Residence in Sri Govardhana
By Srila BR Sridhara Devi Goswami
Giriraja Govardhan is the very favorite abode of our Guru Maharaja. Radha Kunda 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 Govardhana, we will come, serve them, and then go back.
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana tvam
“Please give me a dwelling near you, O Govardhana!” (Sri Govardhana-vasa-prarthana-dasakam, 1)
In his last days, our Guru Maharaja liked very much to hear this poem of Srila Dasa Goswami. The meaning is that Radha Kunda 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 pujala raga-patha gaurava-bhange: “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 Vaisnava dasa (a servant of a Vaisnava), not a Vaisnava myself.” This position is very advantageous, and an intelligent person will take it: “I am not a Vaisnava. I am Vaisnava dasa.”
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-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana tvam.
Once, during circumambulation of Vraja Mandala, Srila Prabhupada said, “Today, I shall take the class in the evening.” Many of the sannyasis went away that evening to see Sesasayi, but a few remained to hear him. I heard from someone that Swami Maharaja mentioned that he stayed to hear Prabhupada. I also stayed to hear Prabhupada that evening rather than to go to see Sesasayi.
To avoid seeing it, Prabhupada 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, Laksmi Devi serves Narayana, who is known as Sesasayi, and when the gopis went there, they felt the highest degree of separation.
yat te sujata-caranamburuham stanesu
bhitah sanaih priya dadhimahi karkasesu
tenatavim atasi tad vyathate na kim svit
kurpadibhir bhramati dhir bhavad-ayusam nah
“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.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 10.31.19)
That night, we heard from Prabhupada a new meaning of Govardhana. He said that just as cow breeding does not care for any social rules, so also the devotees of Krishna do not care for any social rules and go on extending their group. They do not care whether someone is a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra, chandal, or mleccha. Without caring for any social rules, the devotees of Krishna 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, Krishna conception, anywhere and everywhere. Without caring for the capacity of disciples, they go on.