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  1. The story behind Govardhan Puja The day after Diwali is referred to as Annakuta, or Govardhan Puja. On this day the inhabitants of Vrindavan (Lord Krishna’s abode on Earth) would hold a harvest festival in honor of King Indra, the demigod who provided the rains essential for the harvest. One day, however, Lord Krishna wanted to teach Indra a lesson. He convinced the inhabitants of Vrindavan to honor Govardhan Hill instead, whose fertile soil provided the grass upon which the cows and bulls grazed, and to honor the cows and bulls who provided milk and ploughed the lands. Outraged, Indra retaliated with terrifying thunderstorms. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, calmly lifted Govardhan Hill with the little finger of his left hand. For seven days and seven nights the Lord held up Govardhan Hill, providing a giant umbrella to shelter the inhabitants of Vrindavan from the torrential rain. Realizing the futility of his actions, King Indra bowed down before the Lord with folded hands and offered prayers of supplication. In this way, Lord Krishna demonstrated that He is Deva Deva, the lord of the demigods, and that any purpose for which demigods might be worshiped could easily be served by worshiping Him, the cause of all causes. Several thousand years later, on this same day, Srila Madhavendra Puri established a temple for the self-manifest Gopala Deity on top of Govardhan Hill. To celebrate this festival, devotees build a replica of Govardhan Hill made of various opulent foods, worship Lord Krishna as the lifter of Govardhan Hill, worship the hill as His incarnation, and worship the cows and bulls who are dear to the Lord. At the end of the festival, the hill of prasada (sanctified food) is distributed to the public. All Vaishnava temples in India observe this ceremony, and hundreds of people are given prasada according to the capacity of each temple. Go Puja Lord Krishna, as the teacher of human society, personally showed by His acts that the mercantile community, or the vaisyas, should herd cows and bulls and thus give protection to the valuable animals. According to smriti regulation, the cow is the mother and the bull the father of the human being. The cow is the mother because just as one sucks the breast of one’s mother, human society takes cow’s milk. Similarly, the bull is the father of human society because the father earns for the children just as the bull tills the ground to produce food grains. Human society will kill its spirit of life by killing the father and the mother. It is mentioned herein that the beautiful cows and bulls were of various checkered colors—red, black, green, yellow, ash, etc. And because of their colors and healthy smiling features, the atmosphere was enlivening. (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srimad Bhagavatam 3:2:29. purport.) pita-mata mari’ khao-eba kon dharma kon bale kara tumi e-mata vikarma “Since the bull and cow are your father and mother, how can you kill and eat them? What kind of religious principle is this? On what strength are you so daring that you commit such sinful activities?” Everyone can understand that we drink the milk of cows and take the help of bulls in producing agricultural products. Therefore, since our real father gives us food grains and our mother gives us milk with which to live, the cow and bull are considered our father and mother. According to Vedic civilization, there are seven mothers, of which the cow is one. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu challenged the Muslim Kazi, “What kind of religious principle do you follow by killing your father and mother to eat them?” In any civilized human society, no one would dare kill his father and mother for the purpose of eating them. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu challenged the system of Muslim religion as patricide and matricide. In the Christian religion also, a principal commandment is “Thou shalt not kill.” Nevertheless, Christians violate this rule; they are very expert in killing and in opening slaughterhouses. In our Krishna consciousness movement, our first provision is that no one should be allowed to eat any kind of flesh. It does not matter whether it is cows’ flesh or goats’ flesh, but we especially stress the prohibition against cows’ flesh because according to sastra the cow is our mother. (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta Adi-lila 17:154. text and purport). "According to the Vedic social system, as soon as one takes birth he becomes indebted to so many persons. We are indebted to the rishis, or great sages, because we derive knowledge from their transcendental writings, such as the Srimad-Bhagavatam, compiled by Srila Vyasadeva. The authors of the scripture know past, present, and future, and we are urged to take advantage of such invaluable knowledge. Thus we are indebted to the sages. We are also indebted to the demigods, for they manage the affairs of the universe, supplying it with every essential - sunshine from the sun-god, Surya; moonshine from the moon-god, Candra; air from Vayu; and so on. Each element is controlled by a particular demigod. We are also indebted to ordinary living entities from whom we take service. For example, we take milk from the cow. According to Vedic understanding, the cow is considered one of our mothers because we drink her milk, just as at birth we drink our mother’s milk. The Srimad-Bhagavatam lists seven mothers: our own mother, the wife of our teacher or spiritual master, the wife of a brahmana, the wife of the king, the nurse, the cow, and the earth. We are indebted to all seven of these mothers, and also to our father, brothers, friends, relatives, and forefathers."(A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Second Chance book - chapter 17 "The Moment of Truth") "Similarly, this Bhagavad-gita is the essence of all Vedic literature, just like milk is the essence of the blood. Blood... The milk is nothing, but it is cow’s blood transformed. Just like mother’s milk. The mother’s milk, wherefrom it comes? It comes from the blood, but transformed in such a way that it becomes nutritious to the child, tasteful to the child. Similarly, cow’s milk also, a most nutritious and valuable food. So it is compared that this Bhagavad-gita is the milk of the cow of Vedic literature. And the milkman is Krishna Himself. And the drinker of the milk is..., we are, Arjuna, through Arjuna. So these things are there." (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 3rd June 1968. Bhagavad Gita lecture. Montreal.) "Personified dharma, he’s inquiring from the cow. He’s addressing cow, amba. Amba means mother. So cow is our mother. Why mother? Because from practical point of view, we drink milk. So how mother... How cow is not mother? She’s mother. We are taking her milk. There are seven mothers according to Vedic civilization: atma-mata guroh patni brahmani raja-patnika dhenur dhatri tatha prithvi saptaita matarah smritah Real mother, from whose womb we have come to this world, real mother, atma-mata. Then guroh patni, wife of the teacher or spiritual master, guroh patni. Brahmani, the wife of a brahmana. Atma-mata guroh patni brahmani raja-patnika, and the wife of the king, or the queen. She’s also mother. Dhenu, the cow. Cow is also mother. And dhatri means nurse. Nurse is also mother. Tatha prithvi, and the earth, the earth is also our mother. That we say in country, in the country which we take birth, we say desa-matrika. In Sanskrit it is called desa-matrika. That is also mother. Mother land, mother language. So this... So many mothers we have got, out of which, cow is also mother. Therefore she’s addressed as amba. Amba means mother. Still in Gujarat province, they call amba. And in U.P., United States, er, United Province, in India, they also call amba, or in a broken language they call amma. Still... That is from very long time, mother is... Amba-devi. There is a... From Amba-devi, there is a big temple of Mother Durga, Kali, in Bombay. So this Amba-devi was pronounced by the Englishmens as Bamba-devi, and from Bamba-devi it has come to “Bombay.” Actually, there is a big temple of Amba in Bombay. From that name, instead of Amba, they have become Bamba. Just like from Sindhu, they have called, they have designated the inhabitants of Sindhu-desa as “Hindu.” The Muhammadans, they pronounce s as h. So from “Sindhu,” it has come to “Hindu.” Otherwise, this “Hindu” name is not mentioned in any Vedic literature. It is given by the... This name is given by the other foreigners. Especially the Arabian countries, they used to call this nation, Bharata-varsha... Actually, Hindu is not a religion. Hindu is a name given by the foreigners. The religion is, of India, varnasrama-dharma, following the institution of four varnas and four asramas. That is varn... Or sanatana-dharma. Sanatana-dharma means eternal, eternal religion. Religion of human being is one. That is called sanatana. A living entity is described as sanatana. Mamaivamso jiva-bhuto jiva-loke sanatanah. In the Bhagavad-gita you’ll find sanatanah, and Krishna is also addressed in the Eleventh Chapter as sanatanas tvam. And there is another place, or spiritual world, which is also called sanatana. In the Bhagavad-gita you’ll find, paras tasmat tu bhavo ’nyo ’vyakto ’vyaktat sanatanah. So this sanatana term is very important. The living entity is sanatana and God is sanatana and the spiritual world is sanatana, and the process by which your lost relationship with God established and you go back to home back to Godhead, that is called sanatana-dharma. Sanatana-dharma. That is our eternal relationship with God." (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 15th January 1974. Srimad Bhagavatam lecture SB 1:16:19. Hawaii).
  2. From the album: Shri Vraja Mandala : Шри Враджа Мандала

    Говинда-кунда - священное озеро около холма Говардхан во Врадже.

    © © International Vaishnavas Portal A108.net

  3. From the album: Shri Vraja Mandala : Шри Враджа Мандала

    Говардхан - священный холм. Говинда-кунда - священное озеро. Всё священно, всё...

    © © International Vaishnavas Portal A108.net

  4. From the album: Shri Vraja Mandala : Шри Враджа Мандала

    Священное озеро Говинда-кунда на Говардхане. Воздух пропитан умиротворением. Атмосфера располагает к медитации и духовному созерцанию.

    © © International Vaishnavas Portal A108.net

  5. From the album: Shri Vraja Mandala : Шри Враджа Мандала

    Местный садху, святой человек.

    © © International Vaishnavas Portal A108.net

  6. From the album: Shri Vraja Mandala : Шри Враджа Мандала

    Одно из самых священных мест - холм Говардхан. Именно его Кришна держал на мизинце левой руки в течение 7 дней, чтобы жители Враджа, его мама, папа, друзья и подруги могли укрыться от разрушительного проливного дождя.

