Significance of Govardhan Pooja
(Lecture given by Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj during Govardhan Pooja celebrations)
Today is the day of Govardhan Pooja. The day we worship Giridhari. Why do we observe this festival? It has great significance and we need to understand. Throughout the Vedas, Puranas, and scriptures, God and Saints have instructed us to love God alone. Our mind should be exclusively surrendered and attached only to God. Not anywhere else. Anywhere ‘else’ means the realm of Maya. There is no third area where one can get attached. One can love either God or the world of Maya.
There are 3 divisions of this world based on the modes of goodness, (satvaguni), passion (rajoguni) and ignorance (tamoguni). Satvaguni world consists of the celestial abodes. Rajoguni world comprised of this mortal world. Tamoguni world comprises the hellish planets. Bhagwat says there are only four areas where we can attach our minds. One is hell which is attained by unrighteous and sinful acts of tamogun. Second is the mortal world which is attained by committing acts of rajagun. Third is the satvaguni celestial abode which is attained by loving the celestial gods. And fourth is the Divine abode of God which is attained by loving God.
There are only four areas that we can love. Three are in the realm of Maya. And one is God who is beyond the material modes and is Divine. We are well experienced in the love of these areas. Countless times. Sometimes we loved the satvaguni areas and went to the celestial world. And loving the rajoguni and tamoguni areas is most common for us. The Vedas state that we desire Divine bliss and freedom from miseries forever. We want these two things. But we don’t want it temporarily. So to attain such a state of eternal bliss, you need to love God. We do love God all the time. There is no such individual in the world who does not love God. Yes, we do love Him but however, God states – “Love only me. Only me.” Don’t love the three material areas of sattvic, rajas, and tamas.
What is Gita all about? Arjun was inclined to mayic dharm (material duties) and he also loved God. Mayic dharm means duties pertaining to the physical body. It is also called sharirik dharm. agantuk dharm, varnashram dharm or apar dharm. Arjun said, “The Kaurav army comprises of my relatives and revered elders. I will incur sin by killing them.” This is called mayic dharm because ‘I’ am the body, not the soul. So no one here is ‘my’ relative. But Arjun was acting ignorant by identifying himself with the body. Hesitant to commit the sin of killing his body’s relatives, he says. “I can’t follow your orders, I won’t fight this war” and he dropped his bow and arrow.
He did blow his conch shell, then upon observing his opponents, he said to the Lord, ”I won’t fight.” God asked, “But why?” Arjun replied, “They are all my relatives – my revered elders, like paternal and maternal uncles and grandfathers too. I can’t kill them because it will incur my sin.” This is mayic dharm. At the same time, Arjun also says to the Lord, “I am your disciple, I take you as my Guru. He also uses the term ‘prapannam’ (fully surrendered). I am not an ordinary disciple who simply places his head at Guru’s feet. And Guruji places his hand on the disciple’s head.” Such foolish disciples put on an act of submission and their Gurus are also ignorant who pretend to give blessings. Both these acts are meaningless.
So then the whole Gita was delivered by Lord Krishna with the extensive 18th chapter lecture. As I had mentioned to you, there are three dharma – sattvic dharm, rajas dharm and tamas dharm. Dharm means something which is worth accepting. Like you consume food. Whatever sattvic, rajas, or tamas foods you ingest in your stomach will constitute the nature of your intellect. Similarly, whatever personality you bring to your mind, you get rewards accordingly. If you bring celestial gods in your mind, you will attain the celestial world. If you love human beings, you will attain these very human beings. If you love a tamoguni person, you will attain hell.
So the Lord said, that is, give up the four duties of brahmacharya, grihashth, vanaprashth,and sannyas. Of the four social classes of brahman, kshatriya, vaishya, and shudra. “Abandon all duties and surrender to me alone” and God says, ‘Mam ekam’ (exclusively). What was the need to say ‘ekam’ (exclusively) when He already had earlier told to give up all duties? He could have simply said, “Abandon all duties and surrender to Me.” He mentioned this to affirm what He said. So God says, “Surrender to me alone.”
Earlier he said, “Love only me.” “Love me alone.” The entire Gita is full of such repetitions. “Love only me” and “Love me alone” After Arjun’s confusion was cleared, he understood that it is true that giving up scriptural duties leads to hell according to the scriptures and Vedas. However, there is a condition. The condition is that if one does not adopt God’s devotion and also abandons his prescribed duties, then he will attain hell. But if he worships God and leaves everything else, then he will attain God.
