Venu Gita 14

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 FOURTEEN

Giriraja as Hari-dasa-varya

Part 2

Upon Giriraja’s disappearance the gopis once again felt the absence of Sri Krsna, who is always associated with His great devotees and especially connected with Govardhana Hill. Lalita-devi desired to restore the pleasant mood that had prevailed earlier; therefore she quickly devised a plan to bring peace to the hearts of her friends. With the silent movement of her eyes, she directed Sri Rupa to engage her constant associate, Rati Manjari, in singing some beautiful songs of Krsna’s Govardhana pastimes. Rupa in turn whispered into her friend’s ear, who first flushed with embarrassment until she saw Lalita-devi’s authoritative glance.

Rati Manjari was thirteen years of age and wore a sari decorated with clusters of stars. An intimate assistant of Visakha-devi, she was the very form of attachment to Sri Radha, and because her heart was completely aligned with the Princess of Varsana, she had been taught singing and music by Radhika Herself. Taking the blessings of her superiors, she folded her hands in respect to the king of mountains and began to speak.

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The proper parikrama order of Giriraja is begun at Manasi-Ganga with the blessings of Harideva. Being experienced in the seva of Govardhana Hill, Rati also began by describing beautiful Manasi-Ganga, which spread like a golden mirror in all directions and was surrounded by bejeweled ghatas, ornate temples/ and decorative resting places. Its sandy banks were the place of Sri Hari’s many pastimes and the resting place of His well-worn boat. Decorated with many colored flags, garlands, and festoons, this trusty vessel was used as the vehicle to gain the favor of an angry Radharani when She became frightened by the prospect of sinking in the Ganga’s turbulent waters.

Rati told the story of Nanda Baba and his subjects, who were listening to the glories of the Ganga from the mouths of highly qualified brahmanas. They heard a story of Garuda, the bird carrier of Lord Visnu, who once flew over the Ganges with a large snake in its talons. When the tail of the snake touched the waters of the sacred river, it assumed a four-armed form identical to the residents of Vaikuntha and, upon seeing this wonderful transformation;

Garuda respectfully placed that glorious personality on his back and carried him to the spiritual world.

When Nanda Maharaja and his subjects heard this wonderful story they all became inspired to bathe in the sacred Ganges and made preparations to immediately leave. Attracted by the many arrangements being made for a long journey, Sri Krsna inquired about the purpose of such an excursion. Hearing that His family desired to leave Vrndavana on pilgrimage. He became unhappy at the prospect and insisted such efforts were unnecessary. Sri Krsna argued that Ganga-devi, like all holy places, was eternally residing in Vrndavana.

Thinking Krsna to be but a small child, no one paid serious attention to His advice but continued to make ready as before. By His sweet words and persuasive demeanor Govinda brought all the vraja-vasis to Manasi-Ganga and, to everyone’s surprise, Ganga-devi appeared there in person, riding on a crocodile, dressed in divine ornaments, and smiling very pleasingly at every­one.

Sri Krsna said, “Look, because of your great desire to see her,

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Goddess Ganga-devi has personally come to Vraja to bless its residents.” Then, turning to His father, Hari held his hand and, looking in his incredulous face. He exclaimed, “Father, there is no longer any need to travel to distant places, since Ganga-devi resides in Vraja.”

Speechless, Nanda Maharaja and his associates paid their obei­sances and, on that dark moon night of Kartika, commonly known as Dipavall, the vraja-vasis worshipped Ganga-devi with many ghee lamps floating on the tranquil waters of the lake, illuminating its serene and mysterious beauty.

Not distant from the southern bank of Manasi-Ganga is the beautiful deity of Harideva, who is the presiding Deity of the west­ern petal of Vraja-dhama and the tireless lifter of Govardhana Hill. Every day the gopis took His darsana, for He was very dear to them.

The appearance of Harideva was very mysterious. One day Sri Radha and Her sakhis were sitting on the bank of Manasi-Ganga waiting for Sri Krsna. Feeling intense separation from Him, they began to call out His name, “Harideva! Harideva!” in great anguish. When the intensity of that kirtana threatened the gopis’ lives, Sri Krsna appeared before them in the form of a seven-year-old, holding Govardhana Hill in one hand and His divine flute in the other.

This beautiful form enchanted the minds of the gopis, whose hearts overflowed with happiness and whose tears washed His lotus feet. Seeing that Deity before them, Radharani and Her sakhis performed all kinds of service to Him, and thus the fire of separa­tion in their hearts became fully satiated and they became happy.

Describing the jewel-encrusted path which leads along the many exquisite gardens of campaka, mango, and tamala trees, Rati-devi brought the minds of the gopis to Dana-ghati, where she and Rupa had many times glorified the toll pastimes of Radha-Krsna. Tulasi was as absorbed in her description of the pastimes as the sakhis were in hearing it. She then pointed to the small rugged path the gopis had used to cross Govardhana Hill to attend the fire sacrifice of Bhaguri Muni.

For the welfare of his son Balarama, Vasudeva engaged many great sages to perform a celebrated fire yajna at the base of

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Govardhana Hill, near Govinda-kunda. It was said that any gopi who donated a pot of pure ghee for the yajna would have her desires fulfilled by the personified sacrifice, yajna-purusa.

Sri Radha heard this news from Her parrot, Suksmadhi, and, encouraged by Paurnamasi, She set out with Her girlfriends, bearing on their heads golden pots of ghee and in their hearts a desire to see Sri Hari. Walking the north-south path that leads from Radha-kunda, the gopis illuminated the foot of Govardhana Hill with their golden effulgence, sublime dresses, and twinkling orna­ments.

As they trod the forest path, the gopis thought, “We will meet Krsna on the pretext of donating ghee,” and while casting bluish glances here and there, Sri Radha thought, “Where is the Lord of My life?”

Meanwhile, Sri Krsna had received reliable information from His parrot, Vicaksana, that a great convoy of gopis headed by Sri Radhika was on its way to the yajna-sala with pots of ghee on their heads. Climbing on top of Govardhana Hill with friends like Subala and Madhumangala, Sri Krsna erected a charming toll station at the place known as Syama-vedi and accepted the mind-enchanting attire of a customs official on the King’s duty.

When the gopis arrived at Manasi-Ganga, Sri Radha saw the black bees humming about the blossoming lotus flowers and remembered Her beloved. Hearing the sound of Sri Krsna’s flute-playing, She became overwhelmed by ecstasy and said aloud, “0 sakhis\ Let us perform austerities to take our next birth in a bamboo family, the highest birth of all. In this way we shall be fortunate enough to constantly relish the nectar of Sri Krsna’s bimba fruit lips.”

Proceeding towards Syama-vedi, the gopis remained absorbed in talk of Sri Krsna and Radhika’s vine-like body became studded with flower-like emotions. Finally, Vrnda caught sight of beautiful Syama, standing on top of the hill, dressed in His unparalleled costume and in the midst of His loving friends. Radha said, “Sakhi Vrnde! I have seen Krsna many, many times before, but I have never yet seen Him in this sweet way, nor have I ever been able to relish even a drop of the nectarean beauty now unfolding before My eyes.”

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Radhika proceeded slowly forward as Her heart flooded with waves of emotion. She said to Lalita, “Sakhi, walk slowly. I feel some pain in My feet!” Lalita replied in jest, “Rddhike, it is not pain in Your feet that slows Your gait but a black stone in Your mind, which slows Your forward progress and whose weight causes a pain in Your heart.” A veil covered Sri Radha’s beautiful face as the corners of Her eyes remained fixed on Her beloved and many conflicting emotions violently clashed below Her calm exterior. Radhika walked like one in a dream, like one bewitched, like one possessed by a ghost, like one obsessed by love.

As the gopis came abreast of Sri Krsna dressed in His amazing tax collector’s uniform, Subala said, “0 gopis, where are you going with those ghee pots on your heads, ignoring this toll station like vagabonds with no allegiance to the King?” The gopis walked forward without so much as moving an eyebrow. Ignoring Subala’s challenge, the jingling of their ankle bells sprinkled Sri Krsna’s ears with nectar and openly declared their feminine impudence.

His authority blatantly challenged, with His flute in His hand Sri Krsna stepped in Radhika’s way, enchanting the gopis with His soft smile, daring glances, and bluish aura.

