Published On: Mon, Oct 31st, 2016

Amazing Revelations: The Secrets of Govardhana Hill

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

Badger, California
May 7, 2001 (Evening)


[This year, 2016, October 31 is the celebration of Govardhana annakuta festival. Please accept this beautiful lecture given by Srila Gurudeva in 2001: 1998 Movie]

From the beginning of our Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya line, all our acaryas have given proper respect to Giriraja Govardhana. All devotees have so much respect for Govardhana. So many Govardhana silas have somehow come to them, and they are worshiping those silas. What is the truth as to why our Sampradaya has accepted Giriraja Govardhana? We should know his tattva — Govardhana-tattva. We should know who he is. We should know what process to follow in worshipping him, what should be our goal in this worship, and what we should ask for in our prayers to him.

We have heard that Giriraja is the highest hari-dasa-varya. What does this mean? It means that he is the highest servant of Radha and Krsna. What must be the quality of Hari-dasa?  If Hari-dasa is a servant, a devotee, he must have some qualities. In what way does he serve, and how can we follow him?  Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has written:

sthala jala tala saspair bhuruhac-chayaya ca
prati padam anukalam hanta samvardhayan gah
tri-jagati nija-gotram sarthakam khyapayan me
nija nikata nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam
(Sri Govardhana-vasa-prarthana-dasakam, verse 6)

Giriraja gives everything and sustains Krsna in all ways. Sri caitanya mano’bhistam sthapitam yena bhutale / svayam rupah kada mahyam dadati sva padantikam. A guru-sevaka, servant of guru, must know all the moods of his gurudeva. If he does not know his moods, how can he serve him? He can never serve. If gurudeva is telling his servant, “I am very thirsty”, and the servant fans him, he is doing the opposite of his guru’s desire and he is really not a servant. We should know the wish and heart of our gurudeva, and then we can serve him. If a disciple does not possess this quality, then he is really not a sevaka. He may be a sevaka, but not first class or even second class. He may be a third class bogus sevaka.

A disciple may create many problems for his gurudeva, as did Ramacandra Puri. He was the disciple of Madhavendra Puri, but he was always making problems for him. Madhavendra Puri therefore told him, “I don’t want to see your face for the duration of my life. You are bogus, and you should go away from here.” On the other hand, Isvara Puripada knew the heart of Madhavendra Puripada. He was always fulfilling his desires. He was a real disciple and sevaka. In return, Madhavendra Puripada manifested everything he had — all his devotion — in the heart of Isvara Puripada.

If the disciple knows the heart of his gurudeva and he is not serving in that capacity, then he should decide for himself at what stage he is in his devotional life. Will gurudeva give his full mercy and his whole mood to that disciple?  No, the disciple is not qualified to receive that.

What kind of problems will a disciple make for his gurudeva? If the disciple is always running after sense gratification and not totally obeying him, he is not a real disciple, and he will naturally create problems.

Contrary to this, Govardhana is serving fully. In what way is he serving? He knows all the desires of Krsna and He understands how to fulfill His desires. Srimati Lalita suggested to Srimati Radhika, “If you want to please Krsna, then you have to serve that person whom Krsna likes the most.” Srimati Radhika Herself is the most dear to Krsna, and if you are serving Her, then Krsna will automatically be pleased.  If, on the other hand, you are quarrelling with Radhika, what will happen?

Similarly, if gurudeva has so much love and affection for someone, then, to please him, we should try to serve that person. This is the easiest process to please him. If you are always quarrelling, then after some time you will go away. Govardhana is always serving the most beloved of Krsna — Srimati Radhika — in so many ways. Not only that, but he has so much honor for those who are related with Krsna in any way.

Govardhana knows that the cows are very dear to Krsna. Krsna Himself, without shoes or an umbrella, without any protection, follows the cows and gives them water.  He never uses a stick to beat the cows; His stick is for demons, not for cows and calves. He will never beat them. Krsna personally pours water on their lotus feet and washes them. Govardhana knows all these facts, and therefore his lake known as Kusuma Sarovara supplies very sweet water for the cows.

Green grasses are everywhere on Govardhana. The grasses are not only green, but very tasteful, sweet, and soft.  Krsna goes searching for these grasses near Govardhana, near Manasi Ganga, and on the top of Govardhana.

