The Twenty-fourth Chapter contains thirty-eight verses, describing how Kṛṣṇa defied King Indra, despite Indra's position of prestige, by stopping the indra-yajña and instead worshiping Govardhana. The Twenty-fifth Chapter contains thirty-three verses. As described in this chapter, because the indra-yajña was stopped, King Indra was very angry, and to kill the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, Vraja, he flooded the entire area with rain. Kṛṣṇa, however, accepted King Indra's challenge by lifting Govardhana Hill as an umbrella to protect Vṛndāvana and all the cows.
Govardhana Hill (Books)
- 1 Bhagavad-gita As It Is
- 2 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 3 Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
- 4 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Chapters 1 - 6
Following and imitating are not on the same level. We cannot imitate the Lord by lifting Govardhana Hill, as the Lord did in His childhood. It is impossible for any human being. We have to follow His instructions, but we may not imitate Him at any time.
There are many pseudo devotees of Lord Śiva who want to indulge in smoking gañjā (marijuana) and similar intoxicating drugs, forgetting that by so imitating the acts of Lord Śiva they are calling death very near. Similarly, there are some pseudo devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa who prefer to imitate the Lord in His rāsa-līlā, or dance of love, forgetting their inability to lift Govardhana Hill. It is best, therefore, that one not try to imitate the powerful, but simply follow their instructions; nor should one try to occupy their posts without qualification. There are so many "incarnations" of God without the power of the Supreme Godhead
BG Chapters 7 - 12
When Kṛṣṇa was present on earth, no one could surpass Him in strength. Even in His childhood He lifted Govardhana Hill. No one can surpass Him in cheating, no one can surpass Him in splendor, no one can surpass Him in victory, no one can surpass Him in enterprise, and no one can surpass Him in strength.
SB Canto 1
In the Bhāgavatam, the transcendental nature of the Lord is described in nine cantos, and in the Tenth Canto His specific pastimes are taken up. All this becomes known as one's reading of this literature progresses. It is important to note here, however, that the Lord exhibited His divinity even from the lap of His mother, that His deeds are all superhuman (He lifted Govardhana Hill at the age of seven), and that all these acts definitely prove Him to be actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
As we shall find in the Tenth Canto of this great literature, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa exhibited His humanly impossible activities even from the days of His lying on the lap of His mother. He killed the Pūtanā witch, although she smeared her breast with poison just to kill the Lord. The Lord sucked her breast like a natural baby, and He sucked out her very life also. Similarly, He lifted the Govardhana Hill, just as a boy picks up a frog's umbrella, and stood several days continuously just to give protection to the residents of Vṛndāvana.
When He appeared as Kṛṣṇa, from His very childhood He showed superhuman activities by killing Pūtanā, Aghāsura, Śakaṭāsura, Kāliya, etc., and then His maternal uncle Kaṁsa. When He was at Dvārakā He married 16,108 queens, and all of them were blessed with a sufficient number of children. The sum total of His personal family members amounted to about 100,000, popularly known as the Yadu-vaṁśa. And again, during His lifetime, He managed to vanquish them all. He is famous as the Govardhana-dhārī Hari because He lifted at the age of only seven the hill known as Govardhana. The Lord killed many undesirable kings in His time, and as a kṣatriya He fought chivalrously. He is famous as the asamaurdhva, unparalleled. No one is equal to or greater than Him.
SB Canto 2
Our spiritual master, who also took his birth in a Vaiṣṇava family, got all inspirations from his great Vaiṣṇava father, Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda. That is the way of all lucky Vaiṣṇava families. The celebrated Mīrā Bāī was a staunch devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa as the great lifter of Govardhana Hill.
When the cowherd men of Vṛndāvana, under instruction of Kṛṣṇa, stopped offering sacrifice to the heavenly King, Indra, the whole tract of land known as Vraja was threatened with being washed away by constant heavy rains for seven days. Lord Kṛṣṇa, out of His causeless mercy upon the inhabitants of Vraja, held up the hill known as Govardhana with one hand only, although He was only seven years old. He did this to protect the animals from the onslaught of water.
Children play with an umbrella generally known as a frog's umbrella, and Lord Kṛṣṇa, when He was only seven years old, could snatch the great hill known as the Govardhana Parvata at Vṛndāvana and hold it for seven days continuously with one hand, just to protect the animals and the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana from the wrath of Indra, the heavenly King, who had been denied sacrificial offerings by the inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi.
The cheap reciters of the Bhāgavatam are very much enthusiastic about the Lord's internal potential activities, and the pseudodevotees, absorbed in material sense enjoyment, falsely jump to the stage of liberated souls and thus fall down deeply into the clutches of external energy.
Some of them think that to hear about the pastimes of the Lord means to hear about His activities with the gopīs or about His pastimes like lifting the Govardhana Hill, and they have nothing to do with the Lord's plenary expansions as the puruṣāvatāras and Their pastimes of the creation, maintenance or annihilation of the material worlds. But a pure devotee knows that there is no difference between the pastimes of the Lord, either in rāsa-līlā or in creation, maintenance or destruction of the material world.
The Lord has unlimited numbers of transcendental qualities, and one of them is His affection for His unalloye7777d devotee. In the history of the mundane world we can appreciate His transcendental qualities. The Lord incarnates Himself for the protection of His devotees and for the annihilation of the faithless. His activities are in relationship with His devotees. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is full of such activities of the Lord in relationship with His devotees, and the nondevotees have no knowledge of such pastimes. The Lord lifted the Govardhana Hill when He was only seven years old and protected His pure devotees at Vṛndāvana from the wrath of Indra, who was overflooding the place with rain. Now this lifting of the Govardhana Hill by a seven-year-old boy may be unbelievable for the faithless, but for the devotees it is absolutely believable. The devotee believes in the almighty potency of the Lord, while the faithless say that the Lord is almighty but do not believe it. Such men with a poor fund of knowledge do not know that the Lord is the Lord eternally and that one cannot become the Lord by meditation for millions of years or by mental speculation for billions of years.
SB Canto 3
The activities of the Lord are to be accepted and relished by all living entities. His activities are to attract the ordinary man towards the Lord. The Lord always acts in favor of the devotees, and therefore ordinary men who are fruitive actors or seekers of salvation may be attracted to the Lord when He acts as protector of the devotees. The fruitive actors can attain their goals by devotional service, and the salvationists can also attain their goal in life by devotional service to the Lord. The devotees do not want the fruitive results of their work, nor do they want any kind of salvation. They relish the glorious superhuman activities of the Lord, such as His lifting Govardhana Hill and His killing the demon Pūtanā in infancy. His activities are enacted to attract all kinds of men—karmīs, jñānīs and bhaktas. Because He is transcendental to all laws of karma, there is no possibility of His accepting a form of māyā as is forced on the ordinary living entities who are bound by the actions and reactions of their own deeds.
Sometimes, being worshiped and adored by less intelligent living beings, the demigods become puffed up with power and forget the supremacy of the Lord. This happened when Lord Kṛṣṇa was present in the universe, and thus the Lord wanted to give a lesson to the King of heaven, Indra. He therefore asked Mahārāja Nanda to stop the sacrifice offered to Indra and to use the money properly by performing a ceremony worshiping the cows and the pasturing ground on the hill of Govardhana. By this act Lord Kṛṣṇa taught human society, as He has instructed in the Bhagavad-gītā also, that one should worship the Supreme Lord by all acts and by all their results. That will bring about the desired success. The vaiśyas are specifically advised to give protection to the cows and their pasturing ground or agricultural land instead of squandering their hard-earned money. That will satisfy the Lord. The perfection of one's occupational duty, whether in the sphere of duty to oneself, one's community or one's nation, is judged by the degree to which the Lord is satisfied.
O sober Vidura, King Indra, his honor having been insulted, poured water incessantly on Vṛndāvana, and thus the inhabitants of Vraja, the land of cows, were greatly distressed. But the compassionate Lord Kṛṣṇa saved them from danger with His pastime umbrella, the Govardhana Hill.
Pure devotees of the Lord are not very much concerned with philosophical speculation in regard to transcendental knowledge of the Lord. Nor is it possible to acquire complete knowledge of the Lord. Whatever little knowledge they have about the Lord is sufficient for them because devotees are simply satisfied in hearing and chanting about the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. This gives them all transcendental bliss. But some of the pastimes of the Lord appear contradictory, even to such pure devotees, and thus Uddhava asked the Lord about some of the contradictory incidents in His pastimes. The Lord is described as having nothing to do personally, and it is actually so because even in the creation and sustenance of the material world, the Lord has nothing to do. It seems contradictory, then, to hear that the Lord personally lifts the Govardhana Hill for the protection of His unalloyed devotees. The Lord is the Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead appearing like a man, but Uddhava had doubts whether He could have so many transcendental activities.
The Lord is omnipotent; simply by His will He can perform anything and everything. When the Lord appeared as Lord Kṛṣṇa, He played the part of the son of Yaśodā and Nanda, and He lifted the Govardhana Hill, although lifting a hill is not His concern. He can lift millions of Govardhana Hills by His simple desire; He does not need to lift it with His hand. But He imitates the ordinary living entity by this lifting, and at the same time He exhibits His supernatural power. Thus His name is chanted as the lifter of Govardhana Hill, or Śrī Govardhana-dhārī. Therefore, His acts in His incarnations and His partiality to the devotees are all imitations only, just like the stage makeup of an expert dramatical player. His acts in that capacity, however, are all omnipotent, and the remembrance of such activities of the incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is as powerful as the Lord Himself. Ajāmila remembered the holy name of the Lord, Nārāyaṇa, by merely calling the name of his son Nārāyaṇa, and that gave him a complete opportunity to achieve the highest perfection of life.
SB Canto 4
The Lord's uncommon features, uncommon activities and uncommon beauty can be perceived even by an ordinary man. For example, when Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared just like a six- or seven-year-old boy in Vṛndāvana, He was approached by the residents there. There were torrents of rain, and the Lord saved the residents of Vṛndāvana by lifting Govardhana Hill and resting it on the little finger of His left hand for seven days. This uncommon feature of the Lord should convince even materialistic persons who want to speculate to the limit of their material senses.
When there is no rainfall and the citizens are in great danger due to the scarcity of water, this royal Personality of Godhead will be able to supply rains exactly like the heavenly King Indra. Thus he will very easily be able to protect the citizens from drought.
King Pṛthu is very appropriately compared to the sun and the demigod Indra. King Indra of the heavenly planets is in charge of distributing water over the earth and other planetary systems. It is indicated that King Pṛthu would arrange for the distribution of rainfall personally if Indra failed to discharge his duty properly. Sometimes the King of heaven, Indra, would become angry at the inhabitants of the earth if they did not offer sacrifices to appease him. King Pṛthu, however, being an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, did not depend on the mercy of the heavenly King. It is foretold herein that if there would be a scarcity of rain, King Pṛthu would manage to counteract the deficiency by virtue of his godly powers. Such powers were also exhibited by Lord Kṛṣṇa when He was present in Vṛndāvana. Indeed, when Indra poured incessant water on Vṛndāvana for seven days, the inhabitants were protected by Kṛṣṇa, who raised Govardhana Hill over their heads as a great umbrella. Thus Lord Kṛṣṇa is also known as Govardhana-dhārī.
SB Canto 5
In the tract of land known as Bhārata-varṣa, as in Ilāvṛta-varṣa, there are many mountains and rivers. Some of the mountains are known as Malaya, Maṅgala-prastha, Maināka, Trikūṭa, Ṛṣabha, Kūṭaka, Kollaka, Sahya, Devagiri, Ṛṣyamūka, Śrī-śaila, Veṅkaṭa, Mahendra, Vāridhāra, Vindhya, Śuktimān, Ṛkṣagiri, Pāriyātra, Droṇa, Citrakūṭa, Govardhana, Raivataka, Kakubha, Nīla, Gokāmukha, Indrakīla and Kāmagiri. Besides these, there are many other hills, with many large and small rivers flowing from their slopes.