Rati, who is also known as Tulasi by Radhika and Her friends;

continued to describe how Sri Krsna addresses the gopis, now swimming in the ocean of His youthful sweetness. “Dear girls endowed with youthful beauty and carrying many pots of ghee, please pay Me My tax, or return from whence you came!” Smiling with great affection, Sri Krsna placed His arm over Subala’s shoulder and completely blocked the gopis’ path.

The pastime of prohibiting Radhika’s movements is enacted by Krsna when She picks flowers, walks the pathways of Vrndavana, or passes the toll stations He erects. At such times the ecstatic symptoms of kila-kincita are awakened within Sri Radha’s heart, and the conflicting emotions that compete within the playground of Her transcendental form hypnotize Sri Krsna, who becomes the intoxicated spectator of their movements.

The seven ecstatic symptoms of this bhava are pride, ambition, weeping, smiling, envy, fear, and anger. Their root cause is the Jubilation Radhika feels in Her ecstatic love, and its first indication is Her shrinking away in the presence of Govinda. When the

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aggregate of these eight symptoms is combined and tasted by Him, Sri Krsna’s mind is completely satisfied. The taste of such ecstasies are compared to a combination of yogurt, candy, ghee, honey, black pepper, camphor, and cardamom, which, when mixed together, are very tasty and sweet. Sri Krsna is a thousand times more satisfied when He sees Radhika’s face light up from this bhava than when He is directly in contact with Her.

In this connection, Tulasi quoted two verses composed by Rupa glorifying the kila-kincita-bhava of Srimati Radhika:

antah smeratayojjvald jala-kana-vyakirna-paksmankura

kincit patalitdncala rasikatotsikta purah kuncati ruddhayah pathi madhavena madhura-vyabhugna-torottara

radhayah kila-kincita-stavakim drstih sriyam vah kriyat

“May the sight of Srimati Radharani’s kila-kincita ecstasy, which is like a bouquet, bring good fortune to all. When Sri Krsna blocked Radharani’s way to the Dana-ghati, there was laughter within Her heart. Her eyes grew bright and fresh tears flowed from Her eyes, reddening them. Due to Her sweet relationship with Krsna, Her eyes were enthusiastic, and when Her crying subsided, She appeared even more beautiful.”

baspa-vyakulitarunancala-calan-netram rasollasitam

helollasa-caladharam kutilita-bhru-yugmam udyat-smitam radhayah kila-kincitancitam asau viksyananam sangamad

anandam tarn avdpa koti-gunitam yo ‘bhun na gir-gocarah

“Agitated by tears, Srimati Radharani’s eyes were tinged with red, just like the eastern horizon at sunrise. Her lips began to move with jubilation and lusty desire. Her eyebrows curved, and Her lotus-like face smiled mildly. Seeing Radharani’s face exhibit such emotion. Lord Sri Krsna felt a million times happier than when He embraced Her. Indeed, Lord Sri Krsna’s happiness is not at all mundane.”

When the gopis witnessed these pastimes, their fish-like eyes became hopelessly entangled in the net of Radha-Krsna’s

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emotional transactions. Sri Krsna, the Toll Agent, repeatedly accosted Radhika with the words, “Pay Me My tax! Pay Me My tax!” but She simply remained grave and silent. Disturbed by Her blatant neglect, Sri Krsna would repeatedly return and taunt Her, saying, “Sundari, You must pay Me the tax due with your youthful beauty.”

At this, Radhika raised Her bow-like eyebrows in a frown and released an arrow-like glance at Syama/ making Him totter where He stood as if struck by a great force. Enchanted, Sri Krsna simply floated in an ocean of spiritual flavors, as the sakhis sarcastically remarked, “Ho, ho, ho! Is there also a levy on youth and beauty in this fictitious kingdom of Yours, which has as its king a spoiled cowherd prince whose sole pleasure is challenging the purity of faithful housewives?”

Stuttering slightly in His ecstasy, Sri Krsna replied, “Y-yes, that is so! All valuable commodities such as youth, beauty, feminine pride, and natural products like ghee, yogurt, and curd are subject to importation taxes at this station. Having no certificate of exemp­tion, you, too, must pay with the ghee carried in those pots.”

Sri Radha took a wide girth around Syama as He stood in the center of the pathway. Completely ignoring Him, She proceeded on Her way, like a swan gliding on a lake. Irate, Krsna said, “He Candi! 0 hot-tempered girl, do You dare to ignore Me, as I stand here, the representative of the King and the embodiment of this country’s government? Being intoxicated by the arrogance of youth and bewildered by ignorance of what is Your civil duty, have You lost all respect for law and order?”

Leaning towards Radha, bending over Her like a tamala tree covers a golden vine. His eyebrows arched to their limit and His smile saturated with innuendo, Sri Krsna said, “There is no value in Your running away from a black snake (krsna-kundali), for when He raises His hoods…” Krsna stood on His toes and expanded His chest for emphasis, “…and hisses at You, You will become enchanted and become free of all Your impudence.”

Looking always forward, without so much as glancing at Him, Sri Radha said with feigned disdain, “How will a black snake be able to enchant a she-mongoose, nakula-stri, who by nature is

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inimical to snakes and will bite them at the first opportunity? I think today is an inopportune occasion for such snakes; better they remain in the shelter of their own homes.”

By equivocal language Radhika showed Her inner desires to Sri Krsna. Like a rose covered by a thin sheet. Her grave feelings were covered by an external show of disrespect. In this way She exhibited Her expertise in joking with Hari.

When Sri Krsna reached for Sri Radhika’s arm, Lalita raised a cry of alarm and shouted, “I am Bhairavi, a man-hating goddess! We have carefully bathed, anointed, and dressed our Isvari for the sake of this sacrifice, and You want to defile Her purity with the contaminating touch of Your hands? Tisthe, tisthe! Be off with You, rascal!” Alarmed at Lalita’s forceful attack, Sri Krsna recoiled in fear and released Sri Radha’s arm, now covered by goose pimples of ecstasy. Taking shelter of Lalita, Sri Radhika stood behind her while Govinda quickly regained His composure under the scrutiny of His friends.

Speaking over Lalita-devi’s head, Sri Krsna said to Radhika, “If it is not possible for You to pay Your dues at this moment, I shall be as accommodating as possible within the jurisdiction of the law. Allow Me to assess Your stock of ghee and personal attributes, and You may leave this assertive friend of Yours as collateral for the payment. When You have returned with the appropriate amount You may collect her intact.”

To this the sakhis said in unison, “That we cannot do.”

Syama replied, “Then how will you leave? If you depart with­out my permission the King will issue warrants for your arrest and you will have to pay the government revenue as well as significant fines for violation of state laws.”

At this, the gopis turned to Radharani. “Radhe, perhaps You should stay here and negotiate with this customs official, and we shall collect You on our return from the yajna. It is a certainty that we will collect some coins from the merchants attending the sacrifice and thus fulfill our financial obligations.”

Sri Radhika became incensed at this suggestion. Her eyes flared and She prepared to depart from both Sri Krsna and Her friends. “It may be that, tempted by a bargain to be free of your own finan-

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cial obligations, you want to implicate Me in liquidating your debts. However, I, for one, have no taste for this type of extortion and shall make My way to the yajna to gain the association of high-minded souls.”

Before She could move any further, Sri Krsna surged forward, grabbing the pot of ghee from Radhika’s head. Placing His right hand deep into its belly. He extracted a palm-full of semi-soft golden ghee, placed the contents neatly into His lotus mouth, and smiled broadly at the gopis. Madhumangala clapped his hands and said, “Hee, hee, friend, save some for me!”

Handing the jug to His brahmana friend, Sri Krsna began to taste the ghee from all the gopis’ pots and distributed the remnants to His friends. At this Lalita once again stood her ground and, gathering the scattered sakhis, said, “You have now managed to successfully spoil these offerings of ghee, which were meant as an offering to the Supreme. I suppose it would be too much to expect some show of remorse on Your part.

“When an unclean boy such as You touches an offering for the gods, it becomes impure and unfit for sacrifice.” Looking around at her friends, Lalita said, “In fact, whatever You contact becomes impure either by Your glance, smell, or touch. Just being touched by You one must take bath to be freed of all contamination.” The gopis erupted like a feminine volcano of laughter, all the while drinking the nectar of Sri Krsna’s lotus face.

Hari made a wry face at these harsh accusations, which doubled the intensity of the gopis’ laughter. Unable to speak, embarrassed by the verbal attack of Lalita, ghee dripping from the side of His mouth, Sri Krsna could find no means to respond and flushed red with humiliation.

