Govardhana We leave at 6:30

January 26th, 2001


We leave at 6:30 am for a full Govardhana parikrama. I am a little worried about my health. The long walking could inflame a recurring problem as it did on my last parikrama of Govardhana. I really need to rest today. My plan is to inform the devotees at the beginning of the parikrama of my plight. I can walk only to the first initial places on the eastern side of the hill and then will have to take a jeep around to the other places to meet them.

When I get to Govardhana for the beginning of the parikrama, however, I became absorbed in my introductory talk. I forget to mention anything about my abbreviated parikrama. By the time I remember, I’ve already walked for an hour. I am feeling better, however, and the weather is also perfect. I resolve to continue rather than embarrassingly retreat midway. Surprisingly, by the mercy of Giriraja, I am gaining strength.

We need to return to the Bhaktivedanta Ashram for lunch around two o’clock so I keep a steady pace. The speed, in my estimation, is medium at most, and most of the devotees are keeping up, although a few seem to be struggling just a bit. For me it has been a relatively easy parikrama, but carrying the other devotees through successfully?most of whom are first-timers?is constantly on my mind. We complete the parikrama at about 2PM at Radha-kunda.

By the time we finish, the winter sun is very pleasantly strong. The men even sit comfortably without shirts on the steps of Radha-kunda. Those who felt they could approach this most sacred place with the proper reverence, and with the blessings of guru, humbly take bath. Bath in Radha-kunda, especially after the purification of Govardhana parikrama, is an electrifying spiritual event. It steadies and focuses the consciousness in a “be here and now” mood flavored with devotion far more than any practice I can imagine. I watch as the devotees bathe. They are stunned by that experience.

When I returned I was surprised to find out how many of the devotees felt the pace was tortuous and that they were pushed to the limits to keep up, like I was
leading some type of extreme sports outing. I feel a bit bad and wished they had said something, but they have already forgiven me as the fruit of their austerities?the uplifting spiritual charge of Radha-kunda bath?more than made up for whatever pain it took to get there.

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