IBSA (ISKCON Bhaktivedanta Sadhana Asrama), Govardhana, India
20 January 2004
The Opulences of Sri Giriraja
Sri Bahulasva said: What holy places are situated on what limbs ? O great master, O best of the wise, please tell.
O king of Mithila, the sages know only the most famous limbs of Govardhana Hill. They do not know them all, one by one.
As Brahman is present everywhere, so the opulences of the Lord are always present on all the limbs of Govardhana Hill. O noble one, I will now describe them to you.
Below Srngara-mandala is Govardhana Hill's mouth, where the Lord and the people of Vraja made a hill of food.
Manasa-ganga is Govardhana Hill's eyes, Candra-sarovara its nose, Govinda-kunda its lips, Syama-kunda its chin,. . .
. . . Radha-kunda its tongue, Lalita-kunda its cheeks, Gopala-kunda its ears, Kusuma-sarovara its inner ear,. . .
O king of Mithila, please know that the stone marked with Lord Krnsa's crown (mauli-sila) is Govardhana Hill's forehead, the stone decorated with pictures (citra-sila) is its head and the musical stone (vadani sila) is its throat.
Kanduka-tirtha is said to be its two sides. Ausisa-tirtha its waist, Drona-tirtha its back and Laukita-tirtha its belly.
Kadamba-khanda is its chest and Srngara-mandala is its life. Sri Krsna's footprint is the heart of noble-hearted Govardhana Hill.
Lord Krsna's handprint is its intelligence and Airavata's footprint is its feet. Surabhi's hoofprints are the wings of noble-hearted Govardhana Hill.
Puccha-kunda is its tail, Vatsa-kunda its strength, Rudra-kunda its anger and Sakra-sarovara its desire.
The wise say that Kuvera-tirtha is Govardhana Hill's determination, Brahma-tirtha its cheerfulness and Yama-tirtha its ego.
O king of Mithila, in this way I have described to you Govardhana Hill's limbs, which remove all sins.
One who hears about the glories and opulences of Govardhana Hill becomes the best of persons and goes to Goloka, the supreme abode, which even the greatest yogis cannot attain.
By seeing Govardhana Hill, which was born from Lord Hari's chest, which is the king of the kings of the kings of mountains and which was brought to the earth by Pulastya Muni's power, one becomes free from taking birth again in this world.
The Birth of Sri Giriraja
Sri Bahulasva said: Govardhana Hill is dear to Lord Hari. It is the king of mountains. No holy place in the earthly or heavenly planets is equal to it.
When was Govardhana Hill born from Lord Krsna's chest? O wise and intelligent one, please tell me that. You know what is in Lord krsna's heart.
Sri Narada said: O noble-hearted king, please hear the story of Goloka's birth, a story that brings to human beings the four goals of life, a story filled with transcendental pastimes.
Sri Krsna is the Supreme Lord. He is a person. He has no beginning. He is perfect and complete. He is the master of all opulences. He is beyond the modes of nature. He is above the realm of matter.
Time has no existence in the transcendental abode where the self-effulgent Supreme Personality of Godhead enjoys pastimes eternally.
O king, illusion has no power in that realm. Neither do the mahat-tattva, nor the material modes of nature have any power there. How can they ? O king, the material heart, mind, intelligence and false-ego cannot enter there.
In His own abode the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose form is spiritual, desired to expand and so He manifested the form of Lord Sesa, who has gigantic white coils.
The Lord's realm, Goloka, is worshiped by all the worlds. A devotee who goes there never returns to the world of birth and death.
The Ganga, which travels through the three material worlds, was born from the lotus feet of Lord Krsna, who is the master of countless material universes and the ruler of the spiritual realm of Goloka.
This deity of Yamunadevi is at Kesi Ghat. She appeared from Lord Krsna's left shoulder.
O king, the Yamuna, the best of rivers, who wore a turban and many flower ornaments, was manifested from Lord Krsna's left shoulder.
The splendid rasa-dance circle, made of gold and jewels and decorated with many ornaments, was manifested from Lord Krsna's ankles.
TEXT 12 AND 13
Filled with assembly-houses, courtyards, pathways, pavilions, peacocks, bees and cooing cuckoos, flooded with the sweetness of spring and decorated with many lakes, a forest grove was manifested from Lord Krsna's legs.
O king, Vrndavana, the best of all forests, was manifested from Lord Krsna's knees and Lila-sarovara lake was manifested from His thighs.
A golden place splendid with gold and jewels was manifested from His hips. Many flowering madhavi vines were manifested from the line of hairs on His abdomen.
