Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !
By giving charity, performing austerities, bathing in sacred rivers, chanting sacred mantras, or worshiping the Brahmanas and the Supreme Personality of Godhead at the Godavari, Mount Simla, Mayapuri, Kumbhaga, Pushkara, Pushya-nakshatra, Kurukshetra, Ravi-graha, Candra-graha, Kashi, Phalguna, Naimisharanya, Ekadashi, Shukara, Kartiki, Ganamuktida, Janmashtami, Madhupuri, Khandava, Dvadasi, Kartiki, Purnima, Vateshvara-maha-vata, Makararka, Prayaga, Barhishmati, Vaidhati, Ayodhya-sarayu-tira, Sri Rama-navami-dina, Shiva-caturdasi, Baijanatha- subha-vana, Darsa, Soma-vara, Ganga-sagara-sangama, Dasami, Setubandha, Sri Rangam, or Saptami-dina, one attains great pious result. O best of Brahmanas, by visiting Govardhan Hill once, one attains a pious result ten million times greater than all those pious deeds together.
Giriraj's appearance in Vraja
Following an inquiry by Nanda Maharaj to his brother Upananda about the appearance of Giriraj Govardhan in Vrindavan, Upananda related the story as told by Pitamaha Bhishma (citing the Garga Samhita) to Maharaj Pandu, the father of the Pandavas, who had also asked the same question.
Once in Goloka Vrindavan, Lord Sri Krishna informed Srimati Radharani that She should prepare for Their descent to this our material universe to appear on the Earth planet (Jambu dwip) to enact Their transcendental pastimes.
Srimati Radharani replied that unless Vraja Dhama, the Yamuna and Govardhan Hill were present there, She would like not come. Krishna assured His Beloved that Vraja Dhama, the Yamuna and Giriraj Govardhan had already made Their appearance on the Earth planet, and were awaiting Srimati's and Krishna's coming.
In ancient times, thousands of years before this conversation between Radha and Krishna, the Vedas say that mountains were living entities who would move, grow and fly and land anywhere they liked.
Once in the land of Salmali Dvipa, Dronachal's (the personified mountain) wife gave birth to a son named Govardhan. At the time of Govardhan's birth all the demigods appeared in the sky and showered flowers upon him. The great mountains, led by the Himalayas and Sumeru came, offering their respects and prayers, praising Govardhan for having descended from Goloka Vrindavana. They accepted Govardhan as their King, described Him as the "crown jewel of Vraja," and performed parikrama of Govardhan.
At the beginning of Satya Yuga, the great sage Pulastya Muni came to Salmali dvipa. Seeing the beautiful Govardhan covered with many lovely creepers, flowers, rivers, caves and chirping birds, Pulastya Muni felt that Govardhan was capable of granting liberation. He then went to meet Dronachal, who immediately offered his respects and inquired from the sage what service he could render.
Pulastya Muni informed Dronachal that he was on pilgrimage to all the holy places, and that he resided in Kashi. He explained that although Kashi was so auspicious due to the presence of the Ganga flowing through the city, there were no hills possessed of such beauty as Govardhan. He asked Dronachal if he would give his son Govardhan to him so that he could bring Govardhan to Kashi, so that he could perform his tapasya in the pristine environment of the hill.
Dronachal did not want to give up Govardhan and began crying in thoughts of possible separation from his son. Govardhan, not wanting to see Pulastya Muni become angry and curse his father, asked the rishi how he would be able to carry him all the way to Kashi. Pulastya Muni said he would carry him in his right hand. Govardhan agreed to go with the sage giving one condition; if the sage put him down anywhere during the course of the journey, he would not be able to lift him again. Pulastya Muni agreed, and left, carrying Govardhan in his right hand.
On the way to Kasi Pulastya Muni passed through Vraja. Govardhan saw the beauty of the place and wished to remain there. Govardhan then arranged for Pulastya Muni to feel the need to relieve himself, so Pulastya Muni attended to the call of nature, putting Govardhan down. When Pulastya Muni returned, he was unable to again lift Govardhan to any degree, despite the tremendous strength he was using to do so.
In great anger Pulastya Muni then cursed Govardhan that He would daily sink into the ground, to the extent of one mustard seed a day. When Govardhan first came to Vraja in the beginning of Satya Yuga, he was 64 miles long, 40 miles wide, and 16 miles high. It is explained that after 10,000 years of the Kali Yuga, Govardhan (and Yamuna Devi) will completely disappear.
After narrating the wonderful story of Govardhan's appearance, (another brother of Nanda Maharaj), Sunanda informed Nanda Maharaja that as long as Govardhan Hill and the river Yamuna remained manifest, Kali Yuga would not take its full effect. Sunanda Prabhu also explained that anyone who is fortunate enough to hear the description of the appearance of Giriraj Govardhan would be freed from all sins.
There is also another legend which relates that during Treta Yug when Lord Rama appeared, Mount Govardhan prayed to Hanuman Maharaj to utilize his stones and boulders in building the bridge to Lanka as he wanted to serve the Lord. When Sri Rama heard his prayer, just at that time, the bridge was completed. Sri Rama then promised Govardhan that in the age of Dwapara when He would appear as Krishna in Vraja, He would daily play and perform pastimes in and around Govardhan and also lift him on His hands for 7 days and 7 nights.
During Krishna’s praktya lila, He alongwith his cowherd friends, would spent their entire day around Giriraj Govardhan. While the cows would happily graze on the fresh tender grass, Krishna and his friends would frolic in the shaded groves and caves of the hill and dive into the cool sarovars and kunds which surround Govardhan.
As the best of servitors, Govardhan Hill provides Krishna and Balarama and the inhabitants of Vrindavan with all the necessities of life. Cool pure drinking water from its many waterfalls, pure honey, succulent fruits, wonderful varieties of herbs, roots, fruits, creepers and fresh flowers. Govardhan also provides various minerals and precious gems that the cowherd boys use to decorate Krishna and Balarama and themselves as well.
Govardhan is also fortunate to provide well-hidden caves and natural stone sitting places for the divine couple where they perform their sweet, loving pastimes. In this way, Giriraj Maharaj is the most confidential servitor of Sri Radha Krishna, being a witness of their intimate pastimes.
Govardhan Giriraj is non-different from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna Himself. When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Vraja in the year 1515, He refused to step on Govardhan Hill because He regarded Govardhan as the body of Lord Krishna. At the time of the Annakuta ceremony, Krishna declared that He and Govardhan Hill are one and the same. Because Govardhan Hill is non-different from Krishna Himself, the rocks from Govardhan are worshipable just like a Deity of Krishna.
In fact, the stones known as Govardhan-sila do not need to be installed as they are already considered to be worshipful Deities. Many great devotees have worshiped the silas from Govardhan such as Sanatana Gosvami Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself.
Govardhan Hill is envisioned to be in the shape of a peacock resting with its head tucked into its side. Its face is considered to be Kusuma-sarovara, its neck Manasi-ganga, its mouth Mukharavinda, its two eyes Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda, the beginning of its tail Balarama Sthali and the end Punchari-kunda.
In the holy month of Kartik, thousands of devotees perform the parikrama of Giriraj Maharaj revelling in the joyful, transcendental atmosphere of Govardhan. They walk barefoot the 23 km path around Govardhan, or perform dandavat parikrama, which may take weeks, chanting the Lord’s name and glorifying Giriraj Maharaj praying for pure loving devotion unto the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha Giridhari.
Jai Jai Sri Radhey !!