Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das
Why do raganuga bhaktas especially worship Govardhana shilas?
Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja answers in Caitanya-caritamrita (3.6.294-307):
“One day during His gambhira-lila in Jagannatha Puri, Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu lovingly gave Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami the Govardhana Shila that He had been personally worshiping for three years. At that most auspicious time, Mahaprabhu said,
prabhu kahe ei shila, Krishnera vigraha
inhara seva kara tumi, kariya agraha
‘This Govardhana Shila is directly the transcendental form of Sri Krishna. You should attentively worship Sri Girirajaji with great eagerness.’”
ei shilara kara tumi, sattvika pujana
acirat pabe tumi, Krishna prema dhana
“Worship Sri Girirajaji with purity, then you will quickly attain the wealth of Krishna prema”.
‘To worship Sri Girirajaji, you need a jug of water and tulasi manjaris. You should serve Sri Girirajaji with all purity and gopi bhava, sattvika seva ei shuddha bhava kari [gopi-bhava is the purest bhava, shuddha bhava].”
dui dike dui patra, madhye komala manjari
ei mata ashta manjari, dibe shraddha kari
“With faith you should offer eight soft tulasi manjaris [four to each lotus foot].”
“After receiving the Govardhana Shila, Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami served Sri Girirajaji with great bliss, anande raghunatha seva karite lagila. Svarupa Damodara gave Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami two cloths, a wooden platform and a water jug for Sri Girirajaji puja”.
“When Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami worshiped Sri Girirajaji, he saw the shila as directly Vrajendranandana”, puja kale dekhe shila vrajendranandana.” [The carefree, funny, witty lover of the cowherd girls].
In other words, Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami worshiped Sri Girirajaji in the raganuga mood of worship.
Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja continues,
prabhura sva hasta data, Govardhana Shila
ei chinti raghunatha, prema bhashi gela
“Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami submerged in Krishna prema whenever he remembered how Mahaprabhu had given him the Govardhana Shila with His own hand.”
jala tulasira sevaya, tanra yata sukhodaya
shodash upacara ujaya, tata sukha naya
“Great happiness would arise in his heart when Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami simply offered water and tulasi to Sri Girirajaji [in the simple Vraja mood of gopi-bhava in raga marga.]
Such joy does not arise even if one worships with all the 16 different articles of Thakuraji puja”. [as done in vaidhi-marga]
“One day Svarupa Damodara said,
ashta khaja sandesha, kara samarpana,
shraddha kari dile, sei amritera sama
‘O Dasa Goswamiji! Now start offering Sri Girirajaji a small amount of khaja [a rich and sweet, crunchy grain sweet] and sandesh [a mild milk sweet]. If you offer these with faith, they will taste just like nectar.’”
shila diya gosani, samarpila govardhane
gunja mala diya dila, radhika charane
“Upon receiving the Govardhana Shila and the garland [mala] of small, shiny red and black dried seeds of the gunja shrub from Mahaprabhu, Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami thought, ‘By giving me this Govardhana Shila, Mahaprabhu has awarded me a place near Govardhana Hill. And by giving me this gunja mala, Mahaprabhu has offered me the beautiful, sweet lotus feet of Srimati Radhika.’” [Bengali trans. Sri Advaita dasji]