Hari-katha inspired by the Guru-varga
The Vrajavasis reside in Vraja-bhumi. However, their hearts are always with Krsna. Krsna is very clever. He takes this wealth of the Vrajavasis hearts and offers it all to Giriraja Govardhana. He has a deep desire to serve the Vrajavasis, so Krsna gives him a very good opportunity. Giriraja Govardhana is in eternal Vraja-mandala and is served by personalities of all rasas.
How do they serve? The Vrajavasis sing and Krsna sings. The gopis sing and the sakhis sing. Giriraja collects these songs and reserves them. When people offer him something, he does not accept it for himself, like Maharsi Durvasa. When someone offers Durvasa bhoga he does not eat it. Whatever comes to him he offers it to Lord Krsna. Similarly, Giriraja is not selfish. If someone respects him, offers him bhoga, does his parikrama, or takes shelter of him, then he gives them a good chance. He gives them the chance to engage in pure bhakti-rasa. He looks to see which type of person has come.
When Aghasura or Bakasura comes Giriraj Govardhana protects the Vrajavasis. What does he give the demons? When they come once to Vraja, they cannot go back. Krsna promised in Bhagavad-gita:
yad gatva na nivartante
tad dhama paramam mama
“I anyone comes to my holy dhama, they will never leave. Therefore, Giriraja Govardhana gives even the demons the chance to reside in Vraja. They come and meet with Krsna or the sakhas and other Vrajavasi and even though the demons don’t know how to serve the Vrajavasis and how to be with them, and how to conquer Krsna with love—or even how to be happy—still Giriraja Govardhana purifies these demons, and then gives nectar to them, throwing out all their impurities and giving them a chance to serve Krsna. He gives them this eligibility and arranges for them to serve under the guidance of the nitya-siddhas.
When Indra and His followers all attacked Vraja-mandala and the Vrajavasis, what did Giriraja Govardhana do? He said, “You are jealous of Krsna and are therefore suffering yourself. Whatever you have, give it all to me.”
The demigods offered everything they had; all their anger, energy, jealousy, envy, desire for pratishtha, and everything. They offered all this to Giriraja for seven days and nights. The Vrajavasis were fearless, because they do not care for these things. They are not interested in games of tit-for-tat. The demigods gave all they could to Giriraja and became completely depleted.
Sakti is the power of God. God gives some of His sakti to the demigods. If they misuse it, they become disconnected from God and do not receive any more sakti. Then they become like orphans.
Giriraja Govardhana said, “God gave you this sakti to use is good services. However, when you misuse this sakti, you yourself will suffer.”
The merciful Lord forgives those who are ignorant. He gives them the understanding to realize their own mistake. When the demigods came to Vraja-bhumi they changed. Previously, they thought that Giriraja was only stone, but now their hearts became clean. All impurities were washed away and they saw Giriraja as not only stone. They did not see the Vrajavasis as ordinary people. The Vrajavasis are millions of times greater than the demigods.
Surabhi, the aunt of Indra, said, “As long as my dynasty is present on Earth, they will be engaged in the service of Giriraja. Krsna has so much love for my descendants. He is always serving them and staying with them.”
Surabhi told Indra, “You came to Vraja and attacked the Vrajavasis. You tried to defeat them and destroy them when they did not worship you. But you did not destroy them; you destroyed yourself. Now you are helpless. What will you do now?”
Indra was chastised by his guru, Brhaspati. Brhaspati told him, “You are so proud. Because of your pride, you tried to harm the Vrajavasis, who are millions of times greater than you.”
Finally, Indra came to Giriraja Govardhana and surrendered. He saw the power of Giriraja Govardhana. He saw that he was not angry. He did not give any curse or response of any kind when he was attacked by Indra and the demigods. He simply gave shelter to the Vrajavasis.
Giriraja Govardhana helped everyone realize and repent after understanding that they did wrong. When one understands that he is at fault, then he can change. Someone may say, “You are wrong. You are at fault,” but then people will then want to fight with that person because they do not accept. So Giriraja was silent. The Vrajavasis were also silent. They did not quarrel with the demigods or shout abuses at them. They do not have such a mentality. They therefore ignored the demigods. The associates of God do not become restless by small things, and they do not lose their energy. Giriraja Govardhana was not disturbed by the attacks of the demigods.
When Indra and the demigods approached Krsna to beg for forgiveness, He did not respond to their prayers. He did not look to see who had come, who was talking to Him, or what they were doing. Why was this?
