Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj describes the worship of Śrī Girirāj Govardhan in the line of Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī.
We received from Śrīla Guru Mahārāj a full summary of the meaning of Govardhan Pūjā and the position of Girirāj Govardhan. Govardhan Pūjā was started by Kṛṣṇa through the gopīs and other Vraja-vāsīs headed by Nanda Mahārāj. In the scripture, it is described,
śrī-kṛṣṇa-dāsa-varyo ’yaṁ śrī-govardhana-bhūdharaḥ
(Śrī Hari-bhakti-vilāsa: 16.232)
“The chief amongst the servitors of Kṛṣṇa is Govardhan.” That is the position of Govardhan originally: he is the servitor-in-chief. Why? In Govardhan, there are so many caves where Kṛṣṇa’s Pastimes go on, and there at Rādhā Kuṇḍa and Śyāma Kuṇḍa, billions of gopīs serve Kṛṣṇa in different ways by the instructions of the eight sakhīs headed by Rādhārāṇī. Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa also sleep beside Rādhā Kuṇḍa and Śyāma Kuṇḍa where there are so many kuñjas.
Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī has written in his Govardhana-vāsa-prārthanā-daśakam (2):
pramada-madana-līlāḥ kandare kandare te
rachayati nava-yūnor dvandvam asminn amandam
iti kila kalanārthaṁ lagnakas tad-dvayor me
nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam
[“O Govardhan, the Divine Couple liberally enact Their play of mad love in your caves. Please grant me a dwelling near you, Their liaison, so that I can see Their Pastimes.”]
Pramada-madana-līlāḥ: so many madhura-rasa-līlās happen around Govardhan every day.
When I wanted to make something in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām, Śrī Govardhan instructed me through Śrīla Guru Mahārāj: “If you make an āśram, make it in Govardhan.” At that time, Śrīla Guru Mahārāj described that we will stay in that āśram and early in the morning we will come to Rādhā Kuṇḍa for the service of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa under guidance of the sakhīs and mañjarīs. Along the way, we will collect many flowers at Kusum Sarovara for the service of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. In this way, he gave us some indication of bhāva-sevā.
This is one form of Govardhan: the form of a servitor. The other form of Govardhan is Kṛṣṇa Himself. Kṛṣṇa took form as Govardhan and with His hands took the food being offered to Him by the Vraja-vāsīs. Simultaneously, Kṛṣṇa remained in His form as a boy and said to the Vraja-vāsīs: “You see, Govardhan is taking your offerings. Govardhan is your Lord, and He is taking everything you are offering Him.”
Kṛṣṇa remained in His form, and He took the form of Govardhan. Transcendental matters and material matters are not same. Materially what happens? When a ghost takes possession of a body, the ghost acquires everything of that body and speaks from that body, but the ghost still thinks: “I am not this body or this person. I am so and so.” The nature of consciousness, of transcendental matters, is completely different from this. When Kṛṣṇa took the form of Govardhan, Govardhan became Kṛṣṇa. So, Govardhan has two forms, and one form is that of Kṛṣṇa Himself because something transcendental will never be changed, consciousness will never be changed. When Kṛṣṇa took the form of Govardhan, Govardhan became Kṛṣṇa—transcendentally and permanently. Still, Govardhan has another transcendental form as the chief servitor of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. That also is never lost in any way. So, the scriptures have given us the knowledge that Govardhan has two forms: one is the servant of Kṛṣṇa, and the other is Kṛṣṇa Himself.
Śrīman Mahāprabhu gave Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī a Govardhan-śilā and guñja-mālā, and simply told him, “This is Kṛṣṇa, and this is Rādhārāṇī. I have been seeing and worshipping Kṛṣṇa here for three years, and now I am giving Him to you.” This Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī, who is the servitor of Kṛṣṇa in the form Girirāj Govardhan, composed the Govardhana-vāsa-prārthanā-daśakam, where we will get all consciousness about Girirāj Govardhan. Through the divine feelings of Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī, we are worshipping Girirāj Govardhan as a form of Kṛṣṇa; Girirāj Govardhan himself is serving Kṛṣṇa as His super-servitor, and we are serving Girirāj Govardhan as Kṛṣṇa Himself with Rādhārāṇī.
Mahāprabhu Śrī Chaitanyadev gave His conception of achintya-bhedābhed. Here, this means that Govardhan is different from Kṛṣṇa because he is the chief servitor of Kṛṣṇa, and when Mahāprabhu gave consciousness about Govardhan to Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī, He said, “This is Kṛṣṇa. Take Him and worship Him, and you will see Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī within this.” So, we are so fortunate: we are worshipping Girirāj as the chief of all servitors, and we are worshipping Girirāj as Kṛṣṇa on this day because Kṛṣṇa took all the food offered to Him by the Vraja-vāsīs in His form as Girirāj. This is a fact because it is all transcendental. Everything is transcendental here: Govardhan’s form as a servitor and His form as the Lord.
