Venu Gita 13

 

 

hantäyam adrir abalä hari-däsa-varyo

yad räma-kåñëa-caraëa-sparaça-pramodaù

mänaà tanoti saha-go-gaëayos tayor yat

pänéya-süyavasa-kandara-kandamülaiù

 

Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! O my friends, this hill supplies Kåñëa and Balaräma, 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 Kåñëa and Balaräma, Govardhana Hill appears very jubilant. (SB 10.21.18)

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

 

Giriraja as Hari-dasa-varya

 

Part 1

Lalita-deyi and her friends happily chanted the holy names until Sri Radhika regained external consciousness. Even though the gopis ended their kirtana and continued discussion of Vrajendra-nandana, now on His way back to Nandagoan, the maha-mantra continued to reverberate throughout the area of Vraja. This sixteen-word mantra is non-different from Radha-Krsna and manifests Their transcendental pastimes to those pure-hearted devotees who are ever-surrendered to Their will.

Srila Prabhupada quotes the Udyoga Parva of the Mahabharata and explains that the word “Krsna” is composed of the two syllables krs and na. Krs refers to the attractive aspect of Sri Krsna’s ecstasy which draws the innate enjoying propensity of the all-pervasive Living Being, His plenary portions, the expansions of His potencies, and the jivas themselves. Na refers to the unlimited varieties of spiritual pleasure which these beings experience in their reciprocal relationships of love. When na is affixed to the verb krs the word Krsna indicates the Absolute Truth in its fully-manifest feature.

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Rama indicates the experience of transcendental bliss in the exchange of love between Sri Krsna and His varied expansions. Because such spiritual enlightenment is only possible by the agency of the spiritual energy, the complete manifestation of Sri Krsna’s potency, Srimati Radharani, is first addressed by the word Hare, the vocative form of the word Ham.

When the living entity chants the maha-mantra with an attitude of full surrender, he must accept his position as an eternal servitor of Krsna and place himself at the Lord’s disposal. At that time the spiritual energy. Hare, gradually reveals the Lord, Krsna, and infuses the devotee with full spiritual pleasure, Rama.

Gaudiya aeon/as have explained the meaning of the maha-mantra according to devotees’ spiritual accomplishment and the perspec­tive of varying chanters. Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Gopala Guru Gosvami have given a description for sadhakas and siddhas alike, whereas Jiva Gosvami has defined the words of the mantra accord­ing to the pastimes of Sri Krsna. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami revealed the perspective of Sri Radha when chanting to mitigate feelings of separation. In principle, all devotees who are surren­dered to the holy name glorify Him according to their own realiza­tion.

Sri Gopala Guru Gosvami explains the words of the maha-mantra in the following way:

1. The great devotees always remember Sri Radha-Ramana, whose blackish youthful form is the embodiment of ecstatic bliss and who destroys the disease of birth and death brought about by

ignorance.

2. When those great devotees see that a disciple has apprecia­tion for the love of Radha-Ramana and is also grateful, self controlled, peaceful, and steady-minded, they feel obliged to be merciful by giving him the prayer consisting of three names: Hare, Krsna, and Rama.

3. When one touches fire it burns without one’s desiring it. In the same way, when wicked-minded people remember the Lord by any means. He takes away all their sins. Therefore the devotees remember Him as Hari.

4. Comprehension of the principles underlying the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s form of eternity, knowledge/ and bliss

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takes away ignorance and its influence; therefore the devotees remember Him as Hari.

5. Or, because He takes away the three kinds of suffering from all living beings, whether mobile or immobile. He is called Hari; or by hearing the glorification of His transcendental qualities. He takes away one’s mind.

6. In order to achieve the happiness of love in the rasa dance, by Her form, qualities, love, and affection Sri Radha, the daughter of King Vrsabhanu, who is His own pleasure potency, takes away Krsna’s mind and is therefore praised as Hara, the vocative form being Hare.

7. The root krs means “attracting” or “existing” and the word na means “satisfaction” or “bliss.” When combined these two syllables indicate the Supreme Absolute Truth, Sri Krsna.

8. The Supreme Lord Govinda, whose form is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss, without beginning, and before all others, is the cause of all causes and therefore is known as Krsna.

9. That beautiful dark son of Nanda, with eyes like lotus petals, is the only source of bliss for the residents of Gokula; therefore He is called Krsna.

10. Lord Siva said to Parvati, “0 Devi, by uttering the syllable r& all sins go away, and by uttering the syllable ma, when they try to re-enter they are blocked.”

11. The yogis take pleasure in the infinite, transcendental soul who is the reservoir of bliss, and therefore they designate that Supreme Brahman by the name Rama.

12. Sri Krsna, who is the chief of those expert in loving affairs and the worshipable deity of amorous pastimes, always enjoys Sri Radha and is therefore called Rama.

13. Because He attracts Sri Radha’s mind and enjoys Himself by sporting with Her, He is known as Rama. In the Krama-dipika, Krsna says to Candrama, “Radha’s name is far superior to hundreds of My names; therefore even I do not know what will be the result for one who always remembers Radha.”

The Garga-samhita explains the word Krsnah in the following way: K stands for Kamala-kanta, the husband of the goddess of fortune; r stands for Rama, the supreme enjoyer; s stands for Sad-guna-pati/ the master of six opulences; n stands for Lord

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Nrsimhadeva; a stands for aksara, the immortal; and h stands for Nara-Narayana Rsi. In this way, these six letters combine to be­come the name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

 

After Sri Radha rose from bed. Her maidservants washed Her lotus feet and face, arranged Her clothing and hair, and nicely decorated Her once again. Feeling the ebbing tide of Her separation from Govinda, Radha began to think of pleasant encounters with Him and, to keep from shedding tears. She continually chanted the following prayer:

hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama hare

Walking to the window of Her bedroom. She chanted softly. Her camphor-scented lips moving slowly as if under a magic spell. Sri Radhika relished every word of the mantra as if She were tasting the form of Her beloved and repeated the names Rama, Krsna, and Hari. As the influence of the holy names became fixed in Her heart, the power of Her love surged from Her body in the form of a golden effulgence and bathed the entire room in its celestial splendor. By the touch of Her radiance, the bhava of the gopis increased a hundred-fold and, as lotuses are dragged into a whirlpool, Sri Radha’s sakhis were drawn to Her by prema.

Looking over the landscape of Vraja, Sri Radha searched for a sign of Her beloved. A new strategy for realizing Her enduring desire manifest in Her mind and She said, “Like a dwarf trying to cross the great ocean without a suitable boat, the desire to gain the association of the son of Maharaja Nanda will remain fruitless without the shelter of great personalities. Hey sakhl\ Krsna anugraho vmam mahat anugraham nasya. Everyone knows that without the mercy of great souls, Krsna will never bestow His grace.”

Turning on Her heels. Her face beaming with hope. Her lips

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decorated with an exquisite smile, Radhika continued, “Dear friends, among hari-bhaktas who is the greatest?”

As the gopis looked at each other, perplexed, Sri Radha answered Her own question. “We have received this answer from the venerable Garga Muni not long ago. Devis, is there any doubt? Girindra eva mukhya, the king of mountains, Giriraja, who saved us from the wrath of Indra and is the source of Vrndavana’s good fortune, is the greatest of all personalities.”

Lalita-devi was overjoyed at the happy mood of her prana-sakhl and said, “Certainly no one is greater than Govardhana; therefore we should worship him to fulfill our desire.”

Expressing her enthusiasm with facial gestures and the move­ments of her hands, Visakha-devi said, “Tatratya manasd gangayam sattva adya tad devatasya narayanasya sri-hari-devanam darsanam kamyam. We should go there immediately and take a bath in glorious Manasi-Ganga.” Addressing each gopi individually, she continued, “After our holy dip, we shall take darsana of Govar-dhana’s presiding Deity, Lord Harideva, who is very much inclined to His devotees.”