The demigods thought, “Maybe Krsna is afraid, therefore He is not talking with us.” Krsna continued to ignore Indra.
When someone does wrong, he should not come with a challenging mood, saying, “You must forgive me!” Who will speak with a person with such a challenging mood? The Vrajavasis do not care how great a person you are, and therefore did not speak with Indra. The Vrajavasis would never think, “Indra will punish and disturb us.” They had Krsna with them, and they were always engaged in service to Krsna. They don’t have the time to think of Indra, Varuna, Candra, water, fire, wind, storm, etc. They came to Giriraja Govardhana, their dear friend and guardian, and forgot everything that was happening outside, within, up, down, or on the sides. They were always absorbed in Krsna’s service. This is called sahaja-samadhi. The sadhaka should not be disturbed by disturbances. He should remain tranquil. By becoming disturbed by such things, one will go far away from bhakti.
Dasa Gosvami teaches us that this lila of Giriraja Govardhana will make everyone trnad api sunica. On one side, Giriraja continued always to serve, and on the other side, he was tolerant. He could tolerate the demigods’ attacks and never stopped his service to the Vrajavasis in his shelter. How is this possible? Because he is always present with svarupa-sakti and Parama-purusa Sri Krsna. Krsna’s love is a protective coat around him.
Gopala Bhatta Gosvami writes in Sat-kriya-sara-dipika and in Hari-bhakti-vilasa that you should not offer pranama to the demigods, because if you don’t offer pranama just once, having done so normally, they will become angry, and punish you. If you come in front of them or into their temple, chant, “Hare Krsna!” and give them this maha-prasada of the maha-mantra. There is no need to give them anything else. If you do not chant Hare Krsna, following the order of Mahaprabhu, then how can you call yourself a follower of Mahaprabhu.
Wherever you go, chant this maha-mantra. Distribute this prasada. Giriraja Govardhana is helpful for all of us. He always gives charity of pure love and devotion. If there is any shortness or problem, then Krsna says, “Come to Giriraja Govardhana.”
Before, Krsna did not manifest this svarupa and full greatness of Giriraja, and because of this, Srimati Radharani was disturbed. She said, “Giriraja is our dearest and nearest. If the Vrajavasis do not know his glories then there will be a big problem.”
Everything is present with Giriraja Govardhana, but people run for things in Mathura or here and there. Why? Giriraja has everything present with him. By the desire of Radharani, Krsna worshiped Giriraja Govardhana and made a sweet relationship with all the Vrajavasis. From that time, the Vrajavasis only knew Giriraja Govardhana.
When they came to Giriraja Govardhana, what did he give. He said, “There is Govardhana and there is Giridhari. Who is Giridhari? He is Nanda-Yasoda Dulala and Girivara-dhari Gopala. Girivara-dhari is Nandanandana Syamasundara; He is Gopala. He plays with us. He has love for us. I am useless. I am external, but Gopala has so much love. He has accepted me. I am a stone. I am useless. No one likes me, but Krsna has so kindly accepted me more than his own friend.”
People worship those who are very respectable, and they serve them, but God Himself serves Giriraja. Why? Because Giriraja is the nearest and dearest of Srimati Radharani. Radharani Herself addresses Giriraja as ‘Haridasa-varya.’
govardhano jayati saila-kuladhirajo
yo gopikabhir udito hari-dasa-varyah
krsnena sakra-makha-bhanga-krtarcito yah
saptaham asya kara-padma-tale ’py avatsit
She describes the real svarupa of Giriraja Govardhana. We say, “Om namo govardhana-haram,” and “Govardhana-dharam vande, gopalah gopa-rupinam, gokulotsavam-isanam govindah gopika-priyam.” This is the svarupa of Giriraja, just as the Bhagavata’s svarupa is also defined in verse followers:
tam adidevam karuna-nidhanam
Govardhana-dharam vande—who carries Govardhana? Giridhara Gopala. Giridhari plays with Giriraja. He carries Giriraja on the top of His left pinky with so much love. Gopala gopa-rupinam—he has so much love for the Gopas. Giriraja is gopa-bandhu, the friend of the cowherd people and Gopala. Gokula-utsavam—he distributes a great mahotsava to everyone; a feast of ananda-cinmaya-rasa. Govindah gopika-priyam—He is very dear to the gopis. If one is only dear to Govinda, that is not so valuable, but if a person is dear to the dearest of Govinda—that is most important.