What does Govardhana provide for Krsna’s companions, the cowherd boys?  He provides fruits everywhere: mangos, jackfruits, oranges, grapes, and so many other varieties. To decorate their bodies, Govardhana supplies an abundance of colors in the form of minerals. If you go to Govardhana near Dan Ghati and do abhisekha, you can see this. There are some hidden Govarhana silas there, and if you simply rub them with your hand, some color may come on your hand. These colors are used for decorating Krsna, His cowherd boys, the cows, and also for the gopis. For the gopis there are also so many groves, so many kunjas, so many caves, and also so many kinds of juices to drink. There are deer with their very fragrant kasturi, musk, and all the Govardhana silas have this fragrance naturally. If you go to Giriraja Govardhana, you will see that his fragrance is just like that of kasturi from a deer.

In this way, Giriraja serves all the friends, all the cows, and all the Vrajavasis. He provides them fruits and vegetables, fragrance, and colors for decorating themselves. Sthala jala tala saspair bhuruhacchayaya ca.

The word Govardhana means that by Govardhana’s service to the cows, they are increasing in number. The cows do not only give forty litres of milk. They give unlimited milk and they can fulfill all your wishes. They all do more than any kama denu, wish-fulfilling cow.  In this way, Govardhana serves everyone, from top to bottom.

In Vraja, everyone was worshiping Indra.  One day, Yasodamaiya was very busy cooking many preparations and, in each and every gopi’s house, all were also busy.  Krsna went to His mother and said, “Mother, I am very hungry. Perhaps you are preparing all these things for Me?” Mother Yasoda became annoyed and chastised Him, “Oh, go away from here. Go to your father! Don’t stay here, naughty boy.”

Krsna became upset and, like a sad boy, He went to the lap of His father. Weeping He said, “Father, what is mother doing?  She is not in a good mood.”  Nanda Baba told Him, “Everyone is preparing to worship Indra.”

As though not knowing anything, Krsna innocently asked, “Baba, who is Indra and why do we worship him?  We should worship someone who can give us many things. So why are we worshiping him?”

Nanda Baba answered, “Indra can give rain, and by rain all kinds of grains are produced. Grasses and sweet water also come, and without this we cannot maintain our lives. It is for this reason that each year we worship Indra on this day.  Tomorrow we will all go with many preparations, on lakhs and lakhs of bullock carts, to the middle of Giriraja Govardhana to worship Indra.”
Krsna said, “Baba, I think that even in that place where there is no Indra puja, whether there is rain or no rain, still everyone is maintaining their lives. Is that not true?”
Nanda Baba replied, “I don’t know. Why do You want to know all these things?”

Krsna replied, “I think that it will be better to worship Giriraja Govardhana. We maintain our lives by his mercy. Our lives depend on these cows, and Govardhana gives so much good, soft grass, very pure water, and everything else needed to support us. So why should we not try to do puja to Giriraja Govardhana?”

Nanda Baba did not have any logical answer, and by logic Krsna convinced him and he agreed, “Oh, tomorrow we will all worship Giriraja Govardhana.”

The next day thousands and thousands of carts were brought and loaded with all the preparations collected from all the 84 krosas of Vraja. Everyone came and assembled at Giriraja Govardhana, in the middle of where the present-day Govardhana town is located, and they were worshiping Giriraja Govardhana as we do today. What we are doing is a very, very, very mini-worship of Giriraja Govardhana, but still it is exactly like what the Vrajavasis did. All the thousands and millions of cows of the whole of Govardhana were there, and they were worshiped by everyone.

After that the Vrajavasis performed full worship of guru, Vaisnavas, and the brahmanas, and then they offered all the preparations. Krsna exclaimed, “O Baba, O Vrajavasis! My friends! O, look at that! Giriraja Govardhana has assumed a huge shape, and with so many long, long arms, he is eating everything from here, from there, from very far away, from everywhere, and still he is not satisfied.” His belly was so big, and he was telling them, “Bring more! Bring more! Anore! Anore! Bring more, more, more, more! I want more!”

All the Vrajavasis became puzzled and said, “Oh, what shall we do?” Krsna folded His two hands and prayed to His four-handed form as Govardhana, “O Prabhu, Your belly is so big. We cannot offer anything more. What we have got may fill only one pore of Your body. How can we satisfy You? We cannot satisfy You.”

