Radhanath Swami speaks on the occasion of Govardhan Puja

Radhanath Swami at Govardhan

 

 

Govardhan Puja is one of the most joyful as well as instructive festivals of the year. It is a festival that Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, personally taught by his instructions and by his example, of how Shri Giriraj Govardhan should be honored and served with love. The hill of Govardhan is Krishna himself with all six opulence, but by his own divine pastimes also accepts the role of the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord. So Sri Giriraj Govardhan, although the Supreme Absolute Truth with all opulence, the origin of all incarnations, also takes a role of Haridas Bharya, the greatest of all servants of Lord Hari. Today we worship Shri Giriraj Govardhan.  The Varah Purana describes that one who worships Govardhan hill properly or sincerely does the parikrama of Govardhan hill will never again have to take birth in this material world, but will attain the Lord’s eternal abode.– Radhanath Swami.

 

Radhanath Swami speaks of the origin of Sri Giriraj in the spiritual world.

Beyond this material existence is the spiritual realm.  Within the brahmajyoti or paravyoma, the spiritual sky, are countless Vaikuntha planets.  Those who achieve the perfection of the path of gyan can achieve mukti of entering in this spiritual sky and remaining there as a spark of light within the unlimited light which is radiating from Krishna’s own effulgence.  Within that spiritual sky are the abodes of the Lord where Lord Narayan is eternally reciprocating loving pastimes with his devotees, always being lovingly worshipped by Laxmi Devi. But the supreme-most intimate of all the abodes is Goloka where Shri Shri Radha and Krishna eternally perform their pastimes with their eternal associates.  Shrimati Radha Rani is the hladhini shakti, the pleasure potency of the Lord, the original shakti from whom all other potencies of the Lord originate.

On one day – and please understand in the spiritual world when we speak about days it is not limited to the time references that we have in this world – Shrimati Radha Rani in the arena of the Rasa Lila appealed to Krishna. She said, “If you are pleased with my love, the love of the Gopis, the forest of Vrindavan and the arena of our rasa dance, then please, please fulfill the desire of my heart.”  Krishna responded that he would fulfill whatever desire was there in her heart. Shrimati Radha Rani, she prayed for this by saying, “Please create the supreme most pleasurable place where we could perform our pastimes.”

Krishna then closed his eyes and with his divine awareness searched for the very essence of the love of his heart.  From that essence of Krishna’s love emerged a tiny seed. That seed fell right in the holy place of the Rasa Mandala. It grew into a stone, then a rock, then a hill and a great mountain.  Shrimati Radha Rani, all gopis were watching. Right before their eyes this mountain just blossomed with unlimited kalpa vriksha trees and beautiful lakes, rivers and caves filled with precious jewels.– Radhanath Swami

Supremely happy Shrimati Radha Rani and Lord Shri Krishna along with their associates spent the rest of the day exploring the beauty of Shri Giriraj Govardhan hill.

Shri Rupa Goswami in Upadeshamrita explains that superior to Vaikuntha, the spiritual world of Shri Laxmi Narayan, is Mathura, because that is where the original form of Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared.  Superior to Mathura is the forest of Vrindavan where Krishna performs his Rasa Lila and so many other wonderful pastimes.  Superior to the forest of Shri Vrindavan is Shri Govardhan hill, that hill which Krishna lifted with the little finger of his left hand to protect his devotees and to curb the pride of Indra, that hill which is the favorite place of the loving pastimes of Krishna and the Gopas and Gopis. And the supreme place at Govardhan hill is Shri Radha Kund and Shyam Kund which are eternally resting at the very feet of Shri Govardhan hill.– Radhanath Swami

Radhanath Swami speaks of the origin of Sri Giriraj in the material world.

Lord Brahma prayed to Krishna to descend into this world.  Now, we know that Krishna comes as yugaavatar in his various expansions in every yuga to establish the principles of religion, annihilate the miscreants and give pleasure to his devotees. There are Lila Avatars, Purusha Avatars, Manvantara Avatars, Guna Avatars. But only once in a day of Brahma does the Absolute Truth in his original form appear on this earth.

Krishna in Shri Goloka Dham in the spiritual world expressed to Shrimati Radha Rani that on the call of Shri Brahma he was descending on the earth planet in the material universe and requested her to also appear along with him.  But she revealed her heart to Lord Krishna, ‘I will certainly go wherever you go my Lord. But I will not find real happiness without Yamuna, the forests of Vrindavan and Shri Giriraj Govardhan.’  Krishna told Shrimati Radha Rani that he had already sent Govardhan Hill to appear within this world.– Radhanath Swami

Govardhan appeared as the son of Dronachala, high in the sacred mountains. When he appeared all the other great personified leaders of the mountains they realized – he is nothing like the rest of us; he has descended from Goloka Vrindavan. And therefore the demigods and all the great personalities worshipped Shri Giriraj, the king of all mountains, by showering him with flowers and singing beautiful songs of praise.