Sri Radhika’s heart was softer than ghee. Feeling sorry for Her beloved’s embarrassment. She brought peace and quite amidst the ranks of Her girlfriends and, turning to Her prana-natha, She said, Dear Nanda-nandana, we are obliged to go to the yajna as ordered by Paurnamasi. Our elders and relatives are expecting our arrival there. When we have completed our duties, we shall certainly return and liquidate our debt with You. Until then, please extend us credit, and we shall certainly not betray Your trust.”

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After a further exchange of humor in the celebrated place known as Dana-ghati, Radhika and Her sakhis went on their way to the sacrifice of Bhaguri Muni. From the yajna Sri Radha sent Tulasi to arrange a meeting at Dana-nivartana-kunda, the lake where She would pay Her tax. As Rati recounted the toll pastime, the gopis became submerged in an ocean of happiness and, losing all connection with external reality, they only desired to hear more and more about Sri Krsna’s transcendental sports.

     It is difficult to say how much time passed as Tulasi described the many pastimes that took place in the vicinity of Govardhana Hill. Perhaps time itself stopped to better hear those wonderful narrations, fearing the sound of its passing minutes would i; obstruct the proper audition of govmda-lila. Perhaps, as on the ;’: occasion of the saradiya-rdsa, a day of Brahma went by and, under ‘Yogamaya’s influence, the gopis were unaware of the creator’s presence to share the nectar of immortality. Perhaps the absorption of the gopis in hari-katha made all other things as insignificant as straw and their neglect of his services made time retreat in embar­rassment. Or it may have been that a combination of these factors contributed to the gopis’ complete forgetfulness of time and their ; continued drinking of the nectar of Sri Krsna’s pastimes.

Whichever circumstances prevailed, she who was the dear ” friend of Sri Radha, who could not tolerate separation from Her Isvari, whose heart always yearned for Her service, and who was the foremost student of Sri Rupa, continued to speak. She described the pastimes of Aniyora at Annakuta-ksetra, where Govardhana Hill demanded more offerings to placate his insatiable appetite. As he sat atop the mountain in an enormous form with many arms, Giriraja’s expansion repeatedly demanded, “Give me more! Give me more!”

Govinda-kunda is surrounded by many desire trees, and its banks are studded with countless cintamani gems. At the

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conclusion of the govardhana-dharana-lila, it was here that the abhiseka of Sri Krsna was performed by the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma. They worshipped Him with pomp and reverence and crowned Him as Govinda, the King of the cows.

At Nipa-kunda there are many kadamba trees. Here Sri Krsna enjoyed His pastime of stealing the gopis’ yogurt and feeding His friends in large cup-shaped leaves. When the gopis threatened to report Sri Krsna’s thievery to the King, Radha and Her friends were highly amused by His threat to beat Kamsa to death-and drag his body here.

While Sri Krsna and His gopis were dancing the rasa-lila at Candra-sarovara, Baladeva was wandering on top of Govardhana Hill, tending the cows. From His elevated vantage point Douji was able to see the extraordinary dancing movements of Sri Krsna. In His astonishment. His snow-white complexion turned blackish, His crown fell from His head, and His stick rolled out of His hand. Stunned like a rock, Baladeva remained in a crouching position until the conclusion of Sri Krsna’s pastime.

If Govardhana Hill is seen as a beautiful peacock, its southern extremity is its peacock tail and is known as Apsaravana. Here Sri Krsna manifests many Visnu-tattva forms for the pleasure of the gopas and gopis. In order to bewilder the gopis, Sri Krsna assumed the form of a twelve-armed Lord Visnu and sat astride the shoul­ders of Subala, who took the form of Garuda.

In the same wonderful forest, manifesting His Varaha-rupa, Lord Boar dug up the earth with His tusks and alarmed the forest creatures with His ferocity. Here Sri Krsna displayed the greenish complexion and amazing form of Lord Ramacandra, and the cowherd boys assumed the appearance of monkeys and bears. Together they enacted the pastime of crossing to Lanka and killed Ravana to regain the hand of beautiful Sita.

Apsara-kunda and Navala-kunda, whose glories are regularly sung in Lord Brahma’s assembly house, decorate this charming forest. When the opulence of spring revealed its treasure-house of new leaves, colorful buds, and aromatic flowers, Sri Krsna became inspired to dance with the gopis. Overwhelmed in their mutual association, knowing no limitations to their love, they wandered without restraint until they reached the end of Govardhana. Their

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prema having reached its topmost limit, Krsna and His beloved consorts melted in ecstasy and merged with the waters of these kundas.

At the remembrance of Such happiness the gopis became immersed in their prema and could not leave that divine forest, even in their thoughts. After some time Tulasi glorified the western side of Govardhana, beginning with the divine cave known as Mani-kundala.

Kadambavana is always full of many kadamba trees that remind Sri Krsna of His Radha, for they both share the same golden color and both possess the same bewitching fragrance. The gopis once shed tears of separation from Govinda on the banks of Rudra-kunda; therefore Rati did not remind them of the pastimes at that place.

The pleasant memories of Vilasavana caused much happiness to the gopis, and Sri Radha’s pristine heart swelled while hearing of Govinda’s agreeable behavior at that place. Here, Sri Radha noticed an ankle bell gone missing and proceeded to search for it with great concern. When Sri Krsna appeared in a very jovial mood, teasing and joking. She became angry at His callousness and severely rebuked Him. As a consequence of Her chastisement, He became very helpful and, digging a hole in the ground, revealed hundreds of ankle bells of the most exquisite workmanship. At this display of kindness, Sri Radha became very pleased and blessed Sri Krsna with Her love.

Cakra-tirtha is on the northwestern end of Manasi-Ganga, and it is the residential place of Sudarsana, the eternal wheel of Sri Krsna. From this place the gopis embarked on a fateful boat journey, navigated by a mysteriously attractive helmsman who was both their source of anxiety and their ultimate shelter. When many beautiful gopis carrying pots of ghee and yogurt filled His old boat, Sri Krsna, disguised as a boatman, warned, “Ladies, there are too many of you, carrying too many dairy products and adorned with too much weighty jewelry for my aged boat to sustain.”

Ridiculing the boatman. His boat, and His concern, the gopis crowded the old vessel like an ancient vase filled with multi­colored flowers. Having reached the midway point, the happily

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chattering gopis suddenly noticed very ominous clouds, strong winds, and choppy waves. When their boat began to take water (with help from the helmsman, who conveniently rocked it for His own purposes), the gopis became alarmed and turned to their captain for advice.

With a hope to dispose of all ballast, one by one the gopis’ pots of ghee, containers of yogurt, golden ornaments, and heavy ankle bells were offered to the restless waters of the lake. When all else failed, to His great satisfaction, Sri Radha took full shelter of the naughty boatsman, and miraculously the storm, clouds, waves, and leak disappeared as unexpectedly as they had come.

At Uddhava-kunda, Sri Krsna’s cousin, intimate friend, and devoted disciple prayed to receive the dust of the gopis’ lotus feet. Although Tulasi explained these things for the pleasure of the sakhis, in their humility they offered pranamas and prayed to Thakura Mahasaya for Govinda’s unconditional association.

Near the entrance to Radha-kunda is Siva-khari, where the three-eyed Lord Siva took up residence as guardian. It was here that, while drinking water at Siva’s lake, a female jackal was spotted by some children, who chased her with sticks in their hands into a nearby hole. Thinking to catch the jackal and beat it, they built a fire at the entrance to the tunnel, causing the animal great distress and fear. On Her way to Javat, Sri Radha heard the jackal’s piteous cries and dispatched Lalita to investigate the source of such unhappiness in Her most joyous place. When Lalita-sakhi assessed the situation, she scolded the children for their harshness and brought that unfortunate creature before Sri Radhika. Having gained the mercy of Sri Radha, the jackal now became very fortunate and, with a torrent of tears from her eyes, she fell down before Radhika’s lotus feet. Her heart melting with compassion, Sri Radhika patted the animal with great kindness and reassured it of Her protection. In this way that simple creature was blessed with Her eternal service and attained the position of an eternal associate.