SB Canto 6
Actually the Lord's name already exists because of His transcendental activities. The Lord is sometimes called guṇa-karma-nāma because He is named according to His transcendental activities. For example, Kṛṣṇa means "all-attractive." This is the Lord's name because His transcendental qualities make Him very attractive. As a small boy He lifted Govardhana Hill, and in His childhood He killed many demons. Such activities are very attractive, and therefore He is sometimes called Giridhārī, Madhusūdana, Agha-niṣūdana and so on. Because He acted as the son of Nanda Mahārāja, He is called Nanda-tanuja. These names already exist, but since nondevotees cannot understand the names of the Lord, He is sometimes called anāma, or nameless. This means that He has no material names. All His activities are spiritual, and therefore He has spiritual names.
SB Canto 7
The Lord's activities are uncommon. For example, when He appeared as Lord Rāmacandra, He performed uncommon activities like bridging the ocean. Similarly, when Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared He raised the Govardhana Hill when He was only seven years of age. These are uncommon activities. Fools and rascals, who are not in the transcendental position, consider these uncommon activities of the Lord to be mythological, but when the pure devotee, the liberated person, hears about these uncommon activities of the Lord, he immediately becomes ecstatic and exhibits the symptoms of chanting, dancing, and crying very loudly and jubilantly. This is the difference between a devotee and a nondevotee.
SB Canto 9
He lifted Govardhana Hill when He was only seven years old. We should not accept any rascal as God or an incarnation of God, for God displays special features in His various activities.
Assisted by the descendants of Bhoja, Vṛṣṇi, Andhaka, Madhu, Śūrasena, Daśārha, Kuru, Sṛñjaya and Pāṇḍu, Lord Kṛṣṇa performed various activities. By His pleasing smiles, His affectionate behavior, His instructions and His uncommon pastimes like raising Govardhana Hill, the Lord, appearing in His transcendental body, pleased all of human society.
SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13
"Dear Lord," the demigods prayed, "when You appear in Your different incarnations, You take different names and forms according to different situations. Lord Kṛṣṇa is Your name because You are all-attractive; You are called Śyāmasundara because of Your transcendental beauty. Śyāma means blackish, yet they say that You are more beautiful than thousands of cupids. Kandarpa-koṭi-kamanīya. Although You appear in a color which is compared to that of a blackish cloud, You are the transcendental Absolute, and therefore Your beauty is many, many times more attractive than the delicate body of Cupid. Sometimes You are called Giridhārī because You lifted the hill known as Govardhana. You are sometimes called Nanda-nandana or Vāsudeva or Devakī-nandana because You appear as the son of Mahārāja Nanda or Devakī or Vasudeva. Impersonalists think that Your many names or forms are according to a particular type of work and quality because they accept You from the position of a material observer.
The Lord is also known as Giridhārī or Girivara-dhārī. Because Kṛṣṇa, for the sake of His devotees, lifted Govardhana Hill, the devotees appreciate the Lord's inconceivable strength; but nondevotees, in spite of directly perceiving the Lord's inconceivable strength and power, regard the Lord's activities as fictitious. This is the difference between a devotee and a nondevotee. Nondevotees cannot give any nomenclature for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, yet the Lord is known as Śyāmasundara and Giridhārī. Similarly, the Lord is known as Devakī-nandana and Yaśodā-nandana because He accepted the role of son for mother Devakī and mother Yaśodā, and He is known as Gopāla because He enjoyed the sport of maintaining the cows and calves. Therefore, although He has no mundane name, He is addressed by devotees as Devakī-nandana, Yaśodā-nandana, Gopāla and Śyāmasundara. These are all transcendental names that only devotees can appreciate and nondevotees cannot.
O King Parīkṣit, when Rāma and Kṛṣṇa saw Vṛndāvana, Govardhana and the banks of the River Yamunā, They both enjoyed great pleasure.
Thereafter, while pasturing atop Govardhana Hill, the cows looked down to find some green grass and saw their calves pasturing near Vṛndāvana, not very far away.
When the cows saw their own calves from the top of Govardhana Hill, they forgot themselves and their caretakers because of increased affection, and although the path was very rough, they ran toward their calves with great anxiety, each running as if with one pair of legs. Their milk bags full and flowing with milk, their heads and tails raised, and their humps moving with their necks, they ran forcefully until they reached their calves to feed them.
Generally the calves and cows are pastured separately. The elderly men take care of the cows, and the small children see to the calves. This time, however, the cows immediately forgot their position as soon as they saw the calves below Govardhana Hill, and they ran with great force, their tails erect and their front and hind legs joined, until they reached their calves.
The cows had given birth to new calves, but while coming down from Govardhana Hill, the cows, because of increased affection for the older calves, allowed the older calves to drink milk from their milk bags and then began licking the calves' bodies in anxiety, as if wanting to swallow them.
SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Thus expressing His satisfaction with the beautiful forest of Vṛndāvana and its inhabitants, Lord Kṛṣṇa enjoyed tending the cows and other animals with His friends on the banks of the river Yamunā below Govardhana Hill.
"Not far from the western side of Mathurā, at a distance of two yojanas (sixteen miles), is the holy place named Govardhana, which is most difficult to attain."
Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! O my friends, this hill supplies Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, 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 Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, Govardhana Hill appears very jubilant.
Therefore may a sacrifice for the pleasure of the cows, the brāhmaṇas and Govardhana Hill begin! With all the paraphernalia collected for worshiping Indra, let this sacrifice be performed instead.
After giving the appropriate food to everyone else, including such fallen souls as dogs and dog-eaters, you should give grass to the cows and then present your respectful offerings to Govardhana Hill.
After everyone has eaten to his satisfaction, you should all dress and decorate yourselves handsomely, smear your bodies with sandalwood paste and then circumambulate the cows, the brāhmaṇas, the sacrificial fires and Govardhana Hill.
This is My idea, O father, and you may carry it out if it appeals to you. Such a sacrifice will be very dear to the cows, the brāhmaṇas and Govardhana Hill, and also to Me.
The cowherd community then did all that Madhusūdana had suggested. They arranged for the brāhmaṇas to recite the auspicious Vedic mantras, and using the paraphernalia that had been intended for Indra's sacrifice, they presented offerings to Govardhana Hill and the brāhmaṇas with reverential respect. They also gave grass to the cows. Then, placing the cows, bulls and calves in front of them, they circumambulated Govardhana.
Kṛṣṇa then assumed an unprecedented, huge form to instill faith in the cowherd men. Declaring "I am Govardhana Mountain!" He ate the abundant offerings.
Together with the people of Vraja, the Lord bowed down to this form of Govardhana Hill, thus in effect offering obeisances to Himself. Then He said, "Just see how this hill has appeared in person and bestowed mercy upon us!
"This Govardhana Hill, assuming any form he wishes, will kill any residents of the forest who neglect him. Therefore let us pay our obeisances to him for the safety of ourselves and our cows."
The members of the cowherd community, having thus been inspired by Lord Vāsudeva to properly execute the sacrifice to Govardhana Hill, the cows and the brāhmaṇas, returned with Lord Kṛṣṇa to their village, Vraja.
Having said this, Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is Viṣṇu Himself, picked up Govardhana Hill with one hand and held it aloft just as easily as a child holds up a mushroom.
Seeing that the fierce wind and rain had now ceased, the sky had become clear of rainclouds, and the sun had risen, Lord Kṛṣṇa, the lifter of Govardhana Hill, spoke to the cowherd community as follows.
Surrounded by His loving cowherd boyfriends and Lord Balarāma, Kṛṣṇa then went off to the place where He had been tending His cows. The cowherd girls returned to their homes, singing joyfully about the lifting of Govardhana Hill and other glorious deeds performed by Lord Kṛṣṇa, who had so deeply touched their hearts.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: The cowherd men were astonished when they saw Kṛṣṇa's activities, such as lifting Govardhana Hill. Unable to understand His transcendental potency, they approached Nanda Mahārāja and spoke as follows.
How could this seven-year-old boy playfully hold up the great hill Govardhana with one hand, just as a mighty elephant holds up a lotus flower?
On the one hand this boy is only seven years old, and on the other we see that He has lifted the great hill Govardhana. Therefore, O King of Vraja, a doubt about your son arises within us.
On the one hand this boy is only seven years old, and on the other we see that He has lifted the great hill Govardhana. Therefore, O King of Vraja, a doubt about your son arises within us.
Indra became angry when his sacrifice was disrupted, and thus he caused rain and hail to fall on Gokula, accompanied by lightning and powerful winds, all of which brought great suffering to the cowherds, animals and women there. When Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is by nature always compassionate, saw the condition of those who had only Him as their shelter, He smiled broadly and lifted Govardhana Hill with one hand, just as a small child picks up a mushroom to play with it. Holding up the hill, He protected the cowherd community. May He, Govinda, the Lord of the cows and the destroyer of Indra's false pride, be pleased with us.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: After Kṛṣṇa had lifted Govardhana Hill and thus protected the inhabitants of Vraja from the terrible rainfall, Surabhi, the mother of the cows, came from her planet to see Kṛṣṇa. She was accompanied by Indra.
Out of great affection for the cows of Vraja, Kṛṣṇa became the lifter of Govardhana Hill. At the end of the day, having rounded up all His own cows, He plays a song on His flute, while exalted demigods standing along the path worship His lotus feet and the cowherd boys accompanying Him chant His glories. His garland is powdered by the dust raised by the cows' hooves, and His beauty, enhanced by His fatigue, creates an ecstatic festival for everyone's eyes. Eager to fulfill His friends' desires, Kṛṣṇa is the moon arisen from the womb of mother Yaśodā.
Does Kṛṣṇa remember us? Does He remember His mother and His friends and well-wishers? Does He remember the cowherds and their village of Vraja, of which He is the master? Does He remember the cows, Vṛndāvana forest and Govardhana Hill?
The chastisement of the serpent Kāliya; the rescue of Nanda Mahārāja from a great snake; the severe vows performed by the young gopīs, who thus satisfied Lord Kṛṣṇa; the mercy He showed the wives of the Vedic brāhmaṇas, who felt remorse; the lifting of Govardhana Hill followed by the worship and bathing ceremony performed by Indra and the Surabhi cow; Lord Kṛṣṇa's nocturnal pastimes with the cowherd girls; and the killing of the foolish demons Śaṅkhacūḍa, Ariṣṭa and Keśī—all these pastimes are elaborately recounted.
CC Preface and Introduction
The author of this great classic, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, born around the beginning of the sixteenth century, was a disciple of Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, a confidential follower of Caitanya Mahāprabhu's. Raghunātha dāsa, a renowned ascetic saint, heard and memorized all the activities of Caitanya Mahāprabhu told to him by Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī. After the passing away of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Svarūpa Dāmodara, Raghunātha dāsa, unable to bear the pain of separation from these objects of his complete devotion, traveled to Vṛndāvana, intending to commit suicide by jumping from Govardhana Hill. In Vṛndāvana, however, he encountered Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, two of the most confidential disciples of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. They convinced him to give up his planned suicide and impelled him to reveal to them the spiritually inspiring events of Lord Caitanya's later life. Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī was also residing in Vṛndāvana at this time, and Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī endowed him with a full comprehension of the transcendental life of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
The transcendental personal forms of the Lord are a mystery, and the symptoms of these forms, which are absolutely different from anything made of mundane elements, are also mysterious. The innumerable forms of the Lord, such as Śyāmasundara, Nārāyaṇa, Rāma and Gaurasundara; the colors of these forms (white, red, yellow, cloudlike śyāma and others); His qualities, as the responsive Personality of Godhead to pure devotees and as impersonal Brahman to dry speculators; His uncommon activities like lifting Govardhana Hill, marrying more than sixteen thousand queens at Dvārakā, and entering the rāsa dance with the damsels of Vraja, expanding Himself in as many forms as there were damsels in the dance—these and innumerable other uncommon acts and attributes are all mysteries, one aspect of which is presented in the scientific knowledge of the Bhagavad-gītā, which is read and adored all over the world by all classes of scholars, with as many interpretations as there are empiric philosophers. The truth of these mysteries was revealed to Brahmā by the descending process, without the help of the ascending one.
Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī intended to go to Vṛndāvana to see the lotus feet of Rūpa and Sanātana and then give up his life by jumping from Govardhana Hill.
Jumping from the top of Govardhana Hill is a system of suicide especially performed by saintly persons. After the disappearance of Lord Caitanya and Svarūpa Dāmodara, Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī keenly felt separation from these two exalted personalities and therefore decided to give up his life by jumping from Govardhana Hill in Vṛndāvana. Before doing so, however, he wanted to see the lotus feet of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī.
"Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be." To execute His pastimes, the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears on this planet or within this universe like an ordinary human being or human child, yet He maintains His superiority as the Supreme Lord. Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared as a human child, but His uncommon activities, even in His childhood—like the killing of the demon Pūtanā or the lifting of Govardhana Hill—were not the engagements of an ordinary child. Similarly, although the pastimes of Lord Caitanya, as they will be described in this chapter, appear like the activities of a small boy, they are uncommon pastimes impossible for an ordinary human child to execute.
The sixteenth vilāsa discusses duties to be observed in the month of Kārtika (October-November), or the Dāmodara month, or Ūrja, when lamps are offered in the Deity room or above the temple. There are also descriptions of the Govardhana-pūjā and Ratha-yātrā.
In his Anubhāṣya, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura gives the following information about the Gopāla-campū. The Gopāla-campū is divided into two parts. The first part is called the eastern wave, and the second part is called the northern wave. In the first part there are thirty-three supplications and in the second part thirty-seven supplications. In the first part, completed in 1510 Śakābda (A.D. 1588), the following subject matters are discussed: (1) Vṛndāvana and Goloka; (2) the killing of the Pūtanā demon, the gopīs' returning home under the instructions of mother Yaśodā, the bathing of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, snigdha-kaṇṭha and madhu-kaṇṭha; (3) the dream of mother Yaśodā; (4) the Janmāṣṭamī ceremony; (5) the meeting between Nanda Mahārāja and Vasudeva, and the killing of the Pūtanā demon; (6) the pastimes of awakening from bed, the deliverance of the demon Śakaṭa, and the name-giving ceremony; (7) the killing of the Tṛṇāvarta demon, Lord Kṛṣṇa's eating dirt, Lord Kṛṣṇa's childish naughtiness, and Lord Kṛṣṇa as a thief; (8) churning of the yogurt, Kṛṣṇa's drinking from the breast of mother Yaśodā, the breaking of the yogurt pot, Kṛṣṇa bound with ropes, the deliverance of the two brothers (Yamalārjuna) and the lamentation of mother Yaśodā; (9) entering Śrī Vṛndāvana; (10) the killing of Vatsāsura, Bakāsura and Vyomāsura; (11) the killing of Aghāsura and the bewilderment of Lord Brahmā; (12) the tending of the cows in the forest; (13) taking care of the cows and chastising the Kāliya serpent; (14) the killing of Gardabhāsura (the ass demon), and the praise of Kṛṣṇa; (15) the previous attraction of the gopīs; (16) the killing of Pralambāsura and the eating of the forest fire; (17) the gopīs' attempt to approach Kṛṣṇa; (18) the lifting of Govardhana Hill; (19) bathing Kṛṣṇa with milk; (20) the return of Nanda Mahārāja from the custody of Varuṇa and the vision of Goloka Vṛndāvana by the gopas; (21) the performance of the rituals in Kātyāyanī-vrata and the worship of the goddess Durgā; (22) the begging of food from the wives of the brāhmaṇas performing sacrifices; (23) the meeting of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs; (24) Kṛṣṇa's enjoying the company of the gopīs, the disappearance of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa from the scene, and the search for Them by the gopīs; (25) the reappearance of Kṛṣṇa; (26) the determination of the gopīs; (27) pastimes in the waters of the Yamunā; (28) the deliverance of Nanda Mahārāja from the clutches of the serpent; (29) various pastimes in solitary places; (30) the killing of Śaṅkhacūḍa and the Hori; (31) the killing of Ariṣṭāsura; (32) the killing of the Keśī demon; (33) the appearance of Śrī Nārada Muni and a description of the year in which the book was completed.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu would also run very fast across the sand dunes, mistaking them for Govardhana. As He ran, He would wail and cry loudly.
Because of the winds of the sea, sometimes the sand would form dunes. Such sand dunes are called caṭaka parvata. Instead of seeing these sand dunes simply as hills of sand, the Lord would take them to be Govardhana Hill. Sometimes He would run toward these dunes at high speed, crying very loudly, expressing the state of mind exhibited by Rādhārāṇī. Thus Caitanya Mahāprabhu was absorbed in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa and His pastimes. His state of mind brought Him the atmosphere of Vṛndāvana and Govardhana Hill, and thus He enjoyed the transcendental bliss of separation and meeting.
One night while in Govardhana, Mādhavendra Purī dreamed that the Gopāla Deity was within the forest. The next morning he invited his neighborhood friends to accompany him to excavate the Deity from the jungle. He then established the Deity of Śrī Gopālajī on top of Govardhana Hill with great pomp. Gopāla was worshiped, and the Annakūṭa festival was observed. This festival was known everywhere, and many people from the neighboring villages came to join. One night the Gopāla Deity again appeared to Mādhavendra Purī in a dream and asked him to go to Jagannātha Purī to collect some sandalwood pulp and smear it on the body of the Deity. Having received this order, Mādhavendra Purī immediately started for Orissa. Traveling through Bengal, he reached Remuṇā village and there received a pot of condensed milk (kṣīra) offered to the Deity of Gopīnāthajī. This pot of condensed milk was stolen by Gopīnātha and delivered to Mādhavendra Purī. Since then, the Gopīnātha Deity has been known as Kṣīra-corā-gopīnātha, the Deity who stole the pot of condensed milk. After reaching Jagannātha Purī, Mādhavendra Purī received permission from the King to take out one maund of sandalwood and twenty tolas of camphor. Aided by two men, he brought these things to Remuṇā. Again he saw in a dream that Gopāla at Govardhana Hill desired that very sandalwood to be turned into pulp mixed with camphor and smeared over the body of Gopīnāthajī. Understanding that that would satisfy the Gopāla Deity at Govardhana, Mādhavendra Purī executed the order and returned to Jagannātha Purī.
I offer my respectful obeisances unto Mādhavendra Purī, who was given a pot of sweet rice stolen by Śrī Gopīnātha, celebrated thereafter as Kṣīra-corā. Being pleased by Mādhavendra Purī’s love, Śrī Gopāla, the Deity at Govardhana, appeared to the public vision.
Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura annotates that this Gopāla Deity was originally installed by Vajra, the great-grandson of Kṛṣṇa. Mādhavendra Purī rediscovered Gopāla and established Him on top of Govardhana Hill. This Gopāla Deity is now situated at Nāthadvāra and is under the management of descendants of Vallabhācārya. The worship of the Deity is very luxurious, and one who goes there can purchase varieties of prasādam by paying a small price.
Once, Śrī Mādhavendra Purī traveled to Vṛndāvana, where he came upon the hill known as Govardhana.
“My name is Gopāla. I am the lifter of Govardhana Hill. I was installed by Vajra, and here I am the authority.
“The proprietor of this village, Govardhana-dhārī, is lying in the bushes. Let us go there and rescue Him from that place.
Those who took prasādam included not only the people of Govardhana village but also those who came from other villages. They also saw the Deity of Gopāla and were offered prasādam to eat.
Formerly, at the end of Dvāpara-yuga, all the cowherd men of Vṛndāvana had arranged to worship King Indra, but they gave this worship up, following the advice of Kṛṣṇa. Instead, they performed a ceremony whereby they worshiped the cows, brāhmaṇas and Govardhana Hill. At that time Kṛṣṇa expanded Himself and declared, "I am Govardhana Hill." In this way He accepted all the paraphernalia and food offered to Govardhana Hill.
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, therefore advised the cowherd men to stop the Indra-yajña and begin the Govardhana-pūjā to chastise Indra, who was very much puffed up at being the supreme controller of the heavenly planets. The honest and simple cowherd men, headed by Nanda Mahārāja, accepted Kṛṣṇa's proposal and executed in detail everything He advised. They performed Govardhana worship and circumambulation of the hill. According to the instruction of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Nanda Mahārāja and the cowherd men called in learned brāhmaṇas and began to worship Govardhana Hill by chanting Vedic hymns and offering prasādam. The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana assembled together, decorated their cows and gave them grass. Keeping the cows in front, they began to circumambulate Govardhana Hill."
We are in the disciplic succession of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who was initiated by Śrī Īśvara Purī, a disciple of Mādhavendra Purī’s. Our sampradāya is therefore called the Mādhva-Gauḍīya-sampradāya. As such, we must carefully follow in the footsteps of Śrī Mādhavendra Purī and observe how he installed the Gopāla Deity on top of Govardhana Hill, how he arranged and performed the Annakūṭa ceremony in only one day, and so forth. Our installation of Deities in America and in the wealthy countries of Europe should be carried out in terms of Śrī Mādhavendra Purī’s activities. All the servitors of the Deity must be strictly qualified as brāhmaṇas and, specifically, must engage in the Vaiṣṇava custom of offering as much prasādam as possible and distributing it to the devotees who visit the temple to see the Lord.
When it was advertised throughout the country that Lord Gopāla had appeared atop Govardhana Hill, all the people from neighboring villages came to see the Deity.
After reaching Mathurā, they started visiting the different forests of Vṛndāvana and came to Govardhana Hill. They visited all twelve forests (vanas) and at last came to the town of Vṛndāvana.
“"O my Lord, You live in the forest of Govardhana Hill, and, like the king of elephants, You are expert in the art of conjugal love. O master of the universe, Your heart and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī"s heart are just like shellac and are now melted in Your spiritual perspiration. Therefore one can no longer distinguish between You and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Now You have mixed Your newly invoked affection, which is like vermilion, with Your melted hearts, and for the benefit of the whole world You have painted both Your hearts red within this great palace of the universe.’”
Śaṅkarācārya had four principal disciples, and he established four centers under their management. In North India at Badarikāśrama, the monastery named Jyotir-maṭha was established. At Puruṣottama, the Bhogavardhana or Govardhana monastery was established. In Dvārakā, the Sāradā monastery was established. And the fourth monastery, established in South India, is known as Śṛṅgeri-maṭha.
“It is amazing that You have forgotten the land of Vṛndāvana. And how is it that You have forgotten Your father, mother and friends? How have You forgotten Govardhana Hill, the bank of the Yamunā and the forest where You enjoyed the rāsa-līlā dance?
"Indeed," Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya continued, “at the Govardhana-pūjā ceremony You ate stacks of rice. In comparison to that, this small quantity is not even a morsel for You.
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu passed through the Jhārikhaṇḍa forest, He took it for granted that it was Vṛndāvana. When He passed over the hills, He took it for granted that they were Govardhana.
"After installing the Deity of Gopāla, Śrīla Mādhavendra Purī rendered Him service. That very Deity is still being worshiped at Govardhana Hill."
