Radhanath Swami speaking “The Story of a Divine Hill”, 2013 Yatra, Vrindavan, Day 7





Radhanath Swami garlanding Srila Prabhupada
Radhanath Swami garlanding Srila Prabhupada

Hare Krishna!

Thank you for being with us this evening.

Radhanath Swami portrays the mood of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Govardhan

When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was roaming on pilgrimage through the forests of Vrindavan, he came to Govardhan Hill. When he saw the first shila or rock from Giriraj, it aroused within his heart such transcendental ecstasy of prema that he embraced that rock. He was seeing and feeling his own beloved Krishna, the body of Krishna, in his embrace. He went incessantly in joy. Through this beautiful example he taught all of us, how to approach Krishna in the extraordinary ways that Krishna has manifested for us.

When Lord Chaitanya was seeing Lord Jagannath in Puri, he would stand behind the Garuda-stambha and sometimes he would actually see Jagannath in a threefold bending form, tri-bhanga, with a peacock feather and playing his flute. Krishna is making his presence felt to the world in various ways: the holy name, the holy dham, and the deity in the temple. Krishna tells us in Gita-

paritranaya sadhunam
vinasaya ca duskrtam
sambhavami yuge yuge
[BG 4.8]

That he comes to annihilate the miscreants, to protect the pious, and to reestablish the principles of religion. But beyond this Krishna’s deepest reason for coming to this world is to attract our hearts, and to give pleasure to his to devotees. Today is a festival that is celebrated all over Vrindavan: in every single temple, in every single home, ashram, and all the forests. This festival is being celebrated as ‘Govardhan Puja’ and it is one of the happiest, most elaborate festivals of the year.

By the great compassion of Srila Prabhupada, our beloved Guru Maharaj, this same festival is being celebrated all over the world in tens and thousands, perhaps hundreds and thousands of homes, and hundreds and hundreds of temples all over. It is celebrated in the same way as it is celebrated here, in Vrindavan. When Srila Prabhupad is living is Seva Kunj area, in his simple rooms in Sri Radha Damodar Temple, just beside the samadhi, the eternal residence, Bhajan Kutir of Srila Rup Goswami, Jiva Goswami, it was his prayer that he could be the instrument of the will of Lord Chaitanya, Lord Nityananda, Thakur Bhakti Vinod, and Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati, to take the great treasure of the realization of pure bhakti that has its ultimate realization in Vrindavan and to bring it to the world. Sometimes, Srila Prabhupada would say, “Most people from India go to the West because they want to get the things of the West, but I have gone to the West to give the wealth of India. And the greatest treasure of the wealth of India is the path of devotion and the capital of that spirit of bhakti is Vrindavan.” Srila Prabhupada did not leave Vrindavan to find or get something. He came to give something. Very interesting! He was almost 70 years old, he had practically no money, he didn’t have any property, he was just renting those little rooms at Radha Damodar for few rupees a month and he was going to the wealthiest, most powerful country in the world, because he saw spiritual poverty there. He went there to give wealth, to give that treasure that can bring true fulfillment to one’s life. Part of how he was giving this great treasure of the cultural of Vrindavan is, he taught his followers to celebrate these festivals. Today, we are celebrating Govardhan Puja.

Radhanath Swami recounts Vrajwasis preparing for Indra Puja festival

Yesterday we were discussing Deepavali, where the vrajwasis were very busy preparing, not only celebrating Diwali itself, but preparing for the annual festival that was to take place the next day, Indra Puja. Interesting, for generations and generations that day was called Indra Puja. But since Krishna’s time, nobody has ever heard of Indra Puja, it is Govardhan Puja and the person who is most happy with this arrangement is Indra and we will discuss the story of why.

Krishna promises in Bhagavad-Gita-

kaunteya pratijanihi
na me bhaktah pranasyati
[BG 9.31]

He promises that he will protect his devotees. In matters of love, protection is not always what we expect it to be; sometimes a parent will protect the child by punishing the child. Sometimes, the father may merely spank the child somehow to get the child to take seriously, or hurt the child just to give it a little serious lesson, at least hopefully like that. Now, for the child, the child is crying for protection from the father, because it doesn’t like to be chastised, but in matters of love, there is a higher purpose- what’s actually for the benefit the object of our love.

Srila Prabhupada gives an example of a boy who has typhoid fever, and the doctor says to the mother, “Did not give him any solid food or he will die.” But the child has just as much appetite as if he doesn’t have typhoid. So he is insisting to his mother, “I want parathas.” The mother says, “No! No! No! You cannot eat parathas, it is not good for you.” Next child is crying, “Please give me parathas. Why are you so mean to me? Why do you hate me so much? Give me Parathas! Why do you want me to suffer? Don’t you want me to be happy?” So the mother gives him parathas and he dies. I guess it’s a true story because Prabhupada told it like that.

What is love? Love is not just to please the mind and senses of somebody. Love is to actually do it is for the benefit of another. – Radhanath Swami

So, for Krishna’s devotees what is best for them, is what is favorable for the Krishna consciousness. In the Srimad Bhagvatam describes – dharmasya āpavargyasya [SB 1.2.9], in this verse, we have to be very careful that we shouldn’t even be attached to the material results of our devotion service as that could be an impediment too. It is so often seen that sometimes when we perform tapasya we really put our heart and soul into some seva, and sometimes we get really good results and sometimes due to those results we get a higher position, we get higher honor and respect, we may even get more and more power of knowledge, power of influence over others, power in management and organization. Sometimes these are external rewards for our accomplishments, but maya is there to try to somehow distract us in any possible way. Even engaging in devotional service, which is the process of actually humbling our hearts and serving in the spirit of total dependence on the grace of the Lord, Krishna says that those who are bewildered by the modes of nature think themselves to be doers of activities.

prakrteh kriyamanani
gunaih karmani sarvasah
kartaham iti manyate
[BG 3.27]

As a devotee, whatever we accomplish, we understand by grateful and humble heart that by Guru and Vaishnavas and Krishna’s grace, I am allowed to be an instrument to accomplish it. – Radhanath Swami

So, when Krishna sees a devotee being distracted in this way sometimes, he has to do the needful, to wake them up. Indra is a very great devotee and we read about him in Brihad Bhagvatamrita of Sanatana Goswami and other such scriptures. In the Swarga-Loka region, where he resides, when he performs yagya or devotional worship, the Supreme Lord Vishnu personally appears to receive his offerings. Lord physically appears, that is his power and most of the whole community of the devas or demigods are directly or indirectly under his command.

He has been given charge of the universal function not only of overseeing the heavenly planets, but also of rain. Everyone is dependent upon rain. Without rain, the grass, the trees, the flowers or any living being cannot grow. We cannot survive without rain because rain is very much the source of nourishment of all varieties of food. We have seen in some villages in India where there has been drought for many years, a type of suffering and immense hardship that people have to suffer. They would give everything for one good rain. It is very precious. If you are actually living closer to nature in garden or farming, we are every day aware, how we are depending on rain. But, when we are living in cities or in towns, suburbs, when it rains we think, ‘Oh! Why it’s raining? It’s interfering with my fun,’ because we are so much out of touch. So Indra has such a position that everywhere people are honoring him and worshiping him, because they need his help.