 

One time Pulatsya Muni was traveling by his mystic potencies and he observed the beauty of Shri Govardhan, a mountain like no other in all of creation.  He appealed to Dronachala, “I wish to take Govardhan to my ashram near Varanasi, because there are no proper hills there and there I will find the greatest happiness meditating.”  Dronachala was weeping and crying, but how could he say ‘no’ to such a great sage?!

But Giriraj had plan.  He knew what his purpose was of coming to this world and he knows past, present and future. Thus he made an agreement with Pulastya Muni, which would cause his pastimes to unfold perfectly according to his own will.  “Yes I will go with you, but you must carry me in your hand and if you put me down anywhere I will not move from that spot.” That is no problem for Pulastya Muni.  This is in the Satyayuga.  He had tremendous powers.  So he lifted Govardhan and was carrying so much long distance and Govardhan saw the eternal abode of Krishna Goloka, which had manifested in this world as Gokul. What is Gokul? It is non-different than the spiritual world, absolutely non-different than the Lord’s eternal abode.

premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena
santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti
yaṁ śyāmasundaram acintya-guṇa-svarūpaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

(Brahma Samhita 5.38)

But unless our eyes are ornamented with the salve of love we cannot see Krishna as he is, we cannot hear his name as he is, we cannot see his eternal transcendental abode as it is. We cannot see the holy dham with Supreme Personality of Godhead with senses that are contaminated by material illusion.  But the Lord is so kind that he manifests the holy dham, his beautiful form of the deity, his devotees and his holy names to purify our heart. And gradually through such purification which takes place in the nine processes of devotional service we can see things as they are. So Govardhan saw – ‘Here is Krishna’s eternal abode. This is my place.’ So by his divine powers he induced within the body of Pulastya Muni the unbearable urge to respond to the calls of nature.  And sometimes the urges of the body are so powerful that they take away one’s intelligence and we forget. So Pulastya Muni was so struggling, struggling, struggling; he had so much to pass urine that he forgot all about the agreement he made.  He put Govardhan down; he wrapped his sacred thread around his ear; he went to a secluded place; he performed his required needs, took his bath, and said his achaman, chanted mantras and he lifted Govardhan. But he would not move. He became very angry and cursed Govardhan, “Because you are not obeying my will, every single day you will reduce in size by one muster seed.” And then… that was millions and millions of years ago.  But actually Govardhan himself, by his yogamaya potency, spoke through Pulastya Muni. Why? Because in Satyayuga Govardhan Hill was huge. He had gigantic mountain peaks by far higher than Mount Everest. Yes! And Krishna, Gopas and Gopis, how will they perform lilas on such a mountain?  So over the ages he went to smaller, smaller, smaller size, till he was perfect size when the end of Dwaparyuga appeared and Krishna and Balaram made that their favorite playground.

Radhanath Swami describes the pastime of Govardhan Puja

 One day when Gopal was 7 years old he happened to see his father Nanda Maharaj along with the elder Gopas and Gopis making very elaborate arrangements for a sacrifice of worship.  Now, Gopal knew everything about it: for one reason, as he was 7 years old he observed this pooja for at least 6 times as they performed this pooja every single year; and also because he is the all pervading Lord who knows everything. But the Lord’s pastimes are to attract our hearts, to teach us wonderful lessons and ultimately to enjoy the divine pleasures of love with his devotees.  So to perform this Lila, little 7-year-old Gopal approached Nanda Maharaj and enquired, “What is it that you are working so hard to arrange for this pooja? Please tell me. What is the nature of this Pooja? Who is the demigod that you would be worshiping? What is the purpose of this pooja?  Now you may think I am very young and I may not understand, but you should not keep secrets away from your relatives, and I am intimate relative and I am your son. So please tell me.”  Nanda Maharaj smiled, “Oh Gopal! This is a tradition that has been followed for many, many generations amongst our forefathers. Every year we perform this Indra Pooja because Indra, he is the Lord who is the supervising authority over the rains. And because we have cows that eat the grass and our livelihood is in the milk products that they produce, for our existence we require the favor of Indra by sending rains.”

Krishna was thinking in his heart – ‘Indra is my devotee and he has such great opulence, power. He is worshipped by the apsaras, the gandharvas, and the devatas; very powerful position in every way. But I have taken note that pride has arisen in his heart, and I must destroy the pride in his heart.’  Why is this?  Because there is one thing that Krishna cannot tolerate in the heart of a devotee; it is false pride, perhaps the most difficult thing to give up in this material world.– Radhanath Swami 

tṛṇād api su-nīcena taror iva sahiṣṇunā
amāninā māna-dena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

(CC Antya 3.207)

 

If we want to chant the name of the Lord and really taste the sweetness of his name, Krishna will only give that benediction to one who is humble like the blade of grass, tolerant like tree, and who finds great pleasure in offering respect to others and does not desire any adoration for oneself.– Radhanath Swami

 

prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā
kartāham iti manyate

(Bhagavad-gītā (3.27)

Krishna tells in Bhagwad Gita that the bewildered spirit soul thinks himself or herself to be the doer of activities, but actually they are being carried out by nature.  Krishna is the strength of the strong, the intelligence of the intelligent, and the ability of man. Krishna is the controller of all controllers and the source of everything.  Whether we are good cooks or good singers or good businessman or good managers or good speakers, whatever we may be good at, we should never be proud. We should understand always – ‘I am only the instrument of GOD.’  If we have lust, anger and greed, we are instruments of maya, Krishna’s potency of maha maya. And as devotees we are inspiring to be instruments of Krishna’s grace.