Govardhana then took the water from Manasi Ganga, from Kusuma Sarovara, Govinda Kunda, and all the water entered His mouth. Krsna asked him, “We have brought you prasadam, but you have taken everything. So what should we do?” At once they saw that all the preparations were returned to their places, and Krsna told the Vrajavasis, “We have worshiped Indra, but we have not seen him, nor have we seen how he is accepting our offerings, how he is satisfied, and how is giving any boon. On the other hand, we are seeing that Giriraja Govardhana himself is here, and we see that he is now satisfied. He is telling us that he is prepared to give us whatever boon we want.”

If anyone is going to Giriraja Govardhana and doing parikrama, Govardhana will give him anything he wants. He can fulfill all desires. Those who have worldly desires bind the branch of a tree with some cloth and pray, “I want to marry a very beautiful girl,” or, “I want a very handsome husband.” Govardhana will quickly answer this prayer. If you want a house with many storeys, even 130 or 160 storeys, you should pile up some bricks and stones that you find there, one on top of another. However high you make it, Giriraja Govardhana will easily give this to you. However, devotees do not ask for anything and only perform kirtana, singing, “Govardhana jaya Giridhari, Giridhari jaya Govardhana, Giridhari jaya Govardhana” and “Radhe jaya jaya Madhava dayite”, Govardhana will be very happy. For such persons Govardhana can give his heart. What is his heart? His heart is the love and affection of Krsna. He will give his heart very carefully, however. He will never give it to lusty persons who engage in sense gratification.

Nowadays this has become very cheap. I don’t want to make this subject cheap. This is the most confidential treasure which must be kept only in our hearts. So many times I have told my devotees, my sannyasis, brahmacaris, and preachers, “Be very careful about this. This is not a thing to be given in the fish market or airport or any other such place. Keep it secret.” If a woman has love for someone other than her husband, will she tell this fact to her father, mother, husband, or any friend? Try to conceal this, as Mahaprabhu has advised. Otherwise, we will lose what we are getting and lust will come in its place. This is what is going on at the present time.

Now I see that the Iskcon devotees have translated Govinda-lilamrta, Krsna-bhavanamrta, and books that are still more confidential than these. They have translated so many books and they are reading them. It is a very strange phenomenon, and now the same thing is going on here. I want to warn you. Be like Govardhana who concealed everything. He became a stone, and that is why Radha and Krsna and all the gopis have no shame at all in front of him. They have no shame in front of his mountains, hills, and rivers. These entities have life, but they will not disclose anything to others. If you are naked in front of a mirror, is there any harm or any shame? No. This is because a mirror has no life. Similarly, Giriraja becomes like this mirror. He never tells what he has seen of the confidential pastimes of Radha and Krsna to anyone. I therefore request my devotees that they should not broadcast all these high-class subjects. If they are fortunate to hear something, they should keep that in their hearts.

Be like Sri Raya Ramananda, Sri Svarupa Damodara, Srimati Madhavi devi and others. Even Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami were not at the Gambhira. We, on the other hand, have made these topics very, very cheap. We distribute them everywhere in the market. I don’t want this. By doing this you will become very lusty. At this stage, don’t read all these confidential books. Rather, you should try to follow vaidhi-bhakti and read Caitanya-caritamrta. Read all the prescribed books, especially those of Rupa Gosvami and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, like Upadesamrta and Manah-siksa. You can also read the books of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Srila Prabhupada was very much against revealing all these topics in public. He knew all these subjects, and he knew that these are the best of subjects, but for beginners they are to be hidden.

While the Vrajavasis were performing the worship of Giriraja Govardhana, Govardhana, in a four-handed form, took all their offerings. After that, when the offerings were finished, all the cooks, Krsna Himself, Mother Yasoda, Nanda Baba, Vrsabhanu Maharaja, Kirtika Maiya, and all others began to do parikrama of Giriraja. Those who were not strong enough to go by foot went by bullock-cart. For the children there were malpua and so many things to eat before doing parikrama.

We have to follow some rules and regulations. Especially in our Indian Vaisnava culture, we should try to give proper honor to aged persons, qualified persons, and the guru-varga. Do you understand? Here in the West I have not seen anything like that. Nowadays, during a class of hari-katha, even very young persons will sit on a chair in front of their guardians, their guru, and old persons, who are all sitting behind them on the floor. It is not proper etiquette that young men or ladies sit on chairs in front of their guardians or their guru-varga. They should give proper respect to senior Vaisnavas and should offer the chair to them, properly and with honor.