The male parrot sang, "The glorification of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is beneficial to everyone in the universe. His beauty is victorious over the gopīs of Vṛndāvana, and it subdues their patience. His pastimes astound the goddess of fortune, and His bodily strength turns Govardhana Hill into a small toy like a ball. His spotless qualities are unlimited, and His behavior satisfies everyone. Lord Kṛṣṇa is attractive to everyone. Oh, may our Lord maintain the whole universe!"
The following summary of the Eighteenth Chapter is given by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya. In the village of Āriṭ-grāma, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu discovered the transcendental lakes known as Rādhā-kuṇḍa and Śyāma-kuṇḍa. He then saw the Deity Harideva at Govardhana Village. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had no desire to climb Govardhana Hill because the hill is worshiped as Kṛṣṇa. The Gopāla Deity could understand the mind of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; therefore on the plea of being attacked by Muslims, Gopāla transferred Himself to the village of Gāṅṭhuli-grāma. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then went to Gāṅṭhuli-grāma to see Lord Gopāla. Some years later, Lord Gopāla also went to Mathurā, to the house of Viṭhṭhaleśvara, and stayed there for one month just to give an audience to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.
From Rādhā-kuṇḍa, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to Sumanas Lake. When He saw Govardhana Hill from there, He was overwhelmed with joy.
When the Lord saw Govardhana Hill, He immediately offered obeisances, falling down on the ground like a rod. He embraced one piece of rock from Govardhana Hill and became mad.
Mad with ecstatic love, the Lord came to the village known as Govardhana. There He saw the Deity named Harideva and offered His obeisances unto Him.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu thought, "Since I shall not at any time climb Govardhana Hill, how shall I be able to see Gopāla Rāya?"
Coming down from Govardhana Hill, Lord Gopāla granted an interview to Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who was unwilling to climb the hill, thinking Himself a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Gopāla stayed in a village called Annakūṭa-grāma on Govardhana Hill. The villagers who lived in that village were mainly from Rajasthan.
"When Nanda Mahārāja offered a large quantity of food to Govardhana Hill, Kṛṣṇa assumed a gigantic form and eagerly invited everyone to ask boons from Him. Then, deceiving even Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, He ate all the offered food. Let me take shelter of the place known as Annakūṭa, where Lord Kṛṣṇa enjoyed these pastimes."
In the morning, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu took His bath in a lake called Mānasa-gaṅgā. He then circumambulated Govardhana Hill.
Just by seeing Govardhana Hill, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu became ecstatic with love of Kṛṣṇa. While dancing and dancing, He recited the following verse.
""Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! O my friends, this hill supplies Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, as well as 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 Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, Govardhana Hill appears very jubilant.""
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura gives the following information about Govinda-kuṇḍa. There is a village named Āniyora on Govardhana Hill, a little distance from the village of Paiṭhā. Govinda-kuṇḍa is situated near here, and there are two temples to Govinda and Baladeva there.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, ""May the left arm of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, whose eyes are like the petals of a lotus flower, always protect you. With His left arm He raised Govardhana Hill as if it were a toy.""
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was very eager to see Gopāla, but He did not want to climb Govardhana Hill. Therefore by some trick the Gopāla Deity personally descended.
When the two brothers Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī went to Vṛndāvana, they decided to live there. Following Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's example, they did not climb the hill because they considered it nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. On some pretext, the Gopāla Deity granted Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu an audience beneath the hill, and Gopāla similarly favored Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī. During his ripe old age, when Rūpa Gosvāmī could not go to Govardhana Hill because of invalidity, Gopāla kindly went to Mathurā and remained at the house of Viṭhṭhaleśvara for one month. It was then that Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī could see Gopāla's beauty to his heart's content.
After studying for eleven years at Vārāṇasī, Vallabhācārya returned home. On his return, he heard that his father had departed from the material world. Keeping his brother and mother at home, he went to the banks of the river Tuṅgabhadrā, to a village called Vidyānagara, where he enlightened Kṛṣṇadeva, the grandson of King Bukkarāja. After that, he traveled throughout India thrice on trips lasting six years each. Thus he passed eighteen years and became victorious in his discussions of revealed scripture. When he was thirty years old, he married Mahālakṣmī, who belonged to the same brāhmaṇa community as his. Near Govardhana Hill he established a Deity in the valley. Finally he came to Āḍāila, which is on the other side of the Yamunā from Prayāga.
In the revealed scripture Hari-vaṁśa, there is a description of Goloka Vṛndāvana, the planet where Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa eternally resides. This information was given by King Indra when he surrendered to Kṛṣṇa and offered prayers after Kṛṣṇa had raised Govardhana Hill.
When the King of heaven, Indra, surrendered to Kṛṣṇa after Kṛṣṇa had raised Govardhana Hill, Lord Indra stated that above the planetary systems wherein human beings reside is the sky, where birds fly. Above the sky is the sun and its orbit. This is the entrance to the heavenly planets. Above the heavenly planets are other planets, up to Brahmaloka, where those advancing in spiritual knowledge reside. The planets up to Brahmaloka are part of the material world (Devī-dhāma). Because the material world is under the control of Devī, Durgā, it is called Devī-dhāma. Above Devī-dhāma is a place where Lord Śiva and his wife Umā reside. Those brightened by spiritual knowledge and liberated from material contamination reside in that Śivaloka. Beyond that planetary system is the spiritual world, where there are planets called Vaikuṇṭhalokas. Goloka Vṛndāvana is situated above all the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. Goloka Vṛndāvana is the kingdom of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and the parents of Kṛṣṇa, Mahārāja Nanda and mother Yaśodā. In this way there are various planetary systems, and they are all creations of the Supreme Lord.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu entrusted Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī to Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī. Therefore another name for Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī is Svarūpera Raghu, or the Raghunātha of Svarūpa Dāmodara. For five days Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī took prasādam at the temple, but later he would stand at the Siṁha-dvāra gate and eat only whatever he could gather by alms. Later he lived by taking alms from various chatras, or food distributing centers. When Raghunātha's father received news of this, he sent some men and money, but Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī refused to accept the money. Understanding that Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī was living by begging from the chatras, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu presented him with His own guñjā-mālā and a stone from Govardhana Hill. Thereafter, Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī used to eat rejected food that he had collected and washed. This renounced life greatly pleased both Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. One day Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu took by force some of the same food, thus blessing Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī for his renunciation.
After saying this, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu again bestowed His mercy upon Raghunātha dāsa by giving him a stone from Govardhana Hill and a garland of small conchshells.
Previously, when Śaṅkarānanda Sarasvatī had returned from Vṛndāvana, he had brought the stone from Govardhana Hill and also the garland of conchshells.
He presented Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu with these two items—the garland of conchshells and the stone from Govardhana Hill.
The stone from Govardhana was always moist with tears from His eyes. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu would say, "This stone is directly the body of Lord Kṛṣṇa."
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura writes in his Anubhāṣya that in the opinion of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the govardhana-śilā, the stone from Govardhana Hill, was directly the form of Kṛṣṇa, the son of Mahārāja Nanda. The Lord used the stone for three years, and then in the heart of Raghunātha dāsa the Lord awakened devotional service to the stone. The Lord then gave the stone to Raghunātha dāsa, accepting him as one of His most confidential servants. However, some envious people conclude that because Raghunātha dāsa had not taken birth in the family of a brāhmaṇa, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not give him the right to worship the Deity directly but instead gave him a stone from Govardhana. This kind of thought is nārakī, or hellish. As stated in the Padma Purāṇa, arcye viṣṇau śilā-dhīr guruṣu nara-matir vaiṣṇave jāti-buddhiḥ . . . yasya vā nārakī saḥ. If one thinks that the worshipable śālagrāma-śilā is a mere stone, that the spiritual master is an ordinary human being or that a pure Vaiṣṇava preaching the bhakti cult all over the world is a member of a particular caste or material division of society, he is considered a nārakī, a candidate for hellish life. When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructed that the govardhana-śilā, the stone taken from Govardhana, is nondifferent from the body of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He indirectly advised such foolish persons that one should not be envious of a Vaiṣṇava who belongs to a different caste or sect. One should accept a Vaiṣṇava as transcendental. In this way one can be saved; otherwise, one is surely awaiting a hellish life.
After thus advising him how to worship, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally offered Raghunātha dāsa the govardhana-śilā with His transcendental hand. As advised by the Lord, Raghunātha dāsa worshiped the śilā in great transcendental jubilation.
Thus Raghunātha dāsa began worshiping the stone from Govardhana, and as he worshiped he saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda Mahārāja, directly in the stone.
Thinking of how he had received the govardhana-śilā directly from the hands of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Raghunātha dāsa was always overflooded with ecstatic love.
After Raghunātha dāsa had thus worshiped the govardhana-śilā for some time, Svarūpa Dāmodara one day spoke to him as follows.
"Offer the Govardhana stone eight kauḍis worth of the first-class sweetmeats known as khājā and sandeśa. If you offer them with faith and love, they will be just like nectar."
"By offering me the govardhana-śilā, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has offered me a place near Govardhana Hill, and by offering me the garland of conchshells, He has offered me shelter at the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī."
"Although I am a fallen soul, the lowest of men, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu delivered me from the blazing forest fire of great material opulence by His mercy. He handed me over in great pleasure to Svarūpa Dāmodara, His personal associate. The Lord also gave me the garland of small conchshells that He wore on His chest and a stone from Govardhana Hill, although they were very dear to Him. That same Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu awakens within my heart and makes me mad after Him."
Indra, the King of heaven, was very proud of his position. Therefore when the residents of Vṛndāvana decided not to perform the Indra-yajña but instead to perform the Govardhana-yajña in accordance with the instructions of Kṛṣṇa, Indra, because of his false pride, wanted to chastise the residents of Vṛndāvana. Thinking himself extremely powerful, Indra poured incessant rain upon Vṛndāvana, but Lord Kṛṣṇa immediately cut down his pride by lifting Govardhana Hill as an umbrella to save the residents of Vṛndāvana. In this way Kṛṣṇa proved Indra's power most insignificant in the presence of His own omnipotence.
“You should remain in Vṛndāvana for only a short time and then return here as soon as possible. Also, do not climb Govardhana Hill to see the Gopāla Deity.
In his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura advises that one avoid remaining in Vṛndāvana for a very long time. As the saying goes, "Familiarity breeds contempt." If one stays in Vṛndāvana for many days, he may fail to maintain proper respect for its inhabitants. Therefore those who have not attained the stage of spontaneous love for Kṛṣṇa should not live in Vṛndāvana very long. It is better for them to make short visits. One should also avoid climbing Govardhana Hill to see the Gopāla Deity. Since Govardhana Hill itself is identical with Gopāla, one should not step on the hill or touch it with his feet. One may see Gopāla when He goes elsewhere.
The gifts consisted of some sand from the site of the rāsa-līlā, a stone from Govardhana Hill, dry ripened pīlu fruits and a garland of small conchshells.
One night, Govinda and Svarūpa Dāmodara noticed that although the three doors to the Lord's room were closed and locked, the Lord was not present inside. Seeing this, Svarūpa Dāmodara and the other devotees went outside and saw the Lord lying unconscious by the gate known as Siṁha-dvāra. His body had become unusually long, and the joints of His bones were loose. The devotees gradually brought Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu back to His senses by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and then they took Him back to His residence. Once Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu mistook a sand dune known as Caṭaka-parvata for Govardhana Hill. As He ran toward it, He became stunned, and then the eight ecstatic transformations appeared in His body due to great love for Kṛṣṇa. At that time all the devotees chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra to pacify Him.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu mistook the sand dune for Govardhana Hill and ran toward it.
"(Lord Caitanya said:) "Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! O my friends, this hill supplies Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, as well as 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 Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, Govardhana Hill appears very jubilant.""
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, “Who has brought Me here from Govardhana Hill? I was seeing Lord Kṛṣṇa's pastimes, but now I cannot see them.