What are we doing wrong? Not just in this age. We have been erring in satyug, tretayug, and dwaparyug also. We are just like the housefly that sits everywhere, including feces, sweets, flowers, and even on the heads of deities and saints. This is the condition of our mind for eternity. We love our parents, spouses, and everyone. We worship the celestial Gods and worship the Supreme Lord as well. We get attracted everywhere. We welcome everyone into our hearts. Suppose you are eating a delicious meal or dessert, and suddenly you encounter a pebble in your food, you just discard it or rather you rebuke your wife for being careless in preparing the food.
But what do you do when it comes to your mind? You invite God to reside in it and you invite your worldly relatives too. Moreover, you don’t even hesitate to worship the tombs of dead people! Even great scientists, Prime Ministers, and Presidents have been known to do such acts. Those who don’t even believe in Gods are seen offering floral sheets at tombs. To whom are you offering it? You don’t believe in the existence of God. By now, the dead person’s bones must also have decomposed in the tomb because thousands of years have passed. Why are you visiting there even now? So that our wish gets fulfilled. So that the tomb makes the impossible possible. Such dramas are going on everywhere in the world..
Yesterday was the festival of Diwali. This is Lord Ram’s festival. But not even 1% of people in India worshipped Lord Ram. Most people worshipped two personalities, namely Lakshmi and Kuber. They inscribe signs of Lakshmi and Kuber in their account books and walls. They don’t even mention God as they fear it may compel Lakshmi to leave. Whereas the fact is, that wherever God resides, his wife Lakshmi also resides. You invoke Lakshmi and the priest invokes ritualistic worship.
All this drama was being held on Diwali yesterday. The priest recites – and he first invokes all the gods and worships them. Ganesh, Navdurga, Shodash Matrika, and also the Supreme God are invoked. At the end, he says, “All the gods now can depart for their respective abodes.” He adds, “Except Lakshmi and Kuber, all may leave.” I don’t want anything from you all. I have finished all your worship.” Even long-time devotees who visit various holy men, even those who adorn their heads with long tilaks, and even those who have been initiated by whispering mantras indulge in such activities. They don’t even understand the simple fact that countless Lakshmis, Ganeshas, and Kubers are the servants of Lord Ram and Krishna.
If you water the root of the tree, you don’t need to water its individual leaves. Conversely, if you don’t water the roots but water just its leaves, then the tree will dry out. The one who has pleased God is considered to have worshipped everyone, including the rajasic, tamasic, and sattvic personalities. This is because God is the root. Why do we all suffer from this fallacy? Because we are atheists. We don’t have faith in God. If you tell someone that he is an atheist, he will object “What are you saying, I am not an atheist. I do believe in God.”
If you really had faith in God, you wouldn’t have left Him to beg before numerous celestial gods and goddesses. Don’t you know that the celestial gods also beg before the Supreme lord? They are beggars themselves, how could they grant you Divine bliss? They are also under the control of Maya. Moreover, God puts the condition of ‘exclusiveness,’ that is excluding all others Naradji had made an aphorism to emphasize exclusiveness – “ Give up all other resorts. Stop relying on other strengths. Rely only on the Supreme Power, God.” Only such a person is a theist. Only he is a true believer of God. So this fallacy has existed in us since time immemorial.
Only a few rare disciples who have attained their Guru’s Grace can make this firm resolve, “I won’t surrender my mind to anyone else. I won’t have hard feelings either. I will pay respect to everyone, but I will love only Him.” A worldly faithful wife only offers her body to her husband. Her brothers, father, brothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, etc. do receive her respect and affection. We shouldn’t hate or criticize the celestial gods, any human being or even the demons. God resides in all so we should pay respect to all. But the attachment of our mind should remain confined to God and Saints alone.
Only these two personalities are pure. All others are under the control of Maya. This is the only reason. It is as simple as this. If you attach your mind to impure things, your mind will become more impure. Suppose there is a dirty cloth that has not been washed for thousands of years. It has immense layers of dirt. Now you wash it in clean water and it becomes clean. But you immerse it in dirty water and it gets dirty again. Again you immerse it in clean water.
