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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

An exquisite line of mountains called Govardhana stretches down the middle of Vrindavana. Giriraja’s thousands of peaks appear like the thousands of hands and feet of the purusa avatara. Many smaller hills surround these peaks, and many jeweled plateaus and lakes like Radha-kunda provide additional beauty. In this way Giriraja appears just like a romantic hero decorated with many jeweled bracelets and earrings. Just as Giriraja contains many minerals (dhatus) of red clay and arsenics, similarly, the Sanskrit language features a variety of word roots (dhatus).

By the Lord’s grace Dhruva traveled beyond Maharloka. Similarly, by the mercy of the Lord, Govardhana has surpassed the splendor of Vaikuntha and become famous as the best of mountains. Just as Kartikeya, the commander who is difficult to conquer, supports the king of heaven, Govardhana holds many difficult to enter caves. Many snakes surround the valuable sandalwood trees adorning the Malaya Mountain, but there are no snakes guarding the unlimited treasures found on Govardhana Hill.

Lord Siva holds the moon in his topknot, but Giriraja’s peaks touch the moon. Siva is fearsome, but Govardhana is kind and gentle. As Kṛṣṇa is adorned with forest garlands that reach to His ankles, Govardhana is decorated with long lines of forests. Cascading waterfalls caress all sides of Govardhana. Bhu-mandala is made pleasant by the Loka-loka mountain range, whereas Govardhana pleases the eyes of all devotees. Govardhana is made glorious by banyan trees that distribute joy to everyone. The interiors of its caves are the embodiments of bliss. It is Govardhana’s nature to protect the deer and other forest creatures.

Mt. Kailasa, Mt. Meru, or even the best of metaphors cannot compare with the unlimited glories of Govardhana. Kailasa is composed of silver, and golden Mt. Meru is born of the material nature. They pale in comparison with Govardhana, which is eternally manifested, and made of inconceivably precious jewels.

Just as dancers enhance the sweetness of theatrical performances, the sonalu trees increase the sweetness of seeing Govardhana Hill. The streams flowing by the roots of the many sandalwood trees growing there pick up the divine fragrance and pass it on to the valleys and grass growing on Govardhana. When all the different animals such as rurus, camaras, gavayas, gandharvas, srmaras, rohisas, sasa, and sambaras bathe in the parrot-green colored streams flowing under the densely foliated green trees they appear to be made of emeralds. No one can tell whether they are real animals or made out of green jewels.

The crystal rocks of Govardhana reflect the blue rays of its sapphires to appear like Balarama dressed in blue cloth. The large emeralds reflecting the golden rocks look like Narayana adorned in His golden dhoti. The yellow sapphire platforms standing on beds of diamonds appear like Siva and Gauri. The waterfalls pouring over the emerald cliffs look like Lord Rama carrying His curved bow. The ruby platforms standing on silver bases appear like Brahma mounted on his swan. The clear waterfalls rapidly falling from the tall peaks of Govardhana carry the reflections of many multi-colored jewels and appear like long rainbows. The light coming from the various stones and jewels in the plateaus reflect in the sky like a rainbow. The effulgence from the peaks of vaidurya gems appears like the tail of a comet streaking over Govardhana, or like a flock of flying gray birds.

Govardhana offers many thrones made of cooling stones for the sitting pleasure of Kṛṣṇa. Its flat, jeweled-studded areas await to serve Kṛṣṇa’s rasa dance. Its wonderful caves look more enchanting than temples made of jewels. For serving Kṛṣṇa there are many flower canopies that pour down fragrant pollen when shaken by the wind. The dense cool forests provide soothing relief from the hot sun. Animals such as deer and tigers live there in peace and harmony.

An excerpt from the book Ananda Vrndavana Campu.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The Vraja gopis are glorified throughout the Vedas, and by Sri Krsna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as being the best devotees of Krsna, because they offer completely surrendered, selfless service at the lotus feet of Sri Krsna. But the humble gopis themselves praise Sri Giriraja as the best devotee: “Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! O my friends, this hill supplies Krsna and Balarama, along with Their calves, cows and cowherd friends, with all kinds of necessities—water for drinking, very soft grass, caves, fruits, flowers and vegetables. In this way the hill offers respects to the Lord. Being touched by the lotus feet of Krsna and Balarama, Govardhana Hill appears very jubilant.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.21.18)

Sri Giriraja plays many roles in the pastimes of Sri Krsna. He is Krsna’s friend, protector, playland and He always looks after all of Krsna’s needs. He witnesses Krsna’s most intimate conjugal pastimes. Every blade of grass, every stream, tree, creeper and flower bears witness to Krsna’s unlimited pastimes.