Narrating the story of Radha’s kindness to an unfortunate jackal, Tulasi began to weep with great emotion. Sri Rupa comforted her friend and encouraged her to speak the unlimited

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glories of Radha-kunda. Rati Manjari was prepared to describe all the pastimes surrounding Govardhana Hill. However, the glories of Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda were so numerous that she could not complete their recital. These two divine lakes are so saturated with the condensed nectar of the divine couple’s pastimes that neither Rati nor the gopis could proceed further. They remained absorbed in the mahima of that place, located at the foot of Govardhana Hill.

As the afternoon shadows stretched across the compound of Abimanyu’s house, the moon-tower residence of Radha glowed with an effulgence of its own. This golden radiance emanated from the joy of hearing the loving exchanges enacted daily around Govardhana Hill, which, like Sri Krsna, is ever-fresh and without limit. The gopis are the most elevated associates of Hari, and when they taste the nectar of such pastimes, their discussions reach the pinnacle of perfection to which Lord Brahma and Siva rarely gain access.

As Tulasi continued the glorification of Govardhana Hill, who has the form of a great peacock, whose tail is at Pufichari, whose neck is Manasi-Gariga, whose face is Kusuma-sarovara, and whose eyes are Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda, Rupa Manjari requested her to recite a prayer to Giriraja of her own composition. When the gopis heard that stava, full of sweet words in praise of Radha and Krsna, the gopis and gopas, the cows and Vraja, and the best of Hari’s servants, they became very happy. Sri Radhika embraced Tulasi to Her chest and kissed her on the cheek, stroking her soft black hair. Then, in Her own sweet voice defeating the warbling of swans or the singing of cuckoos. She repeated Rati’s prayers, and the gopis sang responsively, clapping their hands.

In the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Tulasi Manjari appears as Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and Rupa Manjari appears as Rupa Gosvami. In their sadhaka-avesa they composed many prayers and books, which are the treasure of Gaudiya literature. Srila Prabhupada says, “In order to understand the transcendental loving affairs of Radha and Krsna, one has to go through the teachings of the Gosvamis, rupa-raghunatha-pade hoibe akuti.” And, “When shall I be very much eager to study the books left by the

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Gosvamis?” In his Govardhana-vasa-prarthana-dasaka, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami writes:

nija-pati-bhuja-dandac-chatra-bhavam prapadya

pratihata-mada-dhrstod-dhanda-devendra-garva atula-prthula-saila-sreni-bhupa! priyam me

nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

“0 Govardhana, 0 king of all incomparable great mountains, 0 hill that became an umbrella with the arm of your own Lord as the handle and then destroyed the pride of the deva king madly attack­ing with raised weapons, please grant the residence near you that is so dear to me.”

pramada-madana-lilahkandare kandare te

racayati nava-yunor dvandvam asminn-amandam iti kila kalandrtham lagna-kas tad-dvayor me

nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

“0 Govardhana, please grant to me the residence near you that will guarantee the sight of the youthful divine couple as they enjoy transcendental amorous pastimes in your caves.”

anupama-mani-vedi-ratna-simhasanorvi-

ruha-jhara-darasanu-droni-sanghesu-rahgaih saha bala-sakhibhih sankhelayan sva-priyam me

nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

“0 Govardhana, 0 hill where Lord Krsna happily plays with Balarama and His friends in the incomparable jeweled courtyards, jeweled lion-thrones, trees, waterfalls, mountain-brooks, caves, peaks, and valleys, please grant the residence near you that is so dear to me.”

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.’rasa-nidhi-nava-yunoh saksimm dana-keler-i?. dyuti-parimala-viddham syama-vedim prakasya rasika-vara-kuldndm modam asphalayan me nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

“0 Govardhana, 0 hill that provides the dark courtyard that witnesses the dana-keli pastime of the nectar-treasure youthful divine couple, 0 hill that brings great bliss to the best of those who relish transcendental nectar, please grant the residence near you that is so dear to me.”

hari-dayitam apurvam radhika-kundam dtma-. ,’ priya-sakham iha kanthe narmana lingya guptah ^nava-yuva-yuga-khelas tatra pasyan raho me nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

“0 Govardhana, 0 hill that, hiding as you playfully embrace the neck of your dear friend. Lord Hart’s dear, unprecedented Radha-kunda, secretly gazes at the pastimes of the youthful divine couple, please grant to me residence near you.”

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^ sthala-jala-tala-saspair bhuruhacchayayd ca s;  prati padam anukalam hanta samvardhayan gah tri-jagati nija-gotram sarthakam khyapayan me nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

“0 Govardhana, 0 hill that by nourishing the cows with its water, grass, and the shade of its trees declares to the three worlds the appropriateness of its own name, please grant me residence near you.”

sura-pati-krta-dirgha-drohatogostha-raksam tava nava-grha-rupasy antare kurvataiva

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agha-baka-ripunoccair-dattamana! drutam me nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

“0 Govardhana, 0 hill that the enemy of Agha and Baka honored by transforming into a new house to give Vraja protection from the sustained fury of the sura king, please grant me residence near you.”

giri-nrpa!hari-dasa-srem-varyeti-nama-

mrtam idam uditam sn-radika-vaktra-candrat vraja-nava-tilakatve kirpta! vedaih sphutam me

nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

“0 Govardhana, 0 king of mountains, 0 hill whose nectar name ‘the best of Lord Hari’s servants’ flows from the moon of 6ri Radha’s mouth, 0 hill that the Vedas declare to be the tilaka mark­ing of Vraja, please grant me residence near you.”

nija-jana-yuta-radha-krsna-maitn-rasakta-

vraja-nara-pasu-paksi-vrata-saukhyaika-datah aganita-karunatvan-mam uri-krtya tantam

nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

“0 Govardhana, 0 philanthropist that gives transcendental happiness to Vraja’s people, animals, and birds, all anointed with the nectar of friendship for Sri Sri Radha-Krsna surrounded by Their friends, out of Your immeasurable mercy, please accept unhappy me and grant me residence near you.”

10 nirupadhi-karunenasri-saa-nandanena

tvayi kapati-satho ‘pi tvat-priyenarpito “swf iti khalu mama yogyayogyatdm tamagrhnan

nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

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“Although I am a cheater and a criminal, unlimitedly merciful Lord Sacinandana, who is very dear to you, has given me to you. 0 Govardhana, please do not consider whether I am acceptable or not, but simply grant me residence near you.”

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rasada-dasakam asya srila-govardhanasya

ksiti-dhara-kula-bhartur-yahprayatnadadhite sa sapadi sukhade ‘smin vasamasadya saksac-

chubada-yugala-seva-ratnam apnoti turnam

“One who carefully reads these ten verses praising the king of mountains will attain a joyful residence near Govardhana Hill and will swiftly attain the jewel of Radha and Krsna’s divine loving

service.

Her teeth glittering like pearls, her lips colored like bimba fruit, her complexion golden like Sri Radha’s, and her hand expressively held on her hips, Rupa inquired, “Tulasi, you are the receptacle of Giriraja’s mercy! By what means should the king of mountains be worshipped, and how is such worship performed if one is at a distance from His Grace?”

Casting her lovely eyes to the ground and folding her lotus hands to her heart, Tulasi said, “When Govinda convinced His father and the other gopas of their obligation to Govardhana Hill, He explained that such worship superseded sacrifices to King Indra or any demigod. While attending to the service of Sri Radhika, I heard Sri Krsna directly instruct Nanda Baba in the process of Govardhana puja.

“According to Giridhari, the performer should be a pure Vaisnava, self-controlled, cleansed by bath, and purified by man­tras. Selecting any suitable part of Govardhana Hill, he should anoint that place with cow dung and, while chanting the Purusa-

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sukta mantras under the direction of qualified brahmanas, he should bathe the hill with water from the Ganga and Yamuna.

“After the preliminary bathing, abhiseka should be performed with streams of white milk, pancamrta, fragrant flowers, and then abundant water from the Yamuna. With a magnanimous heart and for the pleasure of Govardhana Hill, the performer should offer many splendid garments made from the best silks, opulent food­stuffs cooked in ghee, a golden throne decorated with ornaments and flowers, many types of flower garlands, other ornaments like shoes, crown, and walking stick, and finally, many lamps glowing as brilliant as the sun.

“Gathering his family members and his livestock, that fortunate devotee should happily circumambulate the best of mountains, singing the holy names of the Lord and recalling the glories of Govardhana Hill. At the place where he began his worship, he should humbly offer dandavat prandmas and, with folded hands, recite the following mantra:

namo vrndavanankdya

tubhyam goloka-mauline purna-brahmatapatraya

namo govardhanaya ca

“‘Obeisances unto Govardhana Hill, the parasol of the Supreme Lord, the crown of Goloka and the resting place of eternal Vrndavana forest.’