Radhanath Swami narrates the discussion between Krishna and Nanda Maharaj

Krishna sends to his devotees some ahankar, some false pride. When he saw all the elaborate arrangement of Indra Puja taking place by Nanda Maharaj and all of the gopas and gopis, he decided in his mind, ‘I have to protect Indra,’ and also he specially wanted to fulfill the desires of all of his devotees, the Brajwasi. He was seven years old at that time when he approached to his father Nanda Maharaj and enquired, “Can you tell me what is this endeavor that all of you are undertaking? What is the nature of the sacrifice? Who is it for? What is it purpose? How you are going to execute it? And what do you achieve from it?” Now seven year little baby is asking this question. Nanda Maharaj is the king and he is arranging everything. Some of us who have done organization of big projects, we know, how you are really really busy. Krishna sees that he is preoccupied. So he said, “We are family members, and there should be no secrets. Please tell me everything.” Nanda Maharaj in very simple way explained that, “We are vaishyas in community, cowherd men and women, and our livelihood is in growing crops, fruits and trees, vegetables, grains, and in all the gifts cows are giving us by eating grass, and for all of these things we require rain. Indra is the deva who supplies the rain. So every year on this particular day, the first day of waxing moon our forefathers have performed this Indra Puja to offer our gratitude to Indra and to satisfy him so that he will send sufficient rain, and when sufficient rain comes then materially, culturally and spiritually we can prosper because we have everything we require. It’s like somebody goes to Ganges, they take water from mother Ganga and offer to mother Ganga. Indra is sending rain, we are taking grain from the rain and we are offering back to Indra.” Nanda Maharaj said, “This is very important. This is religious principle and tradition that should be followed generation after generation.”

Krishna spoke in such a way that he knew Indra was listening. He said, “My father, according to ones activities, one gets reaction. Those are the laws of the Karma. If we do good then good things are going to come. Whatever rain is coming is according to our karma. Indra is just the executor of our Karma. If we are good then we don’t have to worship Indra, all we have to do worship our good work and Indra has to give us rains. We are living in forest. We are not living in cities, villages, and in our forest our livelihood is based on the milk of the cows. It is dependent on grass that supplied by Govardhan and blessings by the brahmans. So, we don’t have to worship this deva Indra. We should simply worship the cows, Govardhan hill and brahmans. And let us take all the paraphernalia, all the food, and everything else, and do puja of the cows, the brahmans, and Govardhan Hill.” Krishna wanted to teach that Govardhan hill is non-different than himself. He wanted to teach that there is no need to worship devotes or demigods when we actually worship the source of demigods.

When we water the root of the trees then automatically water extends to every leaf, flower, and branch of the tree. So, similarly, sarva karna karnam, when we offer our love and devotion the supreme cause of all causes, Krishna, then naturally we perfectly fulfill worship of every demigod. – Radhanath Swami

There is a beautiful verse in Bhagvatam that if you worship Krishna then automatically you worship all the devas, our forefathers, the rishis, sages; everyone is fulfilled like watering the root of the tree. But ultimately Nanda Maharaj and vrajwasis just wanted to make Krishna happy. So Nanda Maharaj agreed. Krishna told him how to perform Govardhan Puja. He said, “We should make mountains of mountains of mountains of food called Annakuta and we should have brahmans performing there pujas and yagyas for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord. Then we should feed everyone. We should feed brahmana who are doing yagyas. We should feed every type of society. We should feed poorest of the poor people. We should feed all the animals. We should get profuse grass and feed the cows. Then we should all dress very nicely and do Parikrama, walk around Govardhan Hill.”

Radhanath Swami illustrates the performance of Govardhan Puja by all Vrajwasis

Radhanath Swami speaking at Vrindavan yatra
Radhanath Swami speaking at Vrindavan yatra

So the whole Vrindavan was immersed in performing Govardhan Puja. Nanda Maharaj, under Krishna’s direction organized giant mountains of bhoga, huge mountains of rice, massive stacks of rotis, and huge mountains of various sabjis and there were kunds or lakes of kheer and also some nectarine liquid bhoga. All vrajwasis were preparing these mountains in their homes. They were coming together at Govardhan hill and preparing even bigger and bigger mountains and everyone was so happy. There were all these mountains in thousands and thousands, with so much food. At that time Krishna was just little coward boy, 7 years old, with his friends, his father and his mother. Suddenly, he manifest himself, expanded himself to be standing on the top of the Govardhan hill. He had enormous and unprecedented form. He was actually equal to the size of Govardhan Hill. It was like two hills, right next to each other, but one is the living person. Then Krishna roars with very sweet words that, “I am Govardhan hill. I have come to receive all of your offerings,” and he did this to give everyone faith that Govardhan Hill and himself are non-different. Govardhan hill is Krishna’s body. Govardhan hill is Krishna.

In a Krishna book Srila Prabhupada explains that some people in their temples in their homes, even single little stone of Govardhan hill is worshipped as Supreme Personality of Godhead. Of course we cannot whimsically take stones. It is said that to take a sheela from Govardhan hill, a few things are required to make it actually right, without making aparadhas. The recommendation is that you should put minimum same weight of pure gold back on Govardhan, and you should have the profuse heartfelt blessings of gurus and the superiors, and should be given as a loving gift by a vrajwasi. These are just a few of the proper ways to receive. Otherwise, we should worship Gaur-Nitai and come to Vrindavan to worship Govardhan hill.

So Krishna assumed this magnificent form and the little Krishna was looking at big Krishna. Little Krishna bowed down to big Krishna, to Giriraj Krishna. Nanda Maharaj and all the vrajwasis did not know what to do, they didn’t see anything like, this Govardhan hill became a person, a mountain person, Giriraj. So, they all bowed down and then under Krishna’s instruction, all the food was offered to Giriraj. This wonderful personality of Giriraj assumed many hands and arms, and he started reaching out. There were long arms, short arms, and they were reaching all four, eight, twelve directions to receive the food. Very quickly and very gracefully he was picking up the mountains. He was taking in his hands the various lakes and kunds and putting them all in his mouth. Vrajwasis were watching this. This was incredible! Here is mountainous form of Giriraj and he was reaching his arms all the way to Nandagram, going to somebody’s house and take their food. As he was eating everything, he was so happy; doing this he was blissful. This all was going inside his beautiful lotus like mouth. The Brahmans, the vrajwasis were trying to cook more and as soon as it is done, it was eaten and soon there was nothing, there was not a grain of rice, there was no Dahi, nothing else. He ate it all! And with beautiful, satisfying smile on face, he called for more, “Aniyor! Give me more!” But there was nothing anymore.