    © © International Vaishnavas Portal A108.net

  7. Sri Annamacharya pleads the Lord of Thirumala to liberate him from bondage. nigama nigamānta varṇita! manohara rūpa! nagarāja-dharuḍa! śrīnārāyaṇā! Srimannarayana! You are described by the Vedas and Upanishads. Your charming form takes captive the hearts of devotees. You bore the Govardhana ( to protect Your devotees from Indra’s raging deluge). The reference to the episode of bearing Govardhana indicates that Govinda is the protector of all. The implication is “As You rescued the simple cattle folk from the rage of Indra, rescue me from the rage of samsara.” Narayana has three characteristics : (I) He is proclaimed in the Vedas and Upanishads, (ii) He has a beautiful form and (iii) He is the protector. Each one of these is sufficient reason by itself to become interested in. When all three reasons have come together, there is no doubt that the devotee is fully consumed by Narayana bhakti. dīpiñcu vairāgya divyasaukhyaṃbiyya nōpaka kadā nannu noḍabarupucu | paipaine saṃsāra bandhamulu kaṭṭēvu nā paluku cellunā nārāyaṇā ? Narayana! Without allowing me the divine comfort of enlightened vairagya (absence of worldly attachment), You posit hazards (of the world) in my favour. You bind me in the bonds of shallow relations. Do my words (of plea) mean anything to You? Vairagya is born out of enlightenment and is a divine comfort. An ignorant person perceives the lures of the world which are detrimental to the well being of the soul as pleasures. Detachment is generally perceived as penance or pain. But, the enlightened saint regards vairagya as the true comfort. Unlike worldly comforts which have fleeting presence and lead eventually to pain, the divine comfort of vairagya is a spiritual state visited before liberation. However, for those without this realization, numerous distractions keep arriving in different forms and keep them busy in painful pursuits, trapping them in the illusion of pleasure as reward. To our saint, the appearance of these distractions is a pain in itself and he has no doubt that they lead one to sorrow. He asks the Lord why he does not let him remain in peaceful vairagya. Why torment him by showing these distractions and by binding him in shallow bonds? Why are his pleas unheeded? cīkāku paḍina nā cittaśāntamu sēyalēkakā nīvu bahulīla nannu kāku sēsedavu | bahukarmula baḍavāru nā koladi vāralā nārāyaṇā ? Narayana! Instead of calming my mind that is seized with revulsion, You cause further torment by subjecting me to Your various games. Am I in the same class as those who know various remedial actions to remove their grief? All beings from Brahma to a blade of grass are trapped in the sport of the Lord. Unless one realizes the Lord, one remains bewitched by the sport and is thrown around like dice by the forces of the universe. Some people who have attained vairagya but not complete enlightenment assume that they can perform some sadhana to attain the Lord by their own efforts. Trusting their own efforts, they try to cross samsara. As they have trusted their own efforts, the Lord remains indifferent waiting for them to complete the efforts. The saint is a prapanna who is fully enlightened and has surrendered to the saving grace of the Lord instead of trusting his own efforts. So, he asks the Lord why He is indifferent to him as He is to one engaged in various efforts for self-redemption. Does the Lord think that our saint belongs to their class? Why doesn’t He save at once? vividha nirbandhamula veḍala drōyaka nannu bhavasāgaramula naḍabaḍa jeturā | divijēndravandya! śrī tiruveṅkaṭādrīśa ! navanīta cōra! Nārāyaṇā ! Forcing me into different situations, You have let me be tossed around in the ocean of rebirth. Narayana! You are worshipped by even the king of Devas, Indra. You are the Lord of Tiruvenkatam. Butter Thief! (save me from this predicament) Despite the Lord being his saviour, if the saint remains tossed around in the ocean of rebirth and faces difficult situations, it is seen as His own doing. A mother, who does not pull her baby away from the well, is accused of pushing the baby into the well herself. As much as it is her duty to protect the baby, so it is the duty of the Lord to protect our saint. Therefore, the saint lays the blame for his prolonged suffering at the doorstep of the Lord and pleads Him to intervene.
  8. nija-jana-yuta-rādhā-kṛṣṇa-maitrī-rasākta- vraja-nara-paśu-pakṣi-vrāta-saukhyaika-dātaḥ | agaṇita-karuṇatvān maṁ urīkṛtya tāntaṁ nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam||9|| O Govardhan! You are the only giver of joy to the people, animals and birds of Vraja who are attached to the friendship of Radha and Krishna and their groups (the gopīs and gopas ). Please accept me out of your unlimited mercy, for I am weary, and allow me to live close to you! Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: After proclaiming Govardhan to be haridāsa-varya, Shripad Raghunath now mentions another characteristic of Govardhan. It is natural that the devotees of Hari, whose hearts and minds are filled with the service of the Lord, also develop great love, faith and friendship for other devotees of Hari. Therefore all the people, animals and birds of Vraja who have befriended Shri Shri Radha Krishna and their friends in Vraja have unlimited faith and love for Giriraj, who gives topmost bliss to them. Those who whose hearts are lovingly attached to Shri Shri Radha Krishna perceive their different confidential pastimes as soon as they see Haridāsa-varya Giriraj. On the bank of Shri Radha Kund their very wonderful and most confidential, longlasting midday pastimes take place, and around Govardhan there are lonely places where the dāna-līlā, the rāsa-līlā and the boating pastimes can freely take place. Apart from that Giriraj bears all the hallmarks of these confidential pastimes, giving topmost bliss to the loving devotees of the Yugala Kishor. Shrimat Rūpa Goswami wrote in his Stavamālā: gāndharvāyāḥ surata-kalahoddāmatā vāvadūkaiḥ klānta-śrotrotpala-valayibhiḥ-kṣipta-piñchāvataṁsaiḥ kuñjais talpopari pariluṭhad vaijayantī parītaiḥ puṇyāṅga-śrīḥ prathayatu sadā śarma govardhano naḥ “May Govardhan Hill, in whose beautiful enchanting kuñjas the ear-decorating lotuses, the bangles made of lotus-stems and the peacock feather-crowns wilt and fall, where the Vaijayantī flower garlands roll on the bed, revealing Shri Radha’s intense erotic battle, bestow all auspiciousness unto us!” The animals, birds and men who take shelter of Vraja-dhāma are all naturally attached to Shri Radha Krishna in love and friendship. All the cows that Shri Krishna herds are endowed with a natural motherly love for him. The love of the cows and calves for Shri Krishna was described by the gopīs themselves during their pūrva-rāga (falling-in-love) stage: gāvaś ca kṛṣṇa-mukha-nirmita-veṇugīta- pīyūṣam uttabhita-karṇapuṭaiḥ pibantyaḥ śāvāḥ snuta-stana-payaḥ kavalāḥ sma tasthur govindam ātmani dṛśāśru-kalāḥ spṛśantyaḥ “The cows too, when they drink the nectar of Govinda’s flute song with the raised cups of their ears along with their calves which drink from their udders, embrace him within their hearts and stand motionlessly before him with tear filled eyes!” (Bhāgavata 10.21.13) The cows are always kept and protected as Krishna’s personal pets and he cuddles them in a motherly mood. But even the more distant deer in the forest carry a great love for Krishna: dhanyāḥ sma mūḍha-matayo’pi hariṇya etā yā nanda-nandanam upātta-vicitra-veśam ākarṇya veṇu-raṇitaṁ saha kṛṣṇa-sārāḥ pūjāṁ dadhur viracitaṁ praṇayāvalokaiḥ “Blessed are these foolish deer for when they hear the flute song of Nanda’s wonderfully dressed son, they come along with their husbands the black antelopes to worship him with their loving glances!” (Bhāgavata 10.21.11) Even the birds in Vraja are not ordinary birds – they are munis who carry natural love for Krishna. That is also described by the Vraja-devīs: prāyo batāmba vihagā munayo vane’smin kṛṣṇekṣitaṁ tad-uditaṁ kala-veṇu-gītam āruhya ye druma-bhujān rucira-pravālān śṛṅvanty amīlita-dṛśo vigatānya-vācaḥ “O mother!* All these birds here in the forest are sages who are rising on the trees which have fresh sprouts on their branches, listening to Krishna’s flute song and staring at him with wide open eyes, forgetting all other words (such as the Vedas and Upanishads in which they are usually very learned)!” (Bhāgavata 10.21.14)[* Although there is no one in the assembly of pūrva-rāgavatī Vrajasundarīs who should have been addressed as mother, the address ‘O mother!’ (o mā) is easily used by an astonished woman.] In the same way the male and female parrots in the trees wake Radha and Krishna up early in the morning, help them to meet each other at noontime, sing beautiful poems about their love and forms and delight the Yugala with their rasika quarrels in the afternoon. The old she-monkey Kakkhatī stirs them out of their complacent morning lethargy. Because Govardhan is such a lovely place of solitude for the Yugala pastimes, it gives the greatest joy also to all these devoted animals and birds of Vraja, and because Giriraj gives the greatest happiness to the animals and birds, Shripad Raghunath covets a place to stay nearby him. It is as if Giriraj says: “Ohe Raghunath Das! All you say is true! The greatest loving devotees are blessed by staying close by me, this is how I make them happy. But you don’t have such devotion, so how will you be able to attain a position close to me?” To this Shri Raghunath answers: “What you say is true a thousand times! I am very fallen and I have no devotion nor am I doing any bhajan, there is no doubt about that! But still I say, O Giriraj, you are the abode of boundless mercy, be merciful to this undevoted soul and bless me by allowing me to live close to you!” nija jane veṣṭita ye yugala kiśora; tāṅdera maitrī rase yāra sikta kalevara sei vraja nara paśu pakṣī sukha dātā; emana dayālu svabhāva āra pābo kothā kṛpā kori mo adhame aṅgīkāra kore; tomāra nikaṭe vāsa dāna koro more O Govardhan! Where can I find such merciful creatures as the delight-bestowing humans, animals and birds of Vraja, whose bodies are sprinkled with the nectar of friendship for the Yugala Kishor, Who are surrounded by their own devotees? Please accept a fallen soul like me and allow me to reside close to you!”
  9. giri-nṛpa-hari-dāsa-śreṇi-varyeti-nāmā mṛtam idam uditaṁ śrī-rādhikā-vaktra-candrāt | vraja-nava-tilakatve kḻpta-vedaiḥ sphuṭaṁ me nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam||8|| O Govardhan, whose nectarean name “the best of all Lord Hari’s servants” emanated from Shri Radhika’s moonlike mouth! You are the king of mountains and the Vedas desribe you as the new crown of Vraja. Please allow me to live close to you! Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: In the previous verse Shripad Raghunath revealed the great glories of Shri Giriraj in which the Lord himself gave him such a great honour to use him to protect the people of Vraja, and while ascertaining this he revealed his desire to live at the base of Shri Giriraj. It is as if Shri Giriraj Govardhan says: “Ohe Raghunath! You are the greatest scholar! Remember Shri Krishna’s statements in the Padma-purāna: panca yojanam evāsti vanaṁ me deha rūpakaṁ: “This Vrindavan, which extends over forty miles, is my body.” Therefore your devotional desires will be fulfilled by living at any place in Vraja, which is the wish-yielding body of Shri Krishna! Why are you over-praising me by calling me ‘the best place of Vraja’?” Thinking about these words of Giriraj, Shri Raghunath Das says: “O Giriraj! My praises are not exaggerated! Shri Vārṣabhānavī Radha herself has called you ‘the best of Hari’s servants’ in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, the crown jewel of all Purāṇas: hantāyam adrir abalā haridāsa-varyo yad rāma-kṛṣṇa-caraṇa-sparśa-pramodāt mānaṁ tanoti saha go-gaṇayos tayor yat pānīya-sūyavasa-kandara-kanda-mūlaiḥ “O girls! This mountain is the best of Lord Hari’s servants and he feels very happy when Krishna and Balaram’s lotus feet touch him! He gives all honour to them and their cows by providing them with water for drinking, soft grass, caves and roots!” (Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.21.18) Śrīmad Bhāgavata makes this statement in the Veṇu-gīta chapter, which describes the gopīs’ pūrva-rāga (falling in love), but Shrimat Das Goswami clearly states that the words uttered in this verse emanate from the moon-like mouth of the crown jewel of all the gopīs, Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī. Certainly the great devotees like Dhruva, Prahlāda, Nārada, Vyāsa and Shukadeva gave up everything to serve the Lord, but no other devotee but Govardhan could offer his own body to the Lord as his playground. That is why Shri Radha’s moon-like mouth calls him “the best of Hari’s servants.” In Śrīmad Bhāgavata there are a number of devotees called haridāsa: King Yudhiṣṭhira, Uddhava and Govardhan. But of them Govardhan is the best, for he offers Krishna and Balaram and their dearmost cows and cowherd boy friends fresh grass as soft sitting places, cool caves, fruits and roots for eating, the shade of his trees, the trees’ honey for drinking, mineral pigments for make-up, different flowers for garlands, caves with jewelled couches as sitting places and its shining rocks as jewelled lamps. When touched by the lotus feet of Balaram and Krishna, Govardhan also shows all the signs of transcendental ecstatic love on his body, such as goose pimples by his erect grass, sweating by his moisture, and tears displayed through cascades and waterfalls. So in all respects he is the crown jewel of all of the Lord’s devotees! Shripad Raghunath Das says: “O Giriraj! Just as material nectar which trickles from the moon is enjoyable for the demigods, so the nectar of your glories as Hari’s greatest servant emanates from Shri Radha’s moon like mouth to be relished by the saintly devotees.” The meaning is: O Giriraj! You told me that Krishna says in the Purāṇas that I should give up living close to you and that I should live in Vrindavan. We are Radhika’s maidservants, we can’t always understand the tricky words of this crown jewel of cheaters (Krishna)! But our Ishwari (Radha) is very honest and sincere! We have full faith in her nectarean words from the above-quoted Bhāgavata verse. Moreover, she is our very life! We can also easily understand that Śrīmad Bhāgavata, the crown jewel of all the Purāṇas, has much more authority than the other Purāṇas. And especially for those who wish to relish rasa, the association of Krishna’s rasika devotees is even more important than Krishna’s own association. The Bhāgavata (3.7.19) says: ratir asau bhavet tīvraḥ padayor vyasanardanaḥ: “As a result of serving or associating with great souls, intense love for Shri Krishna’s lotus feet is attained.” And Shri Rūpa Goswami says: rasikāsaṅga-raṅginām: “For one who wants to taste rasa, the association with rasika devotees is very blissful.” (BRS 2.1.10) That is why my ultimate desire is to live close by you. And I also say: “O Giripate! The Vedic scriptures say that you are the tilaka on Vraja Mandal’s forehead.” In the Garga-saṁhitā, Nārada Muni tells king Bahulāśva of Mithila: govardhana-giri rājan sarva-tīrtha-varaḥ smṛtaḥ vṛndāvanaṁ ca goloka-mukuṭo’driḥ prapūjitaḥ gopa-gopī-gavāṁ raksā-pradaḥ kṛṣṇa-priyo mahān pūrṇa-brahmātapatraṁ yas tasmāt tīrtha-varaś ca kaḥ “O King! Govardhan Hill is the best of all holy places and most worshipable! It is the crown of Vrindavan and Goloka and is always protecting the cowherd boys, the gopīs, and the cows. It is most dear to Krishna, the Complete Brahman, serving him as an umbrella. So what other tīrtha could be superior to it? With the words “new tilaka of Vraja,” Das Goswami means to say that Govardhan Hill is the best of holy places, ornamenting Vraja as one ornaments one’s forehead with a mark of tilaka. Therefore, O Giriraj! Please bless me by allowing me to live close by you! śrī rādhikā nija sakhī sambodhana kore; candra-mukhe tomāra guṇa kīrtana ye kore hantāyam adrir abalā haridāsa varya; haridāsa gaṇa madhye tumi śirodharya bhāgavata padye tomāra ei nāmāmṛta; prakāśa koriyā viśva koilo āpyāyita tilaka svarūpe tumi vrajera lalāṭe; bhūṣita āchaho śāstra kohe akapaṭe ohe girirāja! tumi mahā-śakti-dhara; pāda-deśe dīna jane vāsa dāna koro “O Govardhan! Shri Radhika glorifies you with her moon like mouth when She tells her girlfriend hantāyam adrir abalā haridāsa-varya: You are the crown jewel of all of Hari’s servants. Thus She revealed the nectar of your name to the world in this Bhāgavata verse. The scriptures boldly declare that you are the tilaka that decorates Vraja’s forehead. Ohe Giriraj! You are so powerful! Please give this fallen soul a place to stay at your base!”
  10. surapati-kṛta-dīrgha-drohato goṣṭha-rakṣāṁ tava nava-gṛha-rūpasyāntare kurvataiva | agha-baka-ripuṇoccair datta-māna drutaṁ me nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam|| O Govardhan! Shri Krishna, the enemy of Aghasura and Bakasura, quickly gave you great honor when he used you as a brand new house in which the people of Vraja could be protected from the long-lasting anger of the king of demigods, Indra. Please allow me to live close to you! Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: How many hundreds of Shri Giriraj Govardhan’s glories become manifest in the heart of Shripad Raghunath, which is permeated by viśuddha sattva! Shri Shri Giriraj is the unrivalled playground of the Original Personality of Godhead, Vrajendra-Nandana! Govardhan Hill is Hari-dāsa-varya, the unrivalled servant of Shri Hari, and always immersed in the joys of service, himself providing all the paraphernalia needed for such service. When the Lord wants to accept service from a particular servant and so rejects all others, though there may be hundreds of other servants available to him and hundreds of other means through which he can be served, then that servant is truly blessed. Shrila Govardhan is such an exclusive servant of Shri Krishna, which can be ascertained in this verse. Shri Krishna killed without difficulty the powerful demons Aghā and Bakāsura, for whom Indra and the other demigods were fearfully hiding behind the clouds. He who casually could kill such powerful demons in the course of his childhood pastimes could easily have protected Vraja from the onslaught of the comparatively puny Indra through some other means. Therefore we can’t find any other reason for him to have gone through such a lot of trouble by carrying the Govardhan Hill for seven days and nights. Shripad Raghunath says: “He did it only to give Govardhan a great honor.” Giriraj obtained the great fortune and honor of having been held like an umbrella on the blue sapphire rod-like arm of the Original Personality of Godhead Vrajendra-Nandana. In this way he attained the greatest service and the greatest honour by protecting Shri Krishna’s beloved Gokula-vāsīs. Shri Rūpa Goswami has written: nīla-stambhojjvala-ruci-bharair maṇḍite bāhu-daṇḍe chatra-cchāyāṁ dadhad agharipor labdha-saptāha-vāsaḥ dhārāpāta-glapita-manasāṁ rakṣitā gokulānāṁ kṛṣṇa-preyān prathayatu sadā śarma govardhano naḥ “May Giriraj Govardhan, beautifully held for seven days and nights like an umbrella on Shri Krishna’s rod-like arm, which resembled a sapphire pillar endowed with dazzling luster, and who was thus fortunate enough to protect the people of Gokula who had become very distressed because of being showered by Indra’s heavy rains, bestow all auspiciousness upon us!” (Stavamālā) While lifting Govardhan Hill, Shri Krishna made a new, large and enchanting home for the people of Vraja under the hill. In this connection it is written in the Vaiṣṇava-toṣaṇī-ṭikā (commentary on Shrimad Bhāgavata by Shrila Sanātana Goswamipāda) on the Bhāgavata-verse ity uktvaikena hastena (10.25.19): tatra vraja-kartṛka-darśana saukaryāya śrī kṛṣṇa-kartṛka-dhāraṇa-saukaryāya śobhā-viśeṣāya ca idaṁ kalpyate utthāpana-samaye līlā-śaktyānukūlyena parvata-madhyādho-bhāgāt vicchidya kuṭṭimāyamāno mahā-śilā-samuccaya eko madhya-gartye sthitaḥ, yaṁ śilā-samuccayam āruhya, yaṁ nimnaṁ parvata-madhya-deśaṁ śrī-hastena viṣṭabhya ca sukhaṁ dadhāreti When Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill with his left hand, the people of Vraja had a good opportunity to admire his lotus like face. On the ground under the hill was an elevated spot where Krishna could stand on, and on the bottom of the hill itself was a lower portion where Krishna held his finger (to hold the hill). Krishna was, after all, only seven years old and He was the smallest of his clan. If these spots had not been there, there wouldn’t have been any height for all the big cowherdsmen to stand under the hill or to gaze at Krishna’s beauty for seven days and nights. In the Hari-vaṁśa, Krishna says: śailotpātana-bhūr eṣa mahatī nirmitā mayā trailokyam apy utsāhate rakṣitum kiṁ punar vrajam “There is enough place to protect all the three worlds under this Govardhan Hill I’m lifting, what to speak of just the people of Vraja?” There should not be any doubt or astonishment about this, because even one speck of dust from the Lord’s transcendental abode can contain all the innumerable mundane universes. The Garga-saṁhitā describes how the Brajavasis were protected from the vast showers of Indra’s devastating samvārtaka clouds for seven days and nights: jalaugham āgataṁ vīkṣya bhagavāṁs tad girer adhaḥ; sudarśanaṁ tathā śeṣaṁ manasājñām cakāra ha koṭi sūrya prabhaṁ cādrer ūrdhvaṁ cakraṁ sudarśanam; dhārā sampātam apibad agastya iva maithila adho’dhas tad gīreḥ śeṣaḥ kuṇḍalībhūtam āsthitaḥ; rurodha taj jalaṁ dīrghaṁ yathā velā mahodadhim saptāhaṁ susthiras tasthau govardhana-dharo hariḥ; śrī-kṛṣṇa-candraṁ paśyantaś cakorā iva te sthitāḥ Although Shri Krishna gave shelter to the Brajavasis by holding Govardhan Hill with his left hand, Indra would not stop showering them. Thinking that the cowherds might become afraid that the huge streams of rainwater might inundate the cavity under Govardhan Hill where they were standing, Krishna mentally ordered his Sudarśana-chakra and the divine serpent Śeṣa to come. Invisible to others, the Sudarśana-chakra hung over Govardhan Hill, shining like ten million suns and drinking the rainstreams just as Agastya Muni drank the water of all the seven oceans. Meanwhile the serpent Śeṣa formed a ring around the cavity under the hill where the Brajavasis were hiding to stop the water from pouring in, just as a barrage stops the water of the ocean from inundating the towns and villages on the coast. Thus Hari stood steadily for seven days lifting Govardhan Hill while the Brajavasis drank the nectar from his moon like face, like thirsty chakora birds. By his mere wish Shri Krishna could have stunned the hands throwing the thunderbolts and the showers of the clouds within a moment, but just to reveal the fortune of Giriraj Govardhan he made Indra continue his hostile behavior so that he had to lift the Hill singlehandedly for seven days and thus to also give the Brajavasis the fortunate opportunity to relish the sweetness of this indescribable and amazing pastime of his for each moment. Shrimat Jīva Goswami gives an indication of this indescribable pastime of Giridhārī by writing: saptāhar-niśa-nirmitā giribhṛtā ye ye vilāsas tadā tān kalpaiḥ saha saptabhiḥ kathayituṁ śeṣo’pi nāśeṣataḥ evaṁ ced vacanair amuṁs tricaturaiḥ sac-cāturī-varjitais tūrṇaṁ varṇitavān kaviḥ svayam asau durbhūya dodūyate Even in seven kalpas (millennia) the thousand-headed Śeṣa could not finish his description of Giridhārī’s pastime of lifting the Govardhan Hill for seven days! If any poet would try to describe it in just three or four stories, he would simply gain misery and infamy! So Shripad Raghunath Das says: “O Giriraj! Who will not desire to live close to a highly fortunate great devotee of Lord Hari like you?”: nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam. agha-bakāsura śatru govinda āpane; indrera jighāṁsā hoite vrajavāsī-jane nava gṛha rūpa tomāra yei madhya-sthāne; rakṣā lāgi vāsa dilo krame sāta dine ei rūpe tava māna barddhana korilo; haridāsa varya nāma sārthaka hoilo ohe girirāja more tomāra nikaṭe; sthāna diyā dhanya koro yāci karapuṭe O Govardhan! Govinda, the enemy of Aghāsura and Bakāsura, gave shelter to the Brajavasis for seven days in a new house that He made of you, just to protect them from Indra’s attacks. In this way He increased your fame and made you deserve your name Haridāsa-varya, the best of Hari’s servants. Ohe Giriraj! I pray to you with folded hands: Please bless me by giving me a place to live close by you.