Some girls expressed their reservation with grimaces, to which Radhika replied, “Our parents, teachers, and brahmanas go to bathe in the Ganga at will, without reservation or fear. Why, then, should we fear acrimony, even if Sri Krsna happens to be in the vicinity? Are we slaves in our own land merely by the superstitions of superiors?”

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura reveals the psychology of the gopis. Their solitary desire is to meet Krsna and thus they construe endless arguments to justify their ambition. Seeing Govardhana Hill as an ally to their cause, they glorify him to achieve success in their aspirations.

One gopi said, “Perhaps providence has smiled upon the Pulindis, who are free to follow Krsna as He wanders here and there in Vrndavana. But even their fortune is far distant from the exalted status of Giriraja, who is visited daily by Vraja-vihari while He roams with His cows in the pastures of Vraja.”

With the proposal to take shelter of Sri Giriraja confirmed by Her confidants, Sri Radha quickly turned to the window and,

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raising Her right hand, pointed in the direction of Govardhana Hill. This sudden motion frightened Her pet parrot, Subha, who spread her wings and frantically cried out, “Hari! Hari!” Her arms outstretched like a golden vine of loving aspirations. Her cloth billowing in the wind, Sri Radha’s deep regard for Govardhana brought him within the gopis’ vision and She said:

hantayam adrir abald hari-ddsa-varyo

yad rama-krsna-carana-sparasa-pramodah manam tanoti saha-go-ganayoS tdyor yat

paniya-suyavasa-kandara-bitidamulaih

“Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! 0 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 respect to the Lord. Being touched by the lotus feet of Krsna and Balarama, Govardhana Hill appears very jubilant.” (Bhag. 10.21.18)

The gopis were far distant from Govardhana Hill, yet they had faith that as the greatest of devotees he was always in the proxim­ity of their beloved. Because the gopis are always absorbed in thought of Sri Krsna, they too are never separated from Him. Thus, by proximity to a common object, Sri Hari, the love of the gopis now impelled Giriraja to appear before them in his devotional splendor. Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that although technically beyond the gopis’ vision, Govardhana Hill appeared to give them his darsana, or rather, he appeared to have darsana of the gopis.

The hairs on Her body standing erect in jubilation. Her eyes thrilling at the beauty of the king of mountains, and Her delicate eyebrows arched in wonder, Sri Radha sighed, “How fortunate Giriraja is!”

After a moment of silence Radhika continued, “Sakhi-gana, women, who are known as the fair sex, are by their physical disposition weak, or abala. This is certainly the case for the vraja-gopis who, to their great unhappiness, are devoid of all strength, being under the oppressive control of their husbands. Therefore,

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our great misfortune is that we cannot worship Sri Krsna like Giriraja.” With a sense of conclusive determination She says, “This situation can only be remedied when we take shelter of Sri Krsna through the medium of His infallible servant, Govardhana Hill.”

Since the discussion of Krsna’s glories is excelled only by the glorification of His devotees, the gopis engaged in a cheerful and animated discussion about the greatness of Govardhana Hill. One gopi, her hands folded in an expressive mudra, glanced toward Giriraja from the corner of her eyes and said, “Beloved friends whose life is the service of Sri Krsna, know for certain that of all the devotees, beginning with Narada, this Govardhana Hill is the best and is therefore known as hari-dasa-varya.”

Anticipating the questions of her friends, she continued, “As the son of the great Dronacala who lives in far distant Salmali-dvipa, our Giriraja is without rival among the race of mountains. But his glories are not limited to his species, for he is truly greater than all other Vaisnavas that we know!”

At this Indulekha, who is known for her nectarean cooking and artistic dancing, said, “Sakhi, the glorification of Vaisnavas is certainly the most auspicious activity, but it should not be done capriciously minimizing other devotees and neglecting respect due to a superior. Technically this transgression is known as maryada-vyatikrama.”

Smiling at Sri Radha, Her friend replied without hesitation, “Indu, the words of our sakhi Radhika are as infallible as Vedic mantras. As I would give up a million lives to ensure a moment’s happiness for Radha, similarly I will readily risk any aparadha if it means violating Her orders.”

Seeing the puzzled look on the faces of her friends, that gopi continued, “Our Radhika has called Giriraja hari-dasa-varya, the best among the servants of Sri Hari. Certainly Her statement is perfect and complete. If any of you have any doubts, why not request beautiful Tungavidya to give the supporting scriptural arguments?”

As the acarya of all sciences beginning with rasa-sastra (scripture of mellows), niti-sastra (scriptures of morality), natya-sastra (scriptures of drama), as well as gandharva-vidya (musical science),

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Tungavidya-devi, whose yellowish-white cloth sparkled in the rays of the afternoon sun, spoke with a mysterious smile that contained the many secrets of the Vedas. “What our sakhi says cannot be false, for Gandharvika is the source of Vedic knowledge, the language of the Vedas and, indeed, the Vedic sciences personi­fied. Among all living entities the servants of Hari are considered the best, as Sri Sarvananda has said to mother Earth: ‘By remem­bering Lord Hari, the devotees’ hearts become overwhelmed with bliss, their bodily hairs stand erect, and their eyes become filled with tears of joy. 0 earth, these devotees are the best of men. Please carefully maintain them for as long as the sun and moon shine in the sky. What is the use of your carefully maintaining those other burdensome persons who are simply intent on coming and going to and from the house of Yamaraja?’

“Although the devotees of Hari are as numerous as the waves of the ocean, Giriraja stands supreme among them all. I will give scriptural evidence in support of this declaration.

“Srimad-Bhagavatam, the emperor of all conclusive truths, calls Yudhisthira Maharaja, the eternal associate of the Lord, the emperor of the world, and the son of religion personified, ‘hari-dasa,’ the servant of the Lord. This is revealed in the following verse:

hari-dasasya rdjarse

rajasuya-mahodayam naivatrpyan prasamsantah

piban martyo ‘mrtam yatha

‘As they all glorified the wonderful rajasuya-yajna performed by that great saintly king and servant of Lord Hari, they were not satiated, just as an ordinary man is never satiated when drinking nectar.’ (Bhag. 10.75.27)

“The same pramana extols Uddhava Mahasaya, who needs no introduction to any of us, who is always dressed in Sri Krsna’s maha-prasadam and whose very features reflect his absorption in Govinda, as hari-ddsa in the following verse:

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sarid-vana-giri-drontr ;.• viksan kusumitan drum&n krsnam samsmarayan rente hari-daso vrajaukasam

That servant of Lord Hari, seeing the rivers/forests, moun­tains, valleys, and flowering trees of Vraja, enjoyed inspiring the inhabitants of Vrndavana by reminding them of Lord Krsna.’ (Bhag. 10.47.56)

“Like many other great personalities such as Narada, Bhisma, and Janaka, both these devotees bear the exalted title of hart-dasa, the servant of the Lord. But the epithet of Giriraja, hari-dasa-varya, is exclusively related to him in the verse cited by Sri Radhika and which is found in the twenty-first chapter of the tenth khanda of the Bhagavatam. It is true, he who is known as the tilaka mark of Vraja, who is the best of all mountains, is unique among all other Vaisnavas.”

As verses glorifying the servants of Hari danced in the ears of the gopis, their jewel-like hearts melted with affection and their “very discerning tongues ached to sing the praises of devotees.

One of the twins said, “Hari is the universally accepted thief who steals away the miseries of the world and with it, the consciousness of all living entities. He is jahator sesa papam. As the son is possessed of the qualities of the father, the horizon the brilliance of the sun, and the citizens the wealth of the king, simi­larly the servants of Hari possess His own thief-like nature. We have now come to understand that of all these devotees, Giriraja is the best. Therefore he will certainly remove your unhappiness and quickly bring you into the association of Govinda.”

Turning Her swanlike neck slightly in Her friends’ direction while keeping Her eyes on Giriraja, Sri Radhika turned Her palms upward and asked, “Sakhis, by what symptoms do you understand the intense jubilation of Govardhana Hill?”