These vines were filled with many different birds and decorated with buzzing bees. Burdened with many flowers and fruits, they bowed down as if they were many saintly girls.
From the Lord's lotus navel many thousands of lotus flowers were manifested. They shone very splendidly in the many lakes of Lord Krsna's transcendental abode.
From the three folds of skin at the Lord's waist was manifested a gentle and cooling breeze. From His collar were manifested the cities of Mathura and Dvaraka.
From Lord Krsna's arms were manifested His eight friends headed by Sridama. From the Lord's wrists Nanda was manifested and from the Lord's hands Upananda was manifested.
O king, from Sri Krsna's shoulder-blades all the Vrsabhanus were manifested. From the hairs of Sri Krsna's body all the gopas were manifested.
O king of Mithila, from Sri Krsna's mind were manifested the cows and bulls, the upholders of religion. From Sri Krsna's intelligence were manifested the grass, plants and shrubs.
From the Lord's left shoulder was manifested a golden splendor that was His beloveds: Lila, Sri, Bhu and Viraja.
One of His beloveds is Lilavati. The wise know His dearest beloved is Radha. From Radh's arms are manifested Her friends Lalita and Visakha.
O king, Her gopi-assistants were manifested from the hairs of Radha's body. In this way Lord Krsna manifested the world of Goloka.
After thus manifesting His own abode, Lord Krsna, the perfect and complete Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the master of countless universes, shone with great glory in Sri Radha's company there.
TEXT 26 - 28
One day, in the beautiful rasa-dance circle, which was filled with the tinkling of anklets and with courtyards splendid with pearls and parasols, awnings of flowering malati vines fragrant with nectar honey, sounds of flute and mrdanga and beautiful singing from beautiful throats and which was beautiful with many beautiful girls, Radha cast a sidelong glance at Lord Krsna, who is more charming that many millions of Kamadevas and who generously gives the sweetest nectar. She spoke to Him the following words.
Sri Radha said: O Lord of the worlds, if You are pleased with My love in this rasa-dance, then there is a desire in My heart I would like to place before You.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O girl with the beautiful thighs, You may ask for whatever Your heart desires. O beloved, if I have not already given it, I will lovingly give whatever You wish.
Sri-Sri Radha-Krsna enjoy private talks together at a secluded place in Vrndavana forest by the Yamuna's shore. Govardhana Hill is in the background.
Sri Radha said: In splendid Vrndavana forest, in a beautiful and secluded place by the Yamuna's shore, please make an arena for a nectar rasa-dance. O Lord of lords, this is My desire.
Sri Narada said: Saying, "So be it ", the Lord meditated. With His lotus eyes he looked inside His heart.
As the gopis watched, Krsna's love, in a form of fire and water, came from His heart as a sprout comes up from the ground.
Falling onto the ground of the rasa-dance circle, that love grew into a great mountain filled with many caves and swiftly-moving streams,. . .
. . . beautiful with kadamba, bakula and asoka trees and a great network of flowering vines, opulent with mandara and kunda flowers and filled with graceful birds.
O king of Videha, in a single moment that mountain became eight hundred thousand miles wide and eight billion miles long. It was like another Ananta Sesa.
It was four billion miles tall. It is four billion miles tall eternally. It was like a gigantic elephant.
It had a hundred eighty-million-mile-tall peaks. O king of Mithila, it was like a great palace with many golden domes.
Some called this mountain Govardhana and others called it Satasrnga (a hundred peaks). The mountain expanded as much as its heart wished.
As the mountain expanded, Goloka became filled with fear and there was a great uproar. Lord Krsna at once stood up and slapped the mountains with His hand.
He said, " Why do You expand so much ? You have covered the entire realm! Why do you not stop at once?" In this way Krsna stopped the mountain from growing any further.
Gazing at this best of mountains, Lord Krsna's beloved Radha was very pleased. O king, She enjoyed pastimes with Krsna in a secluded place on that mountain.
In this way Govardhana Hill, which is the best of mountains, which is dear to the Lord, which is dark as a monsoon cloud and which contains within itself all holy places, was manifested by Lord Krsna.
In Salmali-dvipa, to the west of Bharata-varsa, Govardhana Hill was born from the wife of Mount Drona.
Pulastya Muni brought Govardhana to Bharata-varsa. O king of Videha, I have already described this to you.
Because Govardhana Hill had been so eager to expand unlimitedly, Lord Krsna arranged that the sage Pulastya curse it to decrease day by day.
