The proper time to observe Sri Govardhan Puja.
In the scripture, it is written,
sri-krsna-dasa-varyo ’yam sri-govardhana-bhudharah
sukla-pratipadi pratah kartike ‘rchyo ’tra vaisnavaih
(Sri Hari-bhakti-vilasa: 16.232)
“During Sukla Pratipad, the first day of the waxing moon, we will worship Giriraj Govardhan.”
In the time of Srila Guru Maharaj, a large disagreement occurred about the style and law for offering worship on Sri Govardhan Puja. Everyone decided that whatever Srila Guru Maharaj will say about it will be most authentic. So, they organised a meeting. I was present at the meeting. It was maybe three to five years after I came, so I was also qualified at that time. So many pandits came as well as many big sannyasis: Sripad Kesav Maharaj, Sripad Madhav Maharaj, and others. A very elaborate discussion occurred, and then Srila Guru Maharaj gave the final decision.
Regarding what will be the time to cook and what will be the time to offer, Srila Guru Maharaj summarised everything in one simple direction. He said to us, “You not do not need to be concerned about so many contradictions. Follow only this: ‘Start cooking during Pratipad tithi and make the offering to Govardhan before the end of Pratipad tithi. This is the law.’”
Then, one only question will come: Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanyadev said to Sanatan Goswami, “Sarvatra viddha-tyaga, aviddha-karana.” This means that if the previous tithi hits the next tithi, that is, if the previous tithi Amavasya hits the next tithi Pratipad, then the part of the tithi that has been hit will be rejected, and the other part will be worshipped. I will give you an example. Yesterday, Pratipad started at 9:17 in the morning. Let’s say half past nine o‘clock. So, it started during the day time. That means the sun has already risen and that Pratipad has been hit by the previous tithi. That is called viddha, and it means that yesterday must be rejected. Pratipad continues today up to 11 o’clock, 11:17. So, we are getting time from six o‘clock [the time of sunrise] to eleven o‘clock [the time Pratipad tithi ends]. This means that we must observe Govardhan Puja today because only today will there be no viddha. So, today our devotees are offering worship. They will finish offering everything before 10:30, and they will finish arati before 11. In this way, they are following all the rules for Govardhan Puja here in this ashram, Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math St. Petersburg. Jay Srila Gurudev!
Spoken on 23 October 2006.