Govardhana – Govardhana-puja nirupadhi-karunena sri-saci-nandanena

October 28th, 2000

Govardhana – Govardhana-puja

nirupadhi-karunena sri-saci-nandanena tvayi kapati-satho’pi
tvat-priyenarpito’smi iti khalu mama yogyayogyatam tamagrhnan nija
nikata-nivasam dehi goverdhan tvam

“O Govardhana! Although I am a cheater and a rogue, the greatly merciful Sri Sacinandana Krsna Caitanya, who is most dear to you, has offered me unto You (so You are therefore obliged to accept me). Without considering whether I am qualified or unqualified, please bestow upon me a residence near Your side.” ?Verse 10, Sri Govardhana-Vasa-Prarthana-Dasakam by Sri Raghuntha das Goswami

Rose early to chant. I concentrated on an important realization about chanting that Partha Sarathi Prabhu shared with me last year. He said that to advance in bhakti we must get the mercy of the great souls past and present. The conduit for that mercy is our attachment to those great souls. Attachment to the great souls comes from the service, worship, and glorification of them. We should, therefore, pray to the saints in our guru?s parampara and the eternal associates of the Lord before chanting. One should especially pray for the mercy of one’s spiritual master.

My chanting begins with prayers to Srila Prabhupada. At least initially, I chant with deliberate consciousness of his kindness toward me, of my dependence on his mercy, and of my relationship with him. There is not a better darshan of Giri-Govardhana than the one through the window of my room here while sitting on my bed. The tall neem trees in our courtyard thirty feet from our veranda perfectly frame the most verdant and lofty section of Govardhana Parvat (mountain). Near the bottom of that frame, through the ornate spiked fence on top of the stonewall surrounding our ashram, I see a steady march of colorful pilgrims, frequently in groups, often chanting responsively?radhe rahde shyam milate! It makes me think that, this year, there is probably no need to build a Giriraja out of prasadam to honor my Giriraja Maharaja as I do in most places of the world when I celebrate Govardhana-puja.

The ashram does, however, offer a beautiful abhiseka and sumptuous annukut festival on the foothill of Giri-Govardhana across from our ashram. Indradyumna Swami expertly leads kirtana for hours. The devotees are in the spiritual world, but now realize it. It was that nice.

My personal worship for Giriraj Maharaja was simple this year, but very sweet. My godbrother, Satyanarayana, bought sweets at the famous Giriraja Misthan Bandar (sweet shop) and some fruits for my personal puja. Satyanarayan is the godbrother who supervised the printing of my book. We have a good friendship and we enjoyed serving my Deities together.

It’s been a long day, but I cannot forget Govinda Hari. Govinda Hari is my worshipful Govardhana sila who sits as a five-foot elongated boulder at the base of Govardhana Hill, near the sacred Govinda-kunda. It is 5 o’clock in the evening, but I go on bicycle ride with Krishna Kripa from Houston to bathe and clean him with the sacred waters of Govinda-kunda. We happily chant nija nikata nivasam goverdhan tvam, begging Giri-Govardhana for eternal residence there. It was a short bike ride and a simple worship, but the heart feels cleanse and satisfied.

On the way back to our ashram I see Gaura-Narayana and the other brahmacaris from our ashram walking toward us on Govardhana parikrama. They are incredible souls?especially Gaura Narayana and his assistant, Asita: They have already worked day and night for two days preparing the festival and then worked all day today organizing it, and yet what do they do when they finish? A full parikrama of Govardhana Hill at 6 in the evening!

“How fortunate they are,” I thought as I was whizzing by them on my new green bicycle towards the ashram, “that this is their concept of recreation.”

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