Sketches of a Devotee's Pre-Krsna Conscious Life in India
Back in the late 1980's I tape-recorded a series of interesting stories told me by an Indian devotee, whom I shall not name to protect his privacy. These stories relate his life as a young man from a South Indian smarta brahmin family, and trace how he gradually turned away from material life to Krsna consciousness. What you will read below begins in Puttaparthi, just as he departed the asrama of a famous pseudo-incarnation of God.
"I'm going to Bangalore", Sai Baba called to me through the open window of his limousine. "Would you like to come?"
"No," I told him. "Now I'm taking my own direction. "
"But you don't know where you are going. "
"That's true, but I am going nonetheless. "
He turned to the lady next to him and said, "He doesn't even know where he's going. He's just looking. I tell him to stay, but he says 'no, I am going. ' I ask him where, he says 'I don't know. ' All the time just looking, looking. "
Then I said jokingly, "But like everybody, I am only looking for you. "
Still speaking to the lady he said, "Everybody's looking for me to become themselves. He's looking for me to become myself. "
I laughed, a bit embarrassed. I could see he knew my motivations all too well. He turned to me again. "Go to Jilallamuri and see Amma. " Amma was a woman whom many said was an incarnation of a goddess. "You'll be very happy in Jilallamuri. "
"How shall I get there?"
He said something to the lady. She took twenty-five rupees out of her handbag and handed the money to him, and he held it out to me.
"You have 25 rupees; it costs twenty-three rupees eighty to take a bus from here. Just go to the bus stand and wait. "
Taking the money, I waved, "All right, so goodbye. This is the last time we'll see each other. "
"No, we'll meet again," Sai Baba chuckled. He told his driver to start the engine, and the window glass buzzed up. Then he was off.
I went to the bus station; the Jilallamuri bus soon came and I boarded it. Rolling through the parched landscape, I reflected on my recent experiences.
Amma lived in the simple village environs of Jilillamuri with her husband and six children. She attracted much bigger crowds at her place than Sai Baba did at Prashanti Nilayam. Like Sai Baba, she was reputed to have miraculous powers of healing and problem-solving. But her crowds were fed daily free of charge with a sumptuous feast.
In the morning and the evening she gave lectures dressed in colorful silks, crown and ornaments like Devi. The rest of the day she wore a simple sari and did household chores.
She lived in a no-frills four room house with her family. In the yard she had built a spacious hall for the pilgrims. It wasn't difficult to have audience with her, and it was all the easier for me, for I came dressed as a sadhu and had been sent by Sai Baba.
I found her in the kitchen, cooking for her family. She was a plump, friendly woman with a big sindhur dot on her forehead who looked for all the world like an average Hindu housewife. She fed me first and then we talked.
I told her that I was searching for someone who could show me a higher state of spiritual awareness, and that I had not been satisfied with what I'd seen in Sai Baba. She immediately said, "Oh, then you should go see Bala Yogi. " Bala Yogi was an ascetic mystic who lived not far from Jilillamuri.
"Yes, I can go see him also", I replied, "but I see you are very advanced yourself. I am impressed by your simplicity, practicality and especially your charitable attitude to others. "
She gazed at me unblinkingly for a moment and then said, "But I cannot help you. Your problem is that you have a great desire to become God. But that is impossible. God is already God. We are like small drops that have been churned out of a big pot of yoghurt. We can't rightly claim to be the whole pot of yoghurt, though at times we hear some people speaking this way. Sai Baba says he is the whole pot. But it's all from the last life. He's left over with some power. Anyway, it is not my policy to criticize. "
Just then a man walked in. Amma got up from the table we were sitting at and touched his feet. She introduced him to me as her husband. Assuring him she'd be only a few more minutes, she then turned back to me.
I told her that Sai Baba said I would become inimical to him after I found what I was looking for. She remarked, "I also see many things, but I keep them to myself. " I asked her what she meant by 'the whole pot of yoghurt', and she explained that it is the totality of everything of which we are only tiny parts. We can only realize that totality through devotion, she said; by devotion she meant service to family, friends and fellow man.
She paused, detecting my skepticism. I commented that I'd heard this before. "I can more or less understand what you say intellectually, but I think the actual realization of this oneness that so many gurus and avatars speak about, not just you, is much more difficult than it is admitted to be. That is why I am looking for a teacher who can show me this truth you are telling me about. "
"So, that's why I am saying you should go see Bala Yogi," she replied quietly. "You won't find what you want here. Anyway"-- she closed her eyes as if meditating on some inner vision--"keep clean inwardly and outwardly. That is the only way to always feel the presence of God in everything. "
After taking her blessings, I left. I was impressed by this woman, much more impressed than I was with Sai Baba, but meeting her had not done anything for my growing desire to actually experience transcendence myself. Outside, I asked the way to Mummuvivaram, the village of Bala Yogi. I begged the fare and boarded the bus.