Yes! It is a natural phenomenon which is most unfortunate that when a person gets wealth, fame and prestige, skills, high knowledge, physical beauty, one becomes proud. Srimad Bhagvatam describes false pride born of these opulences as the greatest disqualifications for spiritual life, because a proud person cannot really pray.  Prayer means from the heart, and in the mood of a helpless beggar begging for mercy – that is real prayer; begging for service, begging for love and the chanting of God’s name must be in this type of prayerful mood.– Radhanath Swami

But it cannot take place as long as there is false pride, as long as we are contaminated with the demoniac nature – ‘I am better than someone else.’ As soon as this disease manifests its symptoms in our heart – that I am superior to someone else, whether it is because I am wealthier or I am healthier or I am more wise or I am chanting more rounds or I am following better regulative principles, either for material or spiritual purposes. A devotee never thinks ‘I am better than anyone.’

Indra is a great devotee. It takes many lifetimes of devotional service and pious activities to attain the position of Indra.  But along with that post comes so much wealth, power and fame; so he was proud.

Now, here is little seven year old cowherd boy walking on the surface of the earth in Gokula Vrindavan, but how merciful, how merciful we cannot imagine. Krishna is with his nitya siddha devotees – Shri Radha , Lalita, Vishakha, Balaram, Subal, Sridhama, Madhumangala, Yashoda, Nanda, his beautiful surabhi cows that have descended from the spiritual world; he is with Govardhan, Yamuna, the kalpavriksha trees of Vrindavan; he is performing his wonderful lilas of love, ecstatic devotion. And he is thinking about Indra who is millions of miles away in Swargaloka just puffed up by his opulences! But because Indra is Krishna’s devotee, Krishna is thinking about him.– Radhanath Swami

Kaunteya pratijānīhi Na me bhakti praṇaya (B.G. 9.10)

“It is my promise I always protect my devotee. I must protect Indra.”

Prabhupada often quoted this verse:

Yasyaham anygranama harishya tad dhanam shanai

Hare Krishna!  It is very fearful verse for some people.  Some people when they hear this verse they run out of the temple and go to another…, because Krishna tells, “When I show my mercy towards my devotee, I may give that devotee whatever he or she may like. But when I give the installment of my supreme compassion, if it is required I will take away everything from that devotee so that the devotee realizes from the core of his heart or her heart that there is no other shelter than me. Then that devotee actually cries out with love my holy name, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare.

Krishna is performing his beautiful pastimes of Vrindavan, but he is thinking, “I must rescue my devotee from false pride.”  So Krishna said to Nanda Maharaj, “In this world everything is coming according to a person’s karma. The demigods like Indra, they are helpless; all they have the power to do is to give you or not give you according to your karma.  In this world karma is supreme. Karma is controlling everyone. What is this Indra? Who needs this Indra? If you are pious and good in your karma, Indra must give you rain. If you are impious, he will not give you rain.  He is just the instrument to deliver a person’s karma. Just see, my father! Look at the ocean; the ocean is not performing any pious activities, doesn’t even need rain, yet so much water is going into the ocean. Actually the 3 modes of material nature are very powerful.  And rain is coming by the mode of passion. Because Indra is in the mode of passion, he is doing according to the dictations of the modes of material nature.  And even the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he does not interfere with his own laws.  He will simple give you whatever your karma deserves.”

Krishna was teaching the sankhya and karma mimansa philosophy, which even he doesn’t believe in. Why was he speaking of this atheistic philosophy?  Because he had a plan to give pleasure to his devotees and to protect Indra.  Krishna was so clever; he was speaking in such a way that he would infuriate Indra.  Hare Krishna! And we will find out the result as the story progresses.

So Krishna told Nanda Maharaj, ‘We are Vaishyas. Everyone gets good karmas by following their particular varna.  The duty of the Brahmin is to study the scriptures and to share that knowledge with the general population; the duty of the kshtriyas is to protect the citizens and establish real dharma in this world; the duty of vaishyas is farming and protecting cows; and the duty of the sudras is to faithfully assist the others.  We are vaishyas, my father! We have four main responsibilities – farming, commerce, cow protection and money lending.  But in our particular field our duty is protecting the cows.  We are living in this forest of Vrindavan, and who is providing for our cows? It is Govardhan. Govardhan is supplying fresh tasty grass for our cows which is supplying great abundance of milk. So my dear father, forget this Indra.  Let us worship the Brahmins who give us auspicious blessings, the cows in whom all the demigods are present and Govardhan hill, who is most expert at giving pleasure to the cows.  Let us take all the paraphernalia that you have arranged for Indra’s Pooja to worship the Brahmins, the cows and the Govardhan Hill.’– Radhanath Swami