“The devotee should then take up mrdanga, karatalas, and other instruments, and while singing a very sweet kirtana, he should offer a handful of flowers to Giriraja. He must then conclude the ceremony by offering arati with gold paraphernalia and, chanting the mantra beginning with ‘vedaham etam purusam mahdntam,’ Giriraja should be showered with a veritable mountain of grains.

“With a peaceful heart, a feast of fifty-six kinds of food decorated with tulasi leaves and containing many cups of Yamuna and Ganga water should be offered to Giriraja, accompanied by sweet songs of Sri Krsna’s Ilia. Worshipping the fire gods,

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brahmanas, cows, and demigods with flower offerings, the devotee should then feed all manner of living entities, from the most exalted brahmanas to the candalas. Then, dancing with the gopas and gopis in the midst of one’s cows, he should unhesitatingly chant, ‘Jaya! Jay a!’ and complete the worship of Govardhana Hill with great happiness.”

When the gopis heard the process of Govardhana’s worship, they were overcome with happiness and, with an overwhelming desire to receive his grace, they wanted to perform puja immedi­ately. Being unable to leave each other’s company and committed to the katha of Sri Krsna, they were unable to move from their places and just stood silent, like mystic yogis. To resolve their dilemma, the gopis considered the procedure recounted by Tulasi and, within their minds, followed the entire ritual to perfection.

Having completed the worship of Govardhana Hill, Radhika smiled at Tulasi and said, “Sakhi, what is the process for the worship of Giriraja if one is in a distant land, not residing in Vrndavana-dhama? There are many great Vaisnavas who, by the arrangement of providence, are far away, and it may be even more so in the future. What should they do?”

Smiling and doing a small curtsy, Tulasi replied, “Devotees should make a model of Govardhana Hill from cow dung and decorate it with many flowers, blades of grass, and a network of vines. Then, as described earlier and according to their prosperity, they should perform the abhiseka, circumambulation, offering of foodstuffs, and further worship of Giriraja. If a devotee is so fortunate as to serve a stone from Govardhana Hill, he attains the result of bathing in all the holy rivers of the seven worlds. Year after year, if one diligently and elaborately worships the king of all mountains and best of Lord Hari’s servants, he will attain all happiness in this life and liberation in the next.”

With that, Tulasi bowed to the gopis and, with her bashful eyes, offered pranamas to all present. She then moved into the shadow of Rupa Manjari, who was beaming at the eloquence of her dear sakhi. Great curiosity arose among the gopis regarding the further glories of Govardhana Hill. Like a drove of swans in a pure lake of nectar, they began to speak among themselves.

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Visakha-devi said, “The vraja-vasis performed the worship of Giriraja as ordered by Sri Krsna. King Indra, infuriated by their impudence, unleashed the Samvartaka clouds, which caused devastation not only to Vraja but echoed throughout the universe, causing the elephants that support the ten directions to tremble. In response to His aggrieved kinsmen, Sri Krsna effortlessly lifted Govardhana Hill and encouraged them to go under it. In this way, He steadily held Giriraja for seven days while the stunned gopas gazed at His beautiful lotus face.”

Posing a question well-articulated by her artistic facial expres­sions, Visakha-devi asked, “At the end of the seventh day, some gopis near the edge of the Govardhana parasol saw a furious Indra, mounted on his Airavata elephant, accompanied by his armies in full battle regalia, arrive and then quickly leave. Does someone know the significance of that incident?”

Lalita-devi said with a smile, “Seeing the wind, rain, and light­ning fail in their mission of punishing the vraja-vasis, Indra came in person to the circle of Vraja with the purpose of destroying Nanda’s village. From afar the King of Heaven raised his thunder­bolt and prepared to unleash his greatest weapon.

“Ignorant of the infallibility of Sri Krsna’s protection. King Indra, like other conditioned souls, was proud of his strength and personal opulence. By material calculation he estimated his strength to be superior to earthly humans and thought himself unconquerable. Suddenly, both his arms and the thunderbolt in his hand became paralyzed, and he was unable to move the width of a hair. Although he attempted to surpass the invisible force that had immobilized him, his public efforts remained insignificant and he remained struggling, suspended in the sky like a toy. Terrified, embarrassed, and helpless, the heavenly King turned his back on Vraja and fled with the demigods and Samvartaka clouds like an elephant wounded by a lion.”

At this all the gopis clapped and embraced each other. They relived the great relief that had followed the storm’s conclusion, when the sun suddenly rose, the sky became clear, the ground dried up, and the animals became cheerful.

Enchanting her friends with her soft smile, Citra-devi said,

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“When all the gopas, gopis, and cows left the shelter of Govardhana Hill, many of Sri Krsna’s personal friends remained underneath. As I was leaving I heard their raised voices and could understand there was a disagreement among the boys. Does someone know the nature of that exchange?”

Campakalata, a golden lotus in her hand, answered, “SakhT, after almost everyone left Govardhana’s shelter, Sri Krsna’s chums remained under the hill, supporting it with their sticks as they had done for the previous seven days. When Giridhari said, ‘Go out so I can replace the mountain!’ they replied, ‘No, no, no. We have been holding it, so first You go and then we will put it down.’

“The cowherd boys believed they had held Govardhana Hill and feared for Gopala’s safety if they were to lower their sticks and let go. In this way, they argued back and forth until Sri Krsna shifted a portion of the mountain’s weight to the talkative boys. Feeling the immense weight of Giriraja, the gopas immediately fell to the ground, devastated.”

;  Hearing this fun, the gopis giggled happily, as Campakalata concluded her story. “With a mischievous grin, Govinda raised His friends with one hand and with the other He playfully replaced the hill as it was before. After the completion of this heroic deed some cowherd boys reprimanded Hari for not giving ample warning and others made futile efforts to raise Govardhana again.”

The gopis looked overhead and raised their palms as if holding the burden of the hill, while Indulekha inquired, “After replacing the hill, Sri Krsna walked counterclockwise to see the damage done by the rains. According to His talkative friends, the demigods, headed by King Indra, performed His coronation ceremony. Is this really true?”

In answer, Sri Rupa said, “King Indra met Sri Krsna in a secluded place and, flushing with embarrassment, bowed low before Him, offering many prayers as if He were Lord Narayana.” Hearing such an account, the gopis exchanged incredulous glances. “Then Surabhi bathed Hari with great streams of milk, the four-tusked Airavata showered Him with Ganges water, the devas, Kinnaras, Gandharvas, and rsfs offered prayers, and the Apsaras and the heavenly society girls showered Him with flowers.”

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Wanting to know more, charming Indulekha inquired, “Rupa, is there any evidence of these events on Govardhana Hill? If there was an abhiseka, elaborate pujd, and much ado/we should be able to see the remnants of such activities now.”

“It is as you say, devi,” replied her younger friend. “When noble-hearted Govardhana Hill witnessed Sri Krsna’s bathing ceremony, he became so overwhelmed with joy that he melted, and his stones flowed in all directions like slush. Being very pleased with Govardhana’s devotion, Sri Krsna left the mark of His lotus hand on the melting hill. 0 sakhis, even today you may see His handprint, footprint, and the hoofprints of the Surabhi. They are certainly a great holy place and the destroyer of innumerable sins.”

Lavanga-devi, who is the intimate servant of Tungavidya and very much favored by Sri Radha, added, “The streams of milk which flowed from mother Surabhi like a shower of maternal affec­tion formed the lake we now know as Govinda-kunda, the purifier of all souls. Those with pure devotion to Sri Krsna taste that water like ambrosial milk delivering the shelter of His lotus feet.”

Enlivened by ecstasy, Lavanga-devi, who had a special affinity for the places of Sri Krsna’s pastimes, said, “Although one may count the stars in the sky, the grains of sand on the beach, and the atoms within the universe, the glories of Govardhana Hill, like those of the son of Nanda, are inestimable.” Sri Radha was very pleased to see the non-envious attitude of Her maidservant and, desiring to hear about the wonders of Giriraja, She smiled at Lavanga and said, “Priye, you are very knowledgeable on topics concerned with Sri Krsna’s lila-sthana. Please satisfy the craving of My ears and make My empty heart happy once again.”

