Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj describes the worship of the Govardhan-śilā.
Student: I would like to ask your blessings to worship the Govardhan-śilā. I thought that it would help me in my chanting, my kīrtan.
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: A Govardhan-śilā was given by Śrīman Mahāprabhu to Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī. As the Śālagrām-śilā is respected amongst the brāhmaṇs in the varṇāśram system, so the Govardhan-śilā is worshipped amongst the Vaiṣṇavites. The Śālagrām-śilā is also called the Gaṇḍakī-śilā. Naturally, we know through revelation that the śilās found in the river Gaṇḍakī are natural forms of Lord Narāyāṇ. In different ways, this has been revealed, and those who have faith in that revelation accept the path of worshipping Narāyāṇ in the Gaṇḍakī-śilā, the Śālagrām. So also, Kṛṣṇa expressed Himself in Bhāgavatam and other places: “I am Govardhan. Govardhan and Myself are inseparably connected. So, anyone who worships Govardhan worships Me.” With this idea, Mahāprabhu, who knew this Himself, gave the Govardhan-śilā to Dās Goswāmī Prabhu. Since then in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava school, the worship of the Govardhan-śilā has continued, and it gives us entrance into rāga-mārg, direct entrance into the line of divine love for Kṛṣṇa. To worship the Narāyāṇ-śilā, that is, the Gaṇḍakī-śilā, the Śālagrām, is in vidhi-mārg. It is very hard and very steep. There are very strict methods for worshipping Narāyāṇ in vidhi-mārg. Rāga-mārg is liberal. It wants the heart and not much formality. So, for the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas who want to attain their position in the land of divinity, the worship of the Govardhan-śilā is very advantageous, guiding, and fruitful. This is in nutshell what I say about the Govardhan-śilā to you. It helps us to enter the domain of divine love, avoiding the domain of legal devotion, lawful devotion, the rules and regulations according to the orders of the śāstra. If there are any flaws in our adherence to that, then we will be damaged; our prospect will be damaged. Very strictly one has to observe the rules and regulations of worship in vidhi-mārg. They are very strict. So, Mahāprabhu wanted that we may avoid that path. Our faith is somewhere else, that is, above this land of vidhi-upāsanā [regulated worship]. So, worshipping the Govardhan-śilā will be more safe and more fruitful for our purpose because we want to have service in the Vṛndāvan area, in the domain of love divine. That is the purpose and the utility of having our dīkṣā, initiation, in the line of worshipping the Govardhan-śilā.
Student: Is it said that sannyāsīs should not worship the śilās?
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: They also may do so, but sannyās is not necessary to worship or serve the Govardhan-śilā. Sannyās is mainly taken for preaching. It is for the purpose of preaching that the sannyās-āśram is necessary.
Student: Mahārāj, could you perhaps give some specific and detailed instructions about the worship of the Govardhan-śilā?
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: It is very simple. Mahāprabhu advised that the minimum will be with a little water and tulasī. And generally, whatever we take, without splendour and grandeur, in a simple way whatever we are to take, we must offer that. If possible, bathing, and then offering a flower, tulasī, and some food, bhoga. Then anything else may be done. As we can do for the Deity of Kṛṣṇa, so also everything may be done for the Govardhan-śilā. But the simple and the short way of honouring Him will be with water and tulasī. Who is He? He is self-satisfied. The minimum that we have found, water and tulasī, is sufficient. But as you can accommodate in that regard, very easily you can do that also.
Student: Would I have to maintain every day anything that I would institute extra?
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: No. As will suit you in the circumstances, you may do that.
Spoken 21 February 1983