Today is the worship of Giri Govardhan. Vaisnavas observe this festival day. In Vrndavan there is a great festival. Devotees go to Giri Govardhan and circumlamulate with sankirtana and a great festival is performed. All the Vaisnava temples, especially ISKCON Temples throughout the world observe this day. It is known as annakuta-mahotsava. A great hill of anna, food preparations is offered to Giri Govardhan and worshiped in this way.
The Mercy of Sri Giraja Govardhana
First I will glorify Giri Govardhana, then read from the Krsna Book, written by Srila Prabhupada, based on the descriptions given in the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, of how Bhagavan Krsna protected the inhabitants of Vrajabhumi, in Vrndavana, from the wrath of King Indra.
I request everyone to sit and hear krsna-katha with concentrated attention. Do not feel impatient. If you feel so, then you will never receive the mercy of Giri Govardhana or the mercy of Krsna. There should be no disturbance at all. After this lecture we will be offering worship to Giri Govardhana. We will circumambulate Giriraja Govardhana, then offer arati and the annakuta-mahotsava, nice foodstuffs have been prepared and will be offered to Giriraja Govardhana and Krsna. Then that nice prasada will be distributed to everyone. Therefore be happy receiving the mercy of bhakta and Bhagavan. Giriraja Govardhana is a devotee, bhakta, and Krsna is Bhagavan.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Sees Sri Giraja Govardhana
When Mahaprabhu was staying in Jagannatha Puri dhama, Purusottama Ksetra, seeing the different places, in Mahaprabhu’s vision they would appear like Vrndavan. He would see Jagannatha Vallabha gardens and immediately think of Vrndavan. He would see the ocean and he would immediately think of the Yamuna and jump into it. This is Mahaprabhu’s lila.
Similarly, Mahaprabhu was going to take bath in the sea when he saw Cataka Parvata, a sand dune. Those who have gone to Jagannatha Puri might have seen it. It is situated between the Tota-Gopinatha Temple and Purusottama Gaudiya Matha. This Gaudiya Matha was established by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Gosvami. The sand dune known as Cataka Parvata is just behind this Purusottama Gaudiya Matha. Have you seen it? So as soon as Mahaprabhu saw that Cataka Parvata, He thought of Giri Govardhana. It appeared before Him like that. He immediately uttered that verse in the tenth canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam for Giri Govardhan.
hantayam adrir abala hari-dasa-varyo
manam tanoti saha-go-ganayos tayor yat
“Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! O my friends, this hill supplies Krishna and Balarama, along with Their calves, cows and cowherd friends, with all kinds of necessities -- water for drinking, very soft grass, caves, fruits, flowers and vegetables. In this way the hill offers respects to the Lord. Being touched by the lotus feet of Krishna and Balarama, Govardhana Hill appears very jubilant.”
Seeing Giri Govardhan the gopis uttered, “O my dear girl companions this Giriraja, Giri Govardhan has become purified getting the touch of the lotus feet of both Rama and Krsna. He looks so joyful and blissful. He supplies us with clear running water, a fountain of water, nice grass, roots and fruits for our cows and calves and the cowherd men, boys and women. Thereby, Giriraja Govardhan is also offering worship, puja to Rama and Krsna. Therefore this mountain, Giriraja Govardhan is one of the chief devotees of Lord Hari, hari-dasa-varya. Narada, Yudhisthira, and Uddhava are known as hari-dasa, devotees of Lord Hari. Giri Govardhan is one of the chief devotees of Lord Hari.”
Pure Devotee of the Lord is as Good as Sri Krsna
Srimad-bhagavatam puranam amalam [SB 12.13.18], Srimad-Bhagavatam is spotless proof. Mahaprabhu has said like this. Mahaprabhu is the authority, acarya, therefore we accept Giri Govardhan as a devotee of Lord Hari not as Bhagavan.
There is some misconception. Some devotees worship Giri Govardhan as Bhagavan, Krsna and place a peacock feather and flute on him but Bhagavatam says he is one of the devotees of Lord Hari. Mahaprabhu has uttered this verse. Therefore, we should accept Giriraja as a chief devotee of Lord Hari, not as Bhagavan. Though he is a dear devotee, he is as good as Bhagavan, saksad-dhari. In Gurvastaka we offer this prayer:
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam
“The spiritual master is to be honoured as much as the Supreme Lord, because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord. This is acknowledged in all revealed scriptures and followed by all authorities. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master, who is a bona fide representative of Sri Hari. [Sri Sri Gurv-astaka 7]
He is as good as Lord Hari. Also it is said there are four manifestations of Lord Krsna:
bhagavata, tulasi gangaya, bhakta-jane
caturdha vigraha krsna ei cari sane
[Caitanya-bhagavata, Madhya-lila, 21.81]
“Krsna appears in this world in four forms—Srimad-Bhagavatam, Tulasi, Ganga and the pure devotees.”