radhanath swami seeing bhoga arrangementKrishna gave elaborate arrangements of how this Pooja has to be done.  He said, “We should make so many wonderful mountains of preparations of bhoga to offer to Giriraj:  Puris, sweet rice, laddus and gulab jamun and samosa and kachori and all of the things we see today, and so many more. And we should make so much rice, and the rice should have so much ghee on it that it looks like Mount Kailash with a golden hue of sun reflecting off it.”  And then Krishna said, “After we offer all this to Govardhan, then we should feed sumptuously the Brahmins and everyone, everyone should be fed. Even the chandala, even the dogs and the animals should sumptuously feast on the prasad of Shri Giriraj. And then we should have the Brahmins doing fire yagnas, and after everything we should circumambulate Govardhan hill together.”  Nanda Maharaj, his only desire in life was to please Krishna; there was no other ambition. “So if this pleases you Gopal, then we will perform Govardhan Pooja.”  And the word spread all over Braj Bhumi, and mountains and mountains of bhoga was made.

For those of you who know Govardhan Prakrima, it is described: from dana nivartan kund all the way though aniyor to close to govinda kund, there was several kilometers – miles and miles, both wide and long – of mountains of bhoga. And the Brahmins were performing the yagnas and singing auspicious mantras. It is so wonderfully explained.

Radhanath Swami at Annakuta Festival

Radhanath Swami at the Govardhan Festival

And after putting everything in its place, Krishna and the Brijabasis circumambulated Govardhan hill.  First there were Brahmins chanting mantras, people playing instruments, and then behind them were the Gopas; they were joking and they had all their cows, hundreds and thousands of cows, countless cows. Behind them were Nanda Maharaj and the elder Gopas, and behind them were more musicians. Behind them were the bullock carts with Rohini and Yashoda and the elderly Gopis and the younger Gopis.  Then in this way, very very blissfully, everyone was ecstatically enjoying as they were doing the parikrama of Shri Giriraj.

And at the conclusion of the parikrama Krishna assumed the form of Shri Govardhan.  Krishna manifested his own divine personal form in Govardhan hill.  He became immense in size; it appeared like one mountain on top of another mountain.– Radhanath Swami

And he had thousands of arms and with those arms he was eating all the preparations.  Even in Nandagram, which is long distance, again very long distance, some people were not able to come to Giriraj to offer their offerings. So they were in Nandagram making offering, and Shri Giriraj stretched out one of his arms miles and miles and miles. His mouth was just like a gigantic ecstatic beautiful cave, and within moments these thousands of arms just stretched out in all eight directions just eating and eating until everything was gone.  There were lakes of sweet rice, there were lakes of condensed milk, there were mountains of rice and grains and vegetables and fruits and delicious fragrant subjis.  So many sweet preparations all made from milk and grains!  And Govardhan consumed it all.  There was nothing left.

And then with a tumultuous voice he cried out, “Give me more.” There was nothing else.  They had already offered him everything in the whole Brajabhoomi.  One simple brahmin came with a tulsi leaf and offered that.

Patram puspam phalam toyam

Yo me bhaktya prayacchati (B.G. 9.26)

Radhanath Swami at Govardhan

 

Radhanath Swami singing at Govardhan

Radhanath Swami singing at Govardhan Pooja

Krishna says, “If you offer me even a leaf or flower or water with devotion, I am satisfied.”  So Giriraj was happy. When Krishna manifested himself as this gigantic form of Govardhan hill everyone understood that Govardhan hill is non-different than Krishna himself. At the same time Krishna maintained his form as a little cowherd boy and personally wanted to teach all the Gopas and Gopis and all the devotees for all time to come how to worship Govardhan hill.  Krishna as a cowherd boy was bowing down to himself in the form of Shri Giriraj and teaching us how to honor and worship him as such.  Then within a moment, all the mountains of Prasad re-appeared as Mahaprasad of Shri Giriraj – mountains and lakes and streams of the most delicious Mahaprasad, which was distributed to everyone profusely.  Krishna was telling, “The Brahmins should eat so much, they should just be so full with nectarine Prasad that they just can’t help do anything but just give blessings.  And the cows should be given everything that they like to eat, the freshest nicest the most fragrant grasses and laddus. Everyone must be happy. Even the dog should be waddling like duck – so full.”  Krishna didn’t say that, but that’s commentary.

So this Govardhan Pooja was so blissful. Why was everyone so blissful? Because Govardhan is Krishna, and because they satisfied Krishna within their hearts, they were ultimately happy.– Radhanath Swami

Radhanath Swami describes Krishna’s lifting of Govardhan hill

The brijabasis were dancing and singing and celebrating Shri Govardhan Pooja.  It was the happiest, ecstatic festival ever. But there was one person who was not happy.  Who was that? His grace Sriman Indra.  Before I continue,

vāñchā-kalpatarubhyaś ca
kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca
patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo
vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ

Indra was outraged.

