Annakuta Mahotsava

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

annakut2[Dear Readers,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga. This year, Govardhana Annakuta is on October 24th (in India). Below are two glorifications of this celebration, which Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja gave in Badger, California, in 2002 and 2003. To watch a video of Srila Gurudeva's Annakut in 1997, in India, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwf3E5U8Jw8]

First of all, I offer millions of humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of my paramaradyadeva, Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and the same millions of obeisances unto the feet of my siksa-guru, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja.

Today we observed the maha-mahotsava (great festival) of Giriraja Govardhana. Who is Govardhana?

pramada-madana-lilah kandare kandare te
racayati nava-yunor dvandvam asminn amandam
iti kila kalanartham lagnakas tad-dvayor me
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

"O Govardhana! Please grant me a dwelling near your side so that I can easily witness and serve the youthful lovers Sri Radha-Krsna as They perform newer and newer secret, amorous lilas within your many caves, and where They become completely maddened from drinking prema. You are present there, and you make everything possible." (Sri Govardhana-Vasa-Prarthana-Dasakam, verse 2)

So many secret and sweet pastimes of Radha and Krsna and the gopas and gopis take place in the caves and groves of Giriraja Govardhana. It can be understood, therefore, that Govardhana is not male. Radha and Krsna would not be able to play so many grove-lilas and kunja-lilas in front of a male. That would be absurd. Giriraja has actually come from the heart of Srimati Radhika. It is not that Krsna became Giriraja Govardhana. Krsna is the predominating Deity of Giriraja, but it has been written in Tapani Upanisad and Bhavisya Purana that Giriraja Govardhana has manifested from the heart of Radhika.

There were three mantras especially uttered by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura when he offered puspanjali at the lotus feet of Giriraja Govardhana. Although they are taken from songs, they are now accepted as the mantras used in the worship of Govardhana. The first is from Stava-mala by Srila Rupa Gosvami:

Govardhana tvam kuru manoratam purnam

Srila Rupa Gosvami prayed, "O Giriraja Govardhana, I have so many very confidential desires that cannot be revealed to any person besides you. I want to serve Radha-Krsna Conjugal in your groves, in many ways, as the personal maidservant of Srimati Radhika. I have this hope; so please bestow your mercy upon me."

The second mantra is: nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami prayed, "O Giriraja Govardhana, you give so many facilities to Krsna and His cowherd boys. You supply grasses, very beautiful and sweet water, the shade of kadamba and other trees, you fulfill the desires of the cowherd boys, and you give beautiful ornaments of flowers to Krsna and Radhika, and to all their associates.

This mantra is taken from a verse from Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Sri Govardhan-Vasa-Prarthana-Dasakam:

sthala-jala-tala-saspari bhuruhac-chayaya ca
prati-padam anukalam hanta samvardhayan gah
tri-jagati nija-gotram sarthakam khyapayan me
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

["O Govardhana! Please grant me residence near your side. You are worshipping Sri Radha-Krsna with your nice spacious fields, ponds, streams and waterfalls, forests, fresh grass, and shade-trees, and you are nourishing Sri Krsna's beloved cows whose numbers are thus increasing at every moment. Your very name 'Govardhana' (gah means cows, and vardhayati means to nourish and increase) is successful and renowned throughout the three worlds. If I can reside near you, I will also be able to receive the darsana of my istadeva Sri Krsna, who comes to you when He brings His cows out to graze." (Sri Govardhana-Vasa-Prarthana-Dasakam, verse 6)]

In this way, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami prays, "O Giriraja Govardhana, please keep me at your lotus feet." Giriraja Govardhana has kindly given an opportunity to me, and also to you all. For more than fifty years I desired to somehow live at Govardhana. Now he has given me a place, and you are all invited to come there during the month of Kartika.