At village, Aniyor, where even today Krishna is sitting to accept things and offerings; because nature of devotion is that Krishna is hungry for our love. And more we feed him, more that hunger increases and more he is satisfied by our love and more our hunger increases to serve him. That is the dynamics of the ecstasy of love. In material sense to be hungry is a dissatisfying situation, but in devotional service it is impetus to increase the reciprocation of affection. – Radhanath Swami

So Krishna in his voice, mountain voice, was calling for more and little Krishna who is standing with the vrajwasis organized to offer Govardhan a tulsi leaf, just a single tulsi leaf. And he said, “I am satisfied now.” And then Giriraj suddenly manifested all that Bhoga again. After he ate, it all disappeared. Now, every mountain, every kunj, all the laddus, and samosas and everything else they made, all appeared again and that extraordinary form of Giriraj disappeared. Now everything was Mahaprasad. They distributed all that Mahaprasad and they were having wonderful feast. They were dancing and singing and playing musical instruments and eating the Prasad. What a festival for pleasure for Krishna!

And after prasad was distributed to everyone, they beautifully honored the cows that day: their horns were decorated with little balls of pure gold, their hoofs were decorated with pure silver, and their bodies were decorated with cloths with precious embroidered silk. They were given choice of delicious grasses and other such food that cows could eat. Each cow, each bull, and each calf was given to their full satisfaction. There were limitless cows in Vrindavan. They were offering pujas to the cows, and by Krishna’s arrangement they circumambulated the cows and they circumambulated the Brahmans, who were giving blessings. And the culmination of the day, after everyone was fed, they were singing and dancing and laughing. This was the first parikrama of Govardhan hill led by Krishna.

Some of the gopis like Yashoda, Rohini rode on ox-carts; Srimati Radharani, the gopis, and many of them rode on beautiful little carts and chariots, going around Govardhan hill. Krishna and cowherd boys were with the cows and calves with their little sticks, joking and dancing around Govardhan hill. After the Parikrama was complete everyone was satisfied. Every year before, Indra puja was kind of a boring ritual, but this was really a happy moment because Krishna made everything so exciting and so full of love. Then they all went to their homes and everyone was so happy except Indra. Indra was furious. In Bhagavad-Gita it is said

kama esha krodha esha
[BG 3.37]

Radhanath Swami recounts the actions of Indra after Govardhan Puja

Radhanath Swami speaking at Vrindavan yatra
Radhanath Swami speaking at Vrindavan yatra

Kama means that passion for selfish enjoyment: it could be sex, it could be some form of entertainment, and it could be the greed to accumulate more and more. Subtle kama means the desire for profit, adoration or distinction. When there is kama, when these desires are frustrated, when they are unfulfilled, they cause anger, krodha. Anger is like fire, it can be so uncontrolled that in spirit of anger sometimes we lose our intelligence. Gita explains, anger caused bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost; when intelligence is lost, then we do foolish things. That is what happened to Indra.

All the other demigods were watching. Indra is waiting for his ceremonial puja from Nanda Maharaj’s community, and he sees, and everyone else sees that they are not giving it to Indra. They are giving it to cows and to hill. He was insulted and he totally lost his intelligence. He was so wild with anger that he called for samvartaka clouds. These are not just the rain clouds; these are the clouds that are specifically and exclusively called upon for the purpose of the universal destruction. These are the clouds that pour so hard on the earth planet that the entire earth becomes one huge ocean, no land survives, it’s all underwater, total devastation. He called those clouds because he is their master and he screamed at them, “I have been insulted!”

It is interesting that we were speaking yesterday about how the world is a mirror of our own consciousness, and if we were seeing other people as being envious, if we see other people for all these defects and faults, it’s very likely that we are seeing it that way because we have those faults. There’s that simple saying, ‘Whenever you point one finger toward another, there are three pointing towards you.’ So we should analyze ourselves at least three times more than we analyze other people as far as how to improve.

So Indra is screaming out to samvartaka clouds and to the demigods of the wind and the storms, “Just see what has happened to Nanda. Because of my grace, he has so much wealth, his riches are enormous: so many crops, so many cows and he trades that, he barters that, he has so much gold and so much jewels, he has so much wealth and so much power because of the wealth and look what has happened to him. Because of his influence and his riches, he has become proud, and because of his pride he is dishonoring a great person like me, in favor of a talkative, little, foolish, mortal, child, like Krishna. Just see how he has become bewildered. He must be punished.” He was talking about himself and he was seeing the faults in others. The fact is, because of his wealth and because of his power, he was insulting the Supreme Personality of Godhead, because he was listening to his own mind which is just a foolish, mortal, little, child, compared to Krishna. But when childish people with childish mentalities have enormous material power, it could be very dangerous. He ordered the clouds, “Destroy the cows, and destroy the community of Vrindavan, immediately!” Indra sent massive wind storms. Suddenly here in Vrindavan, wind started blowing and then they saw in the sky the samvartaka clouds formulating: massive, thick, endless dark clouds, and the thunder.

Everything was happening in stages: first winds, then clouds, then thunder was rumbling constantly in all directions. This thunder was immense. It was rumbling with such depth that the world was shaking and then lightning bolts were flashing. Very fearful! They were flashing and crashing, flashing in the sky, flashing in the clouds, crashing down to the earth, with limitless thunderbolts. Then the rain began. When it began to rain, according to the Garga Samhita, there was limitless rain and every raindrop was coming down at a massive speed and each drop was the size of an elephant. Then as the rainstorm accelerated, it wasn’t even coming in drops anymore; the rain was falling from the sky in pillars, just pouring down. Then it became windy and very cold. Then much of the rain became hail. Hail means it turned into ice, massive solid ice balls, the size of elephants were pouring down. Limitless!

The cows were out in the pastures with their little calves. Their only thought was to protect their little calves. They were not thinking, ‘Oh! I am so cold.’ they were thinking, ‘what will happen to my little calf.’ Each cow has that kind of hanging flesh under their necks, and they were trying to cover their little calves’ heads with that flesh and they were putting the calf under their body to try to protect it from the hailstorms and the rain. They were cuddling the calves to protect it from the cold and seeing their calves crying and trembling; the cows were weeping and crying out helplessly for Krishna. The hail and the rain would come and crash down and on horns of the bulls and the bulls would be very angry. They were unhappy with Indra. It was such a helpless condition.

Radhanath Swami speaks on the way Krishna protects vrajwasis from the anger of Indra

Radhanath Swami speaking at Vrindavan yatra
Radhanath Swami speaking at Vrindavan yatra

Within a matter of seconds, the whole of vrajbhumi was becoming a lake of water, totally filled. You couldn’t see what a high place was and what a low place was. In that desperate condition, all the vrajwasis put the cows and the calves in front of them and went to Krishna’s house and prayed to Krishna, “Krishna! Krishna! maha baho! Krishna you are very great. This rain is tormenting us; it’s causing us so much suffering. Look at your little cows, who are so dear to you, how they are suffering. You promised to protect those who you are affectionate toward. Please protect your cows and protect us too. This is what they were praying.”

Viswanath Chakravarthy Thakur explains how the vrajwasis did not think Krishna to be God but some of them had heard what Gargamuni said, “Your little boy Krishna will be empowered by the strength of Lord Narayan to protect all of you in the times of the greatest dangers.” They were thinking Krishna just to be their ordinary little child but because in certain situations Narayan was giving him the strength to protect him, they all approached Krishna and Krishna smiled. He was thinking of his devotee Indra and then Krishna went from his house to Govardhan.

