Celebrating Govardhana-puja

Kamalaksa Das - November 10, 2007 9:10 pm

The devotees of Finland wish everyone a happy and sumptuous Govardahana festival!


More news after we have recovered... ;)


Madan Gopal Das - November 11, 2007 12:29 am
The devotees of Finland wish everyone a happy and sumptuous Govardahana festival!

The devotees in NC also wish a happy day to all! Aniyor, aniyor! We tried, but I don't think we satisfied Giriraj's appetite today.




Syamasundara - November 11, 2007 5:00 am

How nice, all over the planet there are people who love Vrajendranandana.

Here I go, soft and mushy again, especially after eating the Lord's remnants, but it is a miracle, every Vaisnava is a walking miracle, and they make me want to walk, too. Without Vaisnavas in this world I would be stuck in the darkness.


Jaya Srila Prabhupada!

Bhrigu - November 11, 2007 11:03 am

I'm sure Kamalaksa will follow up with more photos, but here is a short report of our small and intimate festival.


This year the attendants were Krishangi and Kamalaksa, our gracious hosts, Tadiya, Mohan, Jananivas, Mikko, Nea, Gokulacandra (for part of the festival) and me. A small crew, since this is the main flu-time in Finland and since many of our devotees are in India. K & K started the cooking at about one. I arrived at two thirty and began helping out in the kitchen right away. Tadiya arrived at half past three of so and did her usual seva of stringing flower garlands. The rest of the crew arrived at five, except for Mohan who was late and came about six. During the cooking, Kamalaksa's ex-student Ea (better known as Nipu) came over to see something, expecting to stay for ten minutes or so. She ended up in the kitchen offering us important help for two-three hours...


Our original plan was to begin at five, but we weren't actually ready to begin before seven. But I don't think anyone was too unhappy about that, since everyone got a chance to do some seva before that. Gokulacandra made the lamps to offer to Damodara, Mikko made the halawa for Govardhana (except for the Northern part, which had vegan halawa made by Mohan for the sake of Jananivas), Nea built Govardhana hill out of the halava and the sweets we had made and Mohan and Jananivasa helped out with whatever was needed.


We began the program with singing the Damodarastaka and offering lamps. After the kirtana, we had our first class, on Govardhana-tattva, by me. I mainly spoke on how Govardhana can be both the best of Krishna's servants and Krishna himself, in his most intimate form as Vrajendanandana. Then we installed and did arati for Govardhana hill, together with kirtana, of course, and circumambulation. We had a great Govardhana made of sweets, the southern part non-vegan, Manasi Ganga in between made of yoghurt (a special kind of srikhand-like yoghurt we have over here, called kvarg) and then the northern part vegan. After the arati, we offered a huge feast to Govardhana, while Mohan led the singing of Rupa Goswami's Govardhanastaka. After this, Mohan gave the second class, an intense reading of chapters 24 & 25 of the Krishna-book, dealing with Govardhana-puja and Krishna's lifting Govardhana, to the great joy of all the devotees. Since the book said that the puja consisted of worshipping Govardhana and giving donations to the brahmanas, in the spirit of fun, some devotees were inspired to give money to Kamalaksa, and he, in true Vaishnava spirit, reciprocated by giving out rare Absolute Truth Press sweaters to everyone. Dadati pratigrhnati!


And then came the feast! Kamalaksa will perhaps give you the exact menu, but I was rather proud of the rabdi I made. I had never tried making rabdi before, but with Gokulacandra's help it turned out quite well, and with Jalebis I thought it gave the feast a nice Vrindavana-flavour. As always, nobody had to go home hungry -- except for the poor Gokulacandra who had to leave early, I thought, until I learnt that he is a Govardhana-puja-collector! During the day, he had attended the festivities at Jayananda Prabhu's place, and from ours he went to the festival in the ISKCON temple. That's what I call lobha! ;)

Kamalaksa Das - November 11, 2007 2:45 pm

"All men should gather at my lotus feet!! Krishangi demanded - and everyone obeyed. But to show she was not without mercy she rewarded them by sweet song and music.


Kamalaksa Das - November 11, 2007 2:46 pm

Tadiya offering a lamp to Damodara. The flower garlands seen on both Gaura Nitai and Mount Govardhana were all put together by her. And while she is not exactly the most talkative person around (which is completely ok - we make enough noise as it is) she at least revealed that her plans to leave for Audarya are going strong!


