|Krishna is lifting the Govardhan Hill;|
Within the holy Vraj dham, which by material calculation has a diameter of 84 miles, are twelve sacred forests where Lord Krishna enjoyed many transcendental pastimes. Of these twelve forests, the forest of vrindavan is considered to be not only the most sacred but also the largest. Within it the most intimate and confidential pastimes of divine love took place.
|Sacred path around Govardhan;|
Situated in the middle of this vast forest is the transcendental mountain known as Govardhan. Upon the slopes of this transcendental mountain Lord Krishna enjoyed innumerable childhood pastimes surrounded by his most confidential associates, the beautiful gopis and cowherd boys of vrindavan. Situated 14 miles west of Mathura, Govardhan, also known as Giriraj, is the sacred center of Vraja and is identified as a natural form of Krishna.
The name ‘Govardhana’ has two primary translations. In the literal meaning, ‘Go’ translates to ‘cows’, and ‘vardhana’ translates to ‘nourishment’. Another meaning of ‘Go’ is ‘the senses’ and another meaning of ”vardhana’ is ‘to increase.’ Thus the name is also translated by devotees of Krishna as ‘that which increases the senses’–in their attraction to Krishna. In this connection it is believed that the personality of Govardhan blesses the devotee by increasing his/her devotion. Thus by residing in the foothills of Govardhan Hill, all the senses are more inclined to perform eternal service to Krishna.
|Krishna, Gopas and cows on Govardhan;|
It is said that Giriraja has descended from Sri Krsna’s transcendental abode Goloka-Vrndavana to Vraja on this Earth planet. He came with secluded bowers, caves, pure lakes and ponds, and various minerals, like red ochre ( gairika), that are useful in the service of the Divine Couple Sri Radha Krishna. Giriraja-Govardhana is non-different from Krishna in tattva, yet he is considered to be hari-dasa-varya, the best among all the servants of Hari.
Krishna lifted the Govardhan Mountain in order to curb the pride of Indra, the king of the heavens, when he was just a seven year old boy. Sri Krishna held the enormous Govardhana Hill on the little finger of His left hand for seven days.
Descent of Govardhan
|Govardhan Hill and cows;|
According to Garg samhita, one day in Goloka Vrindavan Lord Krishna informed his eternal consort Srimati Radharani that she should now appear on earth as it was time for them to perform their pastimes within the material world. Radharani replied unless Vraja Dham, the Yamuna, and Govardhan Hill were present there, she would not be happy. Krishna then informed that she need not worry, as Vraja dham, along with the Yamuna and Govardhan Hill had already appeared on earth.
When Govardhan took birth all the mountains understanding their good fortune that the very playground of Lord Krishna has appeared amongst them, worshipped Govardhan Hill. And the demigods showered flowers upon Giriraj. One day Pulatsya Muni was traveling and he came upon this Govardhan Hill. He requested Giriraj’s father Dronachala that, “In my place of Bhajan, Varanasi there are no mountains, but this Govardhan is such beautiful mountain, I desire to take Govardhan to Varanasi to do my worship”. So with the very heavy heart of imminent separation Dronachala gave his permission. But Govardhan made a condition that, “I will go with you, but anywhere you place Me to the ground, I will not move from that place”.
A view of Govardhan Hill So Pulatsya Muni began his journey. By Govardhan’s blessings and by his mystic powers he was able to carry him. But Govardhan came to this world only to assist Krishna in his divine pastimes in Vrindavan. So, therefore as Pulatsya Muni was passing by Braj Bhumi by the will of the Supersoul within his heart he had an unbearable urge to respond to the call of nature. Thus he had to place Govardhan down. And he performed his duties, he washed his hands, then he went to lift Govardhan, but he would not move! So he tried with all of his strength, but Govardhan would not move. He became very upset and he cursed Govardhan that, “Everyday You will reduce in size the length of a mustard seed”. This took place in Satya Yuga. At that time Govardhan Hill was miles and miles high. But actually Govardhan was very happy to receive this curse as a blessing, because for Krishna to perform his pastimes on such an immense mountain with snowcap peaks in the clouds would have not been very pleasing.
So he very graciously reduced His size so that at the time of Lord Krishna, Govardhan Hill at places was about two miles high. And now it's highest point it is about 80 feet tall.
The importance of Govardhan Parikarama
Performing parikarama of the sacred Govardhan hill is most auspicious because it is an offering of worship to Radha and Krishna.
In the Srimad Bhagavatam it is mentioned how Lord Krishna ordered to the Vrajvasis that they worship Govardhan Hill. And a very important part of that worship was that all the gopas and the gopis circumambulated the Govardhan Hill, and in this way they could greatly, greatly please Lord Sri Krishna.
The real path of perfection is to follow in the footsteps of the great souls. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, when he came to Vrindavan, performed this Govardhan Parikrama. He saw every single stone of Govardhan Hill as non-different from the very body of Lord Sri Krishna. Even Madhavendra Puri performed the Govardhan Parikrama. Ishwar Puri, Nityananda Prabhu and Adwaita Prabhu, they all with great devotion circumambulated Sri Govardhan. The six Goswamis considered this Govardhan Parikrama as an integral part of their bhajan. Raghunath Das Goswami resided near Radha Kund at Govardhan Hill. Sanatana Goswami, while he was living here at Manasi Ganga at Chakleshwar Mahadev temple, he would do the Govardhan Parikrama every single day, even in his very old age. Similarly, other great Vaishnavas like Narottam Das Thakur and Srivas Acharya performed the Govardhan Parikrama. And then Vishwanath Chakravarty Thakur resided near Govardhan Hill. Srila Bhakti Siddahanta Sarasvati, Bhaktivinode, they had homes near Govardhan Hill and they would regularly do the Govardhan Parikrama. The Founder Acharya of ISKCON, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, his last desire was that he wanted the devotees to take him on a Parikrama of Govardhan. In this way he established the most important and sacred nature of this worship.
The dust at the foot of Govardhan Hill that we walk upon, it is not only the sanctified dust of Braja, but it is also decorated with the dust of the lotus feet of all of these great incarnations and acharyas. It is said that in Vrindavan there are three items that are especially powerful to purify the heart: the dust of Braja, the river Yamuna and the Govardhan Hill.
The parikrama according to the advice of Srila Rupa Goswami should start by taking a bath in the beautiful Manasi Ganga Lake. One should commence the worship of Sri Giriraj by offering one's body, mind and words during this Govardhan Parikrama.
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