“Today I went from here to Govardhana Hill to find out if Kṛṣṇa was tending His cows there.
“I saw Lord Kṛṣṇa climbing Govardhana Hill and playing His flute, surrounded on all sides by grazing cows.
"Near Jagannātha Purī is a great sand dune known as Caṭaka-parvata. Seeing that hill, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, "Oh, I shall go to the land of Vraja to see Govardhana Hill!" Then He began running madly toward it, and all the Vaiṣṇavas ran after Him. This scene awakens in my heart and maddens me."
That chapter also tells how the Lord entrusted Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī to the care of Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī and gave Raghunātha dāsa the gift of a stone from Govardhana Hill and a garland of small conchshells.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Nectar of Devotion
(9) One must circumambulate the temple building at least three times. (In every temple there is an arrangement to go around the temple at least three times. Some devotees go around more than three times—ten times, fifteen times—according to their vows. The Gosvāmīs used to circumambulate Govardhana Hill.) One should also circumambulate the whole Vṛndāvana area.
A person who has extraordinary bodily strength is called balīyān. When Kṛṣṇa killed Ariṣṭāsura, some of the gopīs said, "My dear friends, just see how Kṛṣṇa has killed Ariṣṭāsura! Although he was stronger than a mountain, Kṛṣṇa plucked him up just like a piece of cotton and threw him away without any difficulty!" There is another passage wherein it is said, "O my dear devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa, may the left hand of Lord Kṛṣṇa, which has lifted Govardhana Hill like a ball, save you from all dangers."
Kṛṣṇa said at that time that the cows are worshiped even by the demigods, and He practically demonstrated how to protect the cows. At least people who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness should follow in His footsteps and give all protection to the cows. Cows are worshiped not only by the demigods. Kṛṣṇa Himself worshiped the cows on several occasions, especially on the days of Gopāṣṭamī and Govardhana-pūjā.
The promise of Kṛṣṇa that His devotees are never vanquished had also previously been admitted by Indra when he was defeated in the govardhana-līlā. When Kṛṣṇa stopped the villagers of Vraja (Vṛndāvana) from worshiping Indra, Indra became angry and therefore inundated Vṛndāvana with continuous rain. Kṛṣṇa, however, protected all of the citizens and animals of Vṛndāvana by lifting Govardhana Hill, which served as an umbrella. After the incident was over, Indra surrendered to Kṛṣṇa with many prayers, in which he admitted, "By Your lifting Govardhana Hill and protecting the citizens of Vṛndāvana, You have kept Your promise that Your devotees are never to be vanquished."
As described in the Lalita-mādhava, Kṛṣṇa's shyness was manifested when He lifted Govardhana Hill by the little finger of His left hand. All of the gopīs were observing Kṛṣṇa's wonderful achievement, and Kṛṣṇa was also smiling at seeing the gopīs. When Kṛṣṇa's glance went over the breasts of the gopīs, His hand began to shake, and upon seeing His hand shake, all of the cowherd men underneath the hill became a little disturbed. Then there was a tumultuous roaring sound, and they all began to pray to Kṛṣṇa for safety. At this time Lord Balarāma was smiling, thinking that these cowherd men had been frightened by the shaking of Govardhana Hill. But, seeing Balarāma smile, Kṛṣṇa thought that Balarāma had understood His mind in observing the breasts of the gopīs, and He immediately became bashful.
In this connection, the following statement given by Indra, the King of heaven, is very significant: "My dear Lord, I admit that I have committed great offenses unto You, but I cannot express my feelings of regret, being bewildered at seeing Your extraordinary chivalrous spirit, Your endeavor to protect Your devotees, Your determination, Your steadiness in lifting the great hill of Govardhana, Your beautiful bodily features and Your astonishing characteristic of being pleased simply by accepting the prayers of Your devotees and offenders."
It is said that a person is great if he is decorated with the qualities of being very merciful toward the unfortunate, very powerful, superior, chivalrous, enthusiastic, expert and truthful. These decorations were manifested in the character of Kṛṣṇa during His govardhana-līlā. At that time the whole tract of land in Vṛndāvana was being disturbed by the rains sent by Indra, as described elsewhere. At first Kṛṣṇa thought, "Let Me retaliate against this vengeance of Indra by destroying his heavenly kingdom," but later on, when He thought of the insignificance of the King of heaven, Kṛṣṇa changed His mind and felt merciful toward Indra. No one is able to tolerate the wrath of Kṛṣṇa, so instead of retaliating against Indra, He simply showed His compassion for His friends in Vṛndāvana by lifting the whole of Govardhana Hill to protect them.
A similar statement is there in the Tenth Canto, Twenty-sixth Chapter, verse 10, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. When Lord Kṛṣṇa lifted Govardhana Hill, the cowherd men, under the protection of Lord Kṛṣṇa, became struck with wonder and went to Nanda Mahārāja and inquired from him, "My dear Nanda Mahārāja, how is it that we are so intensely attached to Kṛṣṇa and that Kṛṣṇa is also so affectionately attached to us? Does it mean that He is the Supersoul of everyone?"
There is also an example of the astonishment of Lord Brahmā. It is explained in the Tenth Canto, Thirteenth Chapter, verse 56, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, that when Brahmā understood that this cowherd boy was the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, he became stunned. All of his sensory activities stopped when he saw all the cowherd boys again, along with Kṛṣṇa. Lord Brahmā was so stunned that he appeared to be a golden statue with four heads. Also, when the residents of Vraja found that Kṛṣṇa had lifted Govardhana Hill with His left hand, they became stunned.
When Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were present in the arena of Kaṁsa, Kaṁsa's body changed color. Similarly, Indra's face changed color when he saw that Kṛṣṇa was protecting all the denizens of Vraja by lifting Govardhana Hill. If the color change takes place due to excessive jubilation, the hue turns red. Because such a change of color is so rare, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī does not further discuss this point.
When, because of self-satisfaction or dislike of excessive labor, a person does not perform his duty in spite of having the energy, he is called lazy. This laziness also is manifested in ecstatic love of Kṛṣṇa. For example, when some brāhmaṇas were requested by Nanda Mahārāja to circumambulate Govardhana Hill, they told him that they were more interested in offering benedictions than in circumambulating Govardhana Hill. This is an instance of laziness caused by self-satisfaction.
rOnce while Kṛṣṇa was out walking, one of the associates of Rādhārāṇī told Her, "My dear friend, do You think that this walking personality is a tamāla tree? If He is a tamāla tree, then how is it possible for Him to walk and be so beautiful? Then, this personality might be a cloud. But if He's a cloud, then where is the beautiful moon within? Under the circumstances, I think it may be granted that this person is the same enchanting Personality of Godhead by whose flute vibration the three worlds are captivated. He must be the same Mukunda who is standing before Govardhana Hill." This is another instance of an argumentative presentation of ecstatic love.
Kaṁsa once rebuked Akrūra by saying, "You are such a fool that you are accepting a cowherd boy to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply because He has defeated some harmless water snake! The boy may have lifted one pebble called Govardhana Hill, but what is more surprising than that is your statement that this boy is the Personality of Godhead!" This is an instance of a maliciously opposing element, caused by hopelessness in ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa.
Kaṁsa once said, "What harm can this boy do to me? He has no power." The next moment Kaṁsa was informed that all of his friends had been killed by the boy. Then Kaṁsa began to think in perplexity, "Shall I go immediately and surrender unto Him? But how can a great warrior do this?" The next moment he thought, "Why should I be afraid of Him? There are still so many wrestlers standing to support me." But the next moment he began to consider, "The boy is certainly not common, because He has lifted Govardhana Hill with His left hand. So what can I do in this connection? Let me go to Vṛndāvana and inflict pains on all the residents there. But still I cannot even go out, because my heart is trembling from fear of this boy!" This condition of Kaṁsa's mind reveals an instance of pride, lamentation, humility, determination, remembrance, doubtfulness, anger and fear. Actually eight different symptoms comprised the mental condition of Kaṁsa. This is another instance of an aggregate of symptoms in hopeless ecstatic love.
When Nārada came to see the activities of the Lord at Dvārakā and he saw that Kṛṣṇa was present within every palace in the same body and was engaged in different activities, he was struck with wonder. This is one of the examples of astonishment in devotional service by direct perception. One of the friends of mother Yaśodā said, "Yaśodā, just see the fun! On the one hand, there is your child, who is always captivated by sucking the milk from your breast, and on the other hand there is the great Govardhana Hill, which can obstruct the passing of the clouds. But still, just see how wonderful it is that this great Govardhana Hill is resting on the finger of your child's left hand, just as though it were a toy. Is this not very mysterious?" This statement is another example of astonishment in devotional service by direct perception.
Devotees engaged in servitude are attached to Kṛṣṇa in the affection of reverence. Some of the inhabitants of Gokula (Vṛndāvana as exhibited on earth) are attached to Kṛṣṇa on this platform of affection in reverence. The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana used to say, "Kṛṣṇa is always manifest before us with a complexion like a blackish cloud. He holds His wonderful flute in His lotus hands. He is dressed in yellow silks and bedecked with a peacock feather on His head. When Kṛṣṇa walks near Govardhana Hill with these personal features, all the inhabitants of the heavenly planets, as well as the inhabitants of this earth, feel transcendental bliss and consider themselves the eternal servants of the Lord." Sometimes the devotee becomes filled with the same awe and reverence by seeing a picture of Viṣṇu, who is dressed like Kṛṣṇa and who has a similar complexion. The only difference is that Viṣṇu has four hands, in which He holds the conchshell, the disc, the club and the lotus flower. Lord Viṣṇu is always decorated with many valuable jewels, such as the candrakānta stone and the sūryakānta stone.
Among all the anugas, Raktaka is considered to be the chief. The description of his bodily features is as follows: "He wears yellow clothing, and his bodily color is just like newly grown grass. He is very expert in singing and is always engaged in the service of the son of Mahārāja Nanda. Let us all become the followers of Raktaka in offering transcendental loving service to Kṛṣṇa!" An example of the attachment felt by Raktaka toward Lord Kṛṣṇa can be understood from his statement to Rasada: "Just hear me! Please place me so that I may always be engaged in the service of Lord Kṛṣṇa, who has now become famous as the lifter of the Govardhana Hill."
The vayasyas in Vṛndāvana are in such intimate friendship with Kṛṣṇa that sometimes they think themselves as good as Kṛṣṇa. Here is an instance of such friendly feeling: When Kṛṣṇa was holding up Govardhana Hill with His left hand, the vayasyas said, "Dear friend, You have been standing for the last seven days and nights without any rest. This is very troublesome for us, because we see that You have undertaken a severely laborious task. We think, therefore, that You need not continue to stand in that way holding the hill. You can just transfer it onto Sudāmā's hand. We are very much aggrieved to see You in this position. If you think that Sudāmā is not able to support Govardhana Hill, then at least You should change hands. Instead of supporting it with Your left hand, please transfer it to Your right hand, so that we can give Your left hand a massage." This is an instance of intimacy, showing how much the vayasyas considered themselves to be equal to Kṛṣṇa.
One of the elderly friends said, "My dear Maṇḍalībhadra, why are you wielding a shining sword as though you were running toward Ariṣṭāsura to kill him? My dear Baladeva, why are You unnecessarily bearing that heavy plow? My dear Vijaya, don't be unnecessarily agitated. My dear Bhadravardhana, there is no need to make these threatening motions. If you will all look more closely you will see that it is only a thundercloud upon Govardhana Hill; it is not the Ariṣṭāsura in the shape of a bull, as you have imagined." These older, well-wishing friends of Kṛṣṇa had imagined a large cloud to be the Ariṣṭāsura, appearing in the shape of a huge bull. In the midst of their excitement one of them ascertained that it was actually only a cloud on Govardhana Hill. He therefore informed the others not to take the trouble of worrying about Kṛṣṇa, because there was no present danger from Ariṣṭāsura.