Similarly, you chant ‘Hare Ram Hare Krishna’ in Guruji’s association, but as soon as you reach home you start worshipping your parents and spouse, etc. You start loving them. Thus, your mind which had been cleaned a bit in Guru’s association becomes dirty again. So not just today, this problem has existed since eternity. Because we have been under Maya’s control for eternity. It is the effect of Maya. It has become our nature to have doubts. We doubt God and Guru. We also doubt the celestial gods whether they will fulfil our desires or not. So we keep pacifying Hanuman ji, Durga ji, Indra ji, Kuber ji, and all. If we had a strong faith in God, we wouldn’t have cared about anything else.
So this mistaken belief existed in dwarparyug, even before Lord Krishna’s descent. Even the residents of Braj used to worship the celestial gods. They worshipped Lord Narayan as well. But they also worshipped Indra at the same time, because our scriptures say that rains occur due to Indra’s order. He is the God of Rains. Whenever there is a drought, fire sacrifices are performed to please Indra. In any case, Indra is offered oblations during normal fire sacrifices too. So Shri Krishna thought, “I have descended to propagate my devotion. But the residents of Braj are worshipping Indra as well. So I must do something with a practical effect. My Saints have explained the theory multiple times but people don’t seem to listen. So I must present some practical examples before them.”
So then He stopped Indra’s worship throughout Braj. Naradji went to Indra and said, “Are you aware that a little boy has stopped your worship.” Indra asked, “Who is that boy?” Naradji said, “He is Nand’s son.” Narad Ji said, “How dare he? Doesn’t he know that I am Indra?” Naradji said, “I don’t know all this, but you better go see to it. ”Thus Naradji raised the dispute and left chanting, “Narayan Narayan.” Indra went to Braj and noticed a dark little boy who had the courage to stop his worship. Then he inflicted torrential downpours with raindrops as big as a pestle, which is used to grind paddy. It rained continuously.
The land of Braj started to drown. Then in order to protect the residents, God lifted Govardhan Hill and placed it on his little finger. He called everyone under the shade and challenged Indra to continue pouring rains for months and years if need be. Now Indra wondered, “This boy has lifted a hill, even I cannot lift a hill, how could he?” Hills are indeed fixed to the earth. It’s not a table that someone can merely lift. How could he have lifted it, that too, such a big hill!” Indra then kept pouring rain. The Lord continued standing like this for seven days and seven nights without eating and drinking with all the residents of Braj.
It was then that Indra came to his senses and realized that this little boy was not ordinary and must be some great personality. Then as you all know, Indra begged for forgiveness and God forgave him. After this God’s worship pervaded all over. But when God returned to his abode, and Kaliyug arrived, then all these practices started once again. We are like that. Our minds keep fluctuating.
So only God, his names, forms, qualities, pastimes, abodes, and Saints are collectively known as God. Our mind remains exclusive if it dwells in these very things only. But if it gets attached to any personality or object in the material world, then it no longer remains exclusive. So then God will leave from there. God says, “I don’t have a problem if any of my family members reside in your mind. But Maya’s family should not enter your mind. Not even slightly.” If the mind goes even somewhere else even slightly, God’s mood goes off.
So today’s festival is observed to affirm exclusive devotion to God. Hence we should strengthen our mind through repeated thinking that we won’t attach our minds anywhere else except in Saints, God, and his family. This should be practiced during Govardhan Pooja.
All glories to Giriraj Maharaj.
Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat wishes all our devotees a very “Happy Diwali.”
*A brief introduction of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj*
(Known by His devotees as Shri Maharaj Ji)
The original title of Jagadguruttam (‘Greatest Spiritual Teacher of the World’) was bestowed upon Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj on January 14, 1957, by ‘Kashi Vidvat Parishad’ (a council of 500 greatest scholars saints of India). He composed divine texts like ‘Prem Ras Madira’, ‘Prem Ras Siddhant’, and ‘Radha Govind Geet’ to lead us on the right path of devotion. He also gave priceless monuments as gifts to the world which include - Bhakti Mandir located in Bhakti Dham, Mangarh, Prem Mandir located in Vrindavan Dham, and Kirti Mandir located in Barsana Dham. Shri Maharajji also built hospitals for the impoverished, the Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Vrindavan, Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Barsana, and another one in Pratapgarh. All three help millions of underprivileged to gain free access to medical care. His Kindergarten, School, and College for impoverished girls Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat Education is located in Kunda and provides completely free education.