With tears in her eyes Lavanga said, “I am only an insignificant girl with no qualification but Your mercy. Your desire that I speak is my only source of knowledge. Whatever I.say will simply be the words imparted from Your all-knowing lotus heart. Devi, please bless me!”

Turning slightly towards the direction of Giriraja and speaking as if he were just nearby, Lavanga Maiijari said, “There are many stones on Govardhana Hill bearing the insignia of Sri Krsna, and even more numerable are the areas of His charming pastimes.

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“When the crown of Vraja’s Prince fell from His head, it left its imprint on a stone. Whoever takes the darsana of that stone will be ensured of being crowned the king of cowherd boys. Desiring to commemorate His own govardhana-lila, Sri Krsna drew wonderful pictures on a sacred stone named ‘the picture stone/ citra-sila. When Krsna wanted the gopas to dance. He kept beat on a stone now known as ‘the musical stone,’ vadani-sila. This rock is the destroyer of the greatest sins and bestows knowledge of all musical sciences.

“While their cows grazed on the slopes of Govardhana Hill, Krsna would play ball games with His friends in a place known as ‘the ball game field,’ kanuka-ksetra.

“After eating many tasty preparations sent by their mothers, the boys lay down for a nap. While they slept, the prankster Gopala stole their turbans and hid them in a secluded place known as asnisa-tlrtha.

“At another place, known as laukika-tirtha, decorated with large stones, deep caves, high trees, and flowering groves, the boys played hide and seek, making the valley of Govardhana resound with their play.”

The nectar emanating from Lavanga’s mouth showered the hearts of the gopis and sprinkled the thirsty creeper of Sri Krsna’s remembrance. Although this vine grew within their beings, its external fruits appeared in the form of tears in their eyes, stiffness of their hairs, and shivering of their limbs.

“Tulasi has elaborately spoken of Dani-Krsna’s toll at Dana-ghati. This is one of the many places where, taking shelter of His aristocratic lineage. He levied a tax on even the Princess of Varsana.

“For example, the gopis’ tinkling ankle bells once acted as His informants and notified Him of their proximity while delivering fresh yogurt to the market. Leaping from among a clump of tamala trees, dressed like a pastoral Kamadeva, holding a stick in His hand, and accompanied by many rowdy friends, Sri Krsna confronted the gopis and ordered, ‘You must pay Me a customs duty! By the authority invested in Me by King Nanda, I prevail as the guardian of this forest and the authority in this area.'”

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The gopis recalled their happy escapade and, absorbing them­selves in the narration of Lavanga Manjari, felt they were experi­encing that lila once again. “When Sri Krsna’s sapphire aura blended with the golden effulgence of the gopis, an emerald luster of loving conflict engulfed that area in its spell.

“On behalf of the gopis Lalita-devi argued, ‘Dear Hari, it is highly unlikely that anyone as wise as Nanda Maharaja would trust You as tax collector. Since birth Your reputation for honesty has been conspicuous by its absence. You are known as a butter thief, a thief of the gopis’ clothes, and the thief of everyone’s heart. In addition. You revel in the questionable association of Your flute and chums. Who would ever trust You as a tax collector I do not know. If, however, the venerable king of cowherds gave You the benefit of the doubt, I am certain that Your levy would be unfair and Your collections hardly reconcilable.’

“Sri Krsna appeared extremely shocked at such strong allega­tions. Before He could reply Lalita said, ‘You are simply greedy for our yogurt and have devised a means to free us of our property. Should You continue to block our path, we will see to it that You and Your cohorts are locked up in King Kamsa’s prison.’

“Having regained His composure, Sri Krsna tightened His belt, glanced toward His friends, and took a deep breath, saying, ‘Kamsa! King Kamsa! Who is that ferocious mouse surrounded by his equally insignificant advisors and friends? I will kill that rascal and annihilate his parliament. Today as I stand before you, I, whose words never go in vain, take this sacred vow—Kamsa will die!’ With that, Govinda looked to the sun as His witness and briefly folded His hands.

“In an instant and without further ado, Krsna, Balarama, and the gopas assaulted the numerically inferior gopis and, forcibly taking their pots of yogurt, retreated to a nearby place, where they greedily enjoyed their booty.

“Although the gopis appeared furious, internally they were very happy. They had churned the yogurt for that very purpose, and their greatest pleasure was to feed Govinda. An angry Lalita said, ‘0 great hero. You are very bold, fearless, and talkative in the secluded forest, where Your combat is with helpless cowherd girls.

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We wonder what prowess You can show in the city of Mathura, surrounded by armed soldiers and the King’s military might/ Turning on their heels, the gopis said, ‘We shall immediately tell Nanda Maharaja and Yasoda Ma of Your outrageous behavior. Let us see how well You stand up to a good spanking by Your truly noble father.’

“Sri Krsna ignored the gopis’ remarks but continued to follow their every movement from the corner of His lotus eyes. He distrib­uted the yogurt to His friends, who made cups from nipa and palasa leaves and greedily ate their entire takings. That very sacred place where the leaves of the trees became cups is known as Drona-tirtha. By giving yogurt in charity, drinking yogurt from a leaf cup, and bowing down with great respect, one will never fall from Goloka. Such is the power of that place.”

 

Then Lavanga Manjari stopped speaking. As many tears of happiness flowed down her chest and streaked its reddish kunkuma, she tried to cover her feelings by covering her golden face with her veil. The gopis looked at her like thirsty cakora birds, waiting to drink the moonlight of her words. In that silence, Sri Radhika stepped forward to comfort Lavanga, but the touch of Her love-filled form only heightened Her maidservant’s bliss and increased the flow of her tears.

As Her sakhi composed herself, Sri Radha smiled at Tungavidya-devi and said, “Sakhi, now you please describe to us the origin of this great King of Mountains! Describe his appearance in Vraja and explain those mahima by which our hearts will know satisfaction and by which we shall learn the secrets of pleasing Hari.”

In Radhika’s well-appointed chamber the senior gopis took seats on bejeweled chairs, while their assistants, like Rupa, Rati, and Lavanga, sat on nice carpets. Tungavidya-devi, who was the embodiment of Sri Radha’s learning, folded her handstand said,

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“Radhike, in our happy years of friendship I have never seen Your heart satiated by hearing of, or associating with, Sri Krsna or His devotees. As for the secrets of pleasing Hari, what You do not know in this connection is without existence or is veritably displeasing to His heart. Still, because You have asked, I will speak what I have heard regarding Govardhana Hill from the mouths of learned authorities.

“The great Garga Rsi has narrated the meeting between Narada Muni and the pious King Bahulasva. In that discussion, the topic of Govardhana Hill was thoroughly discussed in a most authori­tative and flawless manner. It is well known that the words of Devarsi Narada are as infallible as the Vedas. Thus, without questioning his statements, we should simply embrace them and reap eternal benefit.

“The pastime of the rasa dance eternally takes place in Goloka, where Sri Krsna and our Radhika are the central locket of the sapphire-decorated golden chain of gopi-Krsna., gopi-Krsr)a, gopt-Krsna. There, in a splendid rasa arena decorated with many jew­eled ornaments, strings of pearls, precious stones, and charming awnings, danced many beautiful gopis to the accompaniment of the flute, mrdangas, and their own singing. The intoxicating atmosphere caused the birds to sing, the honey to ooze, the flowers to bloom, and the trees to move. The patter of feet, the tinkling of ankle bells, the clapping of hands, and the ringing of ornaments entwined with the moonlight to perfume the forest and exhilarate its residents.

“At that time Radhika cast a sidelong glance at Sri Krsna, and speaking in the sweetest way she said, ‘My dearly beloved, if You are pleased with My love. My gopi friends, their love for You, this dance of love, and the abode of love, Vrndavana, then there is a desire in My heart that only You can fulfill.

“Sri Krsna, who is favorably disposed to His devotees and fully under Radhika’s control, said, ‘0 beautiful Radha, without reser­vation ask for whatever Your heart desires! My only pleasure in life is to fulfill Your every wish. Now please tell Me, how may I satisfy You?’

“Radiant as molten gold, Sri Radha said, In splendid

Vrndavana forest, in a most secluded place by the Yamuna’s shore, please create an unprecedented place of pleasure pastimes, not comparable to anything in Vraja but itself.’

