Monday, October 23, 2006

Govardhan Puja Festival in Kiev, Ukraine

We had a great harinama for the hour or so before the evening Govardhan Puja festival. We went to a place were many buses and trolleys stop and there are lots of little stands with people selling things. Many people walk by there to go to their buses. There were about twelve of us sitting down on a rectangular piece of carpet we had brought. We had harmonium, mrdanga, and karatalas as well as an amplifier. I danced to the side and back of our party. I was amazed by the number of people who put donations in the harmonium cover we set in front of the party. In America, we always have to put a few dollars in at the beginning to encourage the people to give, but here all kinds of people were giving some donation.

Notes on Niranjana Swami’s lecture on Govardhan Puja: Many great saints of the past have taken shelter of Govardhan Hill. Krishna is behind the worship of Govardhan Hill. This is why it has been going on for thousands of years and why we are observing it today. Krishna appreciates the roles that Govardhan Hill plays in His pastimes. Govardhan provides grass for the cows, water for bathing, minerals and ointments for decorating the body, and grassy fields to rest on.
Garga Samhita describes that Radharani did not want to come to the material world with Krishna when He invited Her. He had to promise that Vrindavana, Govardhan Hill, and the river Yamuna would also come as well. Govardhan appeared in this world as the son of Drona Acala, a mountain in Samalidvipa, and he was celebrated as the king of mountains. Pulastya Muni wanted to bring Govardhan with him to Kasi as a nice place to meditate, but it was agreed that Govardhan would come with Pulastya Muni only until that great sage set him down and there he would stop. When he came as far as Vrindvana, Govardhan manifested great heaviness and the sage was obliged to set him down, where he remained. Angered, the sage cursed him to be reduced in height by the size of one mustard seed each day, and thus the hill is getting shorter and shorter.
Govardhan is both Krishna and a devotee of Krishna.
The day after Govardhan Puja is a day when in Vedic culture sisters traditionally cook a feast for their brothers. Krishna has a humorous brahmana friend named Madhumangala. On that day Madhumangala’s sister cooked him a feast that even surpassed the Govardhan Puja feast the day before. He was so satisfied that he inquired, “Why is it that only one day a year, sisters cook for their brothers? Why is it not every day?”

Notes on Dhanesvara Prabhu’s lecture on Govardhan Puja: Lessons we can learn from the Govardhan pastime:
1. Krishna protects His devotee from undesirable reactions.
2. Krishna defeats the demons but merely removes the pride of his devotees.
3. The Vrindavana residents teach by their example to have no shelter but Krishna.