Bala Yogi ("little yogi") had renounced his home when he was only six years old. He came to Mummuvivaram and sat down on the ground in meditation, never to move from that place again. It was said he neither ate nor passed stool nor urine after that. Moreover, a cobra snake was his constant companion. A house had been built around Bala Yogi by the faithful, and the people of the village profited greatly from the pilgrims that flocked to see him. But he remained aloof from all this attention.
It was only possible to see him during a period of a few days out of every month. During those days a huge multitude gathered at Mummuvivaram to have darshan. It so happened that I arrived there during one of these peak periods. The darshan queue was so long that I supposed it would take me two days of standing in line before I would get a chance to see Bala Yogi. I lost heart and decided to move on.
But while I viewed the scene from a distance, a man hailed me. He'd been sent by a government minister who had noticed me. The minister, thinking by my dress that I'd come all the way from North India, invited me to have a special darshan.
Bala Yogi was said to be fifty years old but looked only thirty, having the wispy beard of a young man and long matted locks of hair on his head. His finger- and toenails had grown out long and crazily twisted. He sat glowering in the half-lotus posture with a large fired clay statue of a cobra behind him, the hood of which was poised over his head like an umbrella.
The pilgrims passed quickly before him. There was no time for anyone to have more than the briefest look. I had entered with the minister and some other big men who apparently wanted to have a private talk with the yogi. They stopped the procession of pilgrims and announced their desire to discuss improvements of the pilgrimage site. Bala Yogi simply screamed at them incoherently, sounding like nothing else than a child throwing a temper tantrum. The minister and his friends retreated quickly, and the procession resumed. An attendant asked me to leave.
I went out and stopped at a soft drink shop. There were photographs of Bala Yogi hung on the back wall. I struck up a conversation with the man behind the counter and asked if there were any relatives of Bala Yogi living in this area. "He has three brothers", the man answered, "and one doesn't like him. The other two are members of the committee that organizes the pilgrimage services in town. "
I asked for the address of the brother who had rejected Bala Yogi. He lived in the outskirts of Mummuvivaram, in the area of the family's ancestral home. I went there and found him to be an elderly man, retired from active life.
Asked about his brother, he recalled, "One fine morning the boy left home. He went over there where he is now and sat down. He wouldn't eat, and there was this cobra with him that frightened everybody away. The family used to go there and clap hands from a distance; then he'd send the snake away and we could talk to him. But try as we might, he would not come home. Later on all these people started coming. "
"But what is his goal?" I inquired.
He shrugged. "His purpose is known to him alone. All I know is that he doesn't like people. He only stayed where is now because the family begged him to not go farther off than he'd done. You see, he was only six years old, and naturally mother and father were quite afraid to lose him. But he never cared for them--his own parents! He certainly doesn't care for these people who come to worship him now. "
Then I asked, "What do you think about all these people saying he is God or an avatar?" He answered emphatically, "Just because a man has three wives does not make him Dasaratha. " Then he explained that his father had three wives, just as King Dasaratha had. King Dasaratha was the father of Lord Rama. "My father had three wives, like Dasaratha, and he also had four sons, like Dasaratha. But that doesn't mean that one son must be Rama. "
It appeared that Bala Yogi needed to sit in one place to maintain his powers. There was also a secret about his connection with the cobra that I found out later in the Himalayas. And, though common folk considered him to be God, Bala Yogi himself never made such a claim; indeed, he didn't seem to care a fig what his devotees thought about him.
After bidding goodbye to the yogi's brother, I went out and sat beneath a tree to think things over. Giving up my worldly life, I had set out to become an accomplished spiritual master, but I knew I needed training. So far I'd seen three well-known masters who were said to be highly advanced. But I found Sai Baba to be a mere caricature. Amma was praiseworthy for her simplicity and dutifulness, but she could not help me in my search; at least she was honest enough to admit it. And this Bala Yogi looked like a grim misanthrope who just sneered at anyone who fell at his feet.
Considering all this, I found myself laughing at how useless my search was proving to be.
But I'd looked for only ten days. I couldn't so quickly give up hope that there was a teacher somewhere out there who was genuine and who could actually help me.
I decided to go to the Himalayas.