Without further notice, sweet-faced Visakha, who is as learned in the many branches of knowledge as her scholarly father Pavana, said, “The word moda means jubilation, and the prefix pra indi­cates praksita-rupena. The cause of Giriraja’s excessive jubilation is

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the association of Krsna and Balarama, who are accustomed to walk on his many-peaked body.” Without being asked, Anuradha Visakha continued her explanation. “Before we study the symp­toms of Govardhana’s ecstasy, it should be understood that its impetus is also the same touch of Krsna-Balarama’s lotus feet. This is confirmed by the phrase rama-krsna-carana-sparasa. In fact, by its devotional qualities, this mountain is always in touch with the lotus feet of Krsna.”

The gopis, who constantly covet the touch of Sri Krsna’s lotus feet, were momentarily stunned by the news that the king of moun­tains was always in contact with their property. Visakha, dressed in a sari that looked like a cluster of stars, received Radhika’s smile of approval and continued, “Now we can consider what the symptoms of Giriraja’s great happiness are. The asta-sattvika-vicara visible in the bodies of great devotees are not absent in the King of hills. These symptoms are dominated by tears of joy, perspiration, and Giriraja’s hairs standing on end.”

At the mention of hair on the extensive form of Giriraja some of the gopis began to smile in gaiety. “We should not doubt that Govardhana Hill manifests the ecstatic symptoms commonly found in the race of humans. Just consider his perspiration as drops of dew, his tears of joy as the cascading waterfalls, and his hairs erect in wonder as the many grasses preferred by Vraja’s cows.

“If one searches for the anubhava which is the cause of ecstatic expression, the word manam clearly explains the respect with which Govardhana offers its fruits, roots, herbs, and sweet waters. Wise Giriraja knows well that the associates of Hari are as dear to Him as His own Self, and therefore He honors the cowherd boys and herds of cows as he does Krsna and Balarama.”

Qtra-devi, who is very expert in animal care, charming snaked, and botany, regularly engages her many maidservants headed by Rasa-manjari in collecting herbs from the dense jungles of

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Vrndavana. In a very soft voice like the cooing of a pika bird she said, “Sakhi Visakhe! Please explain the detailed symptoms of ecstasy manifest by this devotee mountain who gives such great pleasure to Nanda-nandana and the inhabitants of Vraja.”

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Visakha replied, “Bodily hairs standing erect is known as romanca. Merely by the wonderful grasses which grow on Govardhana Hill its fame has become legendary on the planets of the demigods. Even the sun-god detours from his course in the heavens and allows his horses to graze on the peaks of Govardhan Hill. Such is the exhibition of Giriraja’s ecstasy! Sakhi Citre! What you do not know about the vegetation of Vraja is not within the scope of the Vedas spoken by our four-headed Brahma. That we may come to know of the service of this mountain, please tell us about the wonders of this grass.”

One month junior to Visakha and being of a very mild tempera­ment, Citra-devi took her order to heart and replied, “The suyavasa referred to by our prdna-sakhi is mostly durva grass, which is accepted in sastra as an ingredient for sacrifice, primary homage for receiving guests, and exalted fodder for cows. Of these three uses, its great fame has been acquired due to its being very soft, sweet, and nourishing feed for Govinda’s herds. Thus it produces milk of an unprecedented flavor and superlative fat content.”

Radhika, who is as equally disposed towards the cows as Her beloved Govinda, said, “Priye, what more can you say about the fine grass of Govardhana, which is its gift to our cows and the prosperity of Vrndavana?”

Honored at this request, Citra-devi said, “The name Govar­dhana refers to that hill whose disposition is to protect, vardhana, the cows, go. Feeling his loving shelter, the herds are happy to pasture on Giriraja and they inundate its grasslands with their excess milk. Being watered by milk and blessed by the sun, the grass acquires four wonderful qualities known as su-ghanda, su-kamala, pusti-vardhana, and dugdha-sampaka.”

Visakha gazed at Radhika in wonder. Expressing Her apprecia­tion of Citra’s erudition. She raised Her delicate eyebrows and smiled. “Su-ghanda indicates that the grass has an extraordinary fragrance which attracts cows from all over Vraja and entices horses from even the planets of the devas. Su-kamala refers to its softness and tenderness, even in the summer season when there is shortage of rain. Because of this quality of su-kamala, Govardhana’s grasses never pierce the mouths nor cut the tongues of its cows.

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“The quality of pusti-vardhana ensures that the grass is not only tasty and aromatic, but very healthy. Being nourished by it, the cows grow happily, never knowing fatigue, hunger, or disease. The three qualities I have mentioned combine to form the fourth, which is known as dugdha-sampaka, the ability to produce very good milk. It is this milk which is the staple of Vrndavana’s inhabitants. It is this milk with which the Queen of Vraja engages a bevy of gopis to make unlimited preparations for Govinda’s meals. Sakhis, such is the grass that grows on Govardhana Hill.”

At this humble exhibition of learning all the gopis became over­whelmed with happiness and, clapping their hands, they cheered, “Sadhu! Sadhu!” Waiting for the joyful commotion to subside, Visakha completed her explanation of Giriraja’s ecstasy known as romanca. She addressed her sakhis and looked specifically towards Sri Radha. “Friends, I have described the primary ecstasy of Giriraja and with your permission will describe the second symptom, known as asru, or the shedding of tears.”

At this time Rupa Manjari entered the room and, glancing at Lalita, she came forward and placed a fragrant jasmine garland about Radhika’s neck, saying, “The florist’s daughter, Narmada, has sent this for You. It is made of flowers from Govardhana Hill.” At the mention of Govardhana Hill, Radhika once again cast a glance out the window towards the king of mountains. As She did, the window, walls, and indeed, the entire room was bathed in a blue aura that was the reflection of Her eyes.

Visakha continued, “If you ask what Giriraja’s ecstatic tears are, then the answer is given by the word pamya. His tears of happiness are the myriad bodies of water in the form of lakes, rivers, water­falls, and springs which decorate the form of Govardhana Hill.

“Both the grass and water indicate great jubilation in the service of Sri Krsna, pramoda-vyafijaka. The beautiful waterfalls of Govardhana cascade along golden rocks imbedded with rubies, sapphires, and diamonds. They sparkle like streams of tears and are the liquid prema flowing from the all-pure heart of Hari-dasa-varya.”

At the description of such great love all the gopis breathed in unison, marveling at the exhibition of such unparalleled devotion.

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They craned their lovely necks/exquisitely decorated with strands of pearls, to look out the window and witness the many waterfalls of Govardhana Hill.

Visakha continued, “The crystal clear waters are not only tears of ecstasy, but puja, offerings of devotion for the service of Krsna. Dear friends, just hear of the glory of Giriraja’s waters, which excels the service of the demigods, puts to shame the opulence of a king, and defeats the decoration on the body of Urvasi.

“The beautiful waterfalls of Govardhana Hill are full of fragrant water, humbling the aroma of the gardens in Svarga. These waters are cooling to the touch and, as a beverage, can be compared only to themselves, for the nectar in which the demigods indulge pales in their •wake.

“When Krsna and His entourage of friends and animals are thirsty, they drink deeply of this divine elixir and become refreshed ;. and happy. Indeed, as if having drunk some intoxicant, they

1 become overwhelmed in ecstasy and sometimes roll on the grass,

2 and sometimes they dance and sing.

“In the summer heat there is no greater source of amusement for S’ Kesava than to make the cows enter the waters of a lake. Following i behind with His chums, they play games, chase fish, jump like | frogs, and make many funny sounds. Imagine the great fortune of

this hill, who daily embraces the body of Govinda within its :, waters and is never satisfied.”

s   Feeling transcendental envy at the unparalleled opulence of i; Giriraja, Visakha became choked with emotion. She thought, “The s gopis undergo countless hardships to achieve the embrace of Sri ;’ Krsna, and this hill daily clasps His blackish form of condensed e nectar to his heart with no effort and in plain view of all the creatures of Vraja.”