All the Gopis returned to their homes with the Gopas, just so pleased by Krishna’s wonderful pastime of Govardhan Pooja. But Indra, his heart was tormented with anger.  He called for the samvartaka clouds, which are not ordinary clouds. These are the clouds that are especially deputed at the time of pralay or universal devastation.  The samvartaka clouds have the power, within a very short duration of time to create a running over of the oceans so that the entire earth becomes one ocean of water.  They are the clouds of universal devastation and they are reserved only for that time

Now, recently in Bombay you have experience of some very common mundane little clouds that are just caused by some evaporation. I think you had just 30 inches of rain in one day, and so many people lost their lives, lost their property – such inconvenience.  The railways, the roads, the airports closed.  In many places communication was stopped; the city was paralyzed; the city came to a standstill because of the rain of one cloud, little cloud, trickling cloud, in comparison. And the whole world was reading about this rain storm in Bombay.  The clouds of devastation, they are something altogether different.  They destroy planets.

Krishna infuriated Indra. He (Indra) was so angry; he was loudly crying out, “Every year the residents of Vrindavan have been performing this Pooja for me. I am a demigod. I am the controller of the rain.  But this year because of their false pride, because they have so much opulence, so much happiness, they have denied me my worship.  They have come under the influence of this arrogant ignorant talkative child Krishna.  This little child who speaks all nonsense, by listening to him they did not worship me?? They took all the ingredients that were meant for me and offered it to a hill. They must be punished; they must learn their lessons.  Samvartaka clouds go to Vrindavan and destroy it, complete destruction. With all your wrath send devastation to the Brajabasis.”  Samvartaka clouds obediently bowed to Indra. “Yes it will be done.”

And meanwhile in Vrindavan these gigantic clouds started forming in the sky.  These clouds were so dark and so large that not even a ray of sun light could get through them.  Everything was in darkness.  But that was not a problem because Krishna’s moon like complexion made everything very nice.  And there was thunder, tumultuous thunder and then lightening broke crisscrossing in all directions – lightening bolts. And the Brajabasis and the cows and the calves were looking at the sky – what was happening? It became freezing cold and then the rains came down, torrents of rains – not drops but columns and pillars of rain. It looked like billions of rivers falling from the sky. Within seconds you could not even tell between the lower places and the higher places of the ground.  It was a devastating rainfall.  The cows in the pastures were crying tears, trembling. And with that nice flowing flesh that is descending from their necks they were covering their little calves, trying to protect them from the rains.  The cows were trembling, crying, trying to protect their little children, helpless. And the bulls, the rains were falling on to the horns of the bulls and bouncing on to its big hump back and then falling into little drops and falling to the ground.  The bulls were angry as fire; they were looking at the sky and roaring.  And the Gopas and the Gopis they were in the helpless state, and they understood that death personified had manifested in this devastating rainfall.  Gopas and Gopis brought the cows and the bulls with them and approached Gopal.  And they cried out, “Krishna, Krishna Mahabhaga. My dear Krishna, you are all powerful and we are your devotees. And we are in the helpless state. Indra is sending torrents of rains because we followed your instructions of Govardhan Pooja. Now we are about to be destroyed with freezing cold; please save us.  And especially you are very favorable to your cows. See the condition of the suffering of the cows.”

Actually, do you think Indra had any power to make the nitya siddhas devotees of Goloka Vrindavan suffer? He had no such power.  It was Krishna’s lila shakti. It was Krishna’s own internal potency that gave them the experience of suffering.  Why?  So that they could experience this beautiful lila of love with him.  Just like to the degree you are hungry you can take shelter and enjoy good prasad.  So when there is a great need, when there is a great hunger, there is greater satisfaction. So Krishna allowed these devotees, these brajabasis to apparently suffer just so that they could come to him, crying for his mercy.  Krishna was thinking in his heart, ‘Indra is proud and now I will crush that pride and Vrindavan is my home.  And the Brijabasis are my family; I must protect them; I must give them shelter. And besides that anyone who takes shelter of me, it is my promise that I will appear to protect that devotee.’ Radhanath Swami

So for the pleasure of all the inhabitants of Vrindavan and for the pleasure of all the devotees for all time to come, Krishna ran from his home to Govardhan hill.  But by his Yoga Maya potency when he ran, none of the rain could fall, so that not a drop touched him. Hare Krishna! And then Krishna, 7 year old child, effortlessly lifted Giriraj as a little child lifts a mushroom and held it up above his head – according to hari bhamsa – with the little finger of his left hand.  As he lifted Giriraj, Giriraj who was there to assist Lord in every way, it made a tumultuous sound that was echoing throughout the earth plant as Krishna lifted the Govardhan hill effortlessly. Shri Giriraj had large clumps of dirt falling from the whole parameter of the hill.  Why? Because it made like a boundary wall around the entire parikrama so that none of the water that tripped off the hill could get inside; very thorough in his service.  Then Krishna called out to all the Gopas and Gopis of Vrindavan, “Now look. Govardhan hill has become like a beautiful jeweled umbrella. Come, come. Bring all your calves and bring all your belongings; bring all the cows and your family members. Govardhan hill is like a beautiful, beautiful town that we could live in.  Not even the slightest inconvenience will come upon you.”