  11. sthala-jala-tala-śaṣpair bhūruha-cāyayā ca pratipadam anukālaṁ hanta samvardhayan gāḥ | trijagati nija-gotraṁ sārthakaṁ khyāpayan me nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam||6|| O Govardhan! You make your name (increaser of cows) meaningful by always providing land, water, grasses and the shade of your trees to the cows and thus you proclaim yourself in the three worlds! Please allow me to live close by you! Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: In this verse Shripad Raghunath ascertains how suitable the name of Govardhan is and prays to be allowed to live close to the Hill. At different places Shri Giriraj has facilities were the cows are herded, where they can drink water, table-lands where they can rest, places where there is grass for them to graze and places where there are trees whose shades protect them from the heat and rain. Because he thus protects and maintains the cows the hill is justly called go (cows) vardhana (protector). When He was seven years old Lord Shri Gopāladeva told Nanda and the Brajavasis just that when they were about to worship Indra with a sacrifice and He made it clear to them that they should give that up and worship Govardhan Hill instead. na naḥ puro janapadā na grāmā na gṛhā vayam vanaukasas tāta nityaṁ vana-śaila-nivāsinaḥ tasmād gavāṁ brāhmaṇānām adreś cārabhyatāṁ makhaḥ ya indra-yāga-sambhārās tair ayaṁ sādhyatāṁ makhaḥ We do not possess any cities, territories, villages, or even houses, O father! We are cowherders, therefore we are eternally forest and mountain dwellers! Let us therefore offer sacrifice to the cows, the brāhmaṇas and the (Govardhan) Hill! (Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.24.24-25) Shridhara Svāmī explains in his commentary on this Bhāgavata verse: asmākaṁ yoga-kṣema hetur vana śailādaya eveti bhāvaḥ O father! The cows provide our livelihood, and this hill provides everything to them! Therefore he is our worshipable Godhead (instead of Indra)! The cowherdmen floated in an ocean of topmost bliss when they heard these reasonable words of Gopāla and they gave up their traditional worship of Indra to turn to worship of Govardhan. As the cowherds commenced this the cows, that were their means of subsistence, filled all directions with an ecstatic tumult, and this increased the bliss of the cowherds unlimitedly. ānanda-janano ghoṣo mahān mudita-gokulaḥ turya-praṇāda-ghoṣaś ca vṛṣabhānāṁ ca garjjitaiḥ hāmbā-ravaś ca vatsānāṁ gopānāṁ harṣa-vardhanaḥ When the Govardhan pūjā commenced in Vraja a great ecstatic tumult arose in all directions and the cows went beside themselves of bliss. Transcendental sounds were heard, cows and bulls were bellowing, calves could be heard to moo in all directions and all the people of Vraja were submerged in an ocean of bliss.” (Hari-vaṁśa) While Govardhan was worshipped the Lord Himself assumed the wonderful form of Shri Giriraj and offered boons, so the cowherds prayed for an increase in their number of cows. He also personally ordered them: sa uvāca tato gopān giri-prabhavayā giriḥ adya prabhṛti cejyo’haṁ goṣu ced asti vo dayā ahaṁ vaḥ prathamo devaḥ sarva-kāma-karaḥ śubhaḥ mama prabhāvāc ca gavām ayutāny eva bhokṣatha śivaś ca vo bhaviṣyāmi mad-bhaktānāṁ vane vane raṁsye ca saha yusmābhir yathā divigatas tathā ye ceme prathitā gopa-nanda-gopa purogamāḥ evaṁ prītaḥ prayacchāmi gopānāṁ vipulaṁ dhanam With a voice as deep as the clouds the huge form of Govardhan told the cowherds: “If you are kind to your cows, then you should worship me from today on! I am your first worshipable deity and I can fulfill all your desires and arrange for your welfare! By my power you can enjoy the possession of many thousands of cows! You are my devotees and there is auspiciousness for my devotees in all the forests (in the form of ample grass, water etc. for the maintenance of the cows). I will play with you as I ramble with my associates in my transcendental abode! With love I will give ample wealth to all the renowned cowherds of Vraja, headed by Nanda Mahārāja!” For this reason Shri Govardhan, who deserves his name, provides the cows with plenty of fragrant, soft, enjoyable and nutritious grass, which gives them wonderful strength, nourishment and satisfaction and which will increase their huge output of milk, making it smell like lotus flowers. This milk will please Shri Gopāladeva and thus the love of the cowherders for Gopāla’s lotus feet will increase beyond description! Similarly, Govardhan quenches the thirst of the cows and cowherd boys with cool drinkable water from its brooks and cascades and provides them with places to rest and protection against rain and heat under the thick shade of his trees. Govardhan also expands the service of the cows through various means, like providing them tablelands where they can blissfully walk around or lie down to rest. In this way Govardhan Hill makes his name, meaning “protector and maintainer of cows,” useful! Shripad Raghunath says: “O Giriraj! Please allow me to live close by you, so that I can become blessed with the vision of my beloved Shriman Madana Gopāla-deva and his friends, who are herding and protecting the cows there. Hence I say: nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam. sthala jala tala ghāsa vṛkṣa-chāyā dāne; vardhana koroho tumi sadā gābhī-gaṇe tāi govardhana nāma anvartha tomāra; ata eva tava pade prārthanā āmāra sevāra saubhāgya tomāra tri-jagate khyāti; tomāra nikaṭe āmāya dibe ki vasati? gocāraṇe śrī govinde kon śubha kṣaṇe; niścaya pāibo dekhā tuyā saṅga guṇe Because you maintain the cows with your land, water, grass and the shade of your trees you fully deserve the name Govardhan. Therefore I offer one prayer unto you. You are famous throughout the three worlds for your fortune of devotional service. Will you allow me to reside close to you? Then I would certainly be able to see Shri Govinda herding his cows at some blessed moment, on the strength of your association!”
  12. ari-dayitam apūrvaṁ rādhikā-kuṇḍam ātma- priya-sakham iva kaṇṭhe narmaṇāliṅgya guptaḥ | nava-yuva-yuga-khelās tatra paśyan raho me nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam||5|| O Govardhan! You discretely embrace the neck as if your very dear friend, Hari’s beloved lake Radha Kund, where you secretly watch the pastimes of the youthful Divine Couple. Please allow me to live close to you! Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: Shripad Raghunath describes the glories of the different pastime-places around Shri Giriraj and the sweetness of the pastimes that take place there, and prays to be allowed to reside in these pastime-places at the base of Shri Giriraj. In response, it is as if Shri Giriraj is saying, “O Raghunath! There are many places all around me! Tell me frankly in which place you like to reside!” As if hearing these words from Giriraj, Shri Raghunath reveals his desire to reside at Shri Radha Kund at the base of Giriraj in this verse. Kuṇḍavāsī Shri Raghunath is exclusively attached to residing at Shri Radha Kund. Sitting on the bank of Shri Kund he is floating in his own tears while writing this Stavāvalī. He has no desire to leave the bank of Shri Kund to go anywhere else. He is Kuṇḍeśvarī’s kiṅkarī, and Shri Radha Kund is millions of times dearer to him than his own life. At the end of Vilāpa-kusumāñjali he has written: sva-kuṇḍaṁ tava lolākṣi sa priyāyāḥ sadāspadam atraiva mama saṁvāsa ihaiva mama saṁsthitiḥ “O restless-eyed Shri Rādhe! This kuṇḍa of Yours is the dear most playground of You and Your heart’s lover Shri Krishna. On the bank of this Shri Radha Kund I live. May I reside here forevermore. (97) Saṁvāsa saṁsthitiḥ means: “Living there completely and remaining there fully.” These words reveal Shripad’s firm fixation in residing at Radha Kund. In his Shri Prārthanāśraya-caturdaśakam (3) he has written: udañcat-kāruṇyāmṛta-vitaraṇair jīvita-jagad yuva-dvandvaṁ gandhair guṇa-sumanasāṁ vāsita-janam kṛpāṁ cen mayy evaṁ kirati na tadā tvaṁ kuru tathā yathā me śrī-kuṇḍe sakhi sakalam aṅgaṁ nivasati “O sakhi (Rūpa Mañjari)! If this Youthful Couple, who enliven the whole world by distributing the nectar of their mercy and who scent all the people with the fragrance of Their flower-like attributes, do not bestow Their mercy on me, then please arrange for it that I can always stay at Shri Radha Kund!” Through this we can understand how firmly fixed Shripad was in residing at Radha Kund. In his prayer to Govardhan Hill for residence at Radha Kund Shripad first says: hari-dayitam apūrvaṁ rādhikā-kuṇḍam: “Shri Radha Kund is unique and is most dear to Shri Krishna.” In the Padma Purāṇa it is said: yathā rādhā priyā viṣṇos tasyāḥ kuṇḍaṁ priyaṁ tathā sarva-gopīṣu saivaikā viṣṇor atyanta-vallabhā “Just as Shri Radha is dearer to Shri Nanda-Nandana than his own life, so is Shri Radha Kund. Of all the gopīs Shri Radha is Nanda-Nandana’s dear most beloved.” She is endowed with mādanākhya-mahā-bhāva and she is his dear most beloved because of her attributes of love, beauty and good fortune. Shri Radha Kund is similarly incomparibly dear to Shri Krishna. When the kuṇḍa appeared in this world Shri Krishna personally revealed it in his words: proce hariḥ priyatame tava kuṇḍam etat mat kuṇḍato’pi mahimādhikam astu loke atraiva me salila kelir ihaiva nityaṁ snānaṁ yathā tvam asi tadvad idam saro me Shri Hari said: “O Dearest One! May your kuṇḍa be even more glorious in this world than mine! Here I will always bathe and play in the water, because this lake is as dear to me as you are!” In this way Hari’s beloved Shri Radha Kund is unique. Priyajī’s Sarasī (Radha’s lake) is the abode of an enchanting beauty equal to that of Priyājī’s, and it shines like the crown jewel of the Yugala’s playgrounds in Vraja Mandal, keeping all these playgrounds on its banks and in its waters. kuṇḍera mādhurī yeno rādhāra madhurimā; kuṇḍera mahimā yeno rādhāra mahimā “The kuṇḍa’s sweetness is like Radha’s sweetness and the kuṇḍa’s greatness is like Radha’s greatness.” (C.C.) Shrila Prabodhānanda Sarasvatipāda has described the uniqueness of the kuṇḍa’s natural beauty as follows: rādhā-kṛṣṇa-rahaḥ-kathānuvadanād āścarya-mādhuryavad dhvānaiḥ śrī-śuka-sārikā-vyatikarair ānanda-sarvasvadam| karṇākarṣi-kuhū-kuhūr iti kalālāpair vṛtaṁ kokilair nṛtyan-matta-mayūram anya-vihagaiś cānanda-kolāhalam|| tan-madhye nava-mañju-kuñja-valayaṁ śobhā-vibhūty-āsamā nordhvaṁ divya-vicitra-ratna-latikādy-ānanda-puṣpa-śriyā | antas talpa-varaṁ varopakaraṇair āḍhyaṁ samantād dadhad rādhā-mādhava-bhukta-bhogyam akhilānandaika-sāmrājya-bhūḥ || madhye tādṛśa-kuñja-maṇḍala-maho kuṇḍaṁ mahā-mohanaṁ sāndrānanda-mahā-rasāmṛta-bharaiḥ svacchaiḥ sadā sambhṛtam| ratnābaddha-catustaṭī vilasitaṁ sad-ratna-sopānavat tīrthaṁ śrī-taṭa-sat-kadambaka-tala-cchāyā-maṇī-kuṭṭimam|| The kuñjas give great delight with their sweet and amazing male and female parrots, which loudly repeat Shri Shri Radha Krishna’s intimate conversations, and they are decorated with cuckoos that delight the ears with their unclear sweet call, kuhū kuhū, intoxicated peacocks that beautify the place with their dancing and various birds which make a great ecstatic tumult. These fresh groves have attained a peerless status with their treasures of beauty and the blissful flowers of the wonderful and divine jeweled vines. Here again are the greatest couches which are endowed with the most excellent ingredients for the enjoyment of Shri Radha and Mādhava. In this way nothing else can be perceived anywhere but the kingdom of transcendental bliss. In the middle of these kuñjas is a charming pond, which is always filled with clear nectar-like water which crystalizes the strong flavors of deep bliss. Its four banks are studded by jewels; the ghāṭs (landing places) are beautified by super excellent jeweled staircases and enchanting jeweled platforms which lie in the shade of kadamba trees.(VMA 4.105-107) Nowhere in the Vraja Mandal is there any playground for Shri Shri Radha Madhava which is so solitary, filled with a wealth of natural beauty and suitable in all respects. Therefore Shri Radha Kund is the place where the most confidential midday pastimes of Shri Shri Radha Madhava and their sakhīs are taking place. Shripad Raghunath says: “O Giriraj! You are embracing your dear most Shri Radha Kund around the neck as the dear most friend and thus you have become so fortunate to be able to secretly and blissfully witness the most intimate middaypastimes of Shri Shri Radha Madhava and relish their sweet mellows. Please allow me to reside on the bank of this your dear most Radha Kund, which is situated close to you, so that I can also become blessed with the relish of the sweet mellows of these pastimes!” govardhana! tumi mora nivedana dhara; tomāra nikaṭe sei sthāna dāna koro priya sakhā śrī kuṇḍere āliṅgana kori; gupta bhāve sadā hero vilāsa mādhurī kṛṣṇa priya rādhākuṇḍe yugalera khelā; vibhora hoiyā heri se ānanda līlā “O Govardhan! Please hear my prayer! Please give me a place close to your dear friend Shri Radha Kund, whom you embrace to be able to secretly watch the sweet pastimes of the Yugala Kishor there, so that I can also be immersed in bliss while watching these pastimes at Krishna’s dear most Radha Kund.”