Radhika touched Visakha’s hand with Her finger tips, soothing I her afflicted heart. Visakha’s jealousy was not for her own benefit, ; but for that of her cherished girlfriend, Sri Radha. Feeling Her ‘i reassuring grace, she became composed and continued, “These waters of Govardhana are supremely pure and are equivalent to the Ganges water sanctified a thousand times. As such, they are sacrificial ingredients for the worship of Hari.

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“When He washes His mouth and drinks this water it is known as acamana, and when He washes His feet, which are decorated with the dust of Vraja, it becomes a highly celebrated padyam. The limits of these waters are beyond my description, and what I have said is but a fraction of their true glory. When the multicolored waterfalls happily meet the transparent lakes of Govardhana Hill a wonderfully sweet kirtana ensues. Only the songs these waters sing can describe their own fortune and happiness in the service of Hari.”

Visakha-devi paused for a moment, appearing to have com­pleted her description. Then, with a calm gesture, she continued, “There is one more thing, out of many countless things, that comes to mind with the meaning of paniya. Govardhana not only offers its sparkling waters but also a wide variety of drinks from the juice of fruits like dmra, mango, and pllu. In addition, there are many types of honey made from the nectar of the flowers blossoming on Giriraja’s body.

“These refreshments are extraordinary in color, aroma, and taste, and are a most suitable reward for a hard day of herding and play. 0 friends, such beverages are the oozing form of Giriraja’s prema and are greedily honored by Krsna and Balarama in appre­ciation of his great devotion to Them.”

Charming Tungavidya inquired, “We understand how the hairs of Govardhana Hill stand on end and how tears of love flow in the form of waterfalls. But how is perspiration manifest as a symptom of his ecstasy?”

Visakha-devi smiled slightly. “When the vital life force contacts the water element, the shedding of tears ensues. When that same force comes into contact with air, trembling, failing of the voice, and standing of the hairs occur. Similarly, when the fire element contacts the force of life, at that time perspiration occurs. There is no doubt that this same ecstasy heralded by perspiration takes place in Giriraja.

“This perspiration, known as sveda, occurs due to jubilation (as is the case with Govardhana Hill), fearfulness, or anger. Sakhis, do you remember the recent incident when our Radhika saw Sri Hari standing at the gate of Nandagoan, His hands resting on the

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shoulder of Subala sakha7 Due to an awakening of great love caused by seeing Her beloved, pearl drops of perspiration manifest all over Gandharvika’s transcendental form. In an attempt to cover Her feelings. She began to rebuke the sun, although it was early morning and the air was still cool.”

Sri Radha became very embarrassed when the telltale signs of Her ecstasy were exposed. She covered Her slightly smiling face with Her veil and lowered Her happy eyes at the sound of Her friends’ giggling. “Visakhe! Speak on,” She said.

Looking at her beautiful friend, Visakha-devi became mystified by the picture of Radhika’s lotus face submerged in the mood of bashfulness. Struck by a sidelong glance from the moist, reddish corners of Her doe-like eyes, cast through the tissue-thin veil held by Her delicate thumb and index finger, Visakha was drawn to delve further into that enchanting condition.

“I have also seen perspiration caused by tearfulness. Once Sri Krsna dressed in the guise of Abhimanyu to trick Jatila and gain entrance into this very house. While on the path to Javat, He happened to meet Raktaka who was on an errand for mother Yasoda. Seeing Abhimanyu, the ever-angry obstacle to His beloved friend’s happiness, Raktaka began to rebuke him with strong words which I cannot repeat in the assembly of gentle ladies.”

At this all the gopis began to chuckle and moved a little closer to hear what was being said. “After releasing a tirade of abusive words at the disguised Krsna, Raktaka saw his object of ridicule simply smile with great satisfaction. His eyes full of tears. When he heard Krsna’s voice and saw His flute, Raktaka became fearful at having chastised his master, and perspiration flowed all over his body like rain. This was an example of perspiration due to fearful-ness.”

Enchanted by the pastimes of Sri Krsna, the gopis became eager to hear more, and Lalita-devi gestured to Visakha to continue. “To punish the inhabitants of Vrndavana, proud King Indra sent torrents of rain over the area and inundated the entire land. In return, Govardhana-dhari humbled the leader of the devas, who committed many offenses against his master, Giriraja, the inhabit­ants of Vraja, and our cows. Seeing all these incidents from a vantage point above the clouds, Garuda became overwhelmed by

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Giriraja as Hari-ddsa-varya Parti

anger and his perspiration mixed with the rain as it fell to the earth.”

Returning to the subject of Govardhana Hill’s ecstasy, Visakha said, “In the same way, the early morning dew, drops of water, and natural moisture, are the beads of perspiration on Giriraja due to the great jubilation he feels at the touch of Krsna and Balarama’ lotus feet.” Visakha looked to her friends with a twinkle in her bluish eyes. “To be honest, there is yet a greater expression of ecstasy, which appears as a divine transformation and resembles the sveda of Govardhana.”

Excited at hearing the transcendental characteristics of great devotees, the gopis exclaimed, “Visakhe, why do you hesitate!” “Yes, yes, speak on, speak on!” Raising her two soft hands in mild protest, Visakha said, “Although great devotees try to suppress their symptoms of ecstasy, such conditions sometimes become compelling. In such circumstances they are overwhelmed by the in­tensity of their emotions and exhibit inconceivable characteristics.

“For instance, when Cupid heard the rasa dance was taking place during the sarat-purnimd, he came to tempt Rasaraja Krsna with his arrows of lust. When he witnessed Sri Krsna’s dancing with the gopis, he became so perplexed that the perspiration on his face froze and his body resembled a tree full of kantaki fruit. Because of his great love for Hari, Giriraja also exhibits such extraordinary symptoms. I have seen this with my own eyes!”

“Why are you teasing us, sakhT?” said one gopi. “Why do you not describe the wonders you have seen on Govardhana Hill?” Visakha continued, “This great devotee mountain is the constant witness of Sri Krsna’s many pastimes. Sometimes, overwhelmed by ecstasy, he begins to melt and the stones on his body becoming like liquid, flowing here and there like mud.”

The gopis look on, incredulous, their eyes wide open, their sweet mouths slightly agape. “Although rocks and metallic solids melt at excessively high temperatures, it is seen that the stones of Govar­dhana take on a liquid form under normal climatic conditions. The physics of such a phenomenon are inconceivable and beyond the range of the senses or mind. I have recounted what I have seen with my very eyes.”

Nandimukhi, the daughter of Sandipani Muni, who had

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arrived earlier and was offered a seat out of deference to her brahminical heritage, spoke up. “Visakhe, what evidence can you give to support your statements as regards the ecstatic melting of stones? I believe that in the close proximity to our Radhika, who is a storehouse of spiritual emotions, you have become overwhelmed by feelings of great prema and envisage all sorts of transformations in Giriraja. What objective evidence can you give us, who are desir­ous of sensual confirmation, to substantiate your claims?”

Visakha said, “Nandi, what I have said is the truth. To satisfy your curiosity, I will show you the very places where stones melt on the body of Giriraja.” Moving closer to the window and Sri Radha, Visakha pointed to Govardhana Hill lying nearby like a resting peacock, his neck pointed towards Radha-kunda, his tail extending to Punchari. “The evidence of such incidents are the imprints of Sri Krsna’s lotus feet, the cows’ hooves. His flute. His walking stick, and other such paraphernalia.

“At the northern end of Govardhana is Syamavana. In a forest of many tamala trees is a bejeweled throne, a ratna-simhasana, upon which our Isvari sat, surrounded by Her many girlfriends, waited upon by a submissive Prince of Vraja whose complexion is as black as the forest.

“This is a place of both great happiness and great fear. It is here where the rasa dance took place during the festive ceremony of Holi, when the foolish demon Sankhacuda, intoxicated by the pos­session of the Syamantaka jewel, attempted to kidnap the gopis, headed by Sri Radhika.” At the mention of Sankhacuda’s name, all the gopis became agitated and embraced each other. They cast fearful glances here and there, their bodies shivering at the remem­brance of the grisly event.