Usually whenever there was some sort of demon or some sort of challenge to Krishna, he would prepare himself by tightening his belt. He had a cloth belt. If a cloth belt was tied, he would just retie it a little tighter, ready for action. But Krishna was thorough; he knew Indra was watching, he didn’t even bother to tighten his belt. This was really an insult. He just went to the hill and by his yogamaya potency, the path that he walked from his home to Govardhan hill, not a drop of water could fall. So by the time Krishna got to Govardhan, his little turban and his golden dhoti, and his beautiful little flower garland, there wasn’t a drop of water on it, there wasn’t even any dust on it from the winds. Then like a little child effortlessly lifts up a mushroom, Krishna lifted Govardhan hill and he held the Govardhan hill on his left hand above his head. It also says in Srimad Bhagvatam, like an elephant holds a lotus flower that is how effortlessly Krishna was holding Giriraj. Kavikarnapura tells, when Krishna lifted this mountain, let us try through the process of sravanam or hearing, we could actually be there, because the transcendental sound vibration of Krishna and Krishna’s past times are non-different. To the degree we are absorbed in hearing these stories; we are actually there, because they are timeless. Also it’s a matter of bhava; it’s not just a matter of geographical timing, nityalila.

So here we are in Vrindavan, with all the vrajwasis and all the torrents of rain and wind and hail and freezing cold and Krishna lifts this gigantic mountain. As he lifted the mountain from the ground, even though he did it effortlessly, to separate the mountain from the ground, it made such massive sound that the earth shook. As Krishna lifted Giriraj above his head, he smiled and he said to all the brijwasis, “Everyone, please, if it is your desire, come under Govardhan hill. Govardhan was so pleased with the offering of all the food we gave him and the aratis and the parikramas, he was so satisfied with our devotion that now he has become a beautiful umbrella. And look underneath the hill, everything is just like our own home that we could ever want is right here provided by Giriraj. Everyone come and Giriraj is so happy and he is so merciful that he is just floating in the sky to give us shelter. I am effortlessly just putting my hand underneath. Everyone come and bring the most valuable things you have.”

Radhanath Swami
Devotees hearing lecture

All the brijwasis with their cows and their calves and their bulls and the most valuable possessions, they all blissfully streamed together under Govardhan hill. How beautiful it was! It was absolutely charming to see Krishna. Through his different energies, he made it the most beautiful experience. If we try to understand rationally, let’s be a little mundane in our logic right now, if all this rain is falling and it falls off Govardhan hill and then it comes down to the ground, where does it go? Where does all the water go? And at the same time, where Govardhan hill is not an umbrella, the water is falling on the ground, why doesn’t it come and flood inside, underneath the hill? It was just happening by Krishna’s will. Sudarshan chakra manifested himself to dry up the water after it hit the ground so that it wouldn’t go under the hill. Ananthasesa made a circle around the bottom of Govardhan so that all the water that was falling off would not actually come off the hill, and whatever little water did come, it looked like beautiful pearls dropping to make it very ecstatically beautiful. So in this way Indra could not get a single raindrop to go under Govardhan hill.

As everyone was underneath this jeweled umbrella of Giriraj, they were all in the circle around Giridhari, this beautiful form of Krishna: it was a threefold form Krishna. He was holding the hill with a little finger of his left hand, and all the cows, all the calves, all the bulls, all the gopas, all the gopis, all the living beings of Vrindavan were gazing upon the beautiful face of Krishna and Giridhari was gazing at each and every one of his devotees. For each one, it was almost impossible for them to even to blink their eyes as they were gazing upon the moon like face of Krishna. Just as a chakora bird gazes upon the moon and drinks the nectar of the moon through his eyes into its heart, as Krishna smiled and glanced at each devotee, they were so satisfied that for seven days and seven nights that nobody felt the slightest hunger and thirst. They never ever wanted this wonderful darshan to end. Krishna was reciprocating with each devotee according to their natural love for Krishna. To those in shanta-rasa , they were simply gazing upon Krishna, beholding his beauty and receiving his love and offering their love. For those who are in dāsya-rasa, seeing Krishna lifting the Govardhan hill in this way, they were doing every type of little service: sometimes they were fanning him and sometimes they were singing for him. And shakya-rasa, his friends Subala, Sridama, Madhumangal: they were laughing with Krishna, and joking with Krishna. Vatsalya-rasa: they were in anxiety of love because of their parental affection; they were seeing Krishna and this big mountain.

Radhanath Swami describes the exchanges between Krishna and Vrajwasis under Govardhan Hill

Radhanath Swami speaking at Vrindavan yatra
Radhanath Swami speaking at Vrindavan yatra

As everyone was underneath this jeweled umbrella of Giriraj, they were all in the circle around Giridhari, this beautiful form of Krishna: it was a threefold form Krishna. He was holding the hill with a little finger of his left hand, and all the cows, all the calves, all the bulls, all the gopas, all the gopis, all the living beings of Vrindavan were gazing upon the beautiful face of Krishna and Giridhari was gazing at each and every one of his devotees. For each one, it was almost impossible for them to even to blink their eyes as they were gazing upon the moon like face of Krishna. Just as a chakora bird gazes upon the moon and drinks the nectar of the moon through his eyes into its heart, as Krishna smiled and glanced at each devotee, they were so satisfied that for seven days and seven nights that nobody felt the slightest hunger and thirst. They never ever wanted this wonderful darshan to end. Krishna was reciprocating with each devotee according to their natural love for Krishna. To those in shanta-rasa , they were simply gazing upon Krishna, beholding his beauty and receiving his love and offering their love. For those who are in dāsya-rasa, seeing Krishna lifting the Govardhan hill in this way, they were doing every type of little service: sometimes they were fanning him and sometimes they were singing for him. And shakya-rasa, his friends Subala, Sridama, Madhumangal: they were laughing with Krishna, and joking with Krishna. Vatsalya-rasa: they were in anxiety of love because of their parental affection; they were seeing Krishna and this big mountain.

Yashoda mai was saying, “Krishna how can I tolerate seeing you like this, why are you so mischievous. For so many years, for so many generations, we were having nice Indra pujas and you are so uncontrolled in your senses that you went and told us not to worship Indra. And now he is so angry and always shooting all of these thunderbolts and all of this rain on us and you are holding Govardhan hill. It looks so heavy.”

Madhumangal was in a joking-rasa. Those with vatsalya-rasa were worried about Krishna, and those with sakhya-rasa were just playing. Madhu mangal said, “Yashoda mai, why are you saying like this. Why should we worship Indra? Look at what fool this Indra is. Just because he didn’t get what he wants, he is so envious and he is so angry that he is trying to destroy us all. Why should we worship a person like that and now we are drinking the sweet nectar of seeing Krishna in his Giridhari form, what could be better than this?”

Yashoda Mai said, “Madhumangal, why are you so impudent? Why are you saying this? What is so nectar about my little son standing holding a giant mountain with his finger? Don’t you see he is perspiring? Don’t you see he has become pale? Don’t you see he hasn’t moved in so many hours? How can you say that this is nectar? This is causing such pain to my heart.”

