The worship of Sri Giriraj Govardhan in the line of Srila Raghunath Das Goswami.
We received from Srila Guru Maharaj a full summary of the meaning of Govardhan Puja and the position of Giriraj Govardhan. Govardhan Puja was started by Krishna through the gopis and other Vraja-vasis headed by Nanda Maharaj. In the scripture, it is described,
sri-krsna-dasa-varyo ’yam sri-govardhana-bhudharah
(Sri Hari-bhakti-vilasa: 16.232)
“The chief amongst the servitors of Krishna is Govardhan.” That is the position of Govardhan originally: he is the servitor-in-chief. Why? In Govardhan, there are so many caves where Krishna’s Pastimes go on, and there at Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda, billions of gopis serve Krishna in different ways by the instructions of the eight sakhis headed by Radharani. Radha and Krishna also sleep beside Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda where there are so many kunjas.
Srila Raghunath Das Goswami has written in his Govardhana-vasa-prarthana-dasakam (2):
pramada-madana-lilah kandare kandare te
rachayati nava-yunor dvandvam asminn amandam
iti kila kalanartham lagnakas tad-dvayor me
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana tvam
[“O Govardhan, the Divine Couple liberally enact Their play of mad love in your caves. Please grant me a dwelling near you, Their liaison, so that I can see Their Pastimes.”]
Pramada-madana-lilah: so many madhura-rasa-lilas happen around Govardhan every day.
When I wanted to make something in Sri Vrndavan Dham, Sri Govardhan instructed me through Srila Guru Maharaj: “If you make an asram, make it in Govardhan.” At that time, Srila Guru Maharaj described that we will stay in that ashram and early in the morning we will come to Radha Kunda for the service of Radha-Krishna under the guidance of the sakhis and manjaris. Along the way, we will collect many flowers at Kusum Sarovara for the service of Radha-Krishna. In this way, he gave us some indication of bhava-seva.
This is one form of Govardhan: the form of a servitor. The other form of Govardhan is Krishna Himself. Krishna took form as Govardhan and with His hands took the food being offered to Him by the Vraja-vasis. Simultaneously, Krishna remained in His form as a boy and said to the Vraja-vasis: “You see, Govardhan is taking your offerings. Govardhan is your Lord, and He is taking everything you are offering Him.”
Krishna remained in His form, and He took the form of Govardhan. Transcendental matters and material matters are not same. Materially what happens? When a ghost takes possession of a body, the ghost acquires everything of that body and speaks from that body, but the ghost still thinks: “I am not this body or this person. I am so and so.” The nature of consciousness, of transcendental matters, is completely different from this. When Krishna took the form of Govardhan, Govardhan became Krishna. So, Govardhan has two forms, and one form is that of Krishna Himself because something transcendental will never be changed, consciousness will never be changed. When Krishna took the form of Govardhan, Govardhan became Krishna—transcendentally and permanently. Still, Govardhan has another transcendental form as the chief servitor of Radha and Krishna. That also is never lost in any way. So, the scriptures have given us the knowledge that Govardhan has two forms: one is the servant of Krishna, and the other is Krishna Himself.
Sriman Mahaprabhu gave Raghunath Das Goswami a Govardhan-sila and gunja-mala, and simply told him, “This is Krishna, and this is Radharani. I have been seeing and worshipping Krishna here for three years, and now I am giving Him to you.” This Srila Raghunath Das Goswami, who is the servitor of Krishna in the form Giriraj Govardhan, composed the Govardhana-vasa-prarthana-dasakam, where we will get all consciousness about Giriraj Govardhan. Through the divine feelings of Srila Raghunath Das Goswami, we are worshipping Giriraj Govardhan as a form of Krishna; Giriraj Govardhan himself is serving Krishna as His super-servitor, and we are serving Giriraj Govardhan as Krishna Himself with Radharani.
Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanyadev gave His conception of achintya-bhedabhed. Here, this means that Govardhan is different from Krishna because he is the chief servitor of Krishna, and when Mahaprabhu gave consciousness about Govardhan to Raghunath Das Goswami, He said, “This is Krishna. Take Him and worship Him, and you will see Krishna and Radharani within this.” So, we are so fortunate: we are worshipping Giriraj as the chief of all servitors, and we are worshipping Giriraj as Krishna on this day because Krishna took all the food offered to Him by the Vraja-vasis in His form as Giriraj. This is a fact because it is all transcendental. Everything is transcendental here: Govardhan’s form as a servitor and His form as the Lord.
