The Worship of Govardhan Hill Govardhan Puja
Worship of govardhan Govardhan Puja
In few places, Goverdhan puja, also known as Godhan puja is performed on the last day of Diwali celebrations. Observed on the fifth day, Goverdhan puja is an occasion to worship Lord Krishna. According to Vishnu-Puran, the people of Gokul commemorated a festival in honor of Lord Indra and worshiped him after the end of monsoon season every year. In his young years, Lord Krishna once prohibited the people from offering prayers to Lord Indra. Angered Lord Indra sent a torrent to sink Gokul. Lord Krishna lifted the mountain and held it as an umbrella for the people and saved them.
To protect innocent poor villagers and animals from being carried away with flood water, lord Krishna lifted the Goverdhan parvat on his little finger. Since that day young Krishna got another name of Govardhandhari. By sheltering all men and beasts under mount Goverdhan, god Krishna made Indra feel that it is his duty to bless earth with timely rainfall. This legend has initiated the worshipping of goverdhan parvat for more than five thousand years. There are lots of rituals and traditions associated with this day. Some of them are:
People make mountain shape with cow dung and worship it with flowers, rice, roli, moli, sugarcane and other pooja samagri.
Deities are given milk bath, adorned with bright attires and precious ornaments.
Pious and Religious people prepared variety of food also known as Chhappan Bhog to Krishna. With traditional customs and prayers, the variety of sweets and food is raised in the shape of mountain as bhog to deities. Worshippers take this bhog as Prasad after offering it to the god. This ritual is called ‘Annakoot’.
The temples of Mathura and Nathadwara are especially decorated with flowers; lights and tight arrangement are done to manage the crowd of devotees coming for Govardhan puja from different locations.
Other Names of Govardhan Puja
Goverdhan pujan | Bestavarsh | Gudi Padava | Varsha Pratipada/ Pratipad Padwa | Annakoot | Bali Padyam / Bali Pratipada | Muharat Pujan
Govardhan is a small place that lies off the highway to Deeg. The place is situated towards the west of Mathura and at a distance of about 26 kms. The 8 kms sandstone hill is provided with a large masonry tank that lies along the edge of the Govardan. The place is an important pilgrim place for the believers of Hindu faith and is associated with the … of Lord Krishna. The town of Govardhan has been immortalized in the poems of famous princess Mirabai who was a pious devote of Lord Krishna.
The sandstone hill, popularly known as Giriraj, is believed to have been lifted by Lord Krishna on his finger tip for seven consecutive days and nights so as to shield the people from the rains sent down by Lord Indra. Govardhan and the adjacent town of Mathura is believed to bear impressions of Lord Krishna and therefore makes up a sacred place to Hindus. The place as such witnesses a good number of devotes of Lord Krishna.
The masonry tank that lies alongside Govardhan is called Mansi Ganga. The tank is believed to have been created by divine will. The tank enclosures and flight of stairs were built by Raja Bhagwan Das and Raja Man Singh respectively. Some five kms north of the place is the famous Radha Kund were Lord Krishna is believed to have stained the bull demon Arishtasura.
At stone’s throw from Mansi Ganga is the famous temple of Haridev and the Kusum Sarovar
Regional Significance of Govardhan Puja
The celebration of Govardhana-puja or the worship of a special mountain in Vrindavan, Bharatham(the land of Krishna’s birth or appearance) which is considered non-different from Krishna. It is a festival of simple, though simple that teaches us many practical lessons about living in balance with Nature and God. For the festival a hill of sanctified food (prasadum) is created with Krishna on the top to recreate the hill. These festivities commemorate this occasion, and help us meditate on its meaning. We hear about what happened, along with plays reenacting it, worship of the cow, and circumambulating the hill as was done 5,000 years ago. also pray to enter into the deep, yet simple, essential message of this blessed event.
This worship of Govardhana Hill symbolizes the ideal life—both rural and simple—yet opulent in natural gifts, centered on cow protection, Vedic (spiritual) culture, farming and worship of God by showing gratitude for his many natural gifts. We are thus encouraged to live a healthy life centered upon love and service of Krishna in harmony with Nature. This pastime or lila of Krishna covers four chapters in the 10th Canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam. Through this and all the adventures or pastimes of Krishna we are given a glimpse of the eternal spiritual world.
It is Krishna’s special mercy that he comes here to teach us how his eternal associates live by loving and relating to him. When Krishna comes to protect his devotees from feeling acute separation in his absence and to reestablish religion he also accomplishes many tasks simultaneously. Krishna is the supreme multitasker, but only he can do this without anything lacking in his many purposes.
Some of the purposes leading up to and during the lifting Govardhan were to demonstrate that Krishna’s devotees don’t need to worship any other divinity or deva (empowered god) for their necessities. Indra, the king of heaven had become proud and conceited with his power (not recognizing that Krishna was God), and he was shown dramatically that his power was dwarfed by Krishnas.
When Indra heard that Krishna had stopped a ceremony to glorify him and was instead worshiping Govardhan hill, Indra tried unsuccessfully to destroy Vrindavana and its inhabitants by intense thunderstorms of wind and rain usually reserved for supreme devastation. It is described by Jiva Goswami that not even a leaf fell from a tree on Mt. Govardhan. Coming to his senses Indra offered praise of Krishna’s power and glory and prayers for forgiveness. This is a lesson for all of us about the possibility of forgetting that whatever we have is by the grace of God, and we should never think we are independently great and powerful.
prayers praising Govardhan hill, some of Indra’s extensive prayers, and Krishna’s reply from Shrimad Bhagavatam 10th Canto:
“Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! O my friends, this hill supplies Krsna and Balarama, along with Their calves, cows and cowherd friends, with all kinds of necessities — water for drinking, very soft grass, caves, fruits, flowers and vegetables. In this way the hill offers respects to the Lord. Being touched by the lotus feet of Krsna and Balarama, Govardhana Hill appears very jubilant.” SB 10.21.18
King Indra Prayed: “You are the father and spiritual master of this entire universe, and also its supreme controller. You are insurmountable time, imposing punishment upon the sinful for their own benefit. Indeed, in Your various incarnations, selected by Your own free will, You act decisively to remove the false pride of those who presume themselves masters of this world. Even fools like me, who proudly think themselves universal lords, quickly give up their conceit and directly take to the path of the spiritually progressive when they see You are fearless even in the face of time. Thus You punish the mischievous only to instruct them.” SB 10.27.6 & 7
After hearing Indra’s prayers Shri Krishna replied to him in a voice resonant like the clouds: “My dear Indra, it was out of mercy that I stopped the sacrifice meant for you. You were greatly intoxicated by your opulence as King of heaven, and I wanted you to always remember Me. A man blinded by intoxication with his power and opulence cannot see Me nearby with the rod of punishment in My hand. If I desire his real welfare, I drag him down from his materially fortunate position. Indra, you may now go. Execute My order and remain in your appointed position as King of heaven. But be sober, without false pride.” SB 10.27.15-17
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