Lord Krishna’s largest umbrella… Giri Govardhan … (Govarththanam ennum kotrraa kkudaiyE….)


 The  holy hill Goverdhanagiri , more popularly addressed as “GIRIRAJ GOVERDHAN” is located in the middle of the town Goverdhan which is 24 kms from Vrindavan and approximately 26 kms west of Mathura. The routes to Vrindavan and Goverdhan from Mathura are different .

Many buses and share autos ply to Goverdhanagiri from Mathura and Vrindavan round the clock. Radha Kund, Shyam Kund and Manasi Ganga are in the precints of the hill.

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This  HOLY DHAAM  is considered as the most sacred place in  Vrindavan and  performing Pradhikshana is most auspicious .

Few lacs  number of devotees perform Pradhakshina during Karthik maas and few thousands every day ….

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Goverdhana hill is formed in the shape of a peacock. Radha Kund and Shyam Kund are the eyes. Dan Ghati is its long neck. Mukharavinda is the mouth and punchari is its back and tail feathers. As the hill is very sacred , pilgrims are prohibited from climbing  the hill. There is a fencing all around the Goverdhana hill .

Goverdhana giri is the most blessed devotee as it had  Lord Sri Krishna sambandham everyday during Krishnaavataaram which even Himalayas did not have. Krishna Himself chose Goverdhana giri for HIS various pastimes. Of all the devotees , Goverdhana Hill is the best because it supplies Krishna and Balarama with all types of necessities.

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In Srimad Bhagavatham, Lord mentions that HE and Goverdhanagiri are identical. As per the scriptures, Krishna used to go to Goverdhanagiri from Vrindavan for gazing cows and would visit the nearby forests with HIS friends.  Lord Krishna at such an young age ,  used to walk about  50 kms to and fro everyday from Vrindavan to Goverdhan without footwear .

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This makes us  recollect Periazhwar’s pasurams in Yasodha bhaavam

“Naalai thottu kandrin pin pogale kolam seiyudhu enge iru….” .,

Peria azhwar’s feelings when he expresses mother’s anguish to see her child returning from forest without slippers and umbrella.) .

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It was customary for the gopas headed by Nanda Maharaja to perform yaagam to please Indra, the king of devas and give their offerings as they felt that Indra was responsible for rains. Krishna ,who was just 7 years old convinced elders that Indra was only doing duties assigned to him and there was no necessity to worship demigods.

The Lord added that Goverdhanagiri was providing with their daily requirements including enough grass to the cows which in turn yielded good milk resulting in their prosperity.

 

The Supreme suggested that instead of Indra, Brahmins, cows and Goverdhanagiri have to be worshipped to which the elders agreed. On the day of pooja, all the gopas and gopikas performed GOW-pooja (pooja for cows), offered dakshinai to Brahmins, circumbulated the hill and offered huge quantities of various food items to the hill.

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On  Lord Krishna’s order, everyone closed their eyes while food was being offered. Lord Krishna assumed a great transcendental form like that of the mountain, declaring that HE was Goverdhana Hill and accepted all their offerings while little Krishna stood with his relatives and offered prayers to the mountain which was HIMSELF .

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HE announced that Goverdhana Hill is non-different from HIM. Later when the gopas were asked to open their eyes, they were surprised to see the palates empty and were convinced by Krishna that the mountain had accepted their offerings.

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The gopas returned happily. The identity of Sri Krishna with Goverdhana Hill is still honoured and devotees take goverdhana shila (-small  impressions  from Goverdhana Hill and place it in the altar and worship. (In order to preserve the hill, devotees are now restrained from taking them) .

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The glorification of Goverdhana giri was not liked by Indira  .The torrent rains  under the authority of Indra  poured for seven days causing misery.

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Lord Krishna  lifted a mount and held it upside down like an umbrella.

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As  Lord Krishna Himself did parikrama to the hill and as He mentioned that both are identical, devotees in huge numbers perform parikrama ( pradikshana ) to this sacred hill with sincerity and devotion even today .

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To commemorate the above incident, Krishna’s great grandson Vajranabha constructed a temple for the Lord. . The residents of Vrindavan, Goverdhan and the devotees of the Lord do parikrama around Goverdhana hill and offer huge quantities of 56 varieties food preparations (chappan bhog) .

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All the devotees are sumptuously fed with the mahaprasad offered to the Lord and Giriraj. ) As the Lord protected the cows and the people in Goverdhan, He got the name “GOVINDA” .

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Deepavalee has special significance for all vaishnavas . On the fourth day of the five day Diwali festival Sri Goverdhana Puja and Annakoot Utsavam is celebrated in Vrindavan  and other  temples amidst chanting of “Giriraj Dharan ki Jai” (Glory to the lord who lifted Goverdhan on his  little  finger) reverberates .