The third mantra, govardhano me disatam abhistam, is taken from the verse:

yatraiva krsno vrsabhanu-putrya
danam grhitum kalaham vitene
sruteh sprha yatra mahaty atah sri-
govardhano me disatam abhistam

["Demanding a road tax, Krsna quarreled for several hours at Dan Ghati with the daughter of Vrsabhanu Maharaja. Rasika-bhaktas visiting Govardhana are eager to listen to that sweet prema quarrel. May that Govardhana fulfill my desire that I can also hear that verbal battle." (Sri Govardhanastakam, verse 3)]

Always pray: "O Giriraja, I have so much hope, and I have come to you with this hope. Srimati Radharani and Krsna were quarrelling in so many ways, in so many lilas. I want to be there, and I want to hear all those sweet quarrels. I pray to you to give me a very good place at your lotus feet so that, continually weeping and my heart melting, I can always remember Radha and Krsna's pastimes. I don't want to remember any worldly matters at all."

Your festival, Giriraja Govardhana Annukuta, was extremely beautiful. I hope it will be observed each and every year in this way. Whether I come or not, you must do it.

Gaura Premanande

Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Badger, Califiornia
May 18, 2003

annakut2
[This year, 2014, Govardhana Annakuta festival is on October  24th (in India). In honor of the Annakuta festival, please accept the following class that Srila Gurudeva, Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja gave in Badger, California, in 2003:]

krsna lifting govardhanaToday, Annakuta Mohotsava, is a very auspicious day. This day is observed in India during the month of Kartika. Many of Krsna's other sweet pastimes were also performed in the month of Kartika. In this month, under the guidance of Nanda Baba, the Vrajavasis observed Govardhana puja. They did this, having given up the puja of Indradeva, and that resulted in Krsna lifting Govardhana Hill on His little finger. Yasoda-devi bound Krsna in this very month, which is how the song Sri Damodarastakam originated. Kartika is also the month in which Krsna and the gopis performed Saradiya Rasa (Autumn rasa-lila).

GdatGirirajaAfter Krsna lifted Giri Govardhana, Indra understood that his torrential rain would have no effect, and thus he began to repent his actions. He thought that Krsna would punish him, and that the only way to save himself would be to take shelter of Surabhi cow. Surabhi would be able to please Krsna. She would pray to Krsna on his behalf, "Please, excuse him." No one else would be able to achieve this. Krsna considers Himself the servant of the cows and always supports them. It would therefore be easy for Surabhi to please Him. If Surabhi would not go, Krsna would not be pacified and would therefore punish him. Indra thus took shelter of Surabhi, walking behind her, and they both approached Krsna. Krsna said, "O Mother, you have come!" Surabhi said, "Yes. I have brought my son with me. I request that You please excuse him." Surabhi then began to supply large quantities of milk, and Indra, the demigods, and the great sages present began to abhisheka (bathe) Krsna, just as we did here today. Krsna then became very happy and said, "In the future I don't want to have to tolerate your nonsense activities. For your own good you should go to Navadvipa, and there, in the company of Surabhi, perform austerities. In that way you will be excused." Indra thus understood that Krsna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Govinda kundaGovinda KundaUp until the time of that abhiseka, Krsna was known as Yasoda-nandana and Nanda-nandana Krsna. Now, He would also be known as Govinda. Go indicates gopa, gopi, go (cow), govatsa (calf) and Veda. Krsna gives pleasure to all these gos and He also protects them; therefore His name is Govinda. Govinda and Govardhana are in the same line: He has the same duty, the same function, as Giriraja Govardhana (vardana means to nourish).

Now our Govardhana-puja is completed. Giriraja is Krsna Himself; and moreover, He has come from the heart of Radhika. He can fulfill our every desire very easily, and he can even give krsna-prema. He very rarely does so, but he can.

We should also remember that the Annakuta Mohotsava was also performed by Srila Madhavendra Puripada, as we saw in the drama play. Madhavavendra Puri went to Vrajabumi,Vrndavana, and there he stayed on the banks of Govinda-kunda at Govardhana. One day, after taking his bath, he sat beneath a tree on the banks of Govinda-Kunda. Krsna came there in the form of a cowherd boy and said to him, "Oh, why you sitting here, starving. No one starves here. My mother has sent some milk. Please drink it."

govardhanaMadhavendra Puri thought, "Throughout my entire life I have never been attracted by any human, and especially to any lady, but now I am attracted to this boy. Who is He?" He took the milk and he began to weep, his heart melting. Then he cried, "Oh! That cowherd boy was actually Krsna, and now He has left me." And he wept bitterly.