The symptoms of the kaiśora age have already been described, and it is at this age that devotees generally most appreciate Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa with Rādhārāṇī is worshiped as Kiśora-kiśorī. Kṛṣṇa does not increase His age that although He is the oldest personality and has innumerable different forms, His original form is always youthful. In the pictures of Kṛṣṇa on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra we can see that He is youthful, although at that time He was old enough to have sons, grandsons and great-grandsons. The cowherd boyfriends of Kṛṣṇa once said, "Dear Kṛṣṇa, You need not decorate Your body with so many ornaments. Your transcendental features are themselves so beautiful that You do not require any ornamentation." At this age, whenever Kṛṣṇa begins to vibrate His flute early in the morning, all of His friends immediately get up from bed just to join Him in going to the pasturing grounds. One of the friends once said, "My dear cowherd friends, the sound of Kṛṣṇa's flute from above Govardhana Hill is telling us that we need not go to search Him out on the bank of the Yamunā."
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Tenth Canto, Eighth Chapter, verse 45, it is stated by Śukadeva Gosvāmī that mother Yaśodā accepted Lord Kṛṣṇa as her son, although He is accepted in the Vedas as the King of heaven, in the Upaniṣads as the impersonal Brahman, in philosophy as the supreme male, by the yogīs as the Supersoul and by the devotees as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Once mother Yaśodā addressed one of her friends in this way: "Nanda Mahārāja, the leader of the cowherd men, worshiped Lord Viṣṇu, along with me, and as a result of this worship, Kṛṣṇa has been saved from the clutches of Pūtanā and other demons. The twin arjuna trees were, of course, broken due to a strong wind, and although Kṛṣṇa appeared to have lifted Govardhana Hill along with Balarāma, I think that Nanda Mahārāja actually held the mountain. Otherwise how could it have been possible for a little boy to lift such a great hill?" This is another example of ecstasy in parental love.
Sometimes there are examples of mother Yaśodā's becoming stunned in ecstasy. This was exhibited when she saw her son lifting Govardhana Hill. When Kṛṣṇa was standing, raising the hill, mother Yaśodā hesitated to embrace Him and became stunned. The dangerous position that Kṛṣṇa had accepted by lifting the hill brought tears to her eyes. With her eyes filled with tears she could not see Kṛṣṇa anymore, and because her throat was choked up by anxiety she could not even instruct Kṛṣṇa as to what He should do in that position. This is a symptom of becoming stunned in ecstatic love.
There is an example of a mixture of several humors with devotional service as follows. When Kṛṣṇa was holding up Govardhana Hill with His left hand, His hair became scattered all over His shoulders, and He appeared to be perspiring. When mother Yaśodā saw this scene, she began to tremble. Then, as she stared at the scene with broadened eyes, she saw Kṛṣṇa begin to exhibit varieties of facial caricatures. Mother Yaśodā then became very happy and began to smile. Then again, when she thought that Kṛṣṇa was holding up the hill for such an extremely long time, her clothes became soaked with perspiration. May mother Yaśodā Vrajeśvarī protect the whole universe by her infinite mercy! In this example, the whole is parental love, and the parts are dread, wonder, laughter, compassion, etc.
Nectar of Instruction
The holy place known as Mathurā is spiritually superior to Vaikuṇṭha, the transcendental world, because the Lord appeared there. Superior to Mathurā—Purī is the transcendental forest of Vṛndāvana because of Kṛṣṇa's rāsa-līlā pastimes. And superior to the forest of Vṛndāvana is Govardhana Hill, for it was raised by the divine hand of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and was the site of His various loving pastimes. And, above all, the superexcellent Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa stands supreme, for it is overflooded with the ambrosial nectarean prema of the Lord of Gokula, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Where, then, is that intelligent Person who is unwilling to serve this divine Rādhā-kuṇḍa, which is situated at the foot of Govardhana Hill?
The spiritual world is three fourths of the total creation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and it is the most exalted region. The spiritual world is naturally superior to the material world; however, Mathurā and the adjoining areas, although appearing in the material world, are considered superior to the spiritual world because the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself appeared at Mathurā. The interior forests of Vṛndāvana are considered superior to Mathurā because of the presence of the twelve forests (dvādaśa-vana), such as Tālavana, Madhuvana and Bahulāvana, which are famous for the various pastimes of the Lord. Thus the interior Vṛndāvana forest is considered superior to Mathurā, but superior to these forests is the divine Govardhana Hill because Kṛṣṇa lifted Govardhana Hill like an umbrella, raising it with His lotuslike beautiful hand to protect His associates, the denizens of Vraja, from the torrential rains sent by the angry Indra, King of the demigods. It is also at Govardhana Hill that Kṛṣṇa tends the cows with His cowherd friends, and there also He had His rendezvous with His most beloved Śrī Rādhā and engaged in loving pastimes with Her. Rādhā-kuṇḍa, at the foot of Govardhana, is superior to all because it is there that love of Kṛṣṇa overflows. Advanced devotees prefer to reside at Rādhā-kuṇḍa because this place is the site of many memories of the eternal loving affairs between Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī (rati-vilāsa).
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
“Dear Lord, when You appear in Your different incarnations, You take different names and forms according to different situations. Lord Kṛṣṇa is Your name because You are all-attractive; You are called Śyāmasundara because of Your transcendental beauty. Śyāma means "blackish," yet it is said that You are more beautiful than thousands of Cupids (kandarpa-koṭi-kamanīya). Although You appear in a color which is compared to the blackish cloud, because You are the Transcendental Absolute, Your beauty is many, many times more attractive than the delicate body of Cupid. Sometimes You are called Giridhārī because You lifted the hill known as Govardhana. You are sometimes called Nandanandana or Vāsudeva or Devakīnandana because You appear as the son of Mahārāja Nanda or Vasudeva or Devakī. Impersonalists think that Your many names or forms are given according to a particular type of work and quality because they accept You from the position of a material observer.
Garga Muni further hinted to Nanda Mahārāja that his son would also be called Giridhārī because of His uncommon pastime of lifting Govardhana Hill. Since Garga Muni was an astrologer, he could understand everything past and future, and thus he said, "I know everything about His activities and names, but others do not know. This child will be very pleasing to all the cowherd men and cows. Being very popular in Vṛndāvana, He will be the cause of all good fortune for you. Because of His presence, you will overcome all kinds of material calamities, despite opposing elements."
After this incident, all the elder cowherd men assembled together, and Nanda Mahārāja presided. They began to consult amongst themselves how to stop the great disturbances in Mahāvana on account of the demons. In this meeting, Upananda, the brother of Nanda Mahārāja, was present. He was considered to be learned and experienced, and he was a well-wisher of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. He was a leader, and he addressed the meeting as follows: "My dear friends! Now we should leave here for another place because we are continually finding that great demons are coming here to disturb the peaceful situation, and they are especially attempting to kill the small children. Just consider Pūtanā and Kṛṣṇa. It was simply by the grace of Lord Hari that Kṛṣṇa was saved from the hands of such a great demon. Next the whirlwind demon took Kṛṣṇa away into the sky, but by the grace of Lord Hari He was saved, and the demon fell down on a stone slab and died. Very recently, this child was playing between two trees, and the trees fell down violently, and yet there was no injury to the child. So Lord Hari saved Him again. Just imagine the calamity if this child or any other child playing with Him were crushed by the falling trees! Considering all these incidents, we must conclude that this place is no longer safe. Let us leave. We have all been saved from different calamities by the grace of Lord Hari. Now we should be cautious and leave this place and reside somewhere where we can live peacefully. I think that we should all go to the forest known as Vṛndāvana, where just now there are newly grown plants and herbs. It is very suitable for pasturing ground for our cows, and we and our families, the gopīs with their children, can very peacefully live there. Near Vṛndāvana is Govardhana Hill, which is very beautiful, and there are newly grown grass and fodder for the animals, so there will be no difficulty in living there. I therefore suggest that we start immediately for that beautiful place, as there is no need to waste any more time. Let us prepare all our carts immediately, and, if you like, let us go, keeping all the cows in front."
In this way, after reaching Vṛndāvana, where everyone lives eternally, very peacefully and happily, they encircled Vṛndāvana, drew all the carts together in a half circle, and in this way constructed a temporary residence. When Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma saw the beautiful appearance of Vṛndāvana, Govardhana Hill and the banks of the river Yamunā, They felt very happy. As They grew up They began talking with Their parents and others in childish language, and thus They gave great pleasure to all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana.
One day, a few days before a year had passed, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were maintaining the calves in the forest when They saw some cows grazing on the top of Govardhana Hill. The cows could see down into the valley where the calves were being taken care of by the boys. Suddenly, on sighting the calves, the cows began to run toward them. They leaped downhill with joined front and rear legs. The cows were so melted with affection for the calves that they did not care about the rough path from the top of Govardhana Hill down to the pasturing ground. They approached the calves with their milk bags full of milk, and they raised their tails upwards. When they were coming down the hill, their milk bags were pouring milk on the ground out of intense maternal affection for the calves, although they were not their own calves. These cows had their own calves, and the calves that were grazing beneath Govardhana Hill were larger; they were not expected to drink milk directly from the milk bag but were satisfied with the grass. Yet all the cows came immediately and began to lick their bodies, and the calves also began to suck milk from the milk bags. There appeared to be a great bond of affection between the cows and calves.
When the cows were running down from the top of Govardhana Hill, the men who were taking care of them tried to stop them. Older cows are taken care of by the men, and the calves are taken care of by the boys; and as far as possible, the calves are kept separate from the cows, so that the calves do not drink all the available milk. Therefore the men who were taking care of the cows on the top of Govardhana Hill tried to stop them, but they failed. Baffled by their failure, they were feeling ashamed and angry. They were very unhappy, but when they came down and saw their children taking care of the calves, they all of a sudden became very affectionate toward the children. It was very astonishing. Although the men came down disappointed, baffled and angry, as soon as they saw their own children, their hearts melted with great affection. At once their anger, dissatisfaction and unhappiness disappeared. They began to show paternal love for the children, and with great affection they lifted them in their arms and embraced them. They began to smell their children's heads and enjoy their company with great happiness. After embracing their children, the men took the cows back to the top of Govardhana Hill. Along the way they began to think of their children, and affectionate tears fell from their eyes.
After finishing their lunch, Kṛṣṇa and His friends and calves began to return to their Vrajabhūmi homes. While passing, they enjoyed seeing the dead carcass of Aghāsura in the shape of a gigantic serpent. When Kṛṣṇa returned home to Vrajabhūmi, He was seen by all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana. He was wearing a peacock feather in His helmet, which was also decorated with forest flowers. Kṛṣṇa was also garlanded with flowers and painted with different colored minerals collected from the caves of Govardhana Hill. Govardhana Hill is always famous for supplying natural red oxides, and Kṛṣṇa and His friends painted their bodies with them. Each of them had a bugle made of buffalo horn and a stick and a flute, and each called his respective calves by their particular names. They were so proud of Kṛṣṇa's wonderful activities that, while entering the village, they all sang His glories. All the gopīs in Vṛndāvana saw beautiful Kṛṣṇa entering the village. The boys composed nice songs describing how they were saved from being swallowed by the great serpent and how the serpent was killed. Some described Kṛṣṇa as the son of Yaśodā, and others as the son of Nanda Mahārāja. "He is so wonderful that He saved us from the clutches of the great serpent and killed him," they said. But little did they know that one year had passed since the killing of Aghāsura.