Madhu mangal, “No Yashoda Mai, don’t worry like this. Krishna is not lifting Govardhan, I have chanted brahmanical mantras and due to my mantras it is upholding Govardhan hill. Krishna is just standing there.”

Yashoda said, “Why are you saying like this, I am suffering and you are making jokes. Krishna is standing, he is so fatigued and you are making jokes about it.”

Nanda Maharaj said to Yashoda Mai, “Why are you chastising Madhumangal? Krishna needs encouragement at this moment and Madhumangal is giving him encouragement.”

Krishna said to Yashoda Mai, “Mother, there is no pain. There is not even an effort. In fact, Giriraj was so pleased by our pujas for him that he is just floating in the air, and just as a formality, as an instrument, my hand is underneath him. But there is no weight.”

Yashoda Mai said, “Krishna, I will only believe that if Giriraj starts floating around in the sky and disconnects from your finger. How can I, as your mother, tolerate this?” And then from the heart of her heart, Mother Yashoda prayed to Giriraj, ‘If I have ever done anything to please you, if I have ever done any highest deeds that have pleased Lord Narayan, offer me this one benediction: Krishna’s hand is as soft as a lotus and as he is holding you, please be soft, and Krishna’s arm are so small and so delicate, please be very light so that he doesn’t feel any pain.’ This was her prayer.

It reminds us of Sachidevi who was Yashoda Mai in Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lila. In Srivas Angan, sometimes her beloved son Nimai, Gauranga, would dance in kirtan and he would be in such ecstatic samadhi of sankirtan, sometimes he would jump way high in the air and then he would go into a samadhi and just fall to the ground like a bag of bones. As far as Sachi would see and it would break her heart and she prayed, she prayed to Lord Krishna, ‘If ever I have ever done anything to please you, whatever pious credits, whatever devotional service I have ever rendered in this life or any previous life, I only ask one benediction that whenever my little child Nimai falls to the ground like this that he will not feel any pain. And the other benediction is, when he falls to the ground like this, give me the benediction that I don’t see it.’

So Krishna was lifting Giriraj and Yashoda Mai was in her vatsalya, parental motherly bhava. As Krishna was holding Govardhan hill with his left-hand, everyone was gazing upon him. The brahmins were blessing him, the boys were making fun with him, and Sri Radharani and all of her gopis were just gazing into his beautiful smiling face. Through his glance and smile, Krishna was fully reciprocating with all of their heart’s love. They were taking that form of Giridhari through their eyes into the very core of their hearts and embracing him, and Krishna, as he was standing there holding Govardhan hill, in the core of his hearts he was embracing them.

What a festival! 24 hours a day for seven days no one was separated from Krishna. Usually the cows would be in the pastures during the day but then they would be in separation all night. The elderly gopas and gopis would be with Krishna in the night and in the morning and then all day they would be in separation. The boys would be all day and then all night, they didn’t even sleep, they were just thinking about the day before’s past times with Krishna and anticipating the next day. And the gopis were always dreaming, ‘When can we look at Krishna to our hearts content with no inhibitions?’ But now, Krishna was giving himself fully to everybody, all the brijwasis, constantly.

As he was holding the Govardhan hill with one finger of the left-hand, he took his flute out from his cloth belt with his right hand and put it to his mouth, and played sweet songs. When Krishna plays his flute, it’s the intimacy of the ecstasy of the love of his heart that’s emerging from his heart, coming through his mouth in the form of that air. It’s not air, its prema. It’s his prema that’s flowing through the holes of the flute and making that song. The vibration is simply love of Krishna for each and every one of his devotees which is manifesting in the most beautiful music, and whoevers hears that flute song, it enters into and goes down to the recess of their heart. Krishna personally, individually, uniquely, reciprocates with that devotee expressing his appreciation, his affection, and his love through that sound vibration. That is just a very superficial external understanding of the depth of the experience of Krishna’s flute.

He began to play his flute. Oh, what a wonderful site this was! Madhumangal became very afraid. He said, “I have seen that anyone who hears the sound vibration of your flute, he goes into ecstasy. If Giriraj goes into ecstasy, then he may fall off your little finger and then we will all be crushed to death. I have also seen the effects of your flute. The river Yamuna becomes stunned as if it is solid, and stones and rocks and trees melt as if they are liquid. Hearing your flute song, Giriraj in his ecstasy may melt in love and then we will all be drowned.” Madhumangal requested, “Krishna, please stop playing your flute. It could cause the destruction of the whole brajwasi community.” Some other gopas were saying, “No!” They were enjoying the flute very much and they said, “Giriraj is very grave! However ecstatic he is, he will maintain his stature and protect us. Nothing to fear! But listen to the sweet melodious song of his flute and see him standing there, charming our hearts.”

As the rains were pouring, it is described that there were two storms: one above the hill and one underneath the hill. Above the hill there were massive clouds, lightning, inundation of rain, rainbows. Underneath the hill, Krishna in his beautiful form of Giridhari, the complexion of a monsoon cloud was like the cloud. His golden dhoti was like lightening, his peacock feather was like a rainbow, his glance and his smile upon the brajwasis was like inundating storm, showering them with love and all of the brajwasis were drowning in that love.

Radhanath Swami brings out the frustration of King Indra

After seven days and seven nights, Indra saw that the most destructive hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, any kind of windstorm, that he was sending to somehow or other blow Giriraj off the tip of the little finger of Krishna, he couldn’t do it. Krishna was just a seven-year-old boy. It’s not that, he grew into a big size. When he came to Giriraj, he hid under the hill. He was just a little Krishna, how is this possible? When the clouds, the storms of devastation, and all these winds came, Giriraj, out of his pleasure, he actually expanded his body so that every single brajwasis and all of their loved ones could fit comfortably underneath. Giriraj was very big. There were millions of trees on Govardhan hill and on each trees there were numberless leave and flowers and on the surface there was lush fragrant green grass everywhere. In seven days, Indra did not have the power to even slightly move a single blade of grass on top of the hill. He couldn’t even get a blade of grass to go like that. He was trying with all his might, with the same powers that destroy the universe, but he couldn’t separate a single leaf from a tree. He couldn’t even move a leaf to go like this. Many prayers in the Vedic literature inform about the power of Indra’s thunderbolt- it is the analogy of the ultimate power of this world. He was continuously throwing his strongest thunderbolts on Govardhan trying to get him to move, but Krishna’s little finger was underneath Giriraj. How much space does a little finger occupy under this mountain? Because of touch of Krishna’s little finger, he was infusing through his finger so much love that that love went through his finger right into Giriraj, the mountain and totally permeated him in the ecstasy. He was just being filled, nourished with Krishna’s grace and he was in so much ecstasy that he didn’t even notice that thunderbolts were crashing against him.

viṣayā vinivartante
nirāhārasya dehinaḥ
rasa-varjaṁ raso ‘py asya
paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate
[BG 2.59]

This is a very exalted example that the things that disturb us, temptations, aversions, attractions in this world, they become insignificant when we experience the higher taste of bhakti, of love, love for Krishna, and compassion for others. The experience of pleasing Krishna and feeling Krishna’s pleasure through that little finger was so all pervading within his heart as Govardhan was tasting Krishna’s love. When he did feel the thunderbolts crashing against him, it felt just like soft fragrant flower petals falling upon him. When Krishna wants to humble his devotee, he can be expert and thorough.