We all wish you luck, Tadiya! (Even me, now that Gurunistha has proven to me that staying sane and living in an ashram don't neccessarily go against each other. It's nice being wrong from time to time... ;) )


Kamalaksa Das - November 11, 2007 2:47 pm

Spinning round and round just like a record - the candy revolution starting right at our home in Porvoo. We circled mount Govardhana who kindly took an approachable shape in the warmth of all devotees gathered in our living room. Yes, we might have been a small crowd, but what we lacked in size we made up for in style!


Kamalaksa Das - November 11, 2007 2:48 pm

By the request of Mohan, who took the trouble of driving hundreds of miles to attend, we not only sang Govardhanastakam but also took turns in reading the translation of it. Such small things make up and enhance the atmosphere of those participating. Each and everyone adding some personal touch to the whole.


Kamalaksa Das - November 11, 2007 2:51 pm

In the superb invention of Bhrigu we do not have one class, but two short ones instead. In my eyes this is pure genious. Not only does this give the opportunity for more people to speak during our still quite few annual gettogethers, it takes away (or at least makes smaller) the stress of having to speak before a crowd. And to be honest, with most of us still practising as public speakers, it gives the audience bite-sized niblets of our traditions teachings and philosophy.




Let the game begin!


The two speakers sceduled for the evening were Bhrigu and Mohan. In this clash of the titans, Bhrigu was the man many bet on, as he has had more practise of speaking, and the fact that he is quite the show-man when it comes to yagias and performances.


He started out strong, and gave us an overview of how Govardhana could at the same time be both a servant of Krishna and Krishna himself. And about the sila Mahaprabhu gave to Raghunatha dasa for worship.


Drawing from both Krishna lila as well as Gaura lila, he kept up a steady flow of nectar. Succeding even in keeping everyone awake, by using the the well-proven technique of every now and then asking the audience questions. Many felt the victory was his. He was clearly taking a strong lead! The audience took a timeout, moving to kirtan to digest what had been heard.


Mohan now faced a challenge. How would he top Bhrigu's performance without even knowing sanskrit? It looked like the first place was all but spoken for. But Mohan had an ace up his sleave! Making use of the age-old maxim of getting higher by standing on the shoulders of giants, he pulled out the Krishna book from the shelf, and started reading from the chapters depicting Govardhana lila.


A bold move - but would it work? Time was restricted to 20 minutes, and in order to make it to the end, he had to keep his pace up. Twelve minutes down the line - Mohan is through the first chapter. Krishna had made Indra angry. The crowd was spellbound at the depictions of how the clouds were summoned, and pouring pillars of rain. The cows were sad, everyone was freezing. With Krishna pretending to be a karma kanda follower. How would it end?


Eight minutes to go. Mohan asks for mercy of the gathered vaisnavas as he begings the second chapter. "Just a few extra minutes" he begs, and picks up the already furious pace.


Krishna is holding up the mountain, having picked it up like a child picks up a mushroom. Bhrigu is starting to look worried. Krishna is glancing around, balancing Govardhana on his left pinkie. Days pass. And soon Indra has to admit to his defeat. Everyone returns home happy now that the flood was over. Another adventure that took place in Vrindavana has come to an (apparent) end.


Mohan closes the Krishna book, having held up the tempo to the very end - the crowd roars.




And the winner?


The audience eager for Krishna katha of course, silly rabit.


Tadiya Dasi - November 11, 2007 6:16 pm

Madan Gopal das -- the pictures of Giriraja are absolutely stunning! Thank you for posting them ;)


I really enjoyed the intimate feeling of this year's Govardhan-puja. For me, the Govardhan -puja has always felt like a especially sweet time to approach Krishna as Giriraja --Krishna with an insatiable hunger for the love his devotees have for him, Krishna in the mood of offering shelter to his dear ones... :Cow:


Bhrigu's class was - as usual - expert and entertaining. Bhrigu has a real gift of being able to explain the high theology in an understable, fun and approachable way. The reading from Krishna -book was also very sweet and very approriate in setting the mood of the festival. Though, I am still eagerly waiting to hear Kamalaksa's class! Krsangi once again delighted us with leading kirtan with the harmonium...


Indra was also very much present with torrential rains and cold, windy weather here in Finland :Hug: .

Vivek - November 11, 2007 7:11 pm

Great devotion in Finland. Just hope that it inspires me to increase my devotion too. The interesting subject of govardhan being krsna and servant of krsna was taken up. I mostly thought of a parallel between balarama and govardhana in this regard ( as balarama is also a servant of krsna and krsna both). But maybe my understanding is not sufficient. How do we distinguish between jiva being simultaneously one and different from krsna and govardhan being simultaneously one and different from krsna? Is govardhan manifested by balaram who presides over sandhini sakti?

