Govardhana Puja

October 30, 2006 at 5:19 pm Leave a comment

23/10/2006

Govardhan Puja  

The day after Deepavali is celebrated as Govardhan Puja when Mount Govardhan, near Mathura, is worshipped. Pious people keep awake the whole night and cook fifty-six (or 108) different types of food for the bhog (the offering of food) to Krishna. This ceremony is called ankut which means a mountain of food. Various types of food – cereals, pulses, fruit, vegetables, chutneys, pickles, and salads – are offered to the Deity and then distributed as prasada to devotees. 

This festival is in commemoration of the lifting of Mount Govardhan by Krishna. According to a legend, before Krishna was born, Indra, the god of Rain, was the chief deity of Vraj. Then Krishna instigated the people to stop worshipping Indra. Indra wanted to show his power over Krishna and brought about a cloud-burst which flooded the countryside for many days. People were afraid that the downpour was a result of their neglect of Indra. But Krishna assured them that no harm would befall them. He lifted Mount Govardhan with his little finger and sheltered men and beasts from the rain. This gave him the epithet Govardhandhari. After this, Indra accepted the supremacy of Krishna. (Shakti M Gupta. 1991. Festivals, Fairs and Fasts of India. Pages 145-146.)  Replicas of Govardhan Hill are made by devotees all over the world and worshipped in the same way as at the original.
Hillside, Govardhan Silas are bathed and honoured by devotees also, it is a wonderful festival.
hantayam adrir abala hari-dasa-varyo
yad rama-krsna-carana-sparasa-pramodah
manam tanoti saha-go-ganayos tayor yat
paniya-suyavasa-kandara-kandamulaih
Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! O my friends, this hill supplies Krsna and Balarama, along with Their calves, cows and cowherd friends, with all kinds of necessities — water for drinking, very soft grass, caves, fruits, flowers and vegetables. In this way the hill offers respects to the Lord. Being touched by the lotus feet of Krsna and Balarama, Govardhana Hill appears very jubilant. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.21.18)Origin of Govardhan:  In the western coast of India, in the island of Salmali, lived Dronachala, the king of the mountains. Once a sage by the name of Pulastya Muni, came to him to take his son Giriraja with him to Kashi (Varanasi). After offering some initial resistance, Giriraja, somehow agreed to go with him only on condition that he should not put him down on the earth in between. If he does so, he would stay there forever. When they were flying over the Vraja bhumi, Giriraja increased his weight to the extent that Pulastya had no option but to put him down. Pulastya understood the mischief of Giriraja. He became furious and cursed him that he would decrease by a grain everyday. But then repenting on the curse he gave to Giriraja, he assured him that he would be blessed in the Dvapara Yuga and everybody would start worshipping him since then. This happened in the Satya yuga. Brahmaji wished to create the Dvapara Yuga but because of the portentous phenomenon of Ravana, he had to create the Treta Yuga. In this yuga, Hanumanaji on the instructions of Lord Rama, came to take Giriraja for the cause of constructing a pull on the ocean. Giriraja at once agreed to go for the service of Lord Rama. But before they reached, the pull was ready and there was no need of additional stones. Giriraja was very dissappointed on not having the darshana of Lord Rama.  On knowing the sorrow of Giriraja, Lord Rama sent a message saying that, “…by the end of the Dvapara Yuga, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna will Himself appear and play on you and will also worship you. In the kaliyuga, the devotees shall attain numerous divine supernatural powers by worshipping you.” In Sarasvata Kalpa, i.e. the end of the Dvapara Yuga, Bhagavan Sri Krishna stopped the worship of  Indra and started the Govardhana Puja by doing Himself. It was a wonderful sight. Being worshipped by Sri Krishna, Giriraja himself became like Sri Krishna. It was like He (Sri Krishna) worshipping Himself. Since then all the six seasons resided permanently on Giriraja. Besides this, the eight gates of the Asta Sakha’s from where they entered the nitya lila, are also on the Govardhan hill. The Asta Sakha’s, who reside on the Govardhan hill are in differrent places, each of which were passionately attached to their respsctive Deities of those places. 

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