“Mystified by Her wonderful request, Sri Krsna said, ‘So be it!’ Closing His lotus eyes and looking deep within His fathomless heart, Sri Krsna searched for the essence of His own bhava, which is the source of happiness for all living entities, including Himself. As the gopis stood by and watched, Sri Krsna’s love manifest from His heart, appearing as a magical seed of bliss, made from fire and water. Falling to the ground of the rasa circle, that sprout of love began to grow to the size of a rock, then a hill, and finally a great mountain.

“It was filled with effulgent caves, swiftly-moving streams, kadamba, bakula, and asoka trees, flowering vines, parrots, pea­cocks, and humming bees, and many varieties of deer and forest creatures. The mountain and its many creatures were fashioned of love, they possessed love within their hearts, and they tasted the nectar of love within their beings.

“Gazing at the best of mountains with lotus eyes, Sri Krsna’s beloved was very pleased. Taking Her friends and Her beloved, they explored the many secluded places on Govardhana Hill, tasting the various fruits of love growing within its every nook and cranny. In this way, Govardhana Hill, which is very dear to Sri Krsna, which is dark as a monsoon cloud, and which contains all the holy places, was manifest in Goloka.”

As if in answer to a question, Tungavidya said, “Goloka, Govardhana, Vrndavana, and the River Yamuna are eternally manifest! But for the pleasure of Sri Krsna’s pastimes, wherein He enjoys unlimited variety and eternal newness, they manifest an appearance of entering into the realm of the eternal present.”

Some gopis looked on, their delicate mouths slightly open, their beautiful bimba fruit lips expressing bewilderment. Although they are the source of unlimited transcendental knowledge, by the influence of their love for Sri Krsna, the gopis become mugdhatta and live in the realm of a temporal reality.

Encouraged by her captivated audience, Tungavidya-devi, the

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source of countless goddesses of learning, described how Govar­dhana Hill appeared within this world.

The master of Goloka promised Brahma He would appear in this world and He had also assured Radhika that She would accompany Him, along with a complete portion of the spiritual world. To fulfill His order, Govardhana Hill took birth west of Bharata-varsa in the middle of Salmali-dvipa as the divine son of Mount Drona. At the time of his birth the demigods showered flowers, played musical instruments, and sang many songs in his glorification. The mountains, headed by the Himalayas, bowed down, circumambulated him, offered worship, and then glorified him with many wonderful prayers.

One day while traveling to holy places of pilgrimage, the sage Pulastya saw Mount Drona’s son decorated with all natural opu­lence, endowed with purity, goodness, and peace, and appearing as the perfect place for austerities. Approaching Drona, Pulastya said, “0 Drona, King of Mountains, I come to you with a request. I live in Kasi, the home of Lord Visvesvara and the place of mother Ganges. Where there is no mountain, there I desire to place your son. Performing austerities upon him, I shall quickly achieve perfection. Please give me your son and make me happy.”

Although Drona was very attached to Govardhana he feared the curse of the sage and, speaking in a solitary place, encouraged his son to travel to Bharata-varsa, where liberation is quickly attained. With tears in his eyes, unhappy at the prospect of leaving, Govardhana mounted the sage’s hand on the condition that he would stay where Pulastya first put him down.

The powerful sage carried Govardhana in his right hand, passing over land, mountains, and oceans, eventually reaching Bharata-varsa and the land of Vrndavana. Govardhana immedi­ately recognized his eternal residence and the home of Sri Krsna. Not willing to go further, he made himself very heavy and, bewildering the mind of the sage, caused him to rest for some time. Pulastya Muni thus placed Govardhana near the bank of the Yamuna River and attended to the call of nature.

After bathing in the water, cleansing his body, and refreshing

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himself, the sage was unable to raise the mountain again. Try as he might, he could not budge Govardhana by the space of a finger. Angry and indignant, Sri Pulastya said, “Come! Come! 0 great mountain, why do you make yourself so heavy and hesitate to continue our journey?”

Govardhana said peacefully, “0 sage, there is no fault on my part. I have promised to stay where you first put me down. Now I will never move from this place, and hence, you will not see me adorn the bank of the Ganga at Kasi.”

Abandoning his attempt to move Govardhana, seething with anger, his lips trembling and his brows heavily lined, the sage cursed the best of mountains, saying, “0 arrogant mountain! You dare foil my desire! By the measure of a mustard seed your size will decrease until you are no more!”

Since that time, Govardhana Hill, who was at first eight yojanas long, five yojanas wide, and two yojanas tall, began to shrink daily by the size of a mustard seed. Tungavidya-devi concluded with great emphasis, “While mount Govardhana is present in this world, the effect of Kali will be curtailed. After his topmost peak has sunk away and a vast plain remains in its place, the master of Kali-yuga will assert his complete reign over this world.”

Hearing such a fearful prophecy, the gopis held each other’s hands and chanted, “Visnu! Visnu!” in unison. Desiring to clear this last scene of despondency, Lalita-devi quickly asked, “Sakhi, tell us of the glories of Govardhana Hill, who has come to Vraja for the service of its whimsical Prince and has become the worshipable Deity of its fortunate inhabitants.”

Sri Radhika agreed, saying, “Yesi Yes! Let us hear some more.”

Tungavidya said, “There is one very ancient history told by learned sages, upon hearing which all sins are destroyed and one’s doubts cease.” At this, a pleasant breeze blew through the window and carried with it the scent of flowers blessed by Sri Krsna’s fragrance. This invoked a pleasant mood among the gopis, who thought they were in a valley of Govardhana and not distant  “*k from their beloved.

“One day a certain brahmana named Vijaya went to Mathura City to repay his ancestral debt. After the performance of his

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religious duties, he went to Govardhana Hill and visited its many forests, lakes, groves, and pasturing fields. By the hand of fate, he happened to take one stone from the mountain and, traveling from one forest to another, finally left the circle of Vraja.”

Raising her hands for emphasis, Tungavidya-devi said, “At that moment he saw a horrible Raksasa monster wishing to eat him. The monster had three heads, six arms, six legs, a huge nose, and a fierce tongue that moved to and fro.” At this description, the gopis let out stifled cries of fear. “The hairs of his body were like a tangle of thorns, his eyes were red, and he had large curved fangs.

“With nothing but the Govardhana sila in his possession, the brahmana struck the monster, who immediately fell dead and gave up his hideous body. From the dead form of the beast rose a hand­some young man with lotus-petal eyes, a garland of forest flowers, and a crown and earrings. Standing with folded hands, he bowed before the brahmana and said, ‘0 best of brahmanas, you have rescued me from a monster’s life by the touch of this stone and have delivered me. I am eternally in your debt.’

“The brahmana became very perplexed and replied, ‘I have no power to deliver you. By the touch of this stone such wonderful things have occurred, but I do not know how it is so. Dear Sir, if you know the mystery behind all this, then please reveal it to me.’

“Smiling, that effulgent youth spoke to the brahmana. ‘Govar­dhana Hill is the king of mountains and the personal form of Sri Krsna. Simply by seeing it, a person attains the supreme goal of life. 0 brahmana, I will explain to you the glories of the King of Moun­tains; please listen!’

” The result attained by five thousand years of austerities in the abode of Lord Siva is attained in a single moment on Govardhana Hill. Simply by visiting Govardhana Hill one attains piety a hundred thousand times greater than by the worship of brahmanas Or giving in charity ten million cows with golden horns.’

” The result of performing ten million yajnas is attained by once bathing in one of the many kundas on Govardhana Hill. By going on pilgrimage to Govardhana Hill, one attains piety ten million times greater than that attained by visiting any other holy place or tirtha.

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“‘If one gives charity, performs austerities, bathes in sacred rivers, chants sacred mantras, worships brahmanas, and adores the Supreme Lord at all the places of pilgrimage, like Kuruksetra, Naimisa, Mayapuri, Prayaga, Ayodhya, or Puskara (among many others), one attains great spiritual merit. But by visiting Govar­dhana Hill, one attains spiritual benefit ten million times greater than all those pious deeds together. One who, thinking of Lord Krsna, bathes in Govinda-kunda attains a transcendental form like Lord Krsna’s; of this there is no doubt.’

“The youth then said, ‘0 brahmana, I am the living proof of my words. Simply by touching a Govardhana sila, I attained a transcendental form beyond the influence of the modes of nature.'”