These are four manifestations of Krsna in this material world: Bhagavata [Srimad-Bhagavatam], Ganga, Bhakta and Tulasi. Tulasi is a dear, pure devotee tulasi-preyasi. These are the four manifestations of Krsna. So Giriraja is a dear devotee, a manifestation of Krsna, but we accept him as a pure devotee. We should offer worship to Giriraja as a dear devotee, hari-dasa-varya, not as the Lord.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Sees Sri Giraja Govardhana
So when Mahaprabhu saw Cataka Parvata He uttered this verse [Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.21.18] and became ecstatic. He ran so swiftly, as swift as the wind, and a wonderful ecstatic mood appeared on His body. All sattvika transformations were there. As He was running one of the sattvika transformations, stambha [stunned like a statue] appeared in His body. He stood up and could not move, no movement. At last, He lay on the ground fainted. Devotees headed by Svarupa Damodara Gosvami were running to catch up with Mahaprabhu. When they caught up and saw Mahaprabhu had fainted, they all loudly chanted in the ears of Mahaprabhu:
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare
Then after some time He got back His consciousness. In this way, Mahaprabhu remained in an ecstatic mood the whole day and night. Sometimes in an external mood, sometimes in an internal mood.
So as a daily practice Mahaprabhu was taking bath, taking some food, only externally it was going on. When He would go to see Lord Jagannatha and have darsana at the gate, Mahaprabhu would catch hold of the gate keepers’ hands and ask, “O please help me to have the darçana of the Lord of my heart.” He was saying like this because of His intense internal mood. This is Mahaprabhu’s lila. So when Mahaprabhu saw Cataka Parvata, the sand dune, He thought of Giri Govardhan in Vrndavan. Mahaprabhu said Giri Govardhan is hari-dasa-varya. He is one of the chief devotees of Lord Hari.
Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami
Commentary by Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja
Now I will chant the ten verses of Sri Govardhana-vasa-prarthana-dasakam, written by Srila Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami in glorification of Giriraja Govardhana.
1. So Raghunatha Dasa Goswami says, “O Sriman Giri Govardhan speaking of the mountains, hills which are far and wide spread please give me a place to stay with you. I’d like very much to stay with you because you are lifted by your Master, Bhagavan Krsna. Your master, Bhagavan Krsna lifted you like an umbrella. You are resting on his hand, thereby Lord Krsna crushed the pride of the heavenly King Indra, who was very proud and puffed up because of his opulence.” This is the meaning of this verse.
2. “O my dear Govardhan, give me a place to stay with you because you are manifesting the very sweet lila of Radha and Krsna in each of your caves. Staying with you, I want to see these loving, nectarean, conjugal, sweet lila of Radha and Krsna.”
3. “My dear Govardhan please give me a place with you. If you ask, why do you want a place with me? If you want to see the nice sweet loving conjugal pastimes of Radha and Krsna you can see them anywhere in Vrndavana, everywhere they are going on. Why do you want to stay with me?”
In answer I may say, “Because you are very dear to Krsna, my dear Govardhan, you have arranged for Krsna to sit on an elevated simhasana made up of jewels and pearls on you. You have arranged for Krsna to sit underneath a tree, by the side of the fountain on you. Valleys are in you, caves are in you. You have also arranged, not only Krsna but Krsna with Balarama and all of his cowherd boys have manifested their very nice, sweet, nectarean lila here, thereby you are giving all pleasure. So why shall I stay in any other place then yourself. Therefore, I want to have a place with you.”
4. “O Giri Govardhan please give me a place with you because you are the witness of dana-keli-lila of the ever-fresh, youthful Radha and Krsna. You are the reservoir of all rasas and mellows and you have made a very nice beautiful erect platform known as syama-vedi from which a nice scent is there, thereby you are giving pleasure to Rasaraja Krsna and His dear devotees. So why shall I want some other place then you.”
5. If you ask, “There are many places in me. Which place do you want to stay?”
In answer I may say, “O my dear Govardhan I want that place that is Radha-kunda. A place in you named Radha-kunda. I want that place to stay because Radha-kunda is very dear to Krsna. Therefore it is uncomparable. You are a very dear devotee and friend of Krsna, for this reason I want a place there in Radha-kunda. You have a place at Radha-kunda on your chest Confidentially these two new ever-fresh, youthful Radha and Krsna are always engaged in loving conjugal lilas there. This place is befitting for me. While sitting there, I want to see those nice, nectarean, loving conjugal pastimes of Radha and Krsna like you are seeing.”
6. “Please give me a place with you because you are giving freely your water, land, grass, cooling shade of your trees. At every moment, every step, you are nourishing the cows and calves of Nanda Maharaja that Krsna was tending in Vrndavana. Your name is Govardhan because you are nourishing all the cows and calves in three planetary systems. You are known as Govardhana, therefore if I get a place with you, it will be very easy on my part to get the darsana of my dearest Lord Krsna. Everyday Krsna comes there to tend the cows and calves of Nanda Maharaja.”
7. “By staying in any part of Vrndavana you may fulfill your desire, why do you want to stay with me?”