Vṛndāvana forest improved from the rains and was replete with ripened dates, mangoes, blackberries and other fruits. Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, along with His boyfriends and Lord Balarāma, entered the forest to enjoy the new seasonal atmosphere. The cows, being fed by new grasses, became very healthy, and their milk bags were all very full. When Lord Kṛṣṇa called them by name, they immediately came to Him out of affection, and in their joyful condition the milk flowed from their bags. Lord Kṛṣṇa was very much pleased when passing through the Vṛndāvana forest by the site of Govardhana Hill. On the bank of the Yamunā He saw all the trees decorated with beehives pouring honey. There were many waterfalls on Govardhana Hill, and their flowing made a nice sound. Kṛṣṇa heard them as He looked into the caves of the hill. When the rainy season was not ended completely but was gradually turning to autumn, sometimes, especially when there was rainfall within the forest, Kṛṣṇa and His companions would sit under a tree or within the caves of Govardhana Hill and enjoy eating the ripened fruits and talking with great pleasure. When Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were in the forest, mother Yaśodā used to send Them some fruits, sweetmeats and rice mixed with yogurt. Kṛṣṇa would take them, sit down on a slab of stone on the bank of the Yamunā, and call His friends to join Him. While Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma and Their friends were eating, they watched the cows, calves and bulls. The cows appeared to be a little tired from standing with their heavy milk bags. By sitting and chewing grass, they became happy, and Kṛṣṇa was pleased to see them. He was proud to see the beauty of the forest due to the rainy season, which was nothing but the manifestation of His own energy. At such times Kṛṣṇa would praise nature's special activities during the rainy season. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that the material energy, or nature, is not independent in its actions. Nature is acting under the superintendence of Kṛṣṇa. This is confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā, which states that material nature, known as Durgā, is acting as the shadow of Kṛṣṇa. Whatever order is sent from Kṛṣṇa, material nature obeys. Therefore the natural beauty created by the rainy season was acted out according to the indications of Kṛṣṇa, who thus felt very proud of material nature's beautiful activities.
Another gopī spoke thus to her friends about Kṛṣṇa: "Dear friend, our Vṛndāvana is proclaiming the glories of this entire earth because this planet is glorified by the lotus footprints of the son of Devakī. Besides that, when Govinda plays His flute, the peacocks immediately become mad, as if they had heard the rumbling of a new cloud. When all the animals and trees and plants, either on the top of Govardhana Hill or in the valley, see the dancing of the peacocks, they all stand still and listen to the transcendental sound of the flute with great attention. We think that this boon is not possible or available on any other planet." Although the gopīs were village cowherd women and girls, they had extensive Vedic knowledge. Such is the effect of Vedic civilization. People in general would learn the highest truths of the Vedas simply by hearing from authoritative sources.
Another gopī began to praise the unique position of Govardhana Hill in this way: "How fortunate is this Govardhana Hill, for it is enjoying the association of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, who are accustomed to walking on it. Thus Govardhana is always in touch with the lotus feet of the Lord. And because Govardhana Hill is so obliged to Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, it is supplying different kinds of fruits, roots and herbs, as well as very pleasing crystal water from its lakes, in presentation to the Lord. The best presentation offered by Govardhana Hill, however, is newly grown grass for the cows and calves. Govardhana Hill knows how to please the Lord by pleasing His most beloved associates, the cows and the cowherd boys."
While Kṛṣṇa was engaged in tending the cows in the forest of Vṛndāvana or on Govardhana Hill, the gopīs in the village were always absorbed in thinking of Him and discussing His different pastimes. This is the perfect example of Kṛṣṇa consciousness: to somehow or other remain always engrossed in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa. The vivid example is always present in the behavior of the gopīs; therefore Lord Caitanya declared that no one can worship the Supreme Lord by any method which is better than the method of the gopīs. The gopīs were not born in very high brāhmaṇa or kṣatriya families; they were born in the families of vaiśyas, and not in big mercantile communities but in the families of cowherd men. They were not very well educated, although they heard all sorts of knowledge from the brāhmaṇas, the authorities of Vedic knowledge. The gopīs' only purpose was to remain always absorbed in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa.
Kṛṣṇa further explained to His father, "This cosmic manifestation is going on under the influence of three modes of material nature—goodness, passion and ignorance. These three modes are the causes of creation, maintenance and destruction. The cloud is caused by the action of the mode of passion; therefore it is the mode of passion which causes the rainfall. And after the rainfall, the living entities derive the result—success in agricultural work. What, then, has Indra to do with this affair? Even if you do not please Indra, what can he do? We do not derive any special benefit from Indra. Even if he is there, he pours water on the ocean also, where there is no need of water. So he is pouring water on the ocean or on the land; it does not depend on our worshiping him. As far as we are concerned, we do not need to go to another city or village or foreign country. There are palatial buildings in the cities, but we are satisfied living in this forest of Vṛndāvana. Our specific relationship is with Govardhana Hill and Vṛndāvana forest and nothing more. I therefore request you, My dear father, to begin a sacrifice which will satisfy the local brāhmaṇas and Govardhana Hill, and let us have nothing to do with Indra."
After hearing this statement by Kṛṣṇa, Nanda Mahārāja replied, "My dear boy, since You are asking, I shall arrange for a separate sacrifice for the local brāhmaṇas and Govardhana Hill. But for the present let me execute this sacrifice known as Indra-yajña."
But Kṛṣṇa replied, “My dear father, don’t delay. The sacrifice you propose for Govardhana and the local brāhmaṇas will take much time. Better take the arrangement and paraphernalia you have already made for the Indra-yajña and immediately engage them to satisfy Govardhana Hill and the local brāhmaṇas.”
The sacrifice known as Govardhana-pūjā is observed in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Lord Caitanya has recommended that since Kṛṣṇa is worshipable, so His land—Vṛndāvana and Govardhana Hill—is also worshipable. To confirm this statement, Lord Kṛṣṇa said that Govardhana-pūjā is as good as worship of Him. From that day, Govardhana-pūjā has been going on and is known as Annakūṭa. In all the temples of Vṛndāvana or outside of Vṛndāvana, huge quantities of food are prepared in this ceremony and are very sumptuously distributed to the general population. Sometimes the food is thrown to the crowds, and they enjoy collecting it off the ground. From this we can understand that prasādam offered to Kṛṣṇa never becomes polluted or contaminated, even if it is thrown on the ground. The people therefore collect and eat it with great satisfaction.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, therefore advised the cowherd men to stop the Indra-yajña and begin the Govardhana-pūjā in order to chastise Indra, who was very much puffed up at being the supreme controller of the heavenly planets. The honest and simple cowherd men, headed by Nanda Mahārāja, accepted Kṛṣṇa's proposal and executed in detail everything He advised. They performed Govardhana worship and circumambulation of the hill. (Following the inauguration of Govardhana-pūjā, people in Vṛndāvana still dress nicely and assemble near Govardhana Hill to offer worship and circumambulate the hill, leading their cows all around.) According to the instruction of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Nanda Mahārāja and the cowherd men called in learned brāhmaṇas and began to worship Govardhana Hill by chanting Vedic hymns and offering prasādam. The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana assembled together, decorated their cows and gave them grass. Keeping the cows in front, they began to circumambulate Govardhana Hill. The gopīs dressed themselves very luxuriantly and sat in bull-driven carts, chanting the glories of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes. The brāhmaṇas, assembled there to act as priests for Govardhana-pūjā, offered their blessings to the cowherd men and their wives, the gopīs.
When everything was complete, Kṛṣṇa assumed a great transcendental form and declared to the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana that He was Himself Govardhana Hill in order to convince the devotees that Govardhana Hill and Kṛṣṇa Himself are identical. Then Kṛṣṇa began to eat all the food offered there. The identity of Kṛṣṇa and Govardhana Hill is still honored, and great devotees take rocks from Govardhana Hill and worship them exactly as they worship the Deity of Kṛṣṇa in the temples. The followers of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement may therefore collect small rocks or pebbles from Govardhana Hill and worship them at home, because this worship is as good as Deity worship. The form of Kṛṣṇa who began to eat the offerings was separately constituted, and Kṛṣṇa Himself, along with the other inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, offered obeisances to the Deity as well as Govardhana Hill. In offering obeisances to the huge form of Kṛṣṇa and Govardhana Hill, Kṛṣṇa declared, "Just see how Govardhana Hill has assumed this huge form and is favoring us by accepting all the offerings!" Kṛṣṇa also declared at that meeting, "One who neglects the worship of Govardhana-pūjā, as I am personally conducting it, will not be happy. There are many snakes on Govardhana Hill, and persons neglecting the prescribed duty of Govardhana-pūjā will be bitten by these snakes and killed. In order to assure the good fortune of the cows and themselves, all people of Vṛndāvana near Govardhana must worship the hill, as prescribed by Me."
Thus performing the Govardhana-pūjā sacrifice, all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana followed the instructions of Kṛṣṇa, the son of Vasudeva, and afterwards they returned to their respective homes.
Upon hearing their prayer, Kṛṣṇa could understand that Indra, being bereft of his sacrificial honor, was pouring down rain that was accompanied by heavy pieces of ice and strong winds, although all this was out of season. Kṛṣṇa understood that this was a deliberate exhibition of anger by Indra. He therefore concluded, "This demigod who thinks himself supreme has shown his great power, but I shall answer him according to My position, and I shall teach him that he is not autonomous in managing universal affairs. I am the Supreme Lord over all, and I shall thus take away his false prestige, which has risen from his power. The demigods are My devotees, and therefore it is not possible for them to forget My supremacy, but somehow or other he has become puffed up with material power and thus is now maddened. I shall act in such a way as to relieve him of this false prestige. I shall give protection to My pure devotees in Vṛndāvana, who are at present completely dependent on My mercy and whom I have taken completely under My protection. I must save them by My mystic power."
Thinking in this way, Lord Kṛṣṇa immediately picked up Govardhana Hill with one hand, exactly as a child picks up a mushroom from the ground. Thus He exhibited His transcendental pastime of lifting Govardhana Hill. Lord Kṛṣṇa then addressed His devotees, "My dear brothers, My dear father, My dear inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, you can now safely enter under the umbrella of Govardhana Hill, which I have just lifted. Do not be afraid of the hill and think that it will fall from My hand. You have been too much afflicted from the heavy rain and strong wind; therefore I have lifted this hill, which will protect you exactly like a huge umbrella. I think this is a proper arrangement to relieve you of your immediate distress. Be happy along with your animals underneath this great umbrella." Being assured by Lord Kṛṣṇa, all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana entered beneath the great hill along with their property and animals, and they all appeared to be safe.
The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana and their animals remained there for one week without being disturbed by hunger, thirst or any other discomforts. They were simply astonished to see how Kṛṣṇa was holding up the mountain with the little finger of His left hand. Seeing the extraordinary mystic power of Kṛṣṇa, Indra, the King of heaven, was thunderstruck and baffled in his determination. He immediately called for all the clouds and asked them to desist. When the sky became completely cleared of all clouds and there was sunrise again, the strong wind stopped. At that time Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, known now as the lifter of Govardhana Hill, said, "My dear cowherd men, now you can leave and take your wives, children, cows and valuables, because everything is ended. The inundation has gone down, along with the swelling waters of the river."
All the men loaded their valuables on carts and slowly left with their cows and other paraphernalia. After they had cleared out everything, Lord Kṛṣṇa very slowly replaced Govardhana Hill in exactly the same position it had been before.
One of them said, “My dear friends, considering His wonderful activities, how is it possible that such an uncommon boy would come and live with us in Vṛndāvana? It is really not possible. Just imagine! He is now only seven years old! How is it possible for Him to lift Govardhana Hill in one hand and hold it up just as the king of elephants holds a lotus flower? To lift a lotus flower is a most insignificant thing for an elephant, and similarly Kṛṣṇa lifted Govardhana Hill without exertion.