Now we may ask, “How is it that so many millions of cows and so many brijabasis were under Govardhan Hill?” But the acharyas explain that when Krishna touched Shri Giriraj with his hand, Giriraj was in such ecstasy that as he was raised up he expanded in all directions. He expanded miles and miles and miles and miles just enough so that everyone could come under him without any inconvenience.  It was a beautiful sight.  The valley under Shri Govardhan, there was grass for the cows to eat, there were ponds and lake – all facilities. All the Brajabasis came and surrounded Krishna who was standing in his most munificent and sweet form as Shri Giridhari.  SHRI GIRIDHARI LAL KI JAY!!!!!

Krishna reciprocates with the brajbasis under Govardhan Hill

Surrounding him everyone experienced the highest satisfaction, because Krishna by his transcendental sweet quality made everyone feel that he was looking only at them – every calf, every cow, every gopa, every gopi, every peacock, every parrot, every insect, everyone that was there. There were so many unlimited living entities all gathered under Govardhan hill, and there was plenty of room; there was no crowding like in temple today. There was no one thinking, “Why I am not in front? Why am I way in back? Everyone was fully satisfied, because by Krishna’s lila shakti he was gazing into everyone, and all the devotees were thinking, “Krishna is only looking at me.” In this situation Krishna was reciprocating with the love of everyone’s hearts in the most perfect way.– Radhanath Swami

The Brahmins, fully satisfied by Krishna’s darshan, were just offering boons and benedictions and blessings upon Gopal. The cowherd boys were speaking joking words, and they were laughing with Gopal and smelling his head.  And the gopis, the young gopis, like the chakora bird gazes upon the moon as the only object of their lives, they were gazing upon the beautiful sweet form of Gopal.  Through their eyes they were drinking in his beauty and embracing him lovingly within the core of their hearts.  And the elder Gopis, they were feeling that Krishna may be very tired or he may be very hungry they were serving him in their hearts with parental affection.  Everyone was completely enjoying the highest ecstasies of Krishna’s association.  For 7 days and 7 nights continuously everyone gazed upon Krishna.  Now the young Gopis, previously they were only experiencing Krishna through poorva raga. But now all their desires were being fulfilled. Krishna was reciprocating simply through his glance and smiles upon them without the slightest break for 7 days and 7 nights, and the Gopas who would just usually play with Krishna for all day were in separation from him for all night. But now there was no question of separation of day or night.  Krishna was fulfilling all the innermost heart’s desires of all of his devotees through this lila of Govardhan Pooja

Batu, who was the brahmin cowherd boy of the name Madhumangal, in a very laughing voice he called out, “Krishna! I can see that you may be getting tired.  I am a Brahmin. By my brahmin tejas I will keep Govardhan hill up with my stick. You can take rest.” Yasodha Mai, after several days she was looking at Gopal and saying, “Oh Gopal! You are so impudent, you have no control over your senses at all. What have you done? You have angered Indra, and you are not even afraid of the demigod Indra. Now he is sending torrents, torrents and torrents of rain. Why have you done like this? And now you are lifting this Govardhan hill, and it is so heavy and it is so hard, I cannot tolerate seeing this. You look so tired Gopal.”  Yashoda Mai started to offer prayers to Govardhan, “Oh Govardhan! If I have done anything for the service of the Lord in my life please give me this one benediction: out of your compassion please be very soft and light so that you do not hurt the finger of my son.”

And Madhumangal, he said, “Oh mother don’t speak like this.  If that insignificant Indra did not become angry then we would not be enjoying this festival of sweet nectar by watching Krishna in his divine form and lila of Giridhari lifting Govardhan hill.”  Yashoda mai responded, “Oh restless one Madhumangal! What are you saying? Since when is holding a heavy burden of a mountain something sweet?  Look at it his hairs; it is full of perspiration. His body is trembling, his face is pale. How could a mother possibly tolerate something like this?”  And Krishna said to Yashoda Mai, “Oh mother! There is nothing more fun for me than keeping Govardhan hill lifted in this way, and Govardhan is so merciful. Govardhan is so compassionate because we have pleased him by Govardhan Pooja. He is floating.  I am not even holding him; he is just floating over my finger.  There is no effort at all.”  Yashoda Mai said, “I don’t believe this. You look so tired. How could you hold so long?  If it is true that Govardhan is floating and you are only an instrument underneath him then I want to see him float all around the sky.  Not on your finger.” And Madhumangal, he said, “Oh mother! Do not worry.  It is not Krishna. Govardhan hill is so effortlessly on his beautiful lotus hand because I am holding it up by the power of my brahminical mantras.”  Yashoda Mai replied, “Oh impudent Madhumangal! How could you speak like this in such a difficult state?! My heart is burning and you are telling jokes! My son Krishna, he does not listen to anyone.” Nanda Maharaj, he said, “Yashoda. Why are you chastising Madhumangal? His laughing words is encouraging and giving pleasure to Krishna.”  In this way there was wonderful reciprocation of love amongst the devotees.