Girirāj Govardhan must be merciful to us because we are all unqualified children. But we have some link with our Guru-paramparā in Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī. He spoke this verse, so we have hope:
tvayi kapaṭi-śaṭho ’pi tvat-priyeṇārpito ’smi
iti khalu mama yogyāyogyatāṁ tām agṛhṇan
nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam
(Śrī Govardhana-vāsa-prārthanā-daśakam: 10)
When Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī lived at Rādhā Kuṇḍa, he always prayed to Rādhārāṇī, and this is his prayer to Govardhan. On behalf of all the devotees, I am praying to Girirāj Govardhan in this way, “We have no quality or qualification, but we have one link, one connection, with you Girirāj, that is, Chaitanya Mahāprabhu gave you to Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī, and you accepted Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī. So, because we are servitors of Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī, O Girirāj, you must give shelter to us at your lotus feet.”
In the last verse of every chapter in Chaitanya-charitāmṛta, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Goswāmī said,
śrī-rūpa-raghunātha pade yāra āśa
chaitanya-charitāmṛta kahe kṛṣṇa-dāsa
Śrīla Kavirāj Goswāmī is our leader, and he says that we are the servitors of Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Raghunāth. That is the hope our Guru Mahārāj has given us: when Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī and Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī are merciful to us, then one day we will get shelter the Girirāj Govardhan’s lotus feet for the service of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.
Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī was an exclusive devotee of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. He got everything, but on the other side he also said, “I have got nothing.”
āśā-bharair amṛta-sindhu-mayaiḥ kathañchit
kālo mayāti-gamitaḥ kila sāmprataṁ hi
tvañ chet kṛpāṁ mayi vidhāsyasi naiva kiṁ me
prāṇair vrajena cha varoru bakāriṇāpi
“I have spent a long time seeking Your mercy, O Rādhārāṇī! Please bestow Your mercy on me. Eighty years have passed, but I have not got Your mercy. How long shall I wait for that? I do not want Kṛṣṇa’s mercy alone because without You, Kṛṣṇa has the form of the killer of Bakāsura.”
If we hear, however, from Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī that he has got nothing, then where will we go? For our satisfaction, he exposed his treasury with another verse. In that way, we have received super hope from Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī. At least we can say, his treasury is full of mercy, and he is not miser to us. That verse is:
nāma-śreṣṭhaṁ manum api śachī-putram atra svarūpaṁ
rūpaṁ tasyāgrajam uru-purīṁ māthurīṁ goṣṭha-vāṭīm
rādhā-kuṇḍaṁ giri-varam aho rādhikā-mādhavāśāṁ
prāpto yasya prathita-kṛpayā śrī-guruṁ taṁ nato ’smi
“By the grace of Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī, I have got everything. What? Nāma-śreṣṭhaṁ [the supreme Name], Śachī-putram, the lotus feet of Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, and Svarūpaṁ, Svarūp Dāmodar, the nondifferent form of Mahāprabhu Chaitanyadev. I have got Rūpa Goswāmī and Sanātan Goswāmī, who are the leader of our group of servitors of Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa. Mathurā Dhām, Vṛndāvan Dhām, Vraja Dhām, Govardhan Dhām—everything I have got, even Rādhā Kuṇḍa, which is always overflooded with Kṛṣṇa-līlā.”
Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī also gave us an indication of where our position is, what we will do, and what we will get:
vaikuṇṭhāj janito varā madhu-purī tatrāpi rāsotsavād
vṛndāraṇyam udāra-pāṇi-ramaṇāt tatrāpi govardhanaḥ
rādhā-kuṇḍam ihāpi gokula-pateḥ premāmṛtāplāvanāt
kuryād asya virājato giri-taṭe sevāṁ vivekī na kaḥ
[“Above Vaikuṇṭha is Mathurā, where Kṛṣṇa took birth. Above Mathurā is Vṛndāvan, where Kṛṣṇa enjoys the Rāsa Dance. Above Vṛndāvan is Govardhan, where Kṛṣṇa plays amorously. And above Govardhan is Rādhā Kuṇḍa, where the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s divine love overflows. What wise soul would not serve Rādhā Kuṇḍa at the base Govardhan Hill?”]
Who will not worship the service of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa under the guidance of the sakhīs at Rādhā Kuṇḍa and Śyāma Kuṇḍa beside Govardhan? Everyone must want that. Otherwise, what is the value of their life?
23 October 2006.