Govardhana – Bhisma-Pancaka Bhisma, like

November 8th, 2000

Govardhana – Bhisma-Pancaka

Bhisma, like Bhima, was a powerful ksatriya and a voracious eater. He thus lamented that he couldn’t follow the austerities of kartik. Lord Krishna knows the heart of his pure devotees. He thus offered Bhisma the concession that he would gain the same benefit of following the whole kartik if he could just follow the last five days. The last five days of kartik are therefore called Bhisma-Pancaka.Many Vaishnavas perform some extra austerity or vow on those days, so I’ve decided to add a half-parikrama of Govardhana to my personal vows every day, so that by the end of kartik, I will have completed at least two full Govardhana parikramas.

Today I started Bhisma-Pancaka by circumambulating the Dana-gati, Govinda-kunda, Punchari, Jatipur-half of Govardhana. Surprisingly, everything went wrong. It’s surprising because in other years, I’ve done the full 22-kilometer parikrama everyday without problem. I don’t, however, do well in the sun. Pita (the fire element in the body) increases and my life airs become imbalanced. That, however, was not the real problem. A reoccurring pain in my body stirred. It had little or nothing to do with the long walk around Govardhana, but what sometimes amounts to some discomfort was suddenly quite painful, and it remained that way for the whole day.

I identified my aches as a proverbial pinch by Krishna. Whenever we get too comfortable in this world, even in spiritual life, and become attached to staying permanently here, expect a wake up call: “This temporary material world is full of suffering. Take to the Holy Name of Krishna as our only business.” (Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur)

Another fruit of my chanting seems to be detachment, which I need to learn attain my spiritual goals.

I am too physically exhausted and uncomfortable to do much of anything today. I definitely feel too much pain to continue writing. Will I be able to go tomorrow?

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