As Tungavidya spoke, the gopis sat spellbound, astonished at the wonderful history of Govardhana Hill. “Hearing the words of that liberated soul, the brahmana was struck with wonder and asked another question. ‘0 great soul who knows the glories of Govardhana Hill, who were you in your last life, and what sins did you commit to assume this ghastly form?’

“The liberated soul replied, ‘In my previous birth I was the son of a wealthy vaisya. Under the influence of an affluent life, I became a gambler, rake, drunkard, and a great sinner. My parents rebuked me again and again, until one day I poisoned them and killed my wife with a sword. Taking all their money, I traveled to the south with a prostitute and became a merciless thief, stealing and murdering many innocent pilgrims. One day I threw my prostitute wife into a well and left her to die. By the hand of providence, while hunting in the forest I stepped on a snake and died of his poisonous bite.’

“‘Fearsome Yamadutas bound me and beat me, and I was forced to suffer in many hells for an unlimited period of time. Eventually I took birth in Bharata-varsa as a pig, a tiger, a camel, a buffalo, and a snake, and I was repeatedly killed over and over again.’

“‘After ten thousand births, I was born in the desert as a grotesque monster and, not long ago, in the guise of a sudra I came to visit Vraja, the forest of Vrndavana, and the sacred Yamuna. When some of Lord Krsna’s friends understood my identity, they

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beat me with sticks and drove me out of Vraja. Wandering for many days, hungry and thirsty, I finally met you and planned to take your life. By hitting me with the Govardhana sila you have made me very fortunate, and now my life has achieved perfection.'”

Beautiful Tungavidya-devi stopped for a minute and then completed her story. “As the liberated soul spoke these words, a splendid chariot drawn by beautiful horses, rumbling with the sounds of the Vedas, decorated with bells and ornaments, and driven by the eternal associates of Sri Krsna arrived from Goloka. Both the brahmana and the liberated soul bowed down before the chariot.

“As soon as the liberated soul climbed aboard, he lost all interest in this material world and, taking his seat with Sri Krsna’s associates, returned to His beautiful abode.” At this, the gopis began to clap and do the ulu-dvani that ladies do. “Now, aware of / his true power and glory, the fortunate brahmana returned to’ Govardhana Hill, duly worshipped him, performed his circumam-bulation, and bowed down before him.”

Raising her delicate hand in exclamation, Tungavidya con­cluded, “Sakhis, I have concluded the description of Giriraja’s glories. Whoever hears this narration will never see Yamaraja, even in a dream. Whoever hears the glories of Govardhana Hill, satu­rated with the secrets of Sri Krsna’s ever-new transcendental pastimes, will become as fortunate as King Indra in this life, and as fortunate as King Nanda in the next.”

Completing her wonderful description, her delicate form damp from perspiration, shaking slightly due to excessive bliss and with the flowers in her loosened hair falling, Tungavidya took shelter of her sakhis. The gopis embraced her, stroked her hair, and saw her as the veritable form of Sri Krsna’s passage among their midst.

That vrajasundari-gana discussed the service, birth, and glories of Govardhana Hill for a long, long time! As a result, they became very hopeful of becoming the recipients of Sri Krsna’s mercy. After all, such a great devotee as Giriraja, who constantly associated with Sri Krsna, who possessed insuperable spiritual power, who had immeasurable love for His lotus feet, and who magnanimously

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bestowed favor upon sadhakas—would he not give the qualifica­tion by which the gopis would receive His shelter one day? Surely he must!

As the source of his good fortune and as his venerable deities, Govardhana Hill constantly worshipped the gopis within his heart. By the influence of the internal potency, Sri Radhika and Her sakhis worshipped Giriraja with the conviction that his grace will enable them to gain Sri Krsna’s association. This is the transcen­dental competition of the Lord’s devotees.

The gopis thought they had never met Sri Krsna before, and if they had, it was only very briefly. They hoped their long-cherished desire would be fulfilled, although in reality they are never separated from Him nor He from them.

 

When Syamala visited Sri Radha in the morning, it was to bathe in the shower of Her love for Sri Krsna. Their pleasant talks exhibited the insatiable thirst of the gopis for Sri Krsna’s associa­tion, although they may have just been its fortunate recipients.

Radha: Syame! Just as I was thinking of you, by the arrangement of fate you have come here. If this is an omen that the tree of My desires will now bear fruit, I will consider it a good morning. 0 sundarP. Although the tree of My desires (to gain Sri Krsna’s association) is constantly sprinkled by My sakhis, still it does not bear fruit. Sakhi! When, oh when will I ever see these fruits that I so much long for?

Syamala: 0 Radhe\ Do not worry; the tree of Your desires will certainly bear its fruit. But in my opinion. You are languishing under the amazing nature of these fruits, which, though tasted again and again, give the impression that they have never been tasted before.

Radha: 0 Syame1. You do not understand My heartache, and therefore you take My words lightly. Try to understand! Although

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lightning illuminates a cloudy night, when it disappears/the darkness is twice as dense as before. Similarly, after having seen Sri Krsna just once. His disappearance doubles the misery of His absence and makes it seem as if I had never seen Him before.

Syamala: Radhe! The black moon known as Kalanidhi bestows a drop of its moonlight on Your insatiable cakora bird eyes, but You remain unsatisfied. I have come to hear of those pastimes with Your beloved. Please do not withhold anything from me.

Radha: Syamale! When a stream of fresh bluish luster began to shower Me last night. He took Me on the dancing stage of innumer­able Cupids who were also dancing there (filling Me with great feelings of ecstasy). When I was pleased by seeing such dancing, I gave all My sense activities to them as an audience, and I can no longer remember what wonderful performances began on that stage.

Syamala: Radhe! As the stage manager of that black moon of ecstatic pastimes of ecstasy who astonishes millions of dancing Cupids by His own dancing, how can You have become merely the audience?

Radha: Syame! What you say is true. I experience the many things which you describe but then, when separated from Him, it is as if awakening from a dream, some magical illusion wherein I forget everything and simply hanker as one bereft of any rasa.

Syamala: Radhe! You are truly amazing! Like one who has drunk unlimited nectarean honey. You have lost judgment of what is sweet, and therefore this error of Your mind is not at all surprising.

Radha: Sakhi! Although I took birth in Gokula, I could never relish Sri Krsna’s sweetness, and even when I hear about it. My restless mind cannot keep even a drop of it.

In this way, although meeting Sri Krsna eternally, the gopis became forgetful of their association and simply hankered with ever-increasing intensity for that which they always possessed, the heart of Vraja’s Prince. Looking for any means to acquire Sri Krsna’s sanga, the gopis took solace in the greatness of Govardhana Hill and saw him as the secure shelter to achieve their long-desired aspirations.

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This mood is nicely portrayed in a prayer by Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Sri Radika’s Tulasi: “0 Govardhana! You are the unique source of happiness for all men, women, birds, animals, and other creatures of Vraja, because you are absorbed in the mood of friend­ship towards Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, who are surrounded by all Their sakhis. 0 Govardhana! Your nature is filled with infinite compassion; therefore, please accept me, though I am so wretched and miserable, and showing your causeless mercy, let me settle close by you and become worthy of Sri Krsna’s love.”

 

This concludes the fourteenth chapter of The Song of the Flute, by a very insignificant disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, which is the overflowing remnants of the previous chapter, describing an atomic fraction of the glories of the King of Mountains, the best of all devotees, which is the place of Sri Krsna’s innumerable transcendental pastimes, like boating on Manasi-Ganga, extracting taxes at Ddna-ghati, worshipping Govardhana Hill at Aniyora, accepting the worship of the devas at Govinda-kunda, and rasa dancing at Candra-sarovara, and is celebrated as the majestic crown of Vraja, which is decorated by the radiant gems of Govinda’s lila-sthanas, like Nipa-kunda, Apsara-kunda, Syama-dhak, Mani-kundala, Kadamba-vana, Vilasavana, Cakra-tirtha, Uddhava-kunda, Siva-khari, Radha-kunda, Syama-kunda, Kusuma-sarovara, Syamavana, Citra-sila, Vadani-sila, Kanuka-ksetra, Laukika-tirtha, Drona-tirtha (to name but a few) and, at the behest of Sri Radhika, has descended from the spiritual world to as­sist in Sri Hari’s pastimes and, although cursed to diminish by the mea­surement of a mustard seed a day, will, while visible, continue to hold at bay the terrible influence of Kali and offer residence to the qualified followers of Rupa-Raghunatha, in the divine shadow of his love-laden peaks.

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