Disturbed by mention of that unpleasant incident, Lalita-devi cast an angry glance at Visakha and said, “Why do you invoke inauspicious omens upon our heads at a time when the gopis are already floundering in the deep well of separation from Govinda? If you remember a happy pastime at Syama-kutira which caused the stones of Govardhana Hill to flow, then pour such sweet nectar into our ears, but do not haunt us with the acrid memory of that nightmare.”

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Giriraja as Hari’dasa’varya Part 1

Visakha glanced apologetically at Lalita’s lotus feet and said, “The lush Puspavana is situated between Kusuma-sarovara and Syama-kutira. While picking flowers for the worship of the sun-god, we were accosted by the impetuous son of Nanda and charged with thievery of the forest’s natural opulence.” Looking around her, Visakha said, “All of you were there when a great argument arose between Radhika and Madhava regarding the proprietorship of the forest of Vrndavana. This debate was never quite settled, due to the untimely arrival of one brahmana messenger known to us as Nandimukhi.”

All the gopis made angry glances at the saintly daughter of Sandipani Muni, who responded with an innocent and demure smile. “To this day I have not discovered the contents of the message she brought to Hari. Need I remind you all how we were forcibly cast into an ocean of confusion, and submitted to much humiliation as a consequence of its substance? As soon as Sri Krsna received that letter He became very happy and, without a word, quickly retired to a solitary kunja at the northern extremity of the forest.

“When Lalita-devi sent Rupa to spy on Sri Krsna’s activities, He was reported to be sitting in the posture of a consummate yogi, absorbed in the silent repetition of some mantra known only to Himself. Srimati Radharani became fearful at the news of Sri Krsna’s asceticism, concerned that He would attain some mystic perfection by which the gopis would come under His full control. As the king of yogis continued His strict mantra-japa, Sri Radha called for a strategy meeting to avert the impending embarrass­ment. However, when the gopis heard the Krsna moon had risen in the eastern side of the forest, having attained full beauty and matchless perfection by the strength of His vows, Radharani contracted Herself in anxiety and quickly walked to the temple in the asoka-vana.

“Although Acyuta saw Sri Radhika retreat into hiding. He did not follow Her but approached Her sakhis and asked of Her where­abouts. When Lalita-devi informed Him that She had gone home, Sri Krsna smiled charmingly, twirling His flute and rocking on His heels. He said, ‘Lalite, the time of your incessant cheating of simple

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cowherd boys has now come to an unceremonious end and will now drown in the ocean of your own impudence. By the grace of Paurnamasi and on the strength of Vedic mantras, I have attained mystic perfection and can see through the rising tide of your deceit/ ”

Casting a caustic glance at Nandimukhi, Visakha continued, “At that time, Nandimukhi, who though a brahmana avowed to truthfulness was constantly prone to giving questionable advice because of her strong affection to Sri Krsna, whispered into Lalita’s ear, ‘Lalite! If Madhava has now become a vedanta-vit sarvajna siddha-muni, one who by the power of Vedic knowledge has achieved the perfection of omniscience, why should you vainly be at fault by refusing to tell Him where Radhika is? Become glorious by indicating Her whereabouts through the silent guru of your roving lotus eyes.'”

At this Sri Radha, who was happily absorbed in remembrance of Sri Hari’s incomparable pastimes, spoke up, surprised at the duplicitous advice of Her friend. “Nandi, how could you betray Me in that way?” Sitting with her back erect, ever virtuous and innocent, the representative of the foremost class flashed a radiant smile to Sri Radha, confident her advice was always pleasing to Her heart even if externally She acted to the contrary.

Visakha continued, “On Lalita’s indication, Sri Krsna went to the asoka-kunja where Radhika was hiding in the intimate associa­tion of Her maidservants. What happened at that time is known only to Sri Radha and Her confidantes, for the sakhis became distracted by the visit of the six seasonal Laksmis, who came to Vrnda-devi to receive their services to the divine couple. From the testimony of my Rati I understood that, after many pleasant exchanges, Radha and Krsna contrived to deceive us by the strength of His mantra-siddhi.

“Krsna anointed Radhika’s golden form with a mixture of black aguru and musk, dressed Her in His clothes and ornaments, and even gave Her His own flute. Seating Her on a kusa mat facing north. He sat beside Her attired in His usual dress. When the sakhis finally came and saw two Krsna’s sitting side by side, silently reciting mystical incantations, they became perplexed and full of doubt.”

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Giriraja as Hari’ddsa’varya Part I

Recalling their humorous predicament, the desire to hear of Krsna’s pastimes gave way to a flood of laughter that completely immersed the gopis and caused even the birds to rejoice. Then, mimicking a bewildered Lalita-devi, Visakha said in a voice full of merriment, “At that time Lalita looked our way with wide open eyes and, with an air of complete confusion, said, ‘0 sakhis1. What country have we come to where there are two Krsnas? They both wear peacock feathers. They are both black like the tamala tree, They both wear garlands of forest flowers, and They are both dressed in beautiful yellow garments that enchant our minds.'”

At the exclamation of a land with two Krsnas, even Sri Radha plunged into the ocean of the gopis’ laughter, thus causing it to flood its boundaries, roll out the window, and inundate both the animals and the humans of Javat, who began to laugh uncontrolla­bly, but for no visible reason.

“When the sakhis inquired from Rupa’s deceptive followers of the events leading to this mystery, feigning concern they simply said, ‘We also do not know who is who. They were already in this condition when we arrived. While frantically inquiring as to what happened, trying to identify who was Radha and who was Krsna, They became frightened and would not speak with us.’

“Then Vrnda, who must have been a background accomplice to this dilemma, said, ‘Lalite! I think the one doing mantra-japa, with the rudraksa beads in His hands and sitting on a kusa-asana, is the guileful Krsna, who with the help of some mantra gave Radhika a form like His own to sport with Her at will.’

“Stunned in fear I said, ‘Sakhi Vrnde! Holy mother Paurnamasi, who is generally the well-wisher of the vraja-vdsis, has suddenly become a troublemaker for us in all respects. This clever boy, who is skilled in the art of deception and practiced in the incantation of complex lies, has given Radhika a form like His own by practicing some powerful mantras. Even I do not know who is who.’

Seeing the feigned bewilderment on Visakha’s face, all the gopis were enthralled with her story and they continued to laugh among themselves, showering happy glances upon each other. Lalita-devi led the narration for a moment and said, “At that time Citra said in great alarm, ‘0 sakhis’. Please listen! What will we say to Jatila if we return home without Radhika? If, at the conclusion of this day, we

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hand over her daughter-in-law dressed as Nanda-nandana, what abuse will she not shower upon us from the inexhaustible cloud of her foul tongue?'”

Having composed herself, Visakha continued, “Once again Nandimukhi, whose purposes are difficult to comprehend, intervened and said, ‘Citre, why are you unnecessarily worried? From fear of invoking Jatila’s wrath on Himself, causing further enmity among their families and slackening Jatila’s faith in Radhika, Sri Krsna will certainly return Her female form. However, it is not good that She remains by His side doing this mysterious mantra-] apa. Because His mind is unpredictable. His purposes always selfish, and His ways full of cunning. He may just take Her elsewhere, beyond our vision.’

“Then Lalita said to the real Sri Krsna, thinking Him to be Radhika, ‘Ho, ho ho! We know who among You is who! 0 Radhe, put on Your own miambara dress and give up this trickery and duplicity. Let us leave this Krsna to sit on His kusa seat chanting potent mantras for His own mysterious purposes. Most certainly we set out at an inauspicious moment this morning and are now reaping the fruits of our hasty mistake. By transgressing the will of the gods we are now subjected to such great tribulation.’

“At this Sri Krsna, who had rehearsed Radhika’s voice to perfection, said, ‘Lalitel The mishap that happened to Me .today cannot be spoken of aloud or in public. As you are My dearest friend and ever well-wisher, if we find a private place I shall whis­per these esoteric events in your ear.’ When the gopis heard Sri Krsna speaking in Radhika’s voice, they had no doubts that He was Her and, anxiously surrounding Him (Her), they showered Sri Krsna (as Radha) with a barrage of questions.

