Residence in Sri Govardhan

Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj describes the respectful and liberal mood of the Lord’s servants here.

Girirāj Govardhan is the very favourite abode of our Guru Mahārāj. Rādhā Kuṇḍa is the highest, but our Guru-varga, our senior and superior guides, will be there, and we will stay a little far off. We should not encroach on the highest position. Rather, from Govardhan, we will come, serve them, and then go back.

nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam
(Śrī Govardhana-vāsa-prārthanā-daśakam: 1)

[“Please give me a dwelling near you, O Govardhan!”] 

In his last days, our Guru Mahārāj liked very much to hear this poem of Śrīla Dās Goswāmī. The meaning is that Rādhā Kuṇḍa is the highest, but we shall give respect to the highest position and to our superiors, and then we shall come back down a little. This is pūjāla rāga-patha gaurava-bhaṅge [“worshipping the path of love in a posture of reverence”]. Our pride will be a little checked; it will remain in a normal position.

I am on the verge. I am not in the highest position, but I am a little lower and trying to climb up. I am Vaiṣṇava dās [a servant of a Vaiṣṇava], not a Vaiṣṇava myself.” This position is very advantageous, and an intelligent position will take it: “I am not a Vaiṣṇava. I am Vaiṣṇava dās.”

Promise, youth, climbing—this is the best position. We are only progressing. We have not attained everything, but we are on the way to full attainment. This position is good. That is expressed here:

nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam
(Śrī Govardhana-vāsa-prārthanā-daśakam: 1)

Once, during circumambulation of Vraja Maṇḍal, Śrīla Prabhupād said, “Today, I shall take the class in the evening.” Many of the sannyāsīs went away that evening to see Śeṣaśāyī, but a few remained to hear him. I heard from someone that Swāmī Mahārāj mentioned that he stayed to hear Prabhupād. I also stayed to hear Prabhupād that evening rather than to go to see Śeṣaśāyī.

To avoid seeing it, Prabhupād himself said, “This evening, I shall take the class.” Only some remained to hear him because the next day we had to start moving in another direction, and there would not be another opportunity to see that place. It is an important place. There, Lakṣmī Devī serves Nārāyaṇ, who is known as Śeṣaśāyī, and when the gopīs went there, they felt the highest degree of separation.

yat te sujta-charaṇmburuha staneṣu
bhtḥ śanaiḥ priya dadhmahi karkaśeṣu
tenṭavm aṭasi tad vyathate na ki svit
krpdibhir bhramati dhr bhavad-yuṣāṁ naḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 10.31.19)

[“O Beloved! Fearful, we gently hold Your tender lotus feet on our firm breasts. You walk with them throughout the forest. Have they not been cut by pebbles? Our hearts tremble. You are our very life.”] 

That night, we heard from Prabhupād a new meaning of Govardhan. He said that just as cow breeding does not care for any social rules, so also the devotees of Kṛṣṇa do not care for any social rules and go on extending their group. They do not care whether someone is a brāhmaṇ, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra,  chaṇḍal, or mlechchha. Without caring for any social rules, the devotees of Kṛṣṇa go on increasing their own nation, their own group. Without caring for any stage within the environment, they try to continue to extend  thought of devotion, Kṛṣṇa conception, anywhere and everywhere. Without caring for the capacity of disciples, they go on.


Spoken on 28 August 1983.

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