An excerpt from the book Appreciating Sri Vrndavana Dhama.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

“Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura lists the natural opulences by which Govardhana Hill serves Sri Krsna: Krsna and Balarama drink the fragrant, cool water from Govardhana’s many waterfalls, and use it to wash Their feet and mouth. Govardhana offers tasty beverages, such as honey and mango juice. Govardhana also provides grass that is fragrant, soft and conducive to the strong growth of cows and increased production of milk.

“Thus this grass is used by Krsna to feed the transcendental herds. There are many caves where, Krsna, Balarama, and Their friends play, sit and lie down. These caves give pleasure when the weather is too hot or too cold, or when it is raining. Govardhana also features soft roots for eating, jewels for ornamenting the body, natural mineral dyes for body painting, flat places for sitting, and lamps and mirrors in the form of smooth stones, glistening water and other natural substances.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.21.18p.)

In Vraja-riti-cintamani, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura gives another vivid and poetic description of Sri Giri-Govardhana’s services. “Govardhana Hill is like a flag of intense sweetness placed in the opulent land of Vrndavana. As the king of mountains, Giriraja offers pleasing and royal service to the young prince of Vraja. The rocks of Govardhana Hill are many kinds of splendid jewels that provide thrones, couches, and other kinds of furniture for Sri Krsna, the supreme monarch of all nectar mellows. Govardhana Hill’s beautiful forests and caves are Krsna’s nectar pastime palaces—each one perfect for the supreme good fortune of His beloved and His friends. Govardhana Hill’s trees and vines serve Krsna by offering blossoming branches with sweet fruits, and flowers filled with honey, nectar and fragrant pollen.

“The red, vermilion, yellow and other colored pigments of Govardhana Hill decorated Sri Krsna’s transcendental body for the pleasure of His beloved gopis. The musk left by the deer, as well as the kunkuma, camphor and aguru, naturally produced by Govardhana Hill, were all used to give a sweet fragrance to the transcendental body of Sri Krsna. The peacocks dance enthusiastically, the bees and cuckoos sing melodiously, and many other birds chirp a rhythmic accompaniment, as they all gaze on the service to Sri Hari done by Govardhana Hill, the best of Sri Hari’s servants.”

An excerpt from the book Appreciating Sri Vrndavana Dhama.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Although serving in many capacities as the greatest devotee of Krsna, Sri Giri-Govardhana is also a direct incarnation of the Supreme Sri Krsna. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami received a Govardhana-sila and gunja-mala (necklace of small red berries) from Sri Caitanya, and he worshiped them as being non-different from Radha-Krsna. Sri Giriraja-puja, therefore, may be performed in the same manner as the regular deity worship of Radha and Krsna. “When everything was complete,” said Srila Prabhupada, “Krsna assumed a great transcendental form and declared to the inhabitants of Vrndavana that He was Himself Govardhana Hill in order to convince the devotees that Govardhana Hill and Krsna are identical. The identity of Krsna and Govardhana Hill is still honored, and great devotees take rocks from Govardhana Hill, and worship them exactly as they worship the Deity of Krsna in the temple.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.24.35p.)

Sri Krsna, in His eternal form as Sri Giriraja-Govardhana, is very merciful and easily pleased with a daily love offering of Yamuna water for drinking, eight Tulasi manjaris to embrace His lotus feet and a little milk sweet like sandesa. Sannyasis and “Vrajavasi devotees” often keep Govardhana-silas, because the worship is simple, sweet and sublime.

An excerpt from the book Appreciating Sri Vrndavana Dhama

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami had an extremely intimate relationship with Giri-Govardhana. In Jagannatha Puri he began worshiping Giriraja upon receiving Sri Caitanya’s personal Govardhana-sila. While worshiping his Govardhana-sila, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, in the mood of taking shelter of Srimati Radharani, would wear the gunja-mala around his neck. After Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s disappearance Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami felt overwhelmed by the pain of separation. He went to Vrndavana to end his life by jumping off Govardhana Hill. Convinced to continue living by Srila Rupa and Srila Sanatana Gosvamis, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami remained for forty-one years at Radha-kunda. He performed intensive bhajana, worshiped his Govardhana-sila, honored the Lord and the Vaisnavas and spoke for three hours a day about the all-attractive glories of Lord Gauranga. In his Govardhana-dasakam, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami reveals his heart’s desire.

“O Govardhana! When Sri Radha spoke these words — ‘My dear friends, this mountain is the best of Krsna’s devotees’ all the Vedas then confirmed that you attained the unsurpassable position of becoming the tilaka mark on the forehead of Vrndavana. Please allow me to live close by You.

“O Govardhana! You affectionately and secretly embrace the neck of Your own dear friend, Sri Radha-kunda, the place which is very dear to You and to Sri Hari. Please allow me to live close by You and show me the intimate pastimes of the youthful Divine Couple there.”

An excerpt from the book Appreciating Sri Vrndavana Dhama