“When the sakhis touched Krsna they were startled at the intoxi­cating effect of His influence. They said, ‘0 Radhe! Your hands, fingers, feet, eyes, cheeks, forehead, ears—indeed Your every limb has become like Hari’s. How did it happen that only Your voice has remained unchanged?’ Thinking that Krsna had naturally transferred His amorous potency to Radha, they did not question why Her touch caused the same loving sensations in their hearts.

“Then Sri Krsna, whom the bewildered gopis thought to be

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GiriraJ’a as Hari’ddsa’varya Part I

Radhika, said, ‘Sakhis! After Krsna hypnotized Me with the man­tras obtained from Paurnamasi, I lost consciousness and do not know what desires of His He fulfilled. However, when I awoke from a trance-like state I watched as He performed acamana, and while blowing on water thrice He chanted mystic incantations. He then smeared that water all over My body, although I desperately tried to stop Him. As He did so, I was amazed to see My form adopt the qualities of His own. Because I kept My mouth closed. He was unable to place water in My throat, and so only My voice remained unchanged.’

“After this extraordinary exhibition of mysticism Krsna contin­ued to sit on His kusa mat, practicing mantras for the achievement of some hitherto undisclosed end. Leaning towards us with eyes ex­pressing concern, Krsna spoke quietly with His honey-scented breath, ‘Whatever else happened cannot be spoken openly, but I can not keep it to Myself either. If I find any of you alone, I will tell that person what is not possible to disclose in front of this assem­bly of gopis.’

“Hearing this extraordinary story, the sakhis said, ‘Radhe! We are Your intimate friends; why should You be shy before us or reluctant to relieve the burning aching in Your heart?’ But Krsna, playing as Radhika, remained motionless and silent. Thus, the sakhis went out in a bewildered state, leaving only Lalita behind, confident she would inform them of everything she heard.”

Absorbed in the memory of that pastime, small beads of perspi­ration appeared on Visakha’s charming forehead as she spoke. “What transpired while Lalita and Krsna were in that kunja I came to know after Krsna (as Radha) invited me into His confidence through the messenger of an amused Lalita, who emerged from that place after an exchange of merry words. Sakhis! 1 know that you too were subjected to the same cunning and hilarity as I, hav­ing received the same invitation one after another.

“When I entered the kunja and sat anxiously beside whom I thought to be Sri Radha but in reality was Sri Krsna, I was amazed to feel the same masculine presence which He radiates. Taking my hand. He began to stroke it and say in Radhika’s feigned voice, ‘Visakhe! I will reveal to you what happened earlier.’ Then He

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lovingly stroked my hair and kissed my cheek. I recoiled and said, “Sakhi Radhe! This kind of extraordinary behavior is not befitting a lady. Although in the form of Sri Krsna, why are You now making advances to me like He? This is not proper!’ ”

Attempting to overcome her own laughter while speaking over the laughter of her friends, Visakha continued, “In Radha’s voice He said, ‘Sakhi! This is the secret I wanted to tell you, for this is what that knave Sri Krsna did to me.’ Then Sri Krsna began to speak to me in His own voice and revealed the mystery of His play­ful sports which, enriched with the rasa of uncontrollable laughter, was experienced by each and every one of you, as we systemati­cally invited each other to experience the fun after having been party to it ourselves.

“At the conclusion of the humorous medley, when each gopi had innocently entered the kunja alone with Sri Krsna at the behest of her predecessor, the sakhis, along with Vrnda and Nandimukhi, went to the place where the real Radhika was sitting in Krsna’s dress. Lalita then addressed Her, ‘0 crown jewel of mantra-lowers, You fulfilled Your desires and have fully deceived us with Your tricks and impudence. Now cast aside this false disguise and become our sakhi again!’

“Then Sri Radhika, who had been taken to be Krsna, opened Her lotus eyes as if awakening from a dream. With the feigned motions of a mystic She said, ‘0 sakhis, why have you come here?’ Looking around here and there. She said, ‘Where is that impudent boy Krsna?’ and threw the peacock feather from Her head with Her left hand. While censuring Her with words full of humor, the sakhis removed Krsna’s color and ornaments from Radhika’s body and dressed Her with Her own garments. When She once again resumed Her demure appearance as the Princess of Vrndavana, Sri Krsna appeared in the assembly of sakhis dressed in a bluish sari resembling Her own, and adorned with Her jewelry and oma-jnents.

; “Were the sakhis not totally bewildered when Hari once again imitated Radhika’s voice, copying Her slightly feigned fear and shyness while half covering His astonishing moonlike face with His veil? Drinking the honey of Sri Radhika’s lotus-like face with

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GirirdJa as Hari’dasa-varya Part 1

His honeybee glances, Sri Krsna said in Radha’s soft, cooing voice. ‘Sakhis! See how this impudent boy Krsna has assumed My own form and enchanted you all by wearing My dress, adopting My nature, and imitating My gestures! Do not stay at this boy’s side, who is expert at conjuring up hundreds of illusions. You must come here immediately and help Me escape from this place before He bewitches you as He did Me.’

“That person who had first induced Sri Radha to adopt His complexion, dress, and crown had now appeared in Her form, dressed in bluish cloth, wearing a golden candrika, and walking on red-lacquered lotus feet. Throwing the gopis into a turbulent ocean of bewilderment, even Vrndavana’s desire-vines began to smile at the glory of such a pastime.

“Krsna’s impertinence had crossed beyond its boundaries and He could no longer maintain His facade in the presence of His beloved and Her girlfriends. Quickly assuming His original form and apparel, Sri Krsna and His sakhis walked beneath the shelter­ing desire trees, anxious to enjoy the presentations of Vrndavana forest exhibited through the variety of the six seasons.”

Concluding her discourse, Visakha opened her lotus eyes wide and held up her right hand. “Govardhana Hill had been the imme­diate witness to the pastimes of Sri Radha disguised as Sri Krsna and Sri Krsna disguised as Radha amidst the beautiful forest of gopis in Syamavana. Overwhelmed at such spectacles, he began to melt in ecstasy. The stones flowed like water everywhere and, as Sri Krsna departed with His entourage. His footprints remained in the soft sludge of molten rock. To this very day His footprints remain by Kusuma-sarovara. Now just see them over there!”

As Visakha concluded her narration, she intimated the location of Krsna’s footprints by pointing her hand. It appeared to the gopis that they were no longer in the moon-tower at Javat, but standing in dark Syamavana just near the now-solid sila bearing the footprints of Hari. Gazing at each other, the gopis attested to the authenticity of those footprints, seeing the mark of the lotus, thunderbolt, and trident clearly marked therein.

“At Dana-ghati, where Sri Krsna often blocks our path on the pretext of collecting a toll, at Balarama-sthall where Doka Dauji

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watched as we danced the rasa, and at Indra-kunda where Airavata offered his Obeisances to Sri Krsna, the footprints of Radha-Krsna, the crown of Balarama, and the impression of elephant feet are the marks in the now solid, once ecstasy-molten stones of Giriraja.”

Visakha concluded her story of the lila at Syamavana and gave ample evidence on the melting stones of Giriraja. She then took shelter in the arms of Sri Radha who, being pleased with Her wonderful recitation, embraced Her fondly to Her breast. Stroking Visakha’s hair and removing two diamond-like tears from her eyes, Radhika said, “Priye! When you speak of Vanamali’s lila I feel as if He is personally present and I see the entire episode unfold before My eyes.” Taking a pearl necklace from Her neck, Sri Radha rewarded Visakha and said, “Having wetted our appetite with the nectar from your bimba fruit lips, do not deprive Me of the happi­ness I felt in the glorification of Giriraja. Please continue.”