In the last part of the night Madhavavendra Puri had a dream. In that dream he saw that same boy, that very Gopala, come to him and say, "I have been here, waiting in this bush for you for a very long time; and now you have come. I'm feeling very hungry and very hot. Please make a temple for Me, and perform My abhiseka ceremony and Annakuta festival (festival in which there is cooked rice that is stacked like a small mountain) so that I shall feel satisfied." When Madhavavendra Puri awoke, he fixed his mind on executing the order of the Lord. After his morning bath he gathered some of the villagers and together they went to the kunja where Gopala was waiting and that kunja is still there today, nearby Govardhana. After clearing away the thick bushes, they very easily dug Him out and took Him to the top of Govardhana Hill. They erected a throne from stones there – one piece for the seat and one to support Him from behind. Then they began to worship Him.

Annakuta was performed for several months. Many wealthy persons from Mathura heard that Gopala had arrived and they became very happy. They brought all types of paraphernalia, such as gold, cloth, scents and bhoga. Cooking was performed for Thakurji daily, and for many months lakhs and lakhs of people honored the maha-prasadam of Gopala at that place.

After 2 years Gopala again came in a dream to Madhavavendra Puri and said, "I'm satisfied by taking all of your offerings, but My body is still hot. Can you bring malaya-candana sandalwood from Jagannath Puri?" Thus, Madhavavendra Puri once again set off to fulfill the desires of the Lord.

We are very lucky to be in the line of Madhavavendra Puri. Every year, in the month of Kartika, we observe the Annakuta Mohotsava (festival) of Giriraja Govardhana, and hundreds of devotees attend. There we worship Giriraja Govardhana Himself, not one piece (as Govardhana-sila). Actually, although a piece of Govardhana and Govardhana Hill Himself are one, still, Govardhana Hill in Vrndavana has a special glory.

annakutaIn Vrndavana we worship Govardhana with many pounds, not only a little, of milk, ghee, and yogurt, with many types of preparations – even more than here in Badger. Many of you have been to our Kartika-vrata and have personally seen this festival. We are fortunate to take part. We will continue to perform this festival every year; and we will do so until our life in this world is over. We cannot obtain pure bhakti without the mercy of Govardhana.

Many sweet pastimes take place at Govardhana. For example, Srimati Radhika, Lalita and Visakha and the other gopis are on their way to the fire sacrifice of Bhaguri Rsi. During their journey there is a discussion with Krsna. Krsna wants to check them and make them pay a toll tax, the gopis defeat Him, and He has to apologize. There is so much history there, and it is all coming in our mind and hearts.

Wherever you are, you can worship Giriraja by mind and pray:

krsna-prasadena samasta-saila-
samrajyam apnoti ca vairino pi
sakrasya yah prapa balim sa saksad
govardhano me disatam abhistam

"May Govardhana Hill fulfill my deepest desire – to get darsana of Sri Radha and Krsna's lilas. By Sri Krsna's mercy Govardhana became the emperor of all mountains, and received the offerings meant for Indra despite Indra's enmity."

(Sri Govardhanastakam, verse 1)

yatraiva krsno vrsabhanu-putrya
danam grhitum kalaham vitene
sruteh sprha yatra mahaty atah sri
govardhano me disatam abhistam

"Demanding a road tax, Krsna quarreled for several hours at Dan Ghati with the daughter of Vrsabhanu Maharaja. Rasika-bhaktas visiting Govardhana are eager to listen to that sweet prema quarrel. May that Govardhana fulfill my desire that I also can hear that verbal battle." (Sri Govardhanastakam, verse 3)

These prayers will do as much for you as worshipping Govardhana Himself, because there are many moods contained within them. Try to pray in this way. This is bhajana.

Gaura premanande.

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