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Govardhana Puja/Go Puja/ Annakuta Festivals at ISKCON Vrindavan
Sunday 7th November 2010
Govardhana Puja, Go-Puja and Annakuta are all connected with the story of Lord Krishna lifting Govardhana Hill to protect the inhabitants of Vrindavan. As part of the festivities on this day, devotees prepare a big hill out of sweets & Halua. Large quantities of food are made by devotees and offered to the Deities, and then distributed to everyone. This is known as the “annakuta” ceremony. Cows are also honoured in a special ceremony.
The term "Govardhana' has two meanings. The word "Go' means cows, and "vardhana' means nourishment. In the other meaning "Go' stands for senses and "vardhana' means to increase the attachment of the senses towards Sri Krishna. Both these jobs are done by Sri Giriraja. He kindly blesses the devotee by increasing his devotion. Thus by residing on the foothills of Sri Giriraja, an individual’s senses and their respective duties attain divinity and are inclined to serve the Lotus Feet of Krishna.
As Srila Prabhupada relates in the Krishna book (chapters 24 and 25), Krishna dissuaded his father, Nanda Maharaja, from performing the ritualistic sacrifice to the demigod Indra, and encouraged the residents of Vrindavana to worship Govardhana Hill.
All the cowherd men of Vrindavana had arranged to worship King Indra. Because Vrindavana is a village of vaisyas (farmers and dairymen), and especially dependent on the rain to grow crops and feed the cows, the cowherd men felt obliged to offer Lord Indra some worship in order to ensure regular supply of rain.
However, Krishna persuaded His Father, Nanda Maharaja, to abandon the worship of Lord Indra and to use the preparations he had already made to worship the cows, the brahmanas (priests) and Govardhana Hill. He instructed His father to prepare delicious foodstuffs from the grains and ghee collected for Lord Indra's yajna. Krishna ordered that this feast be offered to Govardhana Hill with Vedic mantras chanted by qualified brahmanas. He instructed that the cows be decorated and fed to their satisfaction. Then keeping the cows before them, the inhabitants of Vrindavana were to circumambulate Govardhana Hill. When all these activities had been carefully performed, Krishna expanded Himself into a gigantic, transcendental form and declared to the inhabitants of Vrindavan that He was Himself Govardhana Hill, and accepted all the offerings made during the ceremony.
Being proud of his position as King of the Demigods, Lord Indra took great offense at his sacrifice being cancelled, and attempted to chastise Krishna and the inhabitants of Vrindavan by calling the samvartaka clouds (used to inundate the world at the end of each cycle of yugas) and instructing them to totally destroy the residents, the cows and the village of Vrindavana.
Lord Krishna offered protection to the cowherd men and women by lifting Govardhana Hill so they could shelter underneath from Indra's wrath. Krishna exhibited His supreme mystic power by holding the mountain aloft for seven days with the little finger(pinky) of his left hand.
ISKCON Vrindavan celebrates this remarkable pastime by observing the festival called Govardhana Puja and Go Puja. A very wonderful and ecstatic Govardhan Puja took place at the Krsna Balarama Mandir today with over two thousand devotees from all over the world worshipping Him and glorifying His holy name.
After Darshan Aratik at 7:15 am, Srila Prabhupada’s and Krishna Balaram’s Palanquin’s followed by two thousand of devotees Chanting and Dancing in Kirtan reached Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshalla. Srila Prabhupada and Sri Sri Krishna Balaram are warmly welcomed and visited all the cows. And finally the procession reached to a temporary pandal, where a nice stage and dynamic sitting arrangements for everyone was arranged. HH Kadamba Kanan Swami performed Go-puja and the devotees feed the cows by their own hands. HH Bhakti Visrmbha Madhav Swami, HH Bhaktirasamrta Swami, HH Kadamba Kananswami and HG PancaGauda Prabhu gave short speeches on glories of Go-Puja.
The Abhishek of Sri Sri Giriraj Govardhan commenced at At 10:30 am at Krishna Balaram’s main Altar and everyone was ecstatically Chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.
A Big Govardhan hill was built in the Temple Courtyard. The general tradition includes the Building of a hill by cow dung or stone hillock that symbolise the Govardhan mountain which is then decorated with flowers and worshipped by the devotees. Then the devotees circumambulate the hill while singing in Hare Krishna Mahamantra kirtana.
At 12:00 noon the Rajbhog Aratik took place and HH Subhaga Swami Maharaja did the Aratik ceremony of Giriraj Govardhan.
All the devotees were very joyful today.
May Sri Giri Govardhan bless us all with Krsna prema and eternal shelter under His Lotus feet!
Jay Giriraj Maharaja ki jay!
Go-Mata ki jay!
Srila Prabhupada ki jay!
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