According to Bhakti Rasamritasindhu, once while Krishna was reciprocating with his devotees, Sri Radharani glanced upon him with such affection and he was so attracted by her, maha-bhava or her love that he began to perspire, his hair stood on end, and he trembled, and when he trembled, Giriraj started to vibrate. All the gopas, the vatsalya-bhava gopas were thinking, ‘Our little Krishna is tired, he cannot do it anymore, and it’s too much for him.’ So they all got sticks and put it under the hill and they were thinking that they were actually holding it up. Madhumangal and some of the little sakhas said to their parent gopas, “What are you doing? Your sticks are just scratching the bottom of Govardhan hill. Our Gopal is the brother of Balram and Balram takes great pleasure in heroic deeds of strength, he doesn’t need our help.”

The brij gopis were whispering among each other, “Actually we know the secret of how Govardhan hill is remaining on Krishna’s finger. As Srimati Radharani’s maha-bhava, pure love, is so dear to Krishna that through her glance she is empowering Krishna to hold Govardhan hill.” And as they were thinking of this, Sri Krishna could understand their hearts, and Srimati Radharani showered a glance of affection upon him and a smile that completely satisfied his heart.

Indra saw that he couldn’t even have the slightest effect on anybody. The samvartaka clouds strained and struggled with all their energies and all the winds were blowing and blowing constantly, and after seven days they were totally exhausted. They all fell at Indra’s feet and begged, “We are defeated. Let us go somewhere else. We can’t continue.” Indra was outraged and he himself charged with all his strength, all alone. He could do nothing and finally he became sober and he realized who Krishna was, ‘He is not just a little talkative seven-year-old ordinary boy. He is the absolute truth, parabrahman, he is my master, whatever strength and power I have is coming only through him and I tried to destroy him and his whole community.’ In total shame all the clouds dispersed, sky was clear and the sun came out.

When Krishna saw this, he was still smiling. He never stopped smiling. He said, “Oh my beloved family vrajwasis, now the rain has stopped and the sun has come through the clouds. Everyone now go back to your respective homes.” Nobody wanted to leave but it was Krishna’s will. So the cowherd men and the cowherd ladies were leaving. They were trying to herd the cows out, but the cows were so attached, they didn’t even have to eat. The calves they would look at the beautiful form of Giridhari and tears would flow from their eyes, and they didn’t even have to drink their mother’s milk. That darshan was nourishing everyone’s hearts. As they were being herded outside from underneath Giriraj, all the cows were outside; they all ran back in to be with Krishna. They couldn’t give up his association. Krishna, as he was lifting Giriraj, he moved his eyes in such a way to herd all the cows out from underneath Govardhan hill. When everybody was outside and had returned to their homes, Sri Giridhari, very carefully placed Govardhan hill on the ground exactly as it was before he lifted it. Then he returned to his home.

Radhanath Swami recounts the discussion between Vrajwasis and Nanda Maharaj

The next day, the cowherd men assembled together to meet with Nanda Maharaj because they had some questions. They asked Nanda Maharaj, “Your Krishna is wonderful. On one side there is Govardhan hill, this enormous mountain and on the other side there is a little seven-year-old boy whose body is so soft and tender, who cries for his mother’s milk. He is lifting for seven days effortlessly, how is this possible? This is not the first time we have seen. Just days after Krishna’s birth, in Gokul Mahavan, the Rakshashi Putana came to murder Krishna and little baby infant Krishna just sucked not only the milk from her breast but sucked her life out from her. How wonderful! When he was only three months old, with his tiny little lotus like soft foot, he touched the wheel and destroyed gigantic cart filled with so many utensils and liberated that Sakatasura, the ghostly demon.

When he was just a baby of one year old, Trinvavarta picked him up after making a very devastating windstorm and brought him high, high, high into the sky, and Krishna became so heavy and held on to Trinavarta and squeezed his neck so tight that Trinavarta choked and fell dead. When he was just a little boy, he showed the universe through his mouth to Mother Yashoda. Then after being bound by Mother Yashoda, he pulled the grinding mortar and ripped down those enormous Arjuna trees. We were thinking ‘Gokul is a very dangerous place; let us move to the Vrindavan forest.’ In Vrindavan, Vatsasura, this cruel evil mystic took the form of a calf to kill Krishna and little Krishna took him by the hind legs, swirled him around, and threw him to the top of a kapita tree where there were nice kapita fruits. Then Bakasura, the most envious and evil of all the asuras appeared as a mountainous crane and your little boy effortlessly opened his mouth and opened it so much that he couldn’t live. Then Kaliya, enormous serpent with so many poisonous hoods, Krishna danced on his hoods and ultimately Kaliya surrendered and became his devotee. And Pralambasura disguised himself as a little cowherd boy and along with Balram he liberated him.

Then there was that raging forest fire. After liberating and giving pure devotional service to Kaliya, we all slept in the bank of the Yamuna that night in the forest. The fire was so engulfing that the flames were reaching the stars, on all four sides we were surrounded by wall of solid flames and they were getting closer and closer and when we turned to your Gopal, with one little tiny inhalation, he swallowed the forest fire. Today Indra sent storms of devastation and Krishna smiling, effortlessly, lifted the mountain of Govardhan to give us shelter. Wonderful, wonderful Krishna! Who is Krishna? How does he do this?” But most of all, the cowherd men said to Nanda, “Krishna attracts our hearts so thoroughly that twenty-four hours a day we could only think of Krishna. We are intoxicated with love for Krishna, we are so much attracted to Krishna and Krishna is equally attracted to us. Please tell us, what is the mystery of Krishna.”

Nanda Maharaj smiled and said, “During Krishna’s name giving ceremony, Vasudev, my dear loving friend sent Gargamuni to perform the ritual. At that time he told me a secret. He said ‘This child Krishna has many names. He has appeared in this world many times to protect his devotees, to annihilate the miscreants, to reestablish true spiritual principles. He has appeared in a white form in sata-yuga, he has appeared in a red form to establish the yuga dharma in the treat-yuga and he will appear in a golden form in the kali-yuga. In sata-yuga, he establishes the yuga dharma, the recommended method of self-realization, which is silent meditation. In treat-yuga, the performance of yagna, of elaborate precise sacrifices, and in kaliyuga, he appears in a beautiful golden form to establish the yuga dharma of harinam sankirtan.

kaler dosa-nidhe rajann
asti hy eko mahan gunah
kirtanad eva krsnasya
mukta-sangah param vrajet
[SB 12.3.51]

“In this age of Kali, which is an ocean of faults, there is one benediction that anyone, whoever we are, whatever we have done, whatever we have not done in the past, if we take shelter in the association of sincere and pure devotees and with a humble heart chant the holy names, we will attain the perfection of liberation.”


