The worship of the Govardhan-sila.
Student: I would like to ask your blessings to worship the Govardhan-sila. I thought that it would help me in my chanting, my kirtan.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: A Govardhan-sila was given by Sriman Mahaprabhu to Raghunath Das Goswami. As the Salagram-sila is respected amongst the brahmans in the varnasram system, so the Govardhan-sila is worshipped amongst the Vaisnavites. The Salagram-sila is also called the Gandaki-sila. Naturally, we know through revelation that the silas found in the river Gandaki are natural forms of Lord Narayan. In different ways, this has been revealed, and those who have faith in that revelation accept the path of worshipping Narayan in the Gandaki-sila, the Salagram. So also, Krishna expressed Himself in Bhagavatam and other places: “I am Govardhan. Govardhan and Myself are inseparably connected. So, anyone who worships Govardhan worships Me.” With this idea, Mahaprabhu, who knew this Himself, gave the Govardhan-sila to Das Goswami Prabhu. Since then in the Gaudiya Vaisnava school, the worship of the Govardhan-sila has continued, and it gives us entrance into raga-marg, direct entrance into the line of divine love for Krishna. To worship the Narayan-sila, that is, the Gandaki-sila, the Salagram, is in vidhi-marg. It is very hard and very steep. There are very strict methods for worshipping Narayan in vidhi-marg. Raga-marg is liberal. It wants the heart and not much formality. So, for the Gaudiya Vaisnavas who want to attain their position in the land of divinity, the worship of the Govardhan-sila is very advantageous, guiding, and fruitful. This is in nutshell what I say about the Govardhan-sila to you. It helps us to enter the domain of divine love, avoiding the domain of legal devotion, lawful devotion, the rules and regulations according to the orders of the sastra. If there are any flaws in our adherence to that, then we will be damaged; our prospect will be damaged. Very strictly one has to observe the rules and regulations of worship in vidhi-marg. They are very strict. So, Mahaprabhu wanted that we may avoid that path. Our faith is somewhere else, that is, above this land of vidhi-upasana [regulated worship]. So, worshipping the Govardhan-sila will be more safe and more fruitful for our purpose because we want to have service in the Vrndavan area, in the domain of love divine. That is the purpose and the utility of having our diksa, initiation, in the line of worshipping the Govardhan-sila.
Student: Is it said that sannyasis should not worship the silas?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: They also may do so, but sannyas is not necessary to worship or serve the Govardhan-sila. Sannyas is mainly taken for preaching. It is for the purpose of preaching that the sannyas-asram is necessary.
Student: Maharaj, could you perhaps give some specific and detailed instructions about the worship of the Govardhan-sila?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: It is very simple. Mahaprabhu advised that the minimum will be with a little water and tulasi. And generally, whatever we take, without splendour and grandeur, in a simple way whatever we are to take, we must offer that. If possible, bathing, and then offering a flower, tulasi, and some food, bhoga. Then anything else may be done. As we can do for the Deity of Krishna, so also everything may be done for the Govardhan-sila. But the simple and the short way of honouring Him will be with water and tulasi. Who is He? He is self-satisfied. The minimum that we have found, water and tulasi, is sufficient. But as you can accommodate in that regard, very easily you can do that also.
Student: Would I have to maintain every day anything that I would institute extra?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: No. As will suit you in the circumstances, you may do that.
Spoken on 21 February 1983.