  13. Mathura, 2014.11.11 (Brij Khandelwal, TNN): The growing number of child beggars at Mathura and other religious shrines that draw hordes of pilgrims round the year is causing concern among police and the administration. What is worrying them is that many a time these children commit petty crimes like snatching purses or bags, pick-pocketing, and they often fight over division of loot. A few days ago, a child beggar ran away with the purse of a woman from Gujarat at Goverdhan. In another incident in Mathura, a kid lifted the mobile phone of a visitor from Chandigarh while he was having tea at a stall. Within seconds, the thief disappeared in the narrow lanes of the city. Such complaints are multiplying. While Mathura police do not have exact figures of missing children, they admit there has been a noticeable increase in the number of beggars not only in Mathura but also Goverdhan and Vrindavan. Rajendra Kumar Nagar, kotwal of Vrindavan, said, “The problem is there. The smaller kids are either locals or from nearby areas, but the older ones come from distant districts like Etah or Mainpuri. When they are caught for the first time, we call their parents and advise them to control their kids. If caught, they are sent to the reformatory. Now, the marriage season has started. We have to be extra cautious as these child gangs become more active.” A large number of child beggars are from outside the district. “Often they are part of a big gang headed by a goon who pulls the strings,” said activist Dhananjaya Gautam of Vrindavan. “Begging till some time ago was considered a part of the religious paraphernalia. Outside the temples in Vrindavan there were long queues of women beggars, mostly from Bengal, but now that institutionalized practice has taken a back seat, but the spurt in number of child beggars is surely an issue that we all should be seriously concerned about,” said author-activist of Mathura Ashok Bansal. On the parikrama route in Goverdhan, one sees numerous child beggars pestering the pilgrims. “Every day, you hear of a bag disappearing or a mobile and even laptops suddenly going missing. When a kid gets caught, he is let off after a few slaps. This emboldens him to graduate higher into the world of crime. Most of these kids are under the influence of some intoxicant or the other, cough syrup or some cheap chemicals,” adds Manju Sharma, a local. In Mathura, the railway stations provide the hordes of child beggars a comfortable shelter. Senior police officers, however, do not admit that it is such a big problem “In Mathura and all the nearby religious places, food is not a problem. They all get enough to eat from temples and ashrams which regularly hold bhandaras or mass distribution of prasad. But its the monetary support in terms of cash collection that is a big draw and sustains the local begging industry,” says social activist Jagannath Poddar. “The police should do something about this evil. If the children who are forced into this profession do not stop begging, they should all be rounded up and put in the reformatory where they can receive some education and security,” suggests pandit Ram Babu Sharma, a temple priest in Barsana.
  14. rasa-nidhi-nava-yūnoḥ sākṣiṇīṁ dāna-keler dyuti-parimala-viddhaṁ śyāma-vediṁ prakaṣya | rasikavarakulānāṁ modamāsphālayan me nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam||4|| O Govardhan! Revealing the beautiful and fragrant śyāma-vedī (or Dāna Ghāṭī), the place witnessing the dāna-keli (tax game) of the young Divine Couple Radha and Krishna, Who are an ocean of rasa (spiritual flavors), you increase the ecstasy of the rasika devotees (spiritual connoisseurs) ! Please allow me to live close to you! Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: In this verse Shripad Raghunath perceives the great glories of Śyāma-vedī at the Dāna Ghāṭī, one of the pastime-places of Shri Shri Giriraj. The dāna-līlā is one of the very delicious pastimes of Shri Shri Radha Madhava. Remembering this dāna-līlā Shripad Raghunath calls it the pastime of the rasa-nidhi-nava-yūnoḥ, the ocean of rasa, Shri Shri Radha Madhava, the hero and heroine also known as the Shri Shri Yugala Kishor. Just as the acharyas have defined Shri Krishna as the embodiment of all nectarean spiritual flavors (akhila-rasāmṛta-mūrtiḥ), the object of everyone’s purest love, the embodiment of the erotic transcendental flavors, the transcendental youthful Cupid of Vrindavan and the agitator of even Cupid who attracts everyone’s mind, including his own, they have described Shri Radha as akhaṇḍa-rasa-vallabhā (the lady love who embodies all rasa), ānanda-cinmaya-rasa-ghana-vigrahā (the embodiment of all condensed transcendental flavors), mahā-bhāva-svarūpinī (the personification of the pinnacle of spiritual ecstatic love), viśuddha-kṛṣṇa-prema-ratnākarā (the jewel-mine ocean of pure love for Krishna) and the mine of transcendental attributes like beauty, sweetness and good fortune. The rasika pastimes of akhaṇḍa-rasa-vigraha Shri Krishna and akhaṇḍa-rasa-vallabhā Vrishabhanu-nandini are like an ocean of rasa which is hard to cross, hard to enter and boundless. Who can ascertain how unlimited is the power of him who is able to inundate the whole universe with a mere drop of his being? Great rasika-mukuṭa-maṇi devotees (the crown jewels of transcendental connoisseurs) come and stand on the shore of this transcendental ocean in astonishment. Perhaps they are standing there on the shore, desiring to touch a single drop of it and thus consider all their sādhana to be successful. Beyond all that, even Shri Krishna, the embodiment of condensed transcendental bliss, stands on the shore of the ocean of Shri Radha’s mādanākhya-rasa, the source of all bhāvas, speechless like a wooden doll, for it awakens a wonderful intoxication even in him! How wonderful is the manifestation of this transcendental ocean of emotions! In this ocean there are thousands of experiences of union such as embraces and kisses as well as thousands of kinds of separation, appearing like a mutually opposed mixture of nectar (union) and poison (separation) that is most extraordinary. The supreme culmination of this prema-tattva of blended poison and nectar is found in Shrimati Bhanu-nandini. In Her we find the summit of all ecstatic transcendental flavors. The manifestation of rasika bliss in the dāna-keli is vast and enormous, hence it is the rasa-nidhi of hero and heroine Shri Shri Radha Madhava. At Śyāma-Vedī, near the Dāna Ghāṭī, the sensitive rasika devotees of Krishna relish the mellows of Shri Shri Radha Mādhava’s dāna-līlā. On the one hand this pastime is full of billowing waves of joking and laughter and on the other hand it is deeper than millions of oceans: boundless and never able to touch the bottom. A billowing ocean may have high waves on its surface, but on the bottom it is still and deep. Similarly the dāna-līlā is billowing with the wave-like exchanges of humorous words between Shri Shri Radha Krishna, Who are surrounded by their boyfriends and girlfriends, but when he dives deep a rasika devotee will feel the depth of complete and causeless love. The wave-like vyabhicārī bhāvas (passing moods) like joy, fear, anger and jealousy are dancing on the ocean of their sthāyi-bhāva (permanent mood) called prīti (love) here. Shri Radhika and her sakhis walk on, carrying pots of ghee on their heads, but that is just a pretext. Their actual purpose is to see Krishna: dāna cchale bheṭibo kānāi. When she is suddenly stopped on the way by Shri Krishna and his chums, Shrimatī reveals the kila-kiñcita-bhāva, a mixture of seven contradicting moods: joy-producing pride, desire, crying, smiling, jealousy, fear and anger. When one high wave of the ocean hits the other, an explosive collision of waterdrops takes place which extends to all four directions. In the same way, the wave of Shri Bhanu Nandini’s joy is covered over by a wave of negligence in the ocean of her love, as she tries to conceal the bliss that swells up in her when she sees Krishna. Because of the resultant clash, all abovementioned seven moods are externally revealed. Such is the fathomless ocean of rasa and bhāva of this encounter. The Vraja-sundarīs want to serve Shri Krishna without reward. In Shrimad Bhāgavata (10.31.2) the gopīs call themselves Krishna’s unpaid maidservants – aśulka-dāsikāḥ. But in this dāna-keli Krishna asks payment from them! These contradictions are only possible in the transcendental kingdom of ecstasy and are inconceivable to the Vedas. Actually Krishna wants only love from the gopīs, and the Dāna-Keli is just an external cause. Shri Krishna begs causeless love from them, hence He is named Mahā Dānīndra (the great king of taxcollectors) at the Dāna Ghāṭī. Shri Radha is unlikely to go anywhere without offering mahādāna (the great gift of love). Therefore Paurnamasi Devi has said: the dāna-līlā only serves to show the world (viśva-prakaṭa-dāna) how Dānīndra Shri Krishna is controlled by love alone. The banner of this attribute of prema-vaśyatā, through which he can relish the mellows of Shri Vrishabhanu Nandini’s love, flies in all directions in the sky of loving devotion. Vishwanath says, sa ca tāsāṁ dāna vyavahāro bāhyaḥ abhilaṣita vāstava eva: “The actual relish of the mellows of love, which was Their highest aspiration, was concealed by the external event of the dāna-līlā.” Shrimat Rūpa Goswamipāda has written: yasyādhyakṣaḥ sakala-haṭhinām ādade cakravartī śulkaṁ nānyad vraja-mṛgadṛśām arpaṇād vigrahasya ghaṭṭasyoccair madhukara-rucas tasya dhāma prapañcaiḥ śyāma prasthaḥ prathayatu sadā śarma govardhano naḥ May Govardhan Hill, where Krishna became the king of the toll-station, which was coloured like a blackbee, and which made the tableland become colored bluish-black, and where He did not ask any other tax from Vraja’s doe-eyed gopīs but their bodies, grant us all auspiciousness!” (Stavamālā) The rasika devotees can still experience all of this. Shripad Raghunath says: “O Giriraj! The most fragrant and lustrous Śyāma-vedī at the Dāna Ghāṭī on top of your good self is a witness to this most relishable pastime even now.” In other words, when the rasika devotees of Krishna see this place they feel as if Radha Śyāma’s dazzling bodily luster illuminates the Śyāma-vedī and when they smell the fragrance of this place they feel that the transcendental fragrance of Their bodies is scenting this place. “O Giriraj! Hankering for the relish of a drop from that ocean of bliss I am hoping to attain residence at your base!” nija nikaṭa nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam. ohe girirāja tomāra premamaya rūpa; rādhā-kṛṣṇera dāna līlāra sākṣi-svarūpa divya kānti parimala ‘śyāma-vedī’ nāma; prakāśa koriyā tumi ati bhāgyavān rasika bhakata gaṇera ānanda vardhana; koriteche sarva kṣaṇa ohe govardhana parama nirjana sthāna tuyā pāda-deśe; sthāna diyā dhanya koro līlāra uddeśe “Ohe Giriraj! Your love-filled form is the direct witness of Radha Krishna’s dāna-līlā, and you are very fortunate to reveal the place known as Śyāma-vedī, which is endowed with divine luster and fragrance and which increases the ecstasy of the rasika devotees at every moment. Please bless me by granting me a place to stay at your most solitary base, so that I can witness the transcendental pastimes there.”