Inspired by the beautiful lila of Shri Giridhari everyone was in ecstasy.  But Krishna, to increase everyone’s happiness while lifting Govardhan hill with his left hand, he placed his flute to his lotus lips with his right hand, and with that one hand he played such sweet enchanting melodies with his flute.  Madhumangal, he said, “Krishna, please stop playing your flute. Stop playing your flute; the song of your flute is so sweet it is so enchanting that Govardhan is going to go into ecstasy and start trembling, and he may fall off your finger and kill us all.  And not only that, we have seen when you play your flute that mountains and stones melt and turn into rivers, and stones and rivers become still and immovable.” And another gopa said, “Yes, yes! We have seen like that. Krishna please, please stop playing your flute, because if you keep playing your flute Govardhan hill is going to melt into liquid and it will be a gigantic river and devastate all of us.”  And they all started praying to Govardhan, “Please keep your composure; please somehow or other, even with Krishna’s beautiful sound of flute please be composed.” And other gopas said, “Do not worry. Govardhan is always composed.  Let us just enjoy the sweet song of Krishna’s flute.”

One Brijabasi turned to Shrimati Radha Rani and said, “Oh Shrimati Radha Rani! Please do not move your eyebrows, because if you do and Krishna sees, then his hands may tremble and shake and Govardhan may fall upon all of us.”  Meanwhile Krishna with his left hand lifting Shri Govardhan and with his right hand playing his flute, he was moving his head back and forth and smiling as all the cowherd boys were jokingly telling beautiful stories and reciprocating with Krishna’s love.  One sakhi spoke to Shrimati Radha Rani, “I have seen that Krishna has just gazed upon you and now there are tears coming from his eyes out of his ecstasy of love for you. And he is perspiring and his hands are trembling, and therefore Govardhan is trembling. Look! Look! All the cowherd men, they are so much thinking that Krishna is tired, and that’s why he is trembling.”  Cowherd men were thinking that Krishna’s fatigue was causing him to tremble so they all put their cowherd sticks under Govardhan to hold it up.  And Madhumangala upon seeing this he started to joke with the cowherd men.  He said, “What are you people doing? You insignificant cowherd men, you are simply scratching the bottom of Shri Giriraj.”  He said, “Gopal is Balaram’s brother.  He has all strength.  There is nothing to fear.  Why are you wasting your time putting your sticks?” And Krishna said to Madhumangal, “Please do not discourage them. This is their parental affection; this is their parental affection towards me.  Do not laugh.”

Yashoda Mai, she was in great anxiety of love as a mother. She said, “7 days have passed. Gopal, you have not taken any food.  Look. Your face is pale and withering like a dry lotus flower.  And your belly has sunken in and your limbs are trembling and your cows and your friends they will not eat until you eat. The cows are very hungry; they have not even tasted a single blade of grass.  And all these days Balaram is ver[]y hungry, but he will not eat without you. So I have this preparation of fresh sweet cream and yogurt. Please take it.” And when Madhumangal heard this, he became very happy.  He said, “Oh mother! This is very good what you are saying. What you are speaking is correct; even I am feeling great hunger.”  Krishna who was still in his beautiful three-fold bending form of holding Govardhan hill, he said to Yashoda mai, “I am feeling no fatigue. I am most happy. It seems that no time at all has passed, but still for your pleasure you can feed me that cream and that butter.”  For Yashoda Mai, that was not sufficient. She asked Subal, “Please offer Krishna this fresh tambula that I have made.  You are his best friend. Please tell Krishna to put his flute down, stop playing his flute and eat this nice Prasad.”  So subal personally came and took the flute out of Krishna’s hand and put the tambula of Yashoda Mai in Krishna’s mouth. And as Krishna was chewing tambula he was smiling and then Yashoda Mai became satisfied; everyone was satisfied.

All the rasas of the various devotees were perfectly and fully satisfied.  For those in shanta raas like the Brahmins they were just gazing upon the beautiful form of Krishna and offering him unlimited blessings.  For those in dasya rasa like Raktaka and Patraka they were rendering all sorts of beautiful loving services to Krishna.  And those in sankhya raas, the cowherd boys, they were pleasing Krishna by joking and telling sweet stories and laughing with Krishna and laughing and laughing and laughing with Krishna.  And the gopis, like chakora birds were fulfilling all their innermost hearts desires of madhurya raas simply by gazing upon Krishna and seeing his gaze and experiencing his smile.  And the Gopas like Yashoda and Nanda and all those in vastalya raas, they were experiencing the highest happiness.  Thus this Govardhan Lila perfectly satisfied with the highest ecstasies of love all the devotees for 7 days and 7 nights.  During these 7 days and 7 nights nobody felt the slightest inconvenience of hunger thirst or sleep.  They were all being nourished and satisfied simply by darshan of Shri Giridarlal. Shri Govardhan dhari ki jay!!!!– Radhanath Swami