Is govardhana direct expansion of krsna or to be counted among his sakti, i.e internal potency.

Kamalaksa Das - November 11, 2007 7:15 pm

And then we had an arati. Although our livingroom might not be best suited for festivals with chairs posing as tables and the bookshelf as an altar we made good use of the available space. And as usual Bhrigu is the expert brahmana who leads our group in worship, making sure the details are as correct as we are able to put together. (Note Mickey and Minnie in the background, doing their best to fit in. ;) )


Kamalaksa Das - November 11, 2007 8:02 pm

There was, as you might have guessed, enough prasadam to feed a small army. Bhrigu recommended a method of first eating subji and samosas, then sweets and halava, then more subji and samosas, then more sweets and halava etc. At the end of the evening he seemed to still be feeling relatively well, so maybe this is something to keep in mind.




Earlier during the day we were returning from the supemarket with our groceries we met an acquaintance, who had a hard time understanding our "small gettogether", as we were lugging with us a cart with three big boxes of ingredients. Probably more than your avarage family buys during the whole week.


But we used up everything we bought, and the menu was as follows.


Coconut milk subji - we had to make something vegan to keep Jananivas from complaining ;)


Potato & green bean subji - with real cream and lots of ghee!


Rice - well, rice


Broccoli & cheese samosas - my favorite food, with apple chutney. (even if people see this as a crazy combination.)


Apple chutney - well here we go...


Beetroot koftas - with sourcream (though Krishangi was slightly miserly in portioning the sourcream, shame on her!.)


Dokla - this dish I learned about in Vrindavana, has been on the menu ever since.


Nimbu pani - a miscommunication ensued between me and Ea. The outcome: double amount of sugar. Sweet!


Lassi - almost had Krishangi floored.


Rubri (sweet milk) - how to put this delicately, like sweet rice sans rice. (A long-time mini feud has been going on between Bhrigu and me, as I offended him by calling sweet rice running porrige...)


The mountains:


Halava (vegan & regular)


Laddus - made a bit too soft, and in an futile attempt to make them harder Krishangi added chick pea flower post cooking. She will not try that again, I was told.


Simply wonderfuls - all that a sweet needs to be a sweet: butter, milk powder and sugar.


Burfi - so good your teeth almost fell out


Marzipan - this is something Krishangi survives on when I'm not cooking


Plum marmalade - Bhrigu's show off candy that never fails to delight.


Jalebi - a sweet resembling something we Finns eat at the first of May. Not bad!




That everyone was high on sugar by the time the feast ended goes without saying. Glad the police didn't stop those who returned home by car.




And Tadiya, I'm not much of a public speaker... :Cow:


Bhrigu - November 11, 2007 9:42 pm
Rubri (sweet milk) - how to put this delicately, like sweet rice sans rice. (A long-time mini feud has been going on between Bhrigu and me, as I offended him by calling sweet rice running porrige...)


And now you just made it worse by repeating it and calling Rubdi sweet rice sans rice! ;):Cow: Rubdi is sweetened, boiled down milk with delicious chunks of even more thickened milk. (The stuff you get in small clay pots at Radha-ramana, for those who have been in Vrindavan.) Delicious! :Hug:

Syamasundara - November 12, 2007 8:56 am

You mean a pudding made of milk skins? What is pera then?

Bhrigu - November 12, 2007 12:04 pm

Pera is a kind of simple barfi.

Jananivasdas - November 13, 2007 3:43 pm

nice pictures mr.K!!!

and thanks for the nice party!


govardhano jayati saila-kulaadhi-raajo

yo gopikaabhirudito hari-daasa-varyah

krsnena sakra-makha-bhanga-krtaarcito yah

saptaaham asya kara-padma-tale 'py avatseet


saptaaham evaacyuta-hasta-pankaje

bhrngaayamaanam phala-moola-kandaraih

samsevyamaanam harim aatma-vindakair

govardhanaadrim sirasaa namaami



"Glorious is Sri Govardhana, the great King in the dynasty of hills, whom the gopis praised as the best of Krsna's servants; who was resting for seven days in Krsna's lotus hand and whom Krsna made worshipable by disrupting Indra's sacrifice."


"I offer my prostrated obeisances to the Govardhana Hill, who was kept for seven days in the lotus hand of the infallible Lord Krsna and who served Him with his own paraphernalia—swarms of black bees and an abundance of delicious fruits and roots."



and here is translation etc for you all to read of Govardhanastakam: