After resting for the night, the Parikramā party proceeded to Govardhana and settled there at the Mainā Dharmaśalā. Setting out again after a short morning class the next day, the party started parikramā of the large side of Govardhana. The first stop along this seven-mile route is Dāna Ghāṭī. There, Śrīla Gurudeva sang the kīrtanaRādhā-kuṇḍa-taṭa—and then spoke hari-kathā. Gurudeva said, “Between two hills, on the narrow path at Dāna Ghāṭī, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Authority, is waiting with the sakhās. Why? Kṛṣṇa is Parābrahma—He has no want of anything. In this world, conditioned souls have unlimited desires. But does God have any desires? Why did Parābrahma Kṛṣṇa wait for hours in Dāna Ghāṭī for the Vraja-devīs? He was waiting to collect their unparalleled love as tax. Their love is very sweet! Just to relish their love, Parābrahma Kṛṣṇa came from Gokula to Govardhana and waited there. How supreme this place is! Here at the bank of Girirāja Govardhana, Kṛṣṇa daily begs the love of the Vraja-devīs, and gives everything to Girirāja. Girirāja stores the love given by Kṛṣṇa and awards it to worthy practioners who are greedy for vraja-prema.

Śrīla Gurudeva then said: “The sādhaka should give Girirāja abhieka not only with external paraphernalia, but according to the pañcāmṛta-abhiṣeka method prescribed by Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī in his Manaḥ-śikṣā, comprised of: arcana, worship of the Divine Couple; saṅkīrtana, chanting the glories of Their transcendental names, forms, qualities and pastimes; dhyāna, meditating upon them; śravaṇa, hearing their glories; and nati, offering obeisances unto them.”

Immersed in the mood of the gopīs, Śrīla Gurudeva then bathed Girirāja and offered him āratī with the tears of his eyes. And then, while the devotees danced and sang the glories of Girirāja, Gurudeva bathed him with yogurt, milk, honey, ghee, sugar, and water.

The party then continued on parikramā of Girirāja, passing Ānyora Gāoñ, where Kṛṣṇa brought the Vrajavāsīs to worship Girirāja instead of Indra. Here, upon receiving the thousands of preparations prepared by the residents of Vraja, Girirāja assumed a colossal form and, with four arms, devoured all the offerings. He then called out, ‘Āno re! Āno re! (Bring more! Bring more!)’ Kṛṣṇa satisfied Girirāja by giving him a Tulasī leaf. The village Ānyora Gāoñ is thus named, for it is the place where Girirāja manifested and accepted offerings.

After Ānyora Gāoñ, the Parikramā proceeded to Govinda-kuṇḍa, named thus from the time that Indra begged Kṛṣṇa’s forgiveness for his offense, bathed Kṛṣṇa with the milk of Mother Surabhī, and named Him “Govinda.” Govinda-kuṇḍa is famous as the place where Kṛṣṇa, in the guise of the cowherd boys, married all the gopīs during the year when Brahmā kidnapped the boys and calves and kept them hidden in a cave. When observed thousands of wedding ceremonies going on at Govinda-kuṇḍa, She perceived that all the boys marrying gopīs were actually Kṛṣṇa. In a fit of jealousy, She hid in a nearby kuñja. After taking ācamana at Govinda-kuṇḍa and hearing hari-kathā, Kṛṣṇa came to pacify Her and laid His crown at Her feet, from which this place came to be known as Mukut-silā. Further along, on the left side of the parikramā path, comes the beautiful Śauri-kuṇḍa, where, after Kṛṣṇa placated Śrimatī Rādhikā, the Divine Couple bathed.

From there, the Parikramā came to Pūñarī. Pūñarī marks the southern border of Govardhana and is thus named because it is like the tail, pūñch, of Girirāja, who is likened to a cow with her neck turned into her stomach. At Pūñarī, the party completes parikramā of Govardhana’s eastern side and begins parikramā of the western side. The pilgrims then proceeded to Navala-kuṇḍa and Apsarā-kuṇḍa, adjacent ponds where Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs bathed and assumed the appearance of gāndharvas of heaven before performing the springtime Rāsa, on the western side of Girirāja. Upon crossing the rāsa-sthalī, the Parikramā took darśana of the cave of Rāghava Paṇḍa and then went to Surabhī-kuṇḍa and Airāvata Kuṇḍa, where mother Surabhī and Indra’s elephant carrier, Airāvata, respectively bathed Śrī Kṛṣṇa with milk and water from the Gaṅgā.

The party then came to Jatīpurā, where Śrī Mādhavendra Purī found Śrī Nāthajī. When Madhavendra Purī came to Govardhana, he was offered milk by a cowherd boy and, after drinking it, he had a dream of the same boy, who revealed Himself as the Deity Gopāla. This Deity had been concealed in the depths of the jungle by His priests when there was a threat from invaders. Upon waking, Madhavendra Purī searched for Gopāla with the Vrajavāsīs and, after eventually finding Him, arranged for a mahā-abhieka. He then arranged for the first masse observance of Annakūṭa since the time of Kṛṣṇa. This Annakūṭa was repeated every day for over a month, each time sponsored by different wealthy families from Mathurā and Vraja. Jati means a sannyāsī and Jatīpurā is thus named in reference to Madhavendra Purī.

The Parikrama then came to Yamunāvatī Gāoñ, where the Yamunā appeared by the will of Kṛṣṇa. Continuing through Kadamba-khaṇḍī, a forest of kadamba trees, the pilgrims could see the unique leaves of these trees which are shaped like cups for Kṛṣṇa and His friends to enjoy drinks. At the prominent places the party would halt, perform a relevant kīrtana, and one of the sannyāsīs would speak hari-kathā about the pastimes that occurred there. Upon completing the first half of Girirāja parikramā, the party reentered the town of Govardhana and returned to the Mainā Dharmaśalā.

In the evening discourse, when his turn came to speak, Śrīla Gurudeva addressed the assembly: “We are here in Vraja. If we want to progress in bhakti and receive the mercy of Śrimatī Rādhikā, we must first surrender. Girirāja Govardhan is śaranāgata to Srimati Radhika and the Vraja-devīs. We must surrender to Girirāja, and then he will offer us to Śrīmatī Rādhikā. Girirāja Govardhan is present in the middle of Vraja. He is the laka of Vraja. One cannot cross over him and enter Vraja. First one must receive Girirāja’s mercy.”

Śrīla Gurudeva continued, “Just as Baladeva Prabhu is present not only as the elder brother of Kṛṣṇa, but also in the form of Anaṅga Mañjarī, the younger sister and maidservant of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, Govardhana has more than one form. But he doesn’t have to change his svarūpa. Rādhikā says, ‘O gopīs, Girirāja is haridāsa-varya.’ Śrīmatī called Girirāja haridāsa-varya, the best of Kṛṣṇa’s servants, because he engages everyone in Hari’s service and he completely fulfills the heart’s desire of Kṛṣṇa by respecting and serving the gopīs. He is also haridāsa-varya because he grants the eligibility for all people to achieve spiritual perfection in their eternal form as Kṛṣṇa’s beloved servants.

“Girirāja understands the moods of the gopis. Kṛṣṇadas Kavirāja Gosvāmī writes that one cannot attain Kṛṣṇa without the mood of the gopīs. Kṛṣṇa instructed Girirāja to give this gopī-bhāva. Girirāja is the only personality manifest in this world who can remove our puruaabhimāna and grant gopī-bhāva. Girirāja is waiting at Dāna Ghāṭī to give the mood of the gopīs. This is the greatest form of charity. The sādhaka should pray to Girirāja only for this.

“Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura prays:

choḍata puruṣa abhimāna kiṅkarī hailū āji kāna

‘O Kāna, having given up the mentality of being the enjoyer, I have become your maidservant.’

Purua-abhimāna, the masculine enjoyer mentality, is extremely difficult to renounce. The desire to enjoy and to be the dominator has been with us for millions of lives. This puruṣa-abhimāna is in both men and women; they all want to enjoy and dominate each other. We can be freed of this enjoying spirit only by taking shelter of Girirāja Govardhan. He awakens the service tendency in the heart of the jīva.

“Śrīmatī Rādhikā is para-devatā, the Supreme Goddess. When Radha-Krsna left Vraja, They told Girirāja Govardhan to remain behind. Śrīmatī then empowered Girirāja and gave him the eligibily to confer gopī-bhāva upon sincere sādhakas.”

Śrīla Gurudeva continued, “An intelligent person will take shelter of Sri Guru and go with him to Govardhan. Guru-pāda-padma will connect the sādhaka to Girirāja. The sādhaka will then perform daily parikramā of Girirāja, fall prostrate before him, bathe him, and will pray, ‘Please give me the mood of the gopīs.’

“Although we may feel unqualified, we should not be shy to pray for this most exalted mood. Pray to Girirāja with the sentiment expressed by Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, who sang:

nirupadhi-karuṇena śrī-śacī-nandanena

tvayi kapaṭi-śaṭho ’pi tvat-priyeṇārpito ’smi

iti khalu mama yogyāyogyatāṁ tām agṛhṇan

nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana! tvam

I know I am not qualified, but Śacīnandana Gaurahari has sent me to you. He offered me to Svarūpa Dāmodara, who is nija-nikaa—dear and near to you. Please accept me and give me this mood. Not only this, make me qualified to serve in Radha Kṛṣṇa’s inmate pastimes.

pramada-madana-līlāḥ kandare kandare te

racayati nava-yūnor dvandvam asminn amandam

iti kila kalanārthaṁ lagnakas tad-dvayor me

nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana! tvam

“Kṛṣṇa dallies in the caves of Girirāja Govardhan with Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. No one who has purua-abhimāna can go there. Girirāja grants gopī-bhāva, and then one can witness these pastimes. Girirāja purifies the heart and prepares it for Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa then enters the cave of the sādhaka’s heart and embraces the sādhaka. How can the puruṣa-abhimāna remain once one is enveloped in Kṛṣṇa? A ray of pure love then overwhelms the sādhaka and he weeps, rolls on the ground, and prays to Girirāja: ‘When will Srimati Radharani teach me how to play the vina in your caves? Then, I will sing in a beautiful voice for Kṛṣṇa and, hearing me, Kṛṣṇa will joyfully come and listen. He will say, ‘Dhanya! You are supremely fortunate to have received the mercy of Śrīmatī!’ By the mercy of Girirāja our purua-abhimāna will be cleansed, and Śrīmatī Rādhikā will accept us in Her own group.

“If you go to any other person they will eat you—but Girirāja doesn’t eat anyone. However, you should strive for sambandha-jñāna. Unless you realize your spiritual relation, you will think Girirāja to be an ordinary hill comprised of many stone pieces. When you pray for gopi-bhava and accept Kṛṣṇa as the only enjoyer, Girirāja will give you darśana of his own internal spiritual form.”

“Who is Girirāja really?” Śrīla Trivikrama Gosvāmī Mahārāja suddenly interrupted. “Is he a bhakta or is he Bhagavān?”

“He is neither simply a bhakta nor Bhagavān,” Śrīla Gurudeva said.

“Then who is he, Brahma?”

“He is Trivikrama!” Gurudeva said. “Krama, krama, krama. Three kramas makes Trivikrama. He has three manifestations.”

“What riddles he speaks,” Trivikrama Mahārāja said, then jived in a singsong voice: “Nārāyaṇa, Nārāyaṇa, Hari, Hari!”

“Your Viṣṇu’s Trivikrama is insignificant compared to my Rādhārānī’s,” Gurudeva retorted. “It is Her power that lifted Govardhana. Sometimes She serves Kṛṣṇa as the sakhīs and sometimes She plays with Kṛṣṇa as His sakhās. She is svarūpa-śakti, the original source of all power and transformations. You are ghaṇṭa-trivikrama!”

Śrīla Trivikrama Mahārāja riposted, “You are not Nārāyaṇa. You are only ayana, always sleeping. You are concerned merely with eating and sleeping.”

Śrīla Gurudeva and Śrīla Trivikrama Mahārāja often joked like this. Gurudeva then illuminated the spiritual truths concerning Girirāja Govardhana. “Girirāja has all qualities,” he said, “more than even Trivikrama. Being a manifestation of svarūpa-śakti, although Girirāja is one tattva, he manifests in three ways as sac-cid-ānanda, which all emanate from svarūpa-śakti. As guru, or sandhinī-śakti, Girirāja is haridāsa-varya, and brings the jīvas into Kṛṣṇa’s service. As savit-śakti, he is the same as Kṛṣṇa and performs pastimes with the gopīs. Finally, as hlādinīśakti he is a sakhī of Śrīmatī Rādhikā.

“After Kātyāyanī-vrata, the śruti-caris, smti-caris, and ṛṣis of Daṇḍakāraṇya had not yet achieved the perfection of their spiritual mood. Kṛṣṇa then arranged a pastime to take them all to Girirāja and give them bhāva-siddhi. Girirāja’s trivikrama-svarūpa was then manifested.

“During the summertime festival of Candana-yātrā, the gopīs did parikramā of Girirāja and worshipped him with garlands and sandalwood paste. A person circumambulates another and offers a garland to make the object of reverence one’s own kin. A girl will not put a garland on any man other than her husband. The gopīs could not garland Kṛṣṇa in front of the Vrajavāsīs, so Kṛṣṇa took the form of Girirāja and then the gopīs had a chance to openly meet with Him. They garlanded Him, offered foodstuffs to Him, and could embrace and kiss Him in the form of Girirāja. When the gopīs touched Girirāja, they felt like they were meeting with Kṛṣṇa. They could not meet with Kṛṣṇa directly, but were able to meet with Him as Girirāja. Later, Kṛṣṇa engaged in rāsa with the gopīs. Nearby Apsarā-kuṇḍa, Kṛṣṇa showed the gopīs that He is Himself Govardhana.”

Śrīla Gurudeva concluded, “There are many secrets surrounding Girirāja’s transcendental nature. One who is realized in the tattva regarding Girirāja has no troubles in his sādhana; but without Girirāja’s mercy, one can never achieve perfection.”

The next morning, the party set out on the other half of Govardhan parikramā. The first stop along this six-mile route is Mānasī-gaṅgā, where Śrīla Gurudeva gave details of a few of the countless pastimes surrounding this sacred pond.

“Nanda Mahārāja, Yaśodā, and the Vrajavāsīs once decided to bathe at Ganga-sagar. They set out in caravans and rested the first night near Govardhana. Kṛṣṇa thought, ‘Why should the Vrajavāsīs go so far away to bathe in the holy places? All holy places pray for entrance into Vraja.’ Kṛṣṇa then manifested the Gaṅgā from His mind. In the morning, the Vrajavāsīs were overjoyed to see the Gaṅgā. Kṛṣṇa said to the Vrajavāsīs, ‘All tīrthas reside in Vraja. Now, Gangā-devī has mercifully revealed herself here. So, you should all take bath.’

“Everyone joyfully started to bathe, but the sakhās were suspicious. ’We don’t believe it  is the Gaṅgā. You just directed all the drain water of Vraja here and pronounced it the Gaṅgā.’

“‘That is not true,’ Kṛṣṇa said. ‘Come, I will show you where Viṣṇu is present.’ Kṛṣṇa then took them up on the hill of Govardhana, and showed them the four-armed Deity of Harideva, which He had manifested and from whose feet the Gaṅgā flowed. The sakhās were then satisfied. However, when Kṛṣṇa returned with the sakhīs, the gopīs asked Him,
‘So, where did this Gaṅgā come from?’

“‘She is Manasi-ganga,’ Kṛṣṇa said, ‘because she appeared from My mind.’ Indignant, the gopīs replied, ‘You are a hypocrite. You said we are Your beloveds and only we are in Your mind. But now we see that You were actually absorbed in thoughts of another.’ ‘No, no,’ Kṛṣṇa said, ‘Gaṅgā-devī came here because she desired to be your maidservant,’ Kṛṣṇa said. ‘If this is the Gaṅgā, where is ‘Siva?’ the gopīs asked.
Kṛṣṇa summoned Siva Ṭhākura, who quickly appeared on the northern bank of Manasi-ganga, where he became known as Cakaleśvara Mahādeva.
Once the gopīs’ sullenness was allayed, Kṛṣṇa boated with them in Manasi-ganga. Śrīla Visvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura describes these pastimes in his Govardhānastakam:

yatraiva gaṅgām anu nāvi rādhām

ārohya madhye tu nimagna-naukaḥ

kṛṣṇo hi rādhānugalo babhau sa

govardhano me diṣatām abhīṣṭam

Śrīmatī Rādhikā was once seated in a boat in the middle of Mānasī-Gaṅgā. When, by Kṛṣṇa’s trickery, the boat began to sink, Srimati Radhika fearfully caught Śrī Kṛṣṇa in Her embrace. May Govardhana fulfill all my desires.

Thereafter, the Parikramā party visited the holy sites around Manasi-ganga: the Harideva temple, Cakaleśvara Mahādeva and Sanātana Gosvāmī’s bhajana-kuṭīra, Mukhāravinda, and the Gaura-Nitai Temple, which marks the site where Nityananda Prabhu (and later Śrīman Mahāprabhu) rested after darśana of the surrounding holy sites. Next, the pilgrims went to Brahma-kunda. It is here where Brahmājī begged forgiveness for his offense of kidnapping the calves and cowherd boys. After glorifying Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs, Brahmā bathed Kṛṣṇa.
The holy water that gathered in a pond from this abhiṣeka became known as Brahma-kunda.

Proceeding along the parikramā path, after a few miles the party reached Uddhava-kuṇḍa. Upon witnessing the exalted love of the gopīs, Uddhavajī prayed to take birth as grass so he may receive the dust from the gopīs’ feet on his head. It was in this place, now known as Uddhava-kuṇḍa, where Uddhava performed bhajana with this aspiration. The Guru-varga describe that once Vajranābhajī, the grandson of Kṛṣṇa, came here with the queens of Dvārakā, who were disconsolate after Kṛṣṇa’s disappearance. As Vajranābha and the queens commenced a heart-rending saṅkīrtana, Kṛṣṇa’s associates began to appear. Śrī Uddhava also emerged from the shrubs and began dancing in the ecstasy of kīrtana. Attracted by His devotees’ love, Kṛṣṇa Himself gave darśana with Śrīmatī Rādhikā and the sakhīs, thereby assuaging the agony of His associates.

The party had darśana of the beautiful Radha-Krsna Deities at Uddhava-kuṇḍa, took ācamana, and then continued on towards Radha-kunda; arriving there, they offered praṇāma before the Deities of
Rādhā-Kuñjabihārī, and then at the bhajana-kuṭīra of Śrī Jāhnavā Mātā, and to the samādhi of Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. In the nāṭya-mandira, Śrīla Gurudeva led the singing of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s song, expressing the highest aspiration of Gauḍiya Vaiṣṇavas: Cintāmaṇi-moy rādhā-kuṇḍa-taṭa. He later spoke on the glories of Radha-kunda, saying, “Whereas in other places of Vraja there is sometimes a mixture of different rasas, Rādhā-kuṇḍa, which is non-different from Śrīmatī Rādhikā Herself, is exclusively reserved for Kṛṣṇa to relish mādhurya-rasa. The Viṣṇu Purāṇa glorifies Rādhā-kuṇḍa as follows:

yathā rādhā priyā viṣṇos

tasyāḥ kuṇḍaṁ priyaṁ tathā

sarva-gopīṣu saivaikā

viṣṇor atyanta-vallabhā

Among all the gopīs, Rādhikā is the most beloved of Kṛṣṇa, and Rādhā-kuṇḍa is just as dear to Kṛṣṇa as Rādhikā Herself.

“All our ācāryas aspire to attain the service of the Divine Couple when They sport at Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Rādhā-kuṇḍa is glorified as the ultimate place in existence in the final three verses of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Upadeśāmṛta, concluding with

kṛṣṇasyoccaiḥ praṇaya-vasatiḥ preyasībhyo ’pi rādhā-

kuṇḍaṁ cāsyā munibhir abhitas tādṛg eva vyadhāyi

yat preṣṭhair apy alam asulabhaṁ kiṁ punar bhakti-bhājāṁ

tat premedaṁ sakṛd api saraḥ snātur āviṣkaroti

Upadeśāmṛta 11

The learned sages unanimously declare that just as Śrīmatī Rādhikā is foremost among Kṛṣṇa’s beloveds, in precisely the same way, Her kuṇḍa is also the topmost object of Kṛṣṇa’s affection. Gopī-prema, which is difficult to attain by even the most advanced devotees—what to speak of ordinary devotees—arises in a person’s heart merely upon bathing in that lake with devotion.

“And Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī prays to Rādhā-kuṇḍa for shelter in his Vilāpa-kusumāñjali:

he śrī sarovara sadā tvayi sā mad-īṣā

praṣṭhena sārdham iha khelati kāma-raṅgaiḥ

tvaṁ cet priyāt priyam atīva tayor itīmāṁ

ha darśayādya kṛpayā mama jīvitaṁ tām

Vilāpa-kusumāñjali 98

O beautiful Rādhā-kuṇḍa, My Mistress and Her beloved Kṛṣṇa enjoy intimate pastimes in your waters and the kuñjas on your banks. I take shelter of you, who are the dearmost of the Divine Couple, and pray for your mercy. Kindly grant a vision of my Svāminī, who is my very life and soul.

“The whole surrounding area is known as Radha-kunda; Śyāma-kuṇḍa is subsidiary—Radha-kunda is the supreme holy place in all three worlds. On the outside, all we see is greenish water. But Rādhā-kuṇḍa is not comprised of ordinary water. As a mundane example, a watermelon is hard, green, and bitter outside, but inside is the red color of anurāga, and is only rasa, full of sweet juice. Similarly, with our physical vision, we see the material cover of Radha-kunda and Śyāma-kuṇḍa and may foolishly consider them ordinary ponds. In truth, this water is a dire manifestation of the divine love of Śrīmatī Rādhikā for Kṛṣṇa. It is therefore extremely beneficial for the sādhakas to come bathe here and propitiate Śrīmatī Rādhikā for Her mercy. Kṛṣṇa loves Rādhā-kuṇḍa the same as Śrīmatī, and He swims and drinks rādhā-rasa here. From Rādhā-kuṇḍa, the love of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, rādhā-rasa, emanates to the hearts of all the sakhīs, mañjarīs, and indeed to all the Vrajavāsīs.”

The pilgrims then respectfully bathed in Rādhā-kuṇḍa and also in Śyāma-kuṇḍa. Afterwards they continued on to Mahāprabhu Baiṭhaka, where Śrīman Mahāprabhu sat absorbed in an ecstatic trance on the bank of Śyāma-kuṇḍa. From there, offering praṇāma to the well where Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī daily bathed out of respect for Rādhā-kuṇḍa, the party proceeded on their way, stopping next at Ratna-siṁhāsana, where Śrīmatī Rādhikā reclined on a jeweled-throne during a break in the Holi play with Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs. She also received the jewel of Śaṅkhacūḍa at this place. Adjacent to Ratna-siṁhāsana, located in a beautiful grove, is Śyāma-kuṭī; here Śyāmasundara hid in a dark kuñja, disguised with śyāma-colored musk and śyāma clothes and ornaments. When Rādhikā entered the grove and lamented in longing for Kṛṣṇa, Śyāma suddenly appeared
and embraced Her. Adjoining Śyāma-kuṭī is Gvāla-pokharā, where Kṛṣṇa would rest and play with the sakhās in the afternoon. Further south on the parikramā path is Killola-kuṇḍa. Killola denotes frolicking; it is here that Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa sported
in the water. From Killola-kuṇḍa, the Parikramā stopped at Kusuma-sarovara, a charming lake surrounded by an enchanting garden where, in Kṛṣṇa’s time, every variety of flower was constantly in bloom. The gopīs would come here to pick flowers, but their real purpose was to meet Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa had many sweet encounters here with the gopīs; He also bantered and playfully quarreled with Rādhikā. On the left side of the path, a few hundred meters southeast from Kusuma-sarovara, is Nārada-kuṇḍa. Upon hearing the glories of gopi-bhava, intense greed arose in Nārada Ṛṣi to serve Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in mādhurya-rasa. Once initiated in the gopāla-mantra, having received it from Brahmā, Nārada Ṛṣi did sādhana here, meditating on the service of the gopīs and praying to be granted entrance into Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s inmate service. Finally, after meditating for thousands of years, Nārada Ṛṣi received the form of a gopī by the mercy of Yogamāyā Paurṇamāsī. The path continuing from Nārada-kuṇḍa leads back to Manasi Ganga.

The party retired at the Mainā Dharmaśalā for the evening after completing the second half of Govardhana parikramā. Based from the Dharmaśalā in Govardhana, in the following days the Parikramā visited neighboring holy sites. From the town of Govardhana, they walked two miles west to Nīma Gāoṣ, where Gopāla was lovingly served and smothered with kisses by Yaśodā and the elder gopīs. Thereupon, the party went to Pāṭala Grāma, north of Nīma Gāoñ, where Srimati Radhika and the sakhīs would pick pāṭalas (roses) to make garlands for Kṛṣṇa. Later, the party went to Parāsaulī, a couple miles southeast of Govardhana, where Kṛṣṇa performed the springtime Rāsa dance with the gopīs. Next to Paiṭhā Grāma is a village south of Parāsaulī, known as the site where, after departing from the Rāsa dance, Kṛṣṇa assumed the guise of four-armed Viṣṇu. The gopīs owed their single-minded love for Kṛṣṇa by owing reverence to Viṣṇu and, before passing on, asking the whereabouts of Kṛṣṇa. However, when Rādhikā arrived distraught before the apparent Deity of Viṣṇu, Kṛṣṇa could not restrain Himself, and two of His additional arms receded within His body (paiṭha gaye); He thus showed His supreme affection for Rādhikā and, falling on His knees, supplicated Her, “Please forgive Me. When You left the Rāsa, I became maddened in longing to be with You. Without You, there can be no Rāsa; everything becomes like a body without the soul.”

Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from [email protected] )

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