By Vaisesika Dasa
There’s not a more charming or mysterious place in the universe than Govardhana Hill in Vraja Mandala. Apparently, the word is spreading because nowadays, during Karttika season, millions of pilgrims come here to perform parikrama.*[*Literally, “parikrama” means “walking around.”]
Only by the mercy of the Vaisnavas have I been allowed to stay for a while here in this magical place under the shelter of the Bhaktivedanta Ashrama, nestled at the base of Govardhana Hill, presided over by HH Keshava Bharati Das Goswami.
For my own purification, I’ve been making some notes. Today’s are as follows:
The precious powder clinging to the feet of the pilgrims who walk around Govardhana Hill is Cintamani dust. One particle of this dust is more valuable than all the wealth in the material world.
See the varieties of pilgrims who come to walk around Govardhana!
Staunch and silent, a swift sadhu wrapped in saffron cloth flies by, his gaze fixed forward. Making this journey daily he knows every pebble, tree, and cow, having passed them hundreds of times before.
Three women, two young and one venerable, have banded together and sing songs to Giriraja as they go; they seem to float around the hill, carried by the divine sound of their own voices.
A householder with dark brown skin, wearing brown pants, a smudged white shirt and slick, jet-black hair, walks proudly along the marg with his wife and kids in tow. The kids march, taking two steps to every one of their father’s, looking noble as they keep up the pace. Their sari-clad mother dutifully carries a bag brimming with water bottle and biscuits and probably some other refreshments.
A sadhu on the path, wearing only a saffron lungi, kneels next to a pile of smooth stones and then suddenly lunges forward, his lean back muscles rippling as he places one stone at a time on a pile of stones that lies before a simple shrine of Radha and Krsna. An incense stick stuck in the ground below the shrine billows fragrant smoke. He will throw 108 stones, one at a time, landing face down in the dust with each toss. After advancing his full pile of 108 stones he’ll move his entire operation forward one body length, only to start the ritual again. Nine months later, this sadhu will complete his parikrama of Giriraja and will probably begin again.
To a man rushing to work on a freeway far away from this place, these pilgrims might seem to be mad. (After all, they are going in circles around a hill.) But, the freeway monger runs his circuit too.
Every soul in the universe wants wealth and happiness and has been wearily searching for it behind every corner. But, “Alas!” says Prahlada Maharaja, “People are searching in vain, running after a mirage.” Every promise for happiness has been broken.
But at Govardhana, all these pilgrims have the same gleam in their eyes. They are connected to a spiritual current that runs through the marg — they feel solace in it.
As a cook laboring to grind fresh spices soon relishes their scent and flavor, similarly the pilgrims here feel Govardhana’s sweetness entering their souls with each step. It shoots up through the soles of their feet and into their hearts as they walk barefoot along this path. They become greedy for more of this ambrosia and so they walk in circles around the Hill.
These souls are fortunate, for they have discovered the secret of life: The happiness that we have been so feverishly searching for — all over the universe — is hidden, like a treasure, within our own hearts.
To find this treasure is the Raja vidya, the king of all sciences. But the amazing fact is, this science is an open secret!
Let those who have ears hear:
Lord Krsna reveals in the Bhagavad-gita 4.30 that by performing yajna, sacrifice to the Lord, we will taste eternal happiness and will go back to Godhead:
“All these performers who know the meaning of sacrifice become cleansed of sinful reactions, and, having tasted the nectar of the results of sacrifices, they advance toward the supreme eternal atmosphere.”
In Kali yuga, Lord Caitanya has brought the supreme dharma of the age, Sankirtana Yajna. Yajna is the wellspring of happiness. Drink there by performing Sankirtana on the order of Lord Caitanya, following the footprints of the Six Goswamis. Please Srila Prabhupada by distributing his books throughout this short lifetime. Focus on this and try to increase it all over the world as Srila Prabhupada did, and even the Supreme abode of the Lord, Vrndavana, the ultimate abode of all happiness, will open to us by the mercy of the Lord.
Sankirtana Yajna is life.
Govardhana parikrama, ki Jaya!