Dasa Gosvami teaches that we come to Vraja-mandala but if we do not know Giriraja Govardhana and do not establish relationship with him or understand his glories, then we will never understand vraja-bhakti. We will remain very far away. We will be outside with maya.
In the next verses, Dasa Gosvami mentions Krsna’s grandparents, Parjanya and Variyasi. Variyasi is Krsna’s grandmother. Krsna offers pranama and great respect to her, and she jokes with Krsna. Parjanya is also delights in joking with Krsna.
Everyone in Vraja-mandala respects Variyasi. She wears a light-yellow dress and her hair is white. She is strong and fearless. She never accepts anything from anyone. She collects everything for her own maintenance herself. Anything she needs, she gets it from the demigods. She says, “I am not requesting you for this. It is your duty to give this to me. Take care of my cows. Why are they not producing more milk? Why don’ we have good water.” These are example her chastisements to the demigods for not doing their work properly.
In Gokula, all the demigods came as servants to please Krsna. When Bhagavati Paurnamasi came to Vraja-mandala she showed Variyasi the different services and servants of Vraja. Then Variyasi would go and organize the different sevakas. So many acaryas, so many priests, and so many sages came. Variyasi and Yasoda Mata arranged rooms for them all. The servants cleaned their abodes and arranged things like warm water, prasada, cloth, bedding, and paraphernalia for their puja and yajnas. All the sages and sadhus became so happy with Variyasi for her service.
The seniors do not reside atop the hill of Nandagrama. They stay bellow, near Kadamba-khandi and Nanda Baga. In the early morning, Variyasi goes everywhere to check on the welfare of everyone. She checks to see if there are any shortages or problems. She makes sure everyone performs proper yajna and service. She respects everyone and arranges whatever they may need.
The symptoms of love are described in the Priti Sandarbha by Jiva Gosvami. In a proper society, a person who has grown from childhood, to youth, to old-age will have a balance of memory concerning what they have done throughout life. This gives them the qualities of patience, love, strength, and forgiveness. They also desire to help others. Nowadays we see that people who are old have lost everything. They are restless and their intelligence does not work. Why does this position come to them? Who stole all their wealth? From the beginning of life, sadhus practice strict sense-control, and then when they are old they have so much love reserved with them, and everyone comes to take blessings and help from them.
Variyasi, Krsna’s grandmother, served from the beginning of her life. She never wasted a moment of her life. Thus, in her old-age she was very respected in Vraja-mandala. Everyone would receive her blessings. Whatever she spoke was sabda-brahma and imbued with so much sakti. She also has suddha-sattva-vrtti, a pure tendency, and she makes everyone like her relative. Whoever comes to her feels very sweet. Simply by seeing her, all one’s desires are fulfilled. She distributes mamata and pure affection. After receiving her gifts one feels fulfilled and very close to her and does not want to leave Vraja-mandala.
If someone deeply performs bhajana, then they wont move around so much. They will always bathe in a shower of rasa. Then, they will have no desire for anything else.
In Vraja-mandala Parjanya and Variyasi fulfill the desires of everyone. No one wants to leave Vraja-mandala. They become very strong and also greedy to serve. They are humble and always feel there is a shortage in their service. “I have no good qualities,” they lament. “I am useless.” This makes their love ever-increasing and ever-fresh. Nothing is boring or repetitive about Vraja-mandala and vraja-seva. There, everyone is always enthusiastic and experiencing the ever-fresh sweetness of their divine service.
In the bhakti-sastras, the pure love has been described, Variyasi has this love.
Variyasi once said to Krsna, “My dear Krsna, you are not happy in Vraja-mandala because the Vrajavasis are not so sweet. You like sweet things. But the Vrajavasis are not giving you sweets. They are not qualified. They made you dark and skinny. The Vrajavasis are all happy. That is why there color is golden. They are light and bright, but because you are not happy, you are black and thin.”
Hearing this, Krsna offered her respect and asked, “How will I become golden and clean? Can you cleanse Me?”
“No,” she said. “Go to your grandfather and learn some tapa and japa from him. Those who have darkness within them are black in appearance. But if you are clean inside then you will be bright and pure externally also.”
Variyasi could not keep Krsna with her when He would dance, play, and jump around restlessly. Her relationship and pastimes with Krsna are very sweet.