  15. “Ten prayers for residence at Govardhan Hill” from Stavāvali by Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami. The commentary is by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Shri Shri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj, with the translation of Advaita Dasji. anupama-maṇi-vedī-ratna-siṁhāsanorvī- ruha-jhara-dara-sānu-droṇi-saṅgheṣu raṅgaiḥ | saha bala-sakhibhiḥ saṅkhelayan sva-priyaṁ me nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam||3|| O Govardhan! Krishna plays many games with his brother Balaram and his cowherd boyfriends on your incomparable jeweled thrones, under your trees, in your brooks, caves, valleys and on your peaks! Please grant me residence near you, who are so dear to me! Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: How many hundreds of honey sweet pastimes of Shri Krishna in the incomparable, natural and beautiful surroundings of Shri Giriraj awaken within the mahā-bhāva saturated consciousness of Shripad Raghunath, who is floating on the waves of prayer! In the previous verse he revealed his aspiration to reside permanently at the base of Govardhan Hill and witness the frantic erotic pastimes of the Yugala Kishor in its caves. Then, it is as if Shri Giriraj says: “Ohe Raghunath Das! You can also reside at other meeting places of the Yugala like Sanket and be blessed with the same vision of these pastimes. Therefore I don’t see any need for you to stay directly nearby. Moreover, you can be blessed by seeing these Yugala pastimes much easier in the lovely nikunja mandirs on the level surface than in my caves, which are hardly accessible.” In this verse Shripad answers these words by saying, “O Giripati, lord of mountains! There is another reason why I pray to you for residence in your vicinity. While you are the charming abode where Shri Shri Radha Madhava have their confidential pastimes with their sakhis, you are also the exclusive abode of Shri Krishna’s blissful and variegated pastimes with his brother Balaram and his cowherd boyfriends. Your jeweled platforms, different flowering and fruitful trees, cascading waterfalls, caves, valleys and passages are the different blissful places where Shri Shri Krishna Baladeva take rest, make different luscious jokes, search for their cows, play on the swing, play hide-and-seek, wrestle, eat and lie down to rest on jewelled bedsteads. In Śrīmad Bhāgavata we find the following words from the lotus mouth of Shri Radharani: mānaṁ tanoti saha go-gaṇayos tayor yat pānīya-sūyavasa-kandara-kanda-mūlaiḥ “This Govardhan Hill serves Shri Krishna and Baladeva, Who are surrounded by Their cows and cowherd boyfriends, in different ways with his stainless water, soft grass, wonderful caves, bulbs and roots.” (10.21.18) This will be explained in verse 8. The Vaiṣṇava Toṣaṇī) commentary explains, “On his body Shri Giriraj keeps all the different ingredients that he then applies in the service of Shri Krishna-Balaram and Their cows and cowherd boyfriends, such as spotless water, honey, fruit juice and other drinks, fresh soft grass for the cows, which will increase their strength and their output of milk, cascades, different enchanting sitting places, jewelled bedsteads in the caves, jewelled lamps and jewelled mirrors.” Shripad Raghunath says: “O Giriraj! Just by living at your base one becomes so fortunate to perceive all these pastimes.” At this point one may ask: “Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami meditated on himself as a maidservant of Shrimati Radharani. He should have desired to see Shri Shri Radha Madhava’s loving pastimes around Govardhan Hill. Why did he instead reveal his desires to see the different pastimes of Krishna and Balaram and the cowherd boys near Giriraj?” The acharyas say out of experience that the erotic pastimes in Vraja of Nitya-kiśora Rasa-rāja Rasikendra-maulī Vrajendra-nandana with Mahā-bhāva-mayī Shri Radharani are incomparable, and friends, parents and servants are all supporting these loving affairs of the Yugala Kishor. Pastimes with his mother, father, friends and girlfriends are all necessary for Krishna to relish his wonderfully sweet erotic pastimes with Shri Radharani. All pastimes nourish and increase the great relish of the Yugala-līlā. For instance, although they are the personifications of motherly love, mother Yashoda and Rohini Devi can’t satisfy anyone unless they are fed food which was cooked by Shri Radharani’s hand. For this reason Shri Radha and her girlfriends come to Krishna’s home in Nandishwar to cook for him every morning and Krishna enjoys a wonderful sweet erotic relish during these pastimes of cooking and eating. Similarly, Krishna’s goṣṭha-līlā, when he goes out every morning to herd his cows, is also to make him relish the sweetness of meeting with Shri Radhika. rākhāla loiyā bone, sadā phiri dhenu-sane, tuyā lāgi bone banacārī “For You I’m always rambling with My cows, taking My cowherd boyfriends with Me and for You I am wandering in the forest as a forest dweller!” (Pada-kalpa-taru) Radharani is always on Shyamasundar’s mind and when He is out in the meadows She is difficult to see, so that increases the astonishing flavour of his transcendental yearning for Her. The experienced rasikas can understand all these purports. Also in Krishna’s pastimes of tending the cows with Baladeva and his friends the wonderful and special features of the Yugala’s anxious erotic pastimes are preserved. ohe govardhana! tumi ati manohara; tomāra nikaṭa vāse juḍāya antara nirupama līlā yoto tāra daraśane; sukha anubhava koro prati kṣaṇe kṣaṇe anupama maṇi-vedī ratna siṁhāsane; manohara vṛkṣa-śobhā parama nirjane kibā nirjhara sānu deśa giri kandarete; baladeva sakhā saha giri saṅkaṭete sadā bihariche kṛṣṇa parama ānande; parihāsa luko-curi malla krīḍā-cchande nava nava līlā yoto tomāra gocare; tomāte bihare sadā navīna kiśore tomā sama bhāgyavān nāhi tribhuvane; pada tale sthāna dāo ei dīna jane “Ohe Govardhan! You are so enchanting! My heart is soothed by living just next to you, experiencing jubilation at every moment by seeing all the matchless ever-fresh pastimes, like joking, hide-and-seek and wrestling, which Krishna constantly enjoys with Baladeva and his friends around your incomparable jewelled platforms and thrones, your beautiful and charming solitary trees, your cascades, valleys, caves and passages. The Navīna-Kiśora Krishna always enjoys on and around you, therefore no one in the three worlds is as fortunate as you are. Please give this wretch a place at your base!”
  16. “Ten prayers for residence at Govardhan Hill” from Stavāvali by Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami. The commentary is by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Shri Shri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj, with the translation of Advaita Dasji. pramada-madana-līlāḥ kandare kandare te racayati nava-yūnor dvandvam asminn amandam| iti kila kalanārthaṁ lagnakas tad dvayor me nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam||2| O Govardhan! The youthful couple of Radha Krishna play passionate erotic pastimes in every one of your caves and I have become very eager to witness them. Please allow me to live close to you! Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: Within Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami’s heart, illuminated by viśuddha sattva, the different glories of Shri Giriraj are revealed. The Lord personally said: mad-bhakta-pūjābhyādhikā, “The worship of my devotee is greater than my own worship” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.19.21). Therefore Shri Raghunath hopes to live near to the crown jewel of devotees, Shrila Giriraj, for the fulfillment of his sacred aspirations. It is as if Govardhan were asking Raghunath Das Goswami: “Ohe Raghunath! If you are so anxiously revealing your aspiration to live close to me, then know that they can also be fulfilled by living close to me for just two or three days. Why do you want to stay here all the time? Don’t the scriptures say that simply by living in Vraja for just a single day one attains devotion to Hari (dinam ekaṁ nivāsena harau bhaktir prajāyate – Padma Purāṇa)? Therefore you can be blessed even by staying here for only two or three days!” To this Shrila Dāsa Goswami replies: “Ohe Giriraj! I am not just eager to be blessed with the attainment of bhakti; I have still another desire that I want to submit to your lotus feet. In each and every one of your caves my Shyam and Shyama are constantly engaged in greatly intoxicating erotic pastimes!” The saints say: sādhu sāvadhana! “Beware, O holy man! This is not mundane eros!”: vṛndāvane aprākṛta navīna madana; kāma gāyatrī, kāma bīje yāhāra upāsana puruṣa yoṣit kibā sthāvara jaṅgama; sarva cittākarṣaka sākṣān manmatha madana “Krishna is Vrindavan’s transcendental youthful Cupid who is meditated upon by the Kāma-gāyatrī mantra with the Kāma bīja (seed of spiritual desire). He attracts everyone – men, women, moving and non moving beings, for He Himself agitates Cupid.” (C.C. Madhya 8) Shrila Krishnadas Kaviraj writes in his Sāraṅga-raṅgadā commentary on verse 3 of Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta (kāmāvatārāṅkuram): prākṛtāprākṛta-kandarpa-nidāna-vṛndāvanābhinava-kandarpam ity arthaḥ, āgamādau kāma-gāyatryā kāma-bījena ca tasya tad-rūpeṇopāsyatvāt. koṭī-madana-vimohanāśeṣa-cittākarṣaka-sahaja-madhuratara-lāvaṇyāmṛtāpārārṇavena mahānubhāva-cayenānubhūyamāna tat-tan-mahā-bhāva-nivahena śrīman-madana-gopāla-rūpeṇādhunāpi vṛndāvane virājamānatvāc ca This transcendental youthful Cupid of Vrindavan is the origin of all mundane and spiritual love gods, the origin (avatārī) of all the different manifest descensions (avatāra), and his worship has been prescribed by the Vedas through the Kāma Gāyatrī-mantra with the kāma-bīja. He enchants millions of Cupids and attracts everyone’s minds with his nectarean elegance, which is like a shoreless ocean, and in mahā-bhāva (the greatest divine love) for him this sweetness is fully experienced. He eternally resides in transcendental Vrindavan as Shriman Madana-Gopāla (“the beautiful Cupid as cowherd boy”). This transcendental youthful Cupid of Vrindavan is experienced through the fully blown mahā-bhāva, the quintessence of the supreme love of God, residing in the hearts of the Vrajadevis. Hence, the Vedic scriptures and the great saints call the gopis’ love kāma (lust): premaiva gopa-rāmānāṁ kāma ity āgamāt prathām ity uddhavādayo’py etaṁ vāñchanti bhagavat-priyāḥ Although the love of the gopīs is called lust, it is actually nothing else but pure love: This love is coveted even by the greatest lovers of the Lord, like Uddhava, but not attained by them. (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.285,286) This rarely attained thing has now become the practice and the goal of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas by the grace of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the Gaudiya Vaishnava acharyas like Shrila Rupa and Raghunath Das Goswami have relished it and taught it to the sādhakas of this world. The jewelled caves of Govardhan Hill are very solitary and filled with all kinds of paraphernalia suitable for the love-pastimes of the Yugala Kishor, such as jewelled bedsteads, jewelled lamps, garlands, sandalwood pulp, betel nut, etc. Thus all these caves are suitable places for the Yugala Kishor’s greatly intoxicated confidential loving pastimes, which only take place in Vraja Mandal and nowhere else. Shri Raghunath Das says: “O Giriraj! By living close to you, one becomes blessed by seeing and experiencing all the love-pastimes of Shri Shri Radha Madhava! You know that I am Shri Radhika’s maidervant and that I want to be blessed by seeing these incomparable loving pastimes and attaining the service of my Ishwari and her prāṇanātha! By living close to you I will see how my Ishwari fights beautiful and intense erotic battles with her prāṇanātha.” rati-rase mātala atiśaya nāha; amiyā sarovare duhuṅ avagāha sahaje niraṅkuśa nāgara rāja; tāhe manamatha nṛpa kautuka kāja dṛḍha parirambhane ghana sītakāra; anukhana kiṅkiṇī koroye phukāra kara gahi rākhi o yuga cakebā; daṁśaite sarasija bārabo kebā kohe hari-ballabha sahacarī kule; dekhoi nibhṛte ulāsahi phule They both plunged into a lake of nectar when they became greatly intoxicated by the flavors of love. Krishna, the nāgara-rāja, the king of amorous heroes, is naturally very wayward and King Cupid played many tricks on him. In Krishna’s firm embrace, Radhika uttered intense sighs and her waistbells were constantly jingling. Shri Krishna held both her breasts with his hands and bit her lips without hindrance. Hariballabha says to the sakhis and manjaris: “Behold the blossoming of their secret delight! When will I see my Ishwari falling on her Lord’s chest on their love-bed, perspiring and exhausted at the end of their erotic pastimes?” śrama-jala-kaṇa-digdha-niṣpanda-mūrtir galita-vasana-bhūṣākalpa-jalpa-prajalpā priya-hṛdi patitāṅgī rādhikā mīlitākṣī sthira-taḍid iva navyāmbhodhare sa vyarājīt “Shri Radhika was exhausted from her erotic battle with her beloved and she fell on his chest. Her motionless body was beautified by sweatdrops of fatigue, her eyes were closed and her dress and ornaments