And now in this dwapar-yuga, where he has appeared in this very beautiful dark bluish form like a monsoon cloud, like a tamal tree.’” Citing from the acharyas, I am elaborating on what Gargamuni said. The Gargamuni said, “This Krishna will be the object of the love and the affection of all the residents of Gokul and he will protect you from the greatest dangers because the power of Lord Narayan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will manifest through Krishna. Please be very careful to take care of him.” Nanda Maharaj explained this to the cowherd men. Even though they understood that the power of Lord Narayan was there to protect them through Krishna, still their love and intimacy madhurya-bhava was so sweet that they were always worried about Krishna’s welfare. Even after the gopis saw Krishna lift the Govardhan hill, still when he would be in the pasturing grounds with his bare feet, they would cry, thinking, ‘His feet are so soft, softer than the softest part of any of our bodies. When they are just touched, they change colors with different shades of pink. He may step on a pebble.” Just a thought that Krishna’s delicate foot could step on a pebble, was causing pain to their heart. It was the ecstasy of the pain of love. Every day when Krishna would go out to the pastures, Nanda and Yashoda would follow him. They couldn’t bear giving up his separation. They couldn’t bear the thoughts that in the pastures there may be a hot sun that could cause inconvenience to him, and there may be a thorn or a pebble on the ground, or he may get hungry. They wanted to go with him. This is the love. When Nanda Maharaj told the story of Garga muni and everyone smiled. They were satisfied.

Radhanath Swami points out the humble position taken by King Indra

Meanwhile Indra could not sleep at night. It is explained by one of our acharyas that Krishna, Sri Radha, and the gopis, the way they were gazing with such prema, such love under the Govardhan hill that Krishna couldn’t forget it, so much so that he wanted to reciprocate. That night when all those cowherd men met Nanda Maharaj, that night, he slept outside under the stairs on a terrace. He couldn’t sleep that night. He didn’t want to sleep that night. He was totally immersed in his heart of hearts remembering the love of Sri Radha and the gopis and under the stars he played his flute all night long. That flute song went only where he wanted it to go. It went exclusively through the ears into the hearts of the gopis where they could feel Krishna was playing just for them, throughout the night. For the brijwasis, this was the most blissful festival but Indra was humiliated and humbled to such a point that he was ashamed, ‘What am I going to do now. This was quite an aparadha.’ It is one thing to accidentally touch a person with your feet or to accidentally walk over a scripture that may be on the floors or something, but he deliberately tried to destroy all Krishna’s loving devotees. Aghasura tried to destroy them all but he was a demon. Indra is a great devotee. He was sleepless. His guru Brahaspati approached him and Indra was desperate, totally helpless. He asked his guru, “Please give me instruction.” Brahaspati said, “Indra, you are an arrogant, puffed up fool, that’s all.” What else could he say? “Because you have so much wealth and so much power, you became so intoxicated, look at what you have done. The very person who gives you everything, you tried to destroy. It is beyond me. The only recourse is, you should go to Lord Brahma and ask his opinion.”

Indra went to Brahmaloka and he approached Lord Brahma. His head was down. He was seriously depressed but the greatest way to come out of depression is go to self- realized souls and get a spiritual solution. Brahma said, “Indra, you are an arrogant fool. There is nothing I can do for you. It is quite hopeless,” but Brahma said, “But there is one thing you could do, no matter what offense you have made, if you go to a dear devotee of the Lord and that loving humble dear devotee prays to Krishna on your behalf to be forgiven, then Krishna will hear your prayer, otherwise you cannot approach Krishna directly, now after what you have done. But Krishna loves the cows and the cows love Krishna. There is a material planet in this universe called Goloka and there resides Surabhi who is the mother of the cows. Approach her to appeal to Krishna to forgive you and he will forgive you.”

Here is the royal, majestic king of the heaven, Indra, approaching a cow, a mother, simple cow, and with tears. Indra has a lot of eyes, so when he cries its quiet a scene actually. It is quiet expressive. He prays to Surabhi, “Please help me!” And because of her motherly nature, she is not judgmental. She is not philosophically scrutinizing what type of karma he was meant to get. She is just feeling compassion to him. She said, “Yes, let us go to Vrindavan,” and they come and where is today Surabhi kund. That is the place that Surabhi, the cow approached Krishna. Krishna wanted to give his mercy to Indra and he wanted to do it in such a way that would not humiliate him anymore. You see all the humiliation that Indra went through, that’s what he needed, but he didn’t need any more. So Krishna was so sensitive, so caring that in the guise of going to just look at all the various parts of Vrindavan, to see how everything was after the storms, he went to a secluded place all alone, so that Indra could meet him in privacy. It was there at Surabhi kund that Surabhi, the mother, approached Gopal and she said, “Indra is very sad and he is sincerely repentant. Please show him your kindness.” Krishna could not refuse the appeal of that motherly call and with Surabhi’s indication Indra directly approached Krishna. He fell in his dandavats, his prostrated obeisance, and placed his golden jeweled crown on Krishna’s little bare lotus feet. He cried and cried. Krishna lifted him up. Indra from his heart begged forgiveness. Krishna is the parmatma in our heart, he knows our intention, and he reciprocates according to our intention. Indra was genuine and sincere; he realized his mistake. He was surrendering his life to Krishna. He offered beautiful prayers and in those prayers he expressed how Krishna is so kind. Because of his intoxication with his power, his prestige, his position, his wealth, he became arrogant.

The nature of arrogance is we start comparing ourselves to others, we start thinking that, ‘I have the right to judge others.’ We start to feel fear that someone else may usurp what I am getting gratification of having and we become corrupted. – Radhanath Swami

In his prayer Indra said, “Krishna because you saw that I was diseased with arrogance, you gave the perfect medicine to crush my pride into the finest powder and then throw it away. I only want to be your servant, serve you with love.” Krishna was very pleased with Indra and he spoke to Indra, “Yes, you were too puffed up,” and Krishna explained to Indra the nature of pure devotional service and blessed him.

It is interesting that Kaliya also tried to destroy Krishna; he killed all Krishna’s friends. He created so much poison in that lake near the Yamuna that the cowherd boys and little calves died because of the poison, and all the trees of the forest of Vrindavan in that area also died. And by Krishna’s nectarine glance, he brought all the calves and cows and the boys back to life. Then Kaliya tried to kill Krishna. He bit Krishna and Krishna just allowed himself to be bound up by his coils for a long time, and then he slipped out and danced on Kaliya’s head and danced and danced and all Kaliya’s wives and children and all the other serpents and everybody else was watching as this little boy was dancing and smiling and playing and killing, crashing every one of his head one by one. When Kaliya was completely crushed and humbled, at that point the Nagapatnis, his wives appeared and they prayed to Krishna, “Please give him pure devotional service.” It was because the Nagapatnis, who were great devotees, prayed on his behalf that Krishna gave pure bhakti to Kaliya.

Radhanath Swami
Devottes hearing lecture

We talked about the yagna-patnis – the wives of those Brahmins – they were not big gurus, they had no big high position in society, they were not learned scholars, they did not go through gurukulas and did austerities, but by their prayers and example, their husbands too were delivered.

Radhanath Swami ascertains that great devotees give us the right qualification

One time Srila Prabhupad was asked, “What was our qualification to be given entrance into the path pure devotional service, as the servants of the servants of the servants of Sri Radharani? In the bhakti of Vrindavan, what was our qualification?” Some of those devotees were hippies.