Krsna gives so much honor to Baladeva and others, and Srimati Radhika also gives proper respect to Her guru-jana, elders. Once, when Krsna wanted to meet Srimati Radhika, a dhuti, messenger, came and told Her, “Krsna is waiting for You. You should come.” In the meantime, Dhanistha or any other sakhi came to Radhika saying, “Mother Yasoda is calling You for cooking.” Both dhutis came at the same time, and Srimati Radhika was thinking, “What to do? Should I go to meet Krsna or should I go to Mother Yasoda to cook?” At once She decided, “I must first serve Mother Yasoda.” She did not go to meet Krsna.

If you are giving proper respect to seniors, bhakti may come. If you are not giving respect to them and instead you are placing yourself on a high simhasanam (golden throne), how will you get bhakti? At the time of taking prasadam, you should be somewhat humble and make a line, allowing superiors to be at the head. We should satisfy them first, and then we should take prasadam.
We should follow the behavior of our guru-varga. When Sanatana Gosvami is approaching, Rupa Gosvami says, “Oh, my Gurudeva has come.” And he serves him. What is Sanatana Gosvami saying in turn? “Although he is my younger brother, still he is my Gurudeva because he serves Srimati Radhika more than I do.” They are giving each other proper respect. If you want to have pure bhakti, you should follow the way in which Giriraja Govardhana serves, from top to bottom, those who are very dear to Krsna. According to their ‘dearness’ to Krsna, he serves all Vrajavasis, and you should serve everyone in the same way.

krsneti yasya giri tam manasadriyeta
diksasti cet pranatibhis ca bhajantam isam
susrusaya bhajana vijnam ananyam anya
nindadi sunya hrdam ipsita sanga labdhya
(Upadesamrta, verse 5)

We should know that all those who are chanting are our family members, and we should give them respect by our mind. Why only by mind? Someone may not have been initiated, but he is chanting the holy name, he never associates with Mayavadis and he stays very far away from them, he himself is not lusty, and he is not the friend of any lusty persons. If one has these qualities, we should give him proper respect by mind, but not by doing pranama. Why? This is because he cannot digest such honor. Rather, he will think, “I am more advanced than this person. I am more qualified.” He will not understand the humility of the madhyama-adhikari.  Those who have taken diksa in the real sense have received divya jnanam, a very strong transcendental relation with Krsna, and all kinds of anarthas have left them. If anyone is such a diksit Vaisnava, we should offer him pranama by both body and mind. Moreover, if there is someone who never criticizes anyone, who is chanting and remembering throughout the day and night, uninterrupted throughout the twenty-four hours, then we should be his servant in all respects. By serving him, you will associate with that high class of devotee:

krsna-bhakti rasa bhavita matih
kriyatam yadi kuto ’pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mulyam ekalam
janma-koti-sukrtair na labhyate

[“Pure devotional service in Krsna consciousness cannot be had even by pious activity in hundreds and thousands of lives. It can be attained only by paying one price — that is, intense greed to obtain it. If it is available somewhere, one must purchase it without delay.” (Padyavali 14, quoted in Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila, 8.70)]

This is Krsna Consciousness. If you find someone whose heart is saturated with love and affection, like that of any of the Vrajavasis or gopis, who possesses the highest type of prema, surrender yourself to that devotee. Fully become his servant. Try to follow him and try to realize his heart. Then your heart will also become saturated with love and affection for Krsna. This is Krsna consciousness.

Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, my siksa-guru and your Prabhupada, has also said the same thing. He has given this verse as the definition of Krsna consciousness. Who is really Krsna conscious? A truly transcendental Krsna conscious devotee can never fall away.

We should honor all devotees as Giriraja Govardhana has done. We should follow his example. He is serving the cowherd boys, cows, calves, gopas, gopis, and everyone else related to Krsna. If you want bhakti, try to respect anyone who is related to Krsna, or to Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, my Gurudeva Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and my siksa-guru Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja.

Don’t jump over anyone. Otherwise, eagles are there in the sky, waiting to catch you. I know so many devotees who want to jump in the sky to have this rasa. You should be very careful. Don’t jump. Otherwise, lust will come and you will be nowhere. Try to follow vaidhi-bhakti from the beginning, and thus control your activities. I pray to Govardhana that he may be merciful to all of you. For those who have taken part in the arcana of Giriraja Govardhana Annakuta in any way, by preparing, by collecting any ingredient, or by doing kirtana, I pray that Giriraja Govardhana will sprinkle his mercy so that you will become good devotees.

Gaura premanande!