Giriraj Govardhan must be merciful to us because we are all unqualified children. But we have some link with our Guru-parampara in Srila Raghunath Das Goswami. He spoke this verse, so we have hope:
tvayi kapati-satho ’pi tvat-priyenarpito ’smi
iti khalu mama yogyayogyatam tam agrhnan
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana tvam
(Sri Govardhana-vasa-prarthana-dasakam: 10)
When Raghunath Das Goswami lived at Radha Kunda, he always prayed to Radharani, and this is his prayer to Govardhan. On behalf of all the devotees, I am praying to Giriraj Govardhan in this way, “We have no quality or qualification, but we have one link, one connection, with you Giriraj, that is, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave you to Raghunath Das Goswami, and you accepted Raghunath Das Goswami. So, because we are servitors of Raghunath Das Goswami, O Giriraj, you must give shelter to us at your lotus feet.”
In the last verse of every chapter in Chaitanya-charitamrta, Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami said,
sri-rupa-raghunatha pade yara asa
chaitanya-charitamrta kahe krsna-dasa
Srila Kaviraj Goswami is our leader, and he says that we are the servitors of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunath. That is the hope our Guru Maharaj has given us: when Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Raghunath Das Goswami are merciful to us, then one day we will get shelter the Giriraj Govardhan’s lotus feet for the service of Radha-Krishna.
Raghunath Das Goswami was an exclusive devotee of Radha-Krishna. He got everything, but on the other side he also said, “I have got nothing.”
asa-bharair amrta-sindhu-mayaih kathanchit
kalo mayati-gamitah kila sampratam hi
tvan chet krpam mayi vidhasyasi naiva kim me
pranair vrajena cha varoru bakarinapi
“I have spent a long time seeking Your mercy, O Radharani! Please bestow Your mercy on me. Eighty years have passed, but I have not got Your mercy. How long shall I wait for that? I do not want Krishna’s mercy alone because without You, Krishna has the form of the killer of Bakasura.”
If we hear, however, from Raghunath Das Goswami that he has got nothing, then where will we go? For our satisfaction, he exposed his treasury with another verse. In that way, we have received super hope from Srila Raghunath Das Goswami. At least we can say, his treasury is full of mercy, and he is not miser to us. That verse is:
nama-srestham manum api sachi-putram atra svarupam
rupam tasyagrajam uru-purim mathurim gostha-vatim
radha-kundam giri-varam aho radhika-madhavasam
prapto yasya prathita-krpaya sri-gurum tam nato ’smi
“By the grace of Srila Rupa Goswami, I have got everything. What? Nama-srestham [the supreme Name], Sachi-putram, the lotus feet of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Svarupam, Svarup Damodar, the nondifferent form of Mahaprabhu Chaitanyadev. I have got Rupa Goswami and Sanatan Goswami, who are the leaders of our group of servitors of Radharani and Krishna. Mathura Dham, Vrndavan Dham, Vraja Dham, Govardhan Dham—everything I have got, even Radha Kunda, which is always overflooded with Krishna-lila.”
Srila Rupa Goswami also gave us an indication of where our position is, what we will do, and what we will get:
vaikunthaj janito vara madhu-puri tatrapi rasotsavad
vrndaranyam udara-pani-ramanat tatrapi govardhanah
radha-kundam ihapi gokula-pateh premamrtaplavanat
kuryad asya virajato giri-tate sevam viveki na kah
[“Above Vaikuntha is Mathura, where Krishna took birth. Above Mathura is Vrndavan, where Krishna enjoys the Rasa Dance. Above Vrndavan is Govardhan, where Krishna plays amorously. And above Govardhan is Radha Kunda, where the nectar of Krishna’s divine love overflows. What wise soul would not serve Radha Kunda at the base Govardhan Hill?”]
Who will not worship the service of Radha-Krishna under the guidance of the sakhis at Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda beside Govardhan? Everyone must want that. Otherwise, what is the value of their life?
Spoken on 23 October 2006.