What is a hippie? There is a beautiful film; I think Yaduvar Prabhu and Vishakadevi made the film where a reporter asked Prabhupad, “Can you show me some mystic powers?”

“My power is, I have made hippies into happies!”

And they said, “Could you tell me what a hippie is?”

And Prabhupad said, “You know better than me!” But then he answered the question from the perspective of somebody who was living in Vrindavan, living in a highest culture of devotion and spiritual morality ethics and love, Prabhupad said, “A hippie is something extraordinary.”

Now, all different kinds of hippies were coming but some of them that were coming to Prabhupad had no faith in God. Some of them were eating all kinds of anything, even animals, taking intoxications, having sexual relations, without any type of spiritual relationship, anytime, anywhere. Some of them never even took baths. They never heard of Krishna and now they are devotees: living by very high levels of pure morality, ethics, and dedicating their lives to the loving service of Krishna, following in the footsteps of the residence of Vrindavan, studying Srimad Bhagavatam every morning, chanting the hare Krishna mantra which is descended from Goloka Vrindavan, coming on pilgrimage to Vrindavan to bathe in the dust of this holy place, coming to Yamuna and all the kunds and the lakes, offering prayers under the kalpavriksha trees. What was their qualification? Srila Prabhupad was very humble but very honest and he answered. We should all listen very carefully to his answer. He said, “Because whether you are a hippie from San Francisco or with your housewife or a business person from Bombay or a student from IIT, there is not much difference.” Prabhupad said, “You had no qualification, I made your qualifications.” We should never forget that it was his willingness to leave Vrindavan without any assistance whatsoever, without anyone to help and to cross continents and oceans on a cargo ship. In Srila Prabhupad’s purports of the 10th Canto of the Brahmavimohan lila, he explains, when he was on that little Jaladuta going across the Atlantic ocean, he said, he felt the Jaladuta to be like a little vulnerable matchbox floating in the ocean.

Not long ago, I was in America, and I gave a lecture and after the lecture I went to somebody’s house. I was introduced to a very interesting person. He was an elderly Indian gentleman and he told me that he was a captain in the Indian cargo ship lines and he was the captain of the Jaladuta on many of its voyages from Calcutta to New York and back. He said, he wasn’t on the voyage that Prabhupad went. I asked him about the Jaladuta. He said, “In 1965, it was already an old beaten up cargo ship and soon after that they scrapped it.” I asked, “Is there any remnants. Would like to have a piece of the Jaladuta.” He said, “It was a long ago, I don’t know.”

After coming to New York and Butler Pennsylvania, Prabhupada struggled. It was his compassion. It was his love for Krishna, his love for Radha, his love for Vrindavan, his love for his guru and our guru parampara and his love for all of us. That was our qualification. And for the people of India, he wanted to reach the people of India so much, but he saw there was such a craze towards westernization. ‘If I bring some western people and they believe in Krishna and they tell the Indian people, “Krishna so God, and we are giving up all the things that you are coming to the west for, because we want Krishna,” then the Indians will take their own culture very seriously.’ And the amazing thing is it actually worked. Now there are so many Indian devotees who are inspiring other Indian people, there is no doubt, but the seed was Srila Prabhupad was coming back with some of his followers to ignite that flame, which became the blazing fire of bhakti throughout India and throughout the world.

Indra is a great yogi, with all of his wealth, with all of his mystical cities, with all of his knowledge of the vedas, but he couldn’t approach Krishna. When he humbled himself before the mother cow, because of her devotion, her simplicity he got his qualification. Indra told Krishna, “I may be considered the king of the heavens but you are the king of all kings and it is my great wish and the wish of all the devatas, the demigods, we want to have an abhishekam and corronate you the king of all the devas, the king of all kings, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We want to recognize that.” And Krishna agreed.

The abhishek began with Surabhi bathing Krishna with her milk. That milk is not just some milk, that’s digested grass, coming through her udder after the process. That is the milk of her gratitude, the milk of her love. She is bathing Krishna with her love and the place where that abhishek took place is called Govinda kund and Indra proclaimed in the spiritual world of Goloka, the highest planet, “Your name is Govinda! Now here on earth, in this universe we want to proclaim you as Govinda.” Airavata, the carrier of Indra, brought the water of the Akash-Ganga, the celestial Ganges from the heavenly world, and bathed Krishna. Vashistamuni, Arundhati, Atrimuni, Anusuya, the great rishis and the sages and the great yoginis and the wives of the sages, they all offered Krishna beautiful gifts. Brahma, Shiva, Varuna, Vayu, Chandra, Surya, they all assembled at Govinda kund to perform the abhishek of Krishna and offered beautiful prayers. Then they clothed him with beautiful ornaments and offered the arati and then with his permission they departed. The little cowherd boys saw. They came and found Krishna there at Govardhan hill and there was celestial arati paraphernalia and incense and chamaras and fans from the heavenly worlds. They were just little children. They put Balram next to Krishna and they started fanning Krishna and they started offering him the aratis and they were just joking and laughing and playing. Demigods saw that with the same ingredients the little cowherd boys were doing arati with innocent, sweet, spontaneous, playfulness, and offering their love to Krishna. When the demigods, the devatas looked down as they were worshiping Krishna with great reverence, the demigods realized, ‘Compared to these little children, we don’t have any love at all. We don’t have any realization at all. They are the real great souls’

When Nanda Maharaja and Yashoda came and saw the children worshiping Krishna in the village of Braj, the voice of the devas came from the sky and told Nanda, “We have made Krishna, Govinda, the king of all the Gods. You should make him Brajraj, the prince of braj. Oh, you are the king of braj, make him the prince.” So Nanda Maharaj offered his love to Krishna in the form of so many devotional offerings and Yashoda Mai with her sweet motherly heart offered the arati.

We are going to be doing the Damodarashtakam. When we offer this flame, ye yatha mam prapandyante tams tathaiva bhajamyaham, Krishna accepts according to how we approach. It could be just a simple ritual or it could be the profound deepest meditation in all of existence. It is the flame of our intent to love Krishna.

Like Raghunath Das Goswami, who lived just near Sri Govardhan at Radha kund, he left behind everything that everybody could possibly want in this world, just to sleep under a tree near Govardhan hill, thinking this was the greatest ultimate blessing in his life. When we offer this flame, it’s actually a meditation of surrendering our hearts, our body, our minds, our lives, everything for Krishna’s service. Offer the lamp of our love for offering, praying that Krishna will accept, and when he accepts it, he accepts the sincerity of our devotion, he illuminates our own hearts and only when he illuminates our hearts in proportion to our sincerity then we could see who we are – jivera ‘svarupa’ haya krsnera ‘nitya-dasa,’ eternal servants of Krishna, nitya-siddha kṛṣṇa-prema ‘sādhya’ kabhu naya and then we can actually appreciate Krishna’s love for us and our love for Krishna. This is the wonderful lesson of Govardhan puja.

Thank you very much

Radhanath Swami
Radhanath Swami doing Kirtan
Radhanath Swami
Radhanath Swami doing kirtan
radhanath swami
Radhanath swami offering lamp