had fallen off. While she exchanged loving words with him, she looked like a steady lightning strike on a fresh raincloud.” (Govinda-līlāmṛta 15.23) The poet Govinda Das sings: rati rasa charame, śyāma hiye śutali, śarada indumukhī bālā marakata madane, koi janu pūjala, dei nava kāñcana mālā śyāma vayāna pora, vayāna virājai, ura para kuca yuga sāje kanaka kumbha janu, ulaṭi boisāyalo, madana mahodadhi mājhe “This girl (Radhika), Whose face shines like the autumnmoon, lies on Śyāma’s chest after reaching the climax of Her loveplay. It is as if someone worships an emerald-coloured Cupid with a new golden necklace. She keeps Her face near Śyāma’s face and Her breasts, which resemble golden jugs lying upside-down in an ocean of eros, on his chest.” joḍala tanu mana, bhuje bhuje bandhana, adharahi adhara miśāna beḍalo mṛṇāle, hema nīlamaṇi janu, bāndhalo yuga eka ṭhāna ghana saṅe dāminī, dukūle dukūle janu, duhuṅ jana eka paṭavāsa caraṇa beḍhiyā cāru, aruṇa saroruha, madhukara govinda dāsa “Their bodies and minds have merged, Their arms embrace each other and Their lips meet each other. Golden and sapphire lotus stems (Radha Krishna’s arms) entwine and bind each other. Shri Radhika looks like a lightning strike lying on a cloud. Both the lovers are covered with one mere silken garment. Govinda Dāsa is like a bee circling around their beautiful reddish lotus like feet.” (Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami prays:) “O Giriraj! When will I see my master and mistress thus enjoying in your caves as soon as I obtained residence close to you? I will dry up Their sweatdrops by sweetly fanning Them (when They are tired of love making in the cool caves of Govardhan Hill) I will wash Their lotus like faces and hands with cold water from a golden jug, place delicious fresh betel leaves in Their mouths, put Their scattered anklebells and bangles back on Their wrists and feet, hang flower garlands around Their necks and anoint Their beautiful bodies with fragrant camphor and sandalwood pulp!” govardhana girivara, kevala nirjana sthala, rāi kānu koribe śayane lalitā viśākhā saṅge, sevana koribo raṅge, sukhamaya rātula caraṇe kanaka sampūṭa kori, karpūra tāmbūla pūri, yogāibo vadana kamale maṇimaya kiṅkiṇī, ratana nūpura āni, porāibo caraṇa yugale kanaka kaṭorā pūri, karpūra candana bhari, kobe dibo du’janāra gāya mallikā mālatī yūthi, nānā phule mālā gāṅthi, kobe dibo doṅhāra golāya “There is a solitary place at Govardhan Hill where Rāi and Kānu lay down to rest and where I will serve their blissful ruddy lotus feet in the company of Lalitā and Viśākhā. I will fill up a golden box with camphor-laced betel leaves and place them in their lotus mouths and I will bring jewelled waistbells and anklebells and place them on their lotus feet. When will I fill up a golden box with camphor and sandalwood pulp and anoint their limbs with these unguents, and when will I string garlands of various flowers like mallikā, mālatī and yūthi, and hang them around their necks?” (Prārthanā) This is the practice as well as the goal of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas! Their lives are filled with this aspiration. They meditate on all these devotional services during the stage of practice (sādhanā) and attain that service directly when they attain perfection (siddhi). The Goswamis are the Lord’s eternal associates that have descended to the world of sādhanā to teach devotional expertise to the Gaudiya Vaishnavas by giving the perfect example. Shripāda Raghunath Das says: “O Govardhan! You are the mediator in the attainment of the perfection of rasa! You can make me so fortunate to be able to attain such fortune. Therefore you don’t have to do anything more than allowing me to stay at your base and this will bring my aspiration to its fulfillment. Therefore please bless me by granting me residence in your vicinity!” pramada madana līlā kandare kandare; koriteche nitya nava yugala kiśore sei līlā daraśane ākula parāṇa; tomāra nikaṭe śīghra vāsa koro dāna “O Govardhan! The Yugala Kishor is performing intoxicating erotic pastimes in each of your caves, so please quickly grant me residence in your vicinity, for I am very anxious at heart to see these pastimes.”
  17. We unfortunately missed publishing anything for Govardhan Puja. It has been hard keeping up for Kartik month. At any rate, we here present serialized these “Ten prayers for residence at Govardhan Hill” from Stavāvali by Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami. The commentary is by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Shri Shri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj, with the translation of Advaita Dasji. Enjoy. And pray to Shrimati Radharani and all the saints of Braj that we will be able to honor and serve the Dham and its devotees through this website. nija-pati-bhuja-daṇḍāchatra-bhāvaṁ prapadya pratihata-mada-dhṛṣṭoddaṇḍa-devendra-garva | atula-pṛthula-śaila-śreṇi-bhūpa priyaṁ me nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam ||1|| O Govardhan Hill! You became like an umbrella which was held by the staff-like arm of your own Lord, Shri Krishna, to destroy the pride of Indra, the proud, bold and arrogant king of the gods. Oh incomparable king of mountains! Please grant me the residence near you that is so dear to me! Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: In this Śrī-Govardhan-vāsa-prārthanā-daśakam Shrimat Raghunath Das Goswami’s heart becomes very attracted to the great glories of Shri Giriraj and thus he reveals his desire to reside at the base of his greatly beloved Govardhan Hill. First of all he says: nija-pati-bhuja-daṇḍāchatra-bhāvaṁ prapadya “O Govardhan! You became like an umbrella that is carried by the staff-like hand of your own Lord Shri Krishna and you were so fortunate as to have remained thus for seven days and nights.” Just as a boy easily picks up an umbrella, Shri Krishna suddenly picked up Govardhan Hill to protect Vraja. Shri Shuka Muni said: dadhāra līlayā kṛṣṇaś chatrakam iva bālakaḥ (Bhāg. 10.25.19) Shri Krishna’s left arm looked as beautiful as a rod, holding Govardhan like an umbrella, and the people of Vraja, attaining a place under this umbrella, exhibited an opulence which is rarely attained within the three worlds. Shrila Jīva Goswami has written in his Gopāla-campū: vilasita-maṇi-daṇḍa-śrīr mukundasya bāhus tad-upari parito’pi cchatra-tulya-girīndraḥ prati diśam iha muktā-dāmavad vāri-dhārā vraja-sadana-janānāṁ pratyutābhūd vibhūtiḥ “Shri Krishna was surrounded by the Brajavasis in the big hole under the Govardhan Hill as He lifted the hill with his left hand. This made his upright left arm resemble a sapphire stick, the hill an umbrella, and the raindrops that dripped from all of its sides strings of pearls. Thus it looked as if the people of Vraja had displayed rare opulence by standing under this extraordinary umbrella. Indra was very puffed up because of his opulences. Although he has a thousand eyes, he showed his actual blindness by becoming angry at the Brajavasis for giving up their sacrifice to him, even after he had seen how little Krishna had smashed so many powerful demons, and sending the apocalyptic Samvartaka-clouds to Vraja to destroy the place. In his Gopāla-campū (Pūrva-campū, 18th Pūraṇa) Shrimat Jīva Goswamipāda has elaborately described how proud Indra was of his regal opulences. This is just a basic description: After having gradually sent hail, rain and thunderbolts to Vraja to destroy the place, Indra doubtfully sent a hundred of his spies, the winds, there to find out what damage his rains had caused, and the spies, upon returning, told him: “O Maharaja! Even now the place has not yet been inundated!” Indra then sent more powerful rainclouds to inundate Vraja Mandal, thinking he would achieve his ends quickly. He send his cloud-spies to find out what was accomplished, but they also returned swiftly and reported that his purpose had yet not been fulfilled. Hearing this, Indra became astonished, jumped on his elephant Airavata and came to the sky over Vraja, very angrily prodding Airavata with his elephant goad and then he personally began to throw fiery thunderbolts on the community below. Finally he sent his lightning spies to assess the results of his actions. The lightning spies returned and told him, “O King of the gods! Hear this most amazing news! Govardhan has grown strong from eating the huge food-offerings the people of Vraja made, and has now lifted itself off the ground!” Indra sent his lightning spies out once more and said, “Go and see how the hill has lifted itself and where the miserable people of Vraja have gone with their children and other relatives!” “As you order!” the lightning spies said and went back to Vraja to find this out. They returned to Indra and said: “O Devaraj! It seems our strikes have scorched everyone to ashes! We can’t find anyone anywhere in the entire Vraja Mandal!” Hearing this, King Indra was very happy and he blessed his spies by saying, “May you live long!” He sent them back to Vraja once more to find out further details. And once again the spies went to Vraja, but this time on returning they reported, “O Lord of the three worlds! None of the people of Vraja have been vanquished! They are all hiding under Govardhan Hill, making a blissful noise and Balaram’s younger brother Shri Krishna is holding it up!” Hearing this, Indra said: “Ah! Now I understand! In the past I cut the wings off the mountains, but Govardhan Hill has now regrown its wings and is giving shelter to the Brajavasis, taking their side against me! Alright then, let me throw some more fiery thunderbolts down to smash them all completely!” Saying this, Indra began to cast his thunderbolts, but he soon found out through his spies that he had accomplished nothing with it. Then Indra angrily told his spies, “Go and find out exactly what is going on and why my thunder fire is only being thrown in vain!” The spies inspected the whole scene thoroughly and told Indra, “O King of gods! Not even two or three leaves have fallen from the trees of Govardhan Hill and not even one ant has been killed there, no matter how many fiery thunderbolts you threw on them. So what to speak of the people of Vraja, who are blissfully enjoying shelter under the hill?” Finally, after another endeavor to smash Govardhan with his thunderbolt, Indra became embarrassed and fearful and once more realized Shri Krishna’s greatness. Through all this, the pride and impudence of Indra, due to being intoxicated with his opulence, was shown, as well as the prowess and glories of Govardhan Hill. Shri Raghunath says: atula-pṛthula-śailaśreṇi-bhūpa priyaṁ me nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam: “O Giriraj! You are the king of all mountains, even of the Himalaya and Sumeru! Residence near to you is something I hold very dear, therefore I crave for it very much! But if the holy Dham does not give its shelter no one can live there simply through his own endeavors. I therefore pray to you, please bless me so that I can live at your base!” ohe govardhana! tumi ei akiñcane;more atiśaya priya tava sannidhānevāsa dāna kori more kṛtārtha koroho;atula mahimā tava āmāre dekhāhośrī kṛṣṇera hasta rūpa daṇḍa agrabhāge;virājita hoye tumi yeno chatra-bhāvemada matta uddhata ye śacī-pati indra;tāra garva kharva koile mahimā pracaṇḍagirivara rāja tumi e boḍo mahimā;ātmasāt koro more koriyā karuṇā “O Govardhan! This wretch very much loves to reside close to you. Please bless me with a place in your vicinity and show me your matchless glories! You were held like an umbrella on the rod-like hand of Shri Krishna to destroy the pride of Sachi’s lord.
