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Euer Vedanta

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Govardhan puja (English)

Today on October 20, 2017 is again Govardhan puja. It is a celebration in honour of one of the most beautiful pastimes of Shri Krishna ever. Below is a brief description of same.

As every year on this date, in Vrindavan, a lavish ritual of worshiping Indra, the demigod of rain and heaven, is to be performed. Little Krishna observes the bustling activity of all cowherds, the gopas and gopis, and asks his father Nanda Maharaja what's at stake here?

Nanda Maharaja then explains to his inquisitive, even though omniscient son, that the entire farming and agriculture depends on rain, for which the demigod Indra is responsible. Therefore, Lord Indra should be venerated.

Shri Krishna, who wanted to teach a lesson to proud Lord Indra, doubted the meaning of Indra worship. He gave his father and all the other villagers solid (even atheistic) arguments why it was not necessary at all to worship Indra so that rain would fall. Indra had nothing to do with it, since rain was falling everywhere and in the end everything is a question of karma anyway! Instead, Vrindavan's cowherds should worship their true benefactor, the Govardhan mountain, which provides lush pasture grass for their cows day in, day out. Govardhan means exactly that, by the way, namely "that which feeds the cows".

Thanks to Krishna's irresistible charm, eloquence and philosophically unbeatable arguments - albeit atheistic in nature 🙂 - the inhabitants of Vrindavan refused to worship Indra, and now used the already collected ingredients for the Govardhan puja, which Shri Krishna described in detail as follows:

A feast should be cooked for Govardhan, ranging from sweet nectar rice to vegetable soups, both baked and fried sweets, and all kinds of milk preparations! The Brahmanas were to sing mantras, then be fed and given cows in charity, among other things. Every person present should be given food, even souls that are not quite as clean like e.g. dogs and dog-eaters, pigs and pig-eaters. Afterwards, the Govardhan mountain should be celebrated, the cows should be fed with grass and finally, together with the cows, calves and bulls, the Govardhan mountain should be circumambulated.

Indra couldn't believe his ears! He was stunned and listened to the provocative remarks of little Krishna and furiously observed the ensuing magnificent Govardhan puja:

vācālaṁ bāliśaṁ stabdham ajñaṁ paṇḍita-māninam
kṛṣṇaṁ martyam upāśritya gopā me cakrur apriyam

These cowherds have behaved hostile to me because they have sought refuge from an ordinary person like Kṛṣṇa, who considers himself to be very wise but is just a stupid, arrogant and talkative child.

SB 10.25.5

eṣāṁ śriyāvaliptānāṁ kṛṣṇenādhmāpitātmanām
dhunuta śrī-mada-stambhaṁ paśūn nayata saṅkṣayam

[Instructing his destroyer clouds, Lord Indra continues]: The prosperity of these people has made them proud, and their arrogance is even enhanced by Krishna. Let's go, break their pride and destroy their animals!

SB 10.25.6

Then a true inferno came over Vrindavan! The violent cloudbursts caused terrible floods on the spot, the icy tornadoes and hail storms did the rest, while the gopas and gopis, together with the cows, were standing in the rain trembling and full of pain. In distress, the inhabitants of Vrindavan remembered the prophetic words of Garga Muni, the astrologer at Krishna's birth:

anena sarva-durgāṇi yūyam añjas tariṣyatha

By His grace, you will cross beyond all difficulties.

SB 10.8.16

They therefore urged Krishna to help the cows and themselves.

Shri Krishna did not hesitate, but „like a child picking a mushroom“ he picked up the whole Govardhan mountain with only one hand and held it up for the next seven days like an umbrella! The inhabitants of Vrindavan were just staring at Krishna all week long, happy and full of love, forgetting all the hunger and thirst.

Indra also took note of this unique spectacle with astonishment and simultaneously had ill feelings in his stomach. Once again, he had put his foot in a snag. To briefly summarize, he apologized to Shri Krishna on his knees and in all form, but this is yet another chapter...


Jai Shri Giri-Govardhan!

Jai Shri Krishna Bhagavan!