Taking the instruction of Sri Radha as her own treasure while looking at the bluish-tinted necklace newly decorating Her chest, Visakha breathed deeply, adjusted her skirt, righted her veil, and said, “I have merely touched an atomic drop of the glories of Govardhana Hill. He is the great rasika king of mountains, whose constant service to Sri Krsna and Balarama is beyond the compre­hension of great demigods like Brahma and Siva.

“To give further indication of his greatness, I will once again describe how the stones of Giriraja not only melt in jubilation, but are Their source of jubilation, pramoda. Just imagine how the bare feet of these two brothers decorate the rocky surface of Govardhana Hill.”

The mention of Rama-Krsna’s bare feet touching the body of Giriraja conjured pictures of stones, thorns, twigs, and pebbles in the gopis’ minds. In their ecstasy of fear some sakhis shivered as if touched by a cold wind, some sakhis’ complexions blanched like the foam of milk, and some sakhis were on the verge of fainting away. To avert an impending calamity, Visakha quickly added, “By Giriraja’s grace these brothers never feel any discomfort, but Their feet are overjoyed by the unique sensations of walking on his surface.”

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Giriraja as Hari’dasa-varya Part I

Sri Radhika, whose impending swoon was a thousand times deeper than Her friends, spoke in a relieved tone: “Sakhi Visakhe! Quickly tell us of the pleasure felt by those lotus feet, which are soft and pinkish like the newly sprouted buds of lotus flowers and which are the rare treasure that cools the hearts of aspiring transcendentalists.”

Without hesitation Visakha replied, “The ordinary discomfort that one feels while walking on mountains is not to be experienced by Rama-Krsna, their friends, or even their cows. Wherever They place Their feet, the hard rocks become soft like cotton wool, jagged surfaces become smooth like flower petals, small pebbles fuse to form a continual golden surface, and thorns become decorative flowers to greet Their way.”

At this description the faces of the gopis lit up. Like a lamp entering a dark room, their faces glowed, their smiles beamed, and the happiness of love flowed out from their doe-like eyes. “Now hear the wonderful service of Giriraja, which is unparalleled throughout Vrndavana and which gives the pinnacle of happiness to those lotus feet. Although seasonal circumstances generally determine when the ground becomes hot or cold, Govardhana Hill compensates for the discomforts of climatic excesses in his own unique way. Just imagine this, usnakala susitanena sitakale usnitalena:

in the summer’s heat the stones of Giriraja become pleasingly cool, and in the winter’s cold they heat up and become comfortably warm. Can any of you match such service?”

Hearing such an unprecedented standard of devotional service, the gopis became overjoyed and, without a pinch of envy, glorified Govardhana Hill with words like, “Giriraja Maharaja ki jaya\”

Visakha continued, “As our prana-sakhi Lalita-devi said, by their mutual touch, jubilation is felt by Govardhana Hill and the lotus feet of Rama-Krsna.”

Tungavidya-devi graciously interrupted, saying, “Sakhi! Is it not true that Giriraja’s happiness is not only due to the touch of Then-feet, carana-sparasa, but also the touch of Their pastimes, acarana-sparasa? By the touch of Rama-Krsna’s lila, the world is purified^ and by dispensing such katha Giriraja becomes even more jubi” lant.”

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Smiling in happiness, Visakha said, “Tungavidye, whatever you have said in the past has never been untrue, and what you say now is, without a doubt, equally as sacred as the Vedic hymns. Because he desires the welfare of the world, Giriraja is always eager to arrange for the narration of Sri Krsna’s pastimes. It can certainly not be otherwise.

“In this regard, before describing the service of Govardhana’s caves and roots, there is one more obvious meaning of pramoda which acclaims his greatness. Until now it has been heard that Govardhana gives jubilation to Sri Krsna by his unparalleled service and feels great jubilation at His divine touch and pastimes. By such pleasing service, by being a happy servant, Giriraja also incessantly pleases the gopis, the inhabitants of Vraja, and indeed, the whole world. After all, who is not happy when Krsna is pleased by His happy servant? This is the final meaning of pramoda.”

Truly overjoyed with Giriraja, the gopis cried out, “Sadhu, sadhu!” Govardhana Hill, who was invisible to all except Radhika’s sakhis, became embarrassed by their praise but pleased to receive their blessings. To reciprocate their kindness, he sent a pleasing breeze in the direction of Javat’s moon-tower, perfumed with the floury-laden scent of Sri Krsna’s body and which was kept vaulted in a cave from a previous pleasure pastime. When the gopis caught scent of that wonderful aroma their bodies thrilled in ecstasy. It was as if they had attained Govinda’s touch, and for” some time they became immersed in the trance of His association.

Desiring to increase the pleasure of her sakhis, Visakha-devi continued, “At the conclusion of Her song, our Radhika has mentioned the kandara-kandamulaih. This indicates the caves and roots of Govardhana, which are indispensable items of puja for Sri Hari’s seva. Now I shall remind you how these wonderful offerings of Giriraja enhance the pleasure of Sri Krsna.

“The caves within Govardhana Hill are without limit, and if I were to possess a life as long as that of Brahma I could not enumer­ate them all. These caves give great happiness to all and are the places of Sri Govinda’s many pastimes with the gopas and the gopis. In the heat of the summer they provide cool relief from the

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Giriraja as Hari-dasa’varya Part 1

scorching sun, and during the winter they are a warm retreat from chilly winds.

“The caverns provide a nice sitting place for the cowherd boys when fatigued from following the wandering cows. When Krsna and Balarama desire to rest. They enter deep into a darkened cave and lay Their transcendental bodies on the soft bedding provided by Giriraja. Absorbed in Their pastimes of sleep. They dream of never-ending play, and when they are fully refreshed They rise once again and continue with Their active amusements.

“0 gopis, you have all been party to the innumerable diversions in which Sri Krsna indulges within the caves’ depths. The security and shelter provided by the close embrace of Govardhana’s caves is unparalleled anywhere in Vrndavana.”

Opening her eyes wide, Visakha-devi exclaimed, “While Vrnda-devi decorates the many groves of Vrndavana from Radha-kunda to Govinda-sthali, her efforts are humbled by the great opulence offered within the caves of Govardhana Hill. Who else but the king of all mountains can offer ratna-pariyanka, beds made of jewels, rattia-pita, seats made of jewels, ratna-pradlpa, lamps made of jewels, and ratna-darsa, mirrors made of jewels. And that is not all. What about the smooth, glistening stones on the caverns’ floors, which are unrivaled within the assembly-house of Indra?”

Lowering her voice as she casts a glance towards Radhika, Visakha said, “At the southern extremity of Govardhana Hill is Sutalavana. At that place is a mind-enchanting cave known as Mani-kundala, which is the place of many confidential pastimes of Radha and Krsna. If any of you desire to know the details of our Isvari’s pastimes there, ask Campakalata, who is very partial to that area and is often seen to be in its vicinity.” Smiling sweetly at the daughter of Vatika-devi, who was dressed in cloth resembling the brown plumage of the cataka sparrow and whose complexion was like a golden campaka flower, Visakha continued, “I think our Mista-hasta, whose expertise in preparing unlimited sweets has won her the name ‘sweet hands,’ will desire to reside in this cave in some future life, so attached is she to the service of the divine couple at that place.

“Although the celestial demigods do not possess beds, seats, or

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mirrors made of diamonds, rubies, sapphires, or emeralds, such treasures are readily available within the secure caves of Govardhana and outside them as well. While the cowherd boys play among such priceless commodities as playground amuse­ments, the cows graze among them and sometimes scratch their backs and necks on the gemstone furnishings provided for Govinda. In my humble opinion, because Giriraja gives his entire being, including his caves, for the service of Hari, the word suyavasa can also be written as bhuyavasa.

“As for the various roots mentioned earlier, there are an abun­dance of edible kandamulani which, when available, serve as snacks for the gopas and are much favored by the cows. Some of these roots are sweet like licorice, others are tart, and some are sour. Whether taken alone or with the lunch packs, they are nourishing and tasty, often to be seen in the hands of the boys as they run after

the cows.