Another one of the friends of Nanda Mahārāja said, "My dear Nanda, we do not know why we are so attracted by your son Kṛṣṇa. We want to forget Him, but this is impossible. Why are we so naturally affectionate toward Him? Just imagine how wonderful it is! On one hand He is only a boy of seven years, and on the other hand there is a huge hill like Govardhana Hill, and He lifted it so easily! O Nanda Mahārāja, we are now in great doubt—your son Kṛṣṇa must be one of the demigods. He is not at all an ordinary boy. Maybe He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
When all the cowherd men had very attentively heard the statements of Gargācārya through Nanda Mahārāja, they better appreciated the wonderful activities of Kṛṣṇa and became very jubilant and satisfied. They began to praise Nanda Mahārāja, because by consulting him their doubts about Kṛṣṇa were cleared. They said, "Let Kṛṣṇa, who is so kind, beautiful and merciful, protect us. When angry Indra sent torrents of rain, accompanied by showers of ice blocks and high wind, He immediately took compassion upon us and saved us and our families, cows and valuable possessions by picking up Govardhana Hill, just as a child picks up a mushroom. He saved us so wonderfully. May He continue to glance mercifully over us and our cows. May we live peacefully under the protection of wonderful Kṛṣṇa."
When Kṛṣṇa saved the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana from the wrath of Indra by lifting Govardhana Hill, a surabhi cow from Goloka Vṛndāvana, as well as King Indra from the heavenly planets, appeared before Him. Indra, the King of heaven, was conscious of his offense before Kṛṣṇa; therefore he stealthily appeared before Him in a secluded place. He immediately fell down at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, although his own crown was dazzling like sunshine. Indra knew about the exalted position of Kṛṣṇa because Kṛṣṇa is the master of Indra, but he could not believe that Kṛṣṇa could come down and live in Vṛndāvana among the cowherd men. When Kṛṣṇa defied the authority of Indra, Indra became angry because he thought that he was all in all within this universe and that no one was as powerful as he. But after this incident, his false, puffed-up prestige was destroyed. Being conscious of his subordinate position, he appeared before Kṛṣṇa with folded hands and began to offer the following prayers.
"My dear Lord," Indra said, “being puffed up by my false prestige, I thought that You had offended me by not allowing the cowherd men to perform the Indra-yajña, and I thought that You wanted to enjoy the offerings that were arranged for the sacrifice. I thought that in the name of a Govardhana sacrifice You were taking my share of profit, and therefore I mistook Your position. Now by Your grace I can understand that You are the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, and that You are transcendental to all material qualities.
The Govardhana-pūjā ceremony took place on the new-moon day. After this, there were torrents of rain and hailstorms imposed by King Indra for seven days. Nine days of the waxing moon having passed, on the tenth day King Indra worshiped Lord Kṛṣṇa, and thus the matter was satisfactorily settled. After this, on the eleventh day of the full moon, Ekādaśī, Mahārāja Nanda observed fasting for the whole day, and just early in the morning of the next day, Dvādaśī, he went to take a bath in the river Yamunā. He entered deep into the water of the river, but he was arrested immediately by one of the servants of Varuṇadeva. This servant brought Nanda Mahārāja before the demigod Varuṇa and accused him of taking a bath in the river at the wrong time.
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated that the rāsa dance took place on the full-moon night of the śarat season. From the statements of previous chapters, it appears that the festival of Govardhana-pūjā was performed just after the dark-moon night of the month of Kārttika, and thereafter the ceremony of Bhrātṛ-dvitīyā was performed; then the wrath of Indra was exhibited in the shape of torrents of rain and hailstones, and Lord Kṛṣṇa held up Govardhana Hill for seven days, until the ninth day of the moon. Thereafter, on the tenth day, the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana were talking amongst themselves about the wonderful activities of Kṛṣṇa, and the next day, Ekādaśī, was observed by Nanda Mahārāja. On the next day, Dvādaśī, Nanda Mahārāja went to take a bath in the Ganges and was arrested by one of the men of Varuṇa; then he was released by Lord Kṛṣṇa. Then Nanda Mahārāja, along with the cowherd men, was shown the spiritual sky.
In this way, the full-moon night of the śarat season came to an end. The full-moon night of Āśvina is called śarat-pūrṇimā. It appears from the statements of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that Kṛṣṇa had to wait another year for such a moon before enjoying the rāsa dance with the gopīs. At the age of seven years He lifted Govardhana Hill. Therefore the rāsa dance took place during His eighth year.
One of the gopīs took another gopī on her shoulders, just as Kṛṣṇa used to take His boyfriends. Absorbed in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa, the gopī who was carrying her friend began to boast that she was Kṛṣṇa herself: "All of you just see my movement!" One of the gopīs raised her hand with her covering garments and said, “Now don’t be afraid of the torrents of rain and severe hurricanes. I’ll save you!” In this way she imitated the lifting of Govardhana Hill.
A Māyāvādī philosopher may falsely claim to be God or Kṛṣṇa, but he cannot actually act like Kṛṣṇa. He can persuade his followers to falsely imitate the rāsa dance, but he is unable to lift Govardhana Hill.
Kṛṣṇa's lifting of Govardhana Hill and His killing of great demons like Pūtanā are all obviously extraordinary activities.
When Kṛṣṇa traveled through the Vṛndāvana forest or walked on Govardhana Hill, He was accompanied by the cowherd boys. While walking, He played His flute just to call His cows. Just by His association, the trees, plants and other vegetation in the forest immediately became Kṛṣṇa conscious.
One gopī said, "My dear friends, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma are nicely dressed with earrings and pearl necklaces. They enjoy Themselves on the top of Govardhana Hill, and everything becomes absorbed in transcendental pleasure when Kṛṣṇa plays on His flute, charming the whole created manifestation. When He plays, the clouds stop their loud thundering out of fear of Him. Rather than disturb the vibration of His flute, they respond with mild thunder and so congratulate Kṛṣṇa, their friend."
Another gopī told mother Yaśodā, “My dear mother, when your son returns home, He decorates Himself with the buds of the kunda flower, and just to enlighten and gladden His friends, He blows His flute. The breeze blowing from the south creates a pleasing atmosphere because it is fragrant and very cool. Minor demigods like the Gandharvas and Siddhas take advantage of this atmosphere and offer prayers to your son by sounding their bugles and drums. Kṛṣṇa is very kind to the inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi, Vṛndāvana, and when He returns with His cows and friends, He is remembered as the lifter of Govardhana Hill. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the most exalted demigods like Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva come down to offer their evening prayers, and they accompany the cowherd boys in glorifying the qualities of Kṛṣṇa.
Later that morning, Kṛṣṇa went to play with His cowherd boyfriends on the top of the Govardhana Hill. They were imitating the play of thieves and police. Some of the boys became police constables, and some became thieves, and some took the role of lambs.
Nārada Muni did not mention Kṛṣṇa's killing Vyomāsura, which means that he was killed on the same day as the Keśī demon. The Keśī demon was killed in the early morning, and after that the boys went to tend the cows on Govardhana Hill, and it was there that Vyomāsura was killed.
He chastised the Kāliya snake in the water of the Yamunā, and He curbed the false pride of the heavenly king, Indra. Kṛṣṇa held up the great Govardhana Hill in one hand for seven continuous days and saved all the people of Gokula from incessant rain, hurricane and hailstorm.”
“Please let us know whether Kṛṣṇa now remembers His father and mother and His friends and companions in Vṛndāvana. Does He like to remember His cows, His gopīs, His Govardhana Hill, His pasturing grounds in Vṛndāvana? Or has He now forgotten all these? Is there any possibility of His coming back to His friends and relatives so we can again see His beautiful face, with its raised nose and lotuslike eyes? We remember how He saved us from the forest fire, how He saved us from the great snake Kāliya in the Yamunā, and how He saved us from so many other demons, and we simply think of how much we are obliged to Him for giving us protection in many dangerous situations. My dear Uddhava, when we think of Kṛṣṇa's beautiful face and eyes and His different activities here in Vṛndāvana, we become so overwhelmed that all our activities cease. We simply think of Kṛṣṇa—how He used to smile and how He looked upon us with grace. When we go to the banks of the Yamunā or the lakes of Vṛndāvana or near Govardhana Hill or the pasturing fields, we see that the impressions of Kṛṣṇa's footprints are still on the surface of the earth. We remember Him playing in those places, because He was constantly visiting them. When His appearance within our minds becomes manifest, we immediately become absorbed in thought of Him.
All the gopīs were solaced by the instructions of Uddhava, and they requested him to stay in Vṛndāvana for a few days more. Uddhava agreed to their proposal and stayed with them not only for a few days but for a few months. He always kept them engaged in thinking of the transcendental message of Kṛṣṇa and His pastimes, and the gopīs felt as if they were experiencing direct association with Kṛṣṇa. While Uddhava remained in Vṛndāvana, the inhabitants enjoyed his association. As they discussed the activities of Kṛṣṇa, the days passed just like moments. Vṛndāvana's natural atmosphere, with the presence of the river Yamunā, its nice orchards of trees decorated with various fruits, Govardhana Hill, caves, blooming flowers—all combined to inspire Uddhava to narrate Kṛṣṇa's pastimes. The inhabitants enjoyed Uddhava's association in the same way that they enjoyed the association of Kṛṣṇa.
When Śatadhanvā was refused help by Kṛtavarmā, he went to Akrūra and implored him to help. But Akrūra also replied, "Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa are Themselves the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and anyone who knows Their unlimited strength would never dare offend Them or fight with Them." He further informed Śatadhanvā, "Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma are so powerful that simply by willing They create, maintain and dissolve the whole cosmic manifestation. Unfortunately, persons bewildered by the illusory energy cannot understand the strength of Kṛṣṇa, although the whole cosmic manifestation is fully under His control." He cited, as an example, that Kṛṣṇa, even at the age of seven years, had lifted Govardhana Hill and had continued to hold up the mountain for seven days, exactly as a child carries a small umbrella. Akrūra plainly informed Śatadhanvā that he would always offer his most respectful obeisances to Kṛṣṇa, the Supersoul of everything created and the original cause of all causes. When Akrūra also refused to give him shelter, Śatadhanvā decided to deliver the Syamantaka jewel into the hands of Akrūra. Then, riding on a horse which could run at great speed and up to four hundred miles at a stretch, he fled the city.
Light of the Bhagavata
When Lord Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva were present, the good men of Vṛndāvana realized that it was due to the presence of the Lord that their supply of food grains was sufficient. Some of the people of Vṛndāvana, including Lord Kṛṣṇa's father, Nanda Mahārāja, used to perform sacrifices to propitiate King Indra, the king of heaven, because he is the controller of rains. Without good rains, grains cannot be produced, and therefore the people would offer sacrifices to Indra. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, however, stopped this age-old ceremony and advised His father to offer the same sacrifice to the Supreme Lord. His purpose was to teach that we need not satisfy the various demigods in charge of the various departments of cosmic affairs; instead we must offer sacrifices to the Supreme Lord, for the Lord is the master and all others are His servants. The famous anna-kūṭa ceremony, performed in Vṛndāvana especially and also in all other parts of India, was thus introduced by the Lord, and people still follow this path by worshiping Govardhana Hill, where the Lord used to take pleasure in tending cows. People also worship Giri Govardhana as identical with the Lord, because there is no difference between God and His paraphernalia and pastimes.
Only the Supreme Lord is self-sufficient. When Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared on earth five thousand years ago, He displayed His full manifestation as the Personality of Godhead through His various activities. In His childhood He killed many powerful demons, such as Aghāsura, Bakāsura and Śakaṭāsura, and there was no question of His having acquired such power through any extraneous endeavor. He lifted Govardhana Hill without ever practicing weight-lifting.