Govardhana-Puja at ISKCON LA Temple
Posted October 16, 2008
LOS ANGELES: Govardhana-puja (also called Annakuta, the ceremony of offering grains) is widely celebrated in Krishna temples all over India. It is especially celebrated in Vrndavana, Mathura, close to Govardhana Hill.On Sunday, October 26, devotees will participate in this happy and beautiful Govardhana worship at the Los Angeles Hare Krishna Temple.
Govardhana Hill is recreated for worship and celebration in honor of the anniversary of the day when Govardhana was lifted on the fingertip of Lord Sri Krishna. Guests will circumambulate the hill of grains which will be the resting place of a Govardhana-sila and a large murti of Sri Krishna. The festival begins with a short lecture at 4 pm. At 4:30 there will be arati and kirtan. At 5 pm circumambulation of Govardhana Hill begins along with the distribution of prasada.
Temple brahmanas prepare over a hundred sweet or salty dishes from grains, fruits, nuts, ghee and vegetables which are carefully arranged on a platform in the center of the temple. The colorful hill is complete with terraces, lakes, trees, rivers and animals, including many cows.Cows are one of the main reasons why Krishna lifted the hill some 5,000 years ago.
A storm was sent by god Indra who was angry that the folk of Krishna's cowherd village had failed to offer him any worship that year. They had become so enamored with the child Krishna that they let him convince them not to continue to worship Indra for their material welfare.
This story especially suggests that our worship and prayers should be for developing pure, selfless bhakti.Child Krishna innocently suggested that the citizens of his village offer their respect and love to Govardhana Hill and not to angry Indra because it was the hill that provided their cows with a wonderful grazing area and delicate soft grasses.
Everyone was in for a surprise! According to this quote from Srimad-Bhagavatam, "When Nanda Maharaja (Krishna's father) offered a large quantity of food to Govardhana Hill, Krishna assumed a gigantic form and eagerly invited everyone to ask boons from him.
Then, deceiving even Radharani, he ate all the offered food. Let me take shelter of the place known as Annakuta, where Lord Krishna enjoyed these pastimes."When Indra came to know of this he was furious and he sent torrents of rain, accompanied by ice blocks and high wind. Almost drowned, the poor cowherds turned for help to Krishna who lifted the hill just as a child picks up a mushroom.
He saved all of the residents of Vrndavana as well as their cows and other valuable possessions.In this way Krishna proves his supremacy as the God who can surpass the activities of all gods and men. He enjoyed the grain preparations that were offered at Annakuta and also saved his devotees in an uncommon, wonderful way, befitting his supreme position.