In answer I may say, “O my dear Govardhan, please give me a place with you because Krsna who is the enemy of the Aghasura demon and Bakasura, has established a new home, a new house in you. He has carryed you like an umbrella, thereby he had given protection to all the inhabitants of Vrajabhumi from the wrath of the heavenly king Indra. Krsna, thereby, has given you much respect and all the people pay you respect. This is the nature of Krsna, someone maybe a very unqualified person, insignificant person, but if he stays with his dear devotee who is respected by one and all, very easily he gets the mercy of Krsna. I am a very insignificant person, disqualified person, but if I stay with you, then I’ll get the mercy of Krsna. This is my desire.”
8. O Govardhana, if you say, “This Vrndavana is spread for five yojanas. One yojana is eight miles. Five yojanas [forty miles] spread, that is like the body of Krsna. So one may stay in any part of Vrndavana thereby he can fulfill his desire. So why do you want to stay with me?
So in answer I may say, “O Giriraja Maharaja, please see, this verse from the Srimad-Bhagavatam, hari-dasa-varya. has come out from the lotus-like mouth, moon-like face of Srimati Radharani. This verse says you are the chief of all hari-dasas. This is such a nectarean name you have received. Therefore, all the Vedas have described you as the very new wonderful tilak of Vrajabhumi.This is very clear. What more shall I say? You are the chief of the hari-dasas. So it is a befitting place on my part to stay with you. Therefore, O my dear Govardhana please give a place with you to stay.”
9. O Govardhana, if you ask, “You may fulfil your desire from any of the vrajaväsés. Why are you asking me?”
In answer I may say, “You are very dear to Krsna. You are always surrounded by the damsels of Vrajabhumi, the sakhis and sakhas, the cowherd boys, those who are very dear to Krsna. Your rasa is sakhya-rasa, friendship mellow. You are giving all pleasure to the birds, beasts, men and women, to everybody of Vrajabhumi. That means you are very, very merciful. As soon as Krsna touched you, you got up, you lifted yourself up to rest on the left hand of Krsna as an umbrella. Thereby Krsna gave protection to all the inhabitants of Vrajabhumi from the wrath of Indra. You are so merciful, why shall I go to some other inhabitant of Vrajabhumi neglecting you, such a merciful devotee. Why shall I pray to them?”
If you ask, “The vrajavasis who have taken shelter under me they are very, very dear to Krsna but you are not so dear.” Pointing out me you would say I am not so dear. “How can I give you a place?”
So in answer I may say, “O my dear Govardhan you are very, very merciful. I am dina duhkhi. I am most insignificant creature, pauper, poor, please accept me because one who is a very, very merciful Vaisnava, bhakta, devotee, he showers his mercy on those who are very, very fallen, insignificant and dina. Please give me a place with you and make me a very dear to Krsna. If I get a place with you and you shower your mercy then I will be able to become very dear to Krsna, otherwise how can I become very dear to Krsna?”
10. “Why you will give a place to me, one who is very, very low, degraded, a most insignificant, pauper. I will give you the reason. It is a fact, I am a great duplicious person. Duplicity is with me, still Sacinandana Gaurahari Caitanya Mahaprabhu is supremely merciful. He has handed me over to you. You are very dear to Sacinandana Gaurahari. You must accept the words of Gaurahari who is very dear to you.”
O Govardhana, if you ask, “Why Sacinandana Gaurahari sent you from Purusottama Ksetra Jagannatha Puri-dhama, He must have some purpose?” I say there is no such purpose, no purpose is there, nothing. He is wonderfully merciful. Therefore O my dear Govardhana don’t deliberate on my qualifications or disqualifications, please accept me. You are very, very merciful. Showering your causeless mercy on me, please give me a place with you.”
Ten verses written by Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami on Giriraja Govardhan and his glorification. The concluding verse:
11. These verses, ten verses, known as Govardhana-vasa-prarthana-dasakam. If somebody will read it with complete faith and devotion he’ll definitely get bhakti-rasa, the mellow of bhakti. Therefore, one who reads it with complete faith and pure devotion he may very easily get a place with Giriraja Govardhana who is very dear to Radha and Krsna. Giriraja is dasa, he is a servant of Radha and Krsna, hari-dasa-varyo, one of the chief devotees of all the bhaktas, hari-dasas. He is a great servant. The service he renders is invaluable wealth, gem. So one who reads these ten verses written by Raghunatha Dasa Gosvamé, the Govardhana-vasa-prarthana-dasakam, with love, affection and devotion, very easily will get a place with Govardhana.
This is our philosophy, is it not? He is as good as Lord Hari, same level. Dear devotee is as good as Hari as good as Krsna, Govardhana is as good as Krsna because he is a dear devotee. That is our philosophy. This is our teaching. There are four manifestations of Krsna: Bhagavata, Tulasi, Ganga and Bhakta. The dear devotee is a manifestation of Krsna. So this should be understood in tattva, tattva-vicara [absolute consideration] not apara-vicara, [apparent consideration].