  18. Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja Dear Readers, Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga. This year, Govardhana Annakuta is on October 24th (in India). Below are two glorifications of this celebration, which Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja gave in Badger, California, in 2002 and 2003. Below is the video of Srila Gurudeva's Annakut in 1997, in India: Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja Badger, Califiornia May 18, 2003 First of all, I offer millions of humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of my paramaradyadeva, Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and the same millions of obeisances unto the feet of my siksa-guru, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. Today we observed the maha-mahotsava (great festival) of Giriraja Govardhana. Who is Govardhana? pramada-madana-lilah kandare kandare te racayati nava-yunor dvandvam asminn amandam iti kila kalanartham lagnakas tad-dvayor me nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam "O Govardhana! Please grant me a dwelling near your side so that I can easily witness and serve the youthful lovers Sri Radha-Krsna as They perform newer and newer secret, amorous lilas within your many caves, and where They become completely maddened from drinking prema. You are present there, and you make everything possible." (Sri Govardhana-Vasa-Prarthana-Dasakam, verse 2) So many secret and sweet pastimes of Radha and Krsna and the gopas and gopis take place in the caves and groves of Giriraja Govardhana. It can be understood, therefore, that Govardhana is not male. Radha and Krsna would not be able to play so many grove-lilas and kunja-lilas in front of a male. That would be absurd. Giriraja has actually come from the heart of Srimati Radhika. It is not that Krsna became Giriraja Govardhana. Krsna is the predominating Deity of Giriraja, but it has been written in Tapani Upanisad and Bhavisya Purana that Giriraja Govardhana has manifested from the heart of Radhika. There were three mantras especially uttered by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura when he offered puspanjali at the lotus feet of Giriraja Govardhana. Although they are taken from songs, they are now accepted as the mantras used in the worship of Govardhana. The first is from Stava-mala by Srila Rupa Gosvami: Govardhana tvam kuru manoratam purnam Srila Rupa Gosvami prayed, "O Giriraja Govardhana, I have so many very confidential desires that cannot be revealed to any person besides you. I want to serve Radha-Krsna Conjugal in your groves, in many ways, as the personal maidservant of Srimati Radhika. I have this hope; so please bestow your mercy upon me." The second mantra is: nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami prayed, "O Giriraja Govardhana, you give so many facilities to Krsna and His cowherd boys. You supply grasses, very beautiful and sweet water, the shade of kadamba and other trees, you fulfill the desires of the cowherd boys, and you give beautiful ornaments of flowers to Krsna and Radhika, and to all their associates. This mantra is taken from a verse from Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Sri Govardhan-Vasa-Prarthana-Dasakam: sthala-jala-tala-saspari bhuruhac-chayaya ca prati-padam anukalam hanta samvardhayan gah tri-jagati nija-gotram sarthakam khyapayan me nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam ["O Govardhana! Please grant me residence near your side. You are worshipping Sri Radha-Krsna with your nice spacious fields, ponds, streams and waterfalls, forests, fresh grass, and shade-trees, and you are nourishing Sri Krsna's beloved cows whose numbers are thus increasing at every moment. Your very name 'Govardhana' (gah means cows, and vardhayati means to nourish and increase) is successful and renowned throughout the three worlds. If I can reside near you, I will also be able to receive the darsana of my istadeva Sri Krsna, who comes to you when He brings His cows out to graze." (Sri Govardhana-Vasa-Prarthana-Dasakam, verse 6)] In this way, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami prays, "O Giriraja Govardhana, please keep me at your lotus feet." Giriraja Govardhana has kindly given an opportunity to me, and also to you all. For more than fifty years I desired to somehow live at Govardhana. Now he has given me a place, and you are all invited to come there during the month of Kartika. The third mantra, govardhano me disatam abhistam, is taken from the verse: yatraiva krsno vrsabhanu-putrya danam grhitum kalaham vitene sruteh sprha yatra mahaty atah sri- govardhano me disatam abhistam ["Demanding a road tax, Krsna quarreled for several hours at Dan Ghati with the daughter of Vrsabhanu Maharaja. Rasika-bhaktas visiting Govardhana are eager to listen to that sweet prema quarrel. May that Govardhana fulfill my desire that I can also hear that verbal battle." (Sri Govardhanastakam, verse 3)] Always pray: "O Giriraja, I have so much hope, and I have come to you with this hope. Srimati Radharani and Krsna were quarrelling in so many ways, in so many lilas. I want to be there, and I want to hear all those sweet quarrels. I pray to you to give me a very good place at your lotus feet so that, continually weeping and my heart melting, I can always remember Radha and Krsna's pastimes. I don't want to remember any worldly matters at all." Your festival, Giriraja Govardhana Annukuta, was extremely beautiful. I hope it will be observed each and every year in this way. Whether I come or not, you must do it. Gaura Premanande [This year, 2014, Govardhana Annakuta festival is on October 24th (in India). In honor of the Annakuta festival, please accept the following class that Srila Gurudeva, Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja gave in Badger, California, in 2003:] krsna lifting govardhanaToday, Annakuta Mohotsava, is a very auspicious day. This day is observed in India during the month of Kartika. Many of Krsna's other sweet pastimes were also performed in the month of Kartika. In this month, under the guidance of Nanda Baba, the Vrajavasis observed Govardhana puja. They did this, having given up the puja of Indradeva, and that resulted in Krsna lifting Govardhana Hill on His little finger. Yasoda-devi bound Krsna in this very month, which is how the song Sri Damodarastakam originated. Kartika is also the month in which Krsna and the gopis performed Saradiya Rasa (Autumn rasa-lila). GdatGirirajaAfter Krsna lifted Giri Govardhana, Indra understood that his torrential rain would have no effect, and thus he began to repent his actions. He thought that Krsna would punish him, and that the only way to save himself would be to take shelter of Surabhi cow. Surabhi would be able to please Krsna. She would pray to Krsna on his behalf, "Please, excuse him." No one else would be able to achieve this. Krsna considers Himself the servant of the cows and always supports them. It would therefore be easy for Surabhi to please Him. If Surabhi would not go, Krsna would not be pacified and would therefore punish him. Indra thus took shelter of Surabhi, walking behind her, and they both approached Krsna. Krsna said, "O Mother, you have come!" Surabhi said, "Yes. I have brought my son with me. I request that You please excuse him." Surabhi then began to supply large quantities of milk, and Indra, the demigods, and the great sages present began to abhisheka (bathe) Krsna, just as we did here today. Krsna then became very happy and said, "In the future I don't want to have to tolerate your nonsense activities. For your own good you should go to Navadvipa, and there, in the company of Surabhi, perform austerities. In that way you will be excused." Indra thus understood that Krsna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Up until the time of that abhiseka, Krsna was known as Yasoda-nandana and Nanda-nandana Krsna. Now, He would also be known as Govinda. Go indicates gopa, gopi, go (cow), govatsa (calf) and Veda. Krsna gives pleasure to all these gos and He also protects them; therefore His name is Govinda. Govinda and Govardhana are in the same line: He has the same duty, the same function, as Giriraja Govardhana (vardana means to nourish). Now our Govardhana-puja is completed. Giriraja is Krsna Himself; and moreover, He has come from the heart of Radhika. He can fulfill our every desire very easily, and he can even give krsna-prema. He very rarely does so, but he can. We should also remember that the Annakuta Mohotsava was also performed by Srila Madhavendra Puripada, as we saw in the drama play. Madhavavendra Puri went to Vrajabumi,Vrndavana, and there he stayed on the banks of Govinda-kunda at Govardhana. One day, after taking his bath, he sat beneath a tree on the banks of Govinda-Kunda. Krsna came there in the form of a cowherd boy and said to him, "Oh, why you sitting here, starving. No one starves here. My mother has sent some milk. Please drink it." govardhanaMadhavendra Puri thought, "Throughout my entire life I have never been attracted by any human, and especially to any lady, but now I am attracted to this boy. Who is He?" He took the milk and he began to weep, his heart melting. Then he cried, "Oh! That cowherd boy was actually Krsna, and now He has left me." And he wept bitterly. In the last part of the night Madhavavendra Puri had a dream. In that dream he saw that same boy, that very Gopala, come to him and say, "I have been here, waiting in this bush for you for a very long time; and now you have come. I'm feeling very hungry and very hot. Please make a temple for Me, and perform My abhiseka ceremony and Annakuta festival (festival in which there is cooked rice that is stacked like a small mountain) so that I shall feel satisfied." When Madhavavendra Puri awoke, he fixed his mind on executing the order of the Lord. After his morning bath he gathered some of the villagers and together they went to the kunja where Gopala was waiting and that kunja is still there today, nearby Govardhana. After clearing away the thick bushes, they very easily dug Him out and took Him to the top of Govardhana Hill. They erected a throne from stones there – one piece for the seat and one to support Him from behind. Then they began to worship Him. Annakuta was performed for several months. Many wealthy persons from Mathura heard that Gopala had arrived and they became very happy. They brought all types of paraphernalia, such as gold, cloth, scents and bhoga. Cooking was performed for Thakurji daily, and for many months lakhs and lakhs of people honored the maha-prasadam of Gopala at that place. After 2 years Gopala again came in a dream to Madhavavendra Puri and said, "I'm satisfied by taking all of your offerings, but My body is still hot. Can you bring malaya-candana sandalwood from Jagannath Puri?" Thus, Madhavavendra Puri once again set off to fulfill the desires of the Lord. We are very lucky to be in the line of Madhavavendra Puri. Every year, in the month of Kartika, we observe the Annakuta Mohotsava (festival) of Giriraja Govardhana, and hundreds of devotees attend. There we worship Giriraja Govardhana Himself, not one piece (as Govardhana-sila). Actually, although a piece of Govardhana and Govardhana Hill Himself are one, still, Govardhana Hill in Vrndavana has a special glory. annakutaIn Vrndavana we worship Govardhana with many pounds, not only a little, of milk, ghee, and yogurt, with many types of preparations – even more than here in Badger. Many of you have been to our Kartika-vrata and have personally seen this festival. We are fortunate to take part. We will continue to perform this festival every year; and we will do so until our life in this world is over. We cannot obtain pure bhakti without the mercy of Govardhana. Many sweet pastimes take place at Govardhana. For example, Srimati Radhika, Lalita and Visakha and the other gopis are on their way to the fire sacrifice of Bhaguri Rsi. During their journey there is a discussion with Krsna. Krsna wants to check them and make them pay a toll tax, the gopis defeat Him, and He has to apologize. There is so much history there, and it is all coming in our mind and hearts. Wherever you are, you can worship Giriraja by mind and pray: krsna-prasadena samasta-saila- samrajyam apnoti ca vairino pi sakrasya yah prapa balim sa saksad govardhano me disatam abhistam "May Govardhana Hill fulfill my deepest desire – to get darsana of Sri Radha and Krsna's lilas. By Sri Krsna's mercy Govardhana became the emperor of all mountains, and received the offerings meant for Indra despite Indra's enmity." (Sri Govardhanastakam, verse 1) yatraiva krsno vrsabhanu-putrya danam grhitum kalaham vitene sruteh sprha yatra mahaty atah sri govardhano me disatam abhistam "Demanding a road tax, Krsna quarreled for several hours at Dan Ghati with the daughter of Vrsabhanu Maharaja. Rasika-bhaktas visiting Govardhana are eager to listen to that sweet prema quarrel. May that Govardhana fulfill my desire that I also can hear that verbal battle." (Sri Govardhanastakam, verse 3) These prayers will do as much for you as worshipping Govardhana Himself, because there are many moods contained within them. Try to pray in this way. This is bhajana. Gaura premanande.
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