No need to eat; no need to sleep; no need to drink; simply the darshan of Krishna satisfied everyone’s desires – except Indra.  He was becoming more frustrated by the moment. He had his samvartaka clouds just pounding down, pounding down, torrents and torrents, rivers and columns of rain; they were getting so fatigued; they were going to the ocean, getting in vast quantities and pouring it down.  But Govardhan was completely satisfied although there were unlimited bolts of lightning crashing on Govardhan hill, massive thunder torrents of rain. Still, not a single drop of water touched a simple Brajabasi.  The Samvartaka clouds were, just with all of their energy, trying to please Indra and Indra was watching.  Ultimately the Samvartaka clouds were defeated. They went and fell at the feet of Indra and said, “We are finished. We cannot do anymore. We have failed.” And Indra became even more angry, and he personally came himself with his vajra and thunderbolts and all of his powers. He was pounding on Giriraj and he ordered the samvartaka clouds. He brought cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes, every type of powerful wind and ordered them to have one single mission – to blow Govardhan Hill off the little finger of Krishna’s hand.  Such winds, but with all these 7 days of high winds… and this Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, all these hurricanes which we read about – and we feel sad with all the devastation they did – but these were like a baby breathing compared to the velocity of winds that Indra was sending.  And this gigantic mountain they could not even budge it from the tip of Krishna’s little finger.

And Shri Giriraj, he was in ecstasy because he was touched. Because he was touched by the little tip of little Krishna’s finger, he was so much in ecstasy; he was just shining with happiness. He was so happy with all the torrents of rain that were coming upon him, he appeared like he was having a pleasant abhishekam.  He didn’t even feel anything.  Billions of thunderbolts were crashing upon him, but he was only feeling happiness because of the experience of Krishna’s touch; he didn’t even feel the thunderbolts.  And when Indra looked to see what was happening he was shocked.  7 days and 7 nights, and with all of the powers of the rains of devastation – the winds and the thunder – he could not move a single grain of dust from Govardhan hill.  Of all the millions of trees and billions of leaves on the trees he could not separate a single leaf from the tree. The animals on top of Govardhan Hill, just to please those animals it grew so high. It was growing in all directions on Krishna’s finger with such happiness that some of the animals just climbed to the top and they were above the clouds. So a single piece didn’t touch them. Indra could not cause the slightest bit of inconvenience for even the insects. His pride was crushed to fine powder.

Video of Radhanath Swami speaking on Govardhan Pooja

 

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  • Joan Star

    I have never been to India but this explanation makes me feel as if I am participating in the events which are happening. Its so lively. I wish I could visit this beautiful place someday. Are there more stories about this place? Which other places are of importance in India other than Agra

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Thank you very much.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Amazing pastimes of Giri Govardhan!

  • sannidhi

    Very amazing article…..While reading this article, I am feeling presence of transcedental land of Vrindavan. Lord Krishna performes many divine pastime and each pastime has valuable lessons that we should applied in our life. This treasure of wisdom through these nectarines pastime is available in lectures of H.H.Radhanath Swami Maharaj. I offer my heartfelt gratitude for sharing this article.

  • Sanjiv

    Thanks for sharing this article – Unless our eyes are ornamented with the salve of love we cannot see Krishna as he is, we cannot hear his name as he is, we cannot see his eternal transcendental abode as it is.

  • dharmendra vaishya

    Krishna is the controller of all controllers and the source of everything. Whether we are good cooks or good singers or good businessman or good managers or good speakers, whatever we may be good at, we should never be proud. We should understand always – ‘I am only the instrument of GOD.’ If we have lust, anger and greed, we are instruments of maya, Krishna’s potency of maha maya. And as devotees we are inspiring to be instruments of Krishna’s grace.
    Mind blowing explanation….

  • harsh0807

    Such an amazing article thank you maharaj for explaining the past time so meticulously !!

  • Arun Pagare

    Very nice and amazing pastimes of Giriraj Govardhan..

  • khushal

    Such an amazing description of the entire Govardhan lifting pastimes. Such deep and profound instructions and lessons from an apparently simple story. Radhanath swami has this unique ability to excavate life’s deep meaning and treasure from things which seem to be of meagre value. Thank you swamiji for your lovely description of this pastime. Very grateful. Must hear lecture on this one. I recommend

  • biswajit

    Thank you very much for sharing.

  • Balaramacharyadas

    Wonderful details by HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj Ji.

  • brajswaminidd

    Sri Giriraj Govardhan, although the Supreme Absolute Truth with all opulence, the origin of all incarnations, also takes a role of Haridas Bharya, the greatest of all servants of Lord Hari-thanks for sharing this.

  • Sumit Sharma

    Wonderful details on Shri Giriraj.

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Thank you very much for explaining the beauty of Goverdhan hill in such a beautiful way.

  • Piyush Singh

    This is the beauty of HH Radhanath Swami’s discourses, he kind of literally transport us to the pastime with his elaborate descriptions of various details. And what to speak of the enormous instructions that we get to hear in these profound discourses. Many thanks for making this beautiful transcription and video available.

    • NSP

      Well said! So true!

  • Vinay Malani

    Thank you Radhanath Swami Maharaj for the wonderful spiritual discourse on the significance of Govardhan Puja.