t see her. Thus Yadunandana ponders: ‘What will he not do out of fresh passion?’”
Even though he may be intoxicated by playing with his friends around Govardhan Hill, Shyam is afflicted by the heartache of separation from Sri Radha. meanwhile one of Srimati’s girlfriends or maidservants keeps eager abhisārikā Sri Radhika in some cave of Govardhan Hill and comes to search for Shyam.
Seeing Shyam engaged in playing with his friends, they give him a hint in an unnoticed way that Sri Radha has come to meet him. Shyamsundar then leaves his friends on the pretext of admiring the natural beauty of the mountain and goes along with the sakhis to meet Sri Radha in a solitary cave of Giriraj.
Das Goswami says: “I worship these kings of mountains, like Govardhan, which are the abodes of Shri Radha and Krishna’s pastimes.” In other words, “I worship Sri Sri Giriraj and other mountains so that I can witness such romantic lilas of the Divine Couple there and be blessed by rendering services to the playful pair serving them with scented water and paan, and by fanning them.”
yāra dhātu drava puñje, vicitrita hoiyā aṅge,
snigdha yoto kṛṣṇa sakhā-gaṇe
yāra gairika drava guṇe, nija sama sakhā-gaṇe
sājāyeche madana mohana
vicitrita kalevare, sakhā saṅge khelā kore,
gocāraṇa korite korite
bhaji sei śaila śreṣṭha, yāra guhāya kṛṣṇa preṣṭha
vihariche śrī rādhā sahite
“I worship the best of Braj’s mountains, in whose caves Krishna enjoys with his beloved Radha and whose colorful mineral pigments are used by Krishna’s affectionate friends to decorate their own bodies and with which these friends, who consider themselves on an equal level with him, also decorate Madan Mohan beautifully before they all leave to take the cows to pasture.”