“The tarumulani are the large exposed roots of trees which, by their curvaceous forms, serve as seats, resting places, and in some cases, a source of much-valued shade from the sun. At all times they are a literal maze of amusements for the gopas, who climb under, over, and in-between them, while sliding and swinging to their hearts’ content. Do these roots not reflect the good humor and parental concern of Govardhana Hill? The jubilation it feels at the touch of Krsna-Balarama inspires mana-puja from within the very core of his heart, which manifests as the abundant water, grass, stones, caves, and roots.”

At this point Visakha-devi stopped speaking and looked into the eyes of her gopi friends as if hesitating to continue further. Receiving a smile of assurance from Lalita-devi, the corner of her eyes fixed on Sri Radhika, she began speaking softly, in hushed tones. “From our Radhika, we have heard of the touch of Rama-Krsna’s lotus feet as the cause of Govardhana’s great jubilation. The word Rama-Krsna may be understood explicitly to indicate the divine brothers, Krsna and Balarama, whose residence is in Nandagoan and who herd cows in the area of Govardhana Hill

daily.

     “According to Amarakosa there is another meaning to Rama,

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Giriraja as Hari’dasa-varya Part I

which is ‘sweet and beautiful,’ nlla cam Site trsu Hi amarakosa ramaniya. When this interpretation is adopted as an adjective for the word Krsna, Rama-Krsna means ramaniya yaha krsna iti rama-krsna, ‘that beautiful Krsna who is decorated with the personal opulence of sweetness.’ If we embrace this meaning in preference to the previous one, we will have to conclude that our Radhika, in Her usual sweet and crooked way, is hiding Her true mood from us. Her most confidential friends.” With this, Visakha smiled with a feigned sobriety at her friend.

“In addition to His extraordinary quality of beauty, ramate also indicates sadakrdati, or one who is always playful and makes others play in happiness. When Krsna climbs Govardhana Hill, He makes not only His cows, friends, and gopis, but all living entities, both moving and non-moving, a part of His enthusiastic play

“All in all, while speaking the words Rama-Krsna, my feeling is that, while subtly hiding Her own preference, our Isvari has spoken in equivocal language to allow Her audience the expres­sion of their own rasa. I offer my pranamas to Her.”

Although inwardly pleased by Her sakhi’s words, externally Radhika expressed displeasure by shooting an arrow-like glance at Visakha. She said, “Dear friends, the unlimited glories of this king of mountains is not to be understood in this pleasant chat. Still, one who lives for the service of Hari deserves our respect, veneration, and worship, of this there is no doubt.

“One who is devoted to serving Sri Krsna should certainly be recognized as being very great. Our Visakha has elaborately and expertly explained that among such great souls Giriraja stands supreme. That I, too, may purify My tongue by the mahima of such a sddhu, please allow Me to summarize what I have heard from our siksa-guru, Anuradha.

“The best of all presentations offered by Govardhana Hill are the sweet grasses meant for the pleasure of the cows and calves. Giriraja is very, very intelligent, for he understands that pleasing Sri Krsna is most efficiently achieved by pleasing His most beloved associates, the cows and the cowherd boys.

“But this king of mountains is not a selfish spiritualist who

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cares only for his own benefit and leaves the world of suffering mortals aside. No, no, no!” says Sri Radha, moving Her index finger from side to side while sweetly shaking Her head. “Sarvesam eva ananda-vara siddhi! Great souls do not only achieve transcen­dental pleasure, but they give pleasure to less fortunate souls. In that way they destroy the miseries of this world, sarva dukha harana.

“If one asks how Giri-Govardhana gives pleasure to others, the answer will be as follows. As Sri Krsna is the Soul of all souls, by pleasing Him with service, he automatically pleases everyone. But that is not all!” She says with emphasis, “The many facilities offered by Giriraja for His pastimes are an invitation for countless wonderful lilas which, in His eternal quest for enjoyment, Sri Govinda cannot resist. After attracting Hari to exhibit daily pastimes in his vicinity, within their hearts Govardhana Hill inspires great poets to broadcast His amazing sports throughout the world. In this way he sprinkles the parched jivas with the invigorating nectar of krsna-katha, relieves them from the pangs of illusion, and elevates them to the regions of eternal happiness.

“Is our beloved Govardhana expecting some remuneration for his great deeds? Never! In exchange for his unlimited services, he seeks only the touch of the lotus feet of Sri Krsna and His associates. When he is blessed with such favor he expertly preserves such footprints on the smooth stones of his divine body. These are his supreme ornament and best decoration. Having achieved such perfection, that insatiable well-wisher of the world makes such footprints, the very touch of Govinda, accessible to those spiritual aspirants who seek his shelter.” Holding Her two lotus hands to Her heart. Her eyes closed in intense emotion, Radha says, “Such fortunate pilgrims touch their heads to Krsna’s lotus feet, take Him into their hearts, and feel unending bliss/’Opening Her eyes slowly and looking around. She says with great emphasis to Her ever-submissive friends, “Sakhis, without a doubt Govardhana Hill is the best of all the devotees. There is no need to say anymore; his actions speak louder than the libraries of the Vedas.”

Looking towards Govardhana Hill with large sparkling tears decorating the corners of Her eyes, Sri Radhika impels all Her

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Giriraja as Hari-dasa’varya Part I

friends to also turn their attention to him. Having appeared on the horizon of Javat for the pleasure of the gopis, Giriraja offers his prostrated obeisances to them, whose love and devotion know no equal. The natural reddish color of his rocks reflects the divine attachment which possesses the butter-soft heart of Govardhana Hill. That is the color of anuraga. Its glow mixes with the afternoon shadows as some wonderful iridescent splendor.

Those stones on which Sri Krsna walked sometimes assume a soothing blackish color; those stones where Baladeva placed His lotus feet sparkle like white crystal; and those stones that received the bhava of Radha put the color of molten gold to shame. Decorated with white cows, green grasses, crystal blue waters, multicolored flowers, birds of many hues, and an endless variety of trees, Govardhana Hill is truly the most colorful expression of devotional love within the three worlds. Where is such spiritual variety to be found in Vaikuntha?

Gradually fading from the loving view of the gopis, Giriraja returned to his rightful place near Radha-kunda. Left with an insatiable emptiness in their eyes, the gopis’ hearts tried to substi­tute his place with a torrent of tears. By seeing Govardhana, the gopis were seeing Krsna, and better still, seeing His greatest devo­tee. In his absence, their lives felt devoid of purpose and they began to cry, submerging in the ocean of separation from Hari and Hari-dasa-varya.

 

 

This concludes the thirteenth chapter of The Song of the Flute, by a very insignificant disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, entitled ‘Giriraja as Hari-dasa-varya’, in which the supremacy of Govardhana Hill, who reigns above all other servants of Sri Hari, is glorified by a very appreciative Sri Radha to Her own gana, with such appreciation and love that he is obliged to appear before the gopis and exhibits the jubilation he feels at the touch of Rama and Krsna’s lotus feet as a consequence of his great respect for Them, and then exhibiting

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further extraordinary ecstatic symptoms such as the shedding of tears in the form of wonderful waterfalls, the standing on end of hair in the form of its sweet grasses, and his perspiration manifest as the drops of water on stones, grass, and trees, also offers a great variety of fruits for eating, roots for chewing, herbs for digestion, minerals for decoration, for not only Sri Krsna but all His friends and cows, what to speak of the universally renowned caves which are equipped with varied divine paraphernalia for His enjoyment, well known to gopas and gopis alike, and who is covered with special stones which, for Sri Krsna’s comfort, adapt to the weather and are as soft as feathers and as smooth as silk, this Govardhana, sa opulent in service to Govinda, certainly gains much pleasure from 6ri Krsna’s pastimes, which he distributes to the world through the pen of great devotees, making the hearts of the gopis very happy, although they feel sadness being bereft of His sahga, but remain pacified because they implicitly trust the expertise of Govardhana Hill to please their beloved Hari.

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