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 There is very interesting pastime of Shri Giri govardhan raj connected with  bhaktha hanumanjee.  When Lord Rama along with the vanaras were  building the bridge to Lanka in the Ram lila, Hanuman  made an attempt to pick up Govardhan to use him in the noble service .  Govardhan was so happy to be engaged in the service of the Lord but just as he was about to lift him, a voice from the sky said “the bridge is finished”.

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Therefore Hanuman did not lift Govardhan.  Giri Govardhan was sad.  

When Lord Ram was returning from Lanka with  Mother Sita he stopped here and spoke to Govardhan saying “do not worry, the next time we appear, we will personally pick you up and personally engage you that happened in the Krishna avatar.

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As per Srimad Bhagwatam Lord was lifting the huge Sri Goverdhan Parvat for seven days  continously prior to Diwali,  and rested him back  on earth & asked the citizens to worship the  holy mountain.

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Jai Jai Girigovardhan ki ………………..Jai .Jai

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

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Photos : Courtesy ..Google

All glories to Swamy Ananthazhvan who is the father-in-law of Lord Srinivasa! All glories to Swamy Ananthazhvan who is the father of Goddess Alarmelmangai…


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As per the  divine order of JagathAcharyar Swamy Ramanuja his disciple  Swamy   Anathazhwan served LORD VENKATESHWARA at Tirumala hills . He maintained a garden and was offering fragrant flowers to LORD daily  .The beautiful  garden  was planted with  flower bearing plants  such as vakula , patala , punnaga , shenbaga and other  fragrant trees
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The bunches of  freshly grown flowers hanging from the branches  were grand to look  . The ears of pilgrims walking around the garden had  strains of music poured forth by bees and all kinds of plumage birds ,  humming bees , cuckoos and the chirping of birds made the garden a  perfect place for divinity .  Nammazhwar’s hymns referring to the Lord as residing in flower bedecked  ThiruVenkata Hills ( Sindhupoo maghizhum Thiruvengadam) was   aptly reverberating .

One day , on routine checks Azhwan  became upset .He found that the  garden had been defiled.

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The flower plants were somehow looking  tramped  by a foreigner . The fruits were plucked and strewn hither and thither. He guessed someone had visited the garden and were running around  freely . 

Nobody around could tell him how this had happened. The gateman was clueless. Ananthazhvan  with his disciples kept  a watch for intruders.

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 It was the  beautiful  Spring season ( Vasantha ruthuvu). Ananthazhvan was hiding underneath a bush in a garden . At dead end of the night, he could see a  divine  princely couple with opulence  tejas wearing  wonderful ornaments moving  inside  the garden.

For a moment he was overjoyed with the divinity in their  appearance , however   he was also overtaken by  their play that caused withering of the plants and the fragrant flowers .

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He decided to arrest  them  and  thus made attempts  by slowly following  the couple. He was surprised to see both of them smiling and allowing themselves to be under his control . Azhwan decided to tie them to a tree and wait for the next day to arrive for handing over them to the security .

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However the charming prince who was very handsome  escaped from Anathazhwan’s clutches. The princess  however could not escape as she was  moved  by  our Azhwans pure  bhakthi.  Azhwan  out of sheer love to “LORD”   questioned the divine lady   underneath a Champaka tree .

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 What made you come here and  Why were you two  inside this  garden that was exclusively being maintained for serving LORD VENKATESHWARA .

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 How can one commit such offense of  meddling with the  garden flowers that were being grown only for the service of LORD .

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Azhwan asked about their living and what way they were connected to the Holy hills not knowing she was JAGANMATHA herself .

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The divine  lady answered, 

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Swamin “I am like your daughter. I did no wrong.  

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I  and my  Lord   who just left me out of fearing  you ( smilingly )  are the rulers of these Hills.

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My Lord wanders all  over the Hills as he pleases. He must have entered your  garden and enjoyed the beauty  and was moved with  your bhakthi  to LORD .

I am not responsible for  whatever  has happened.

Please allow me to leave .  

Being proficient in   shastras you must accept as a wife I cannot mention the name of my Lord  ….

…………….Please leave me free…………………

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Azhvan  out of  respect and moved by the divine lady’s words  replied

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.. Amma … You look like Mahalakshmi. Verily, you are like  a daughter to me.   Your  LORD  is sure to come searching for you. Let him  come in the morning. I will take a ransom from him for the damage and then release you.

Till  then,

 I am sorry  you will have to be under this Champaka  tree ,”  and  thus our Ananthazhvan was holding vigil  whole night to meet the Supreme LORD …..little did he realize that LORD was enacting a divine leela to be cherished by all of us .

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The next morning the Archakas opened  the temple gate and went into the sanctum sanctorum for the morning rituals.

They were surprised   to note that the golden locket covering Alarmelmangai on the chest of the Lord was missing.

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The temple officials of the temple grew suspicious. At this point of time,  an aasurees  voice was heard by one of the Archakas  pointing out that none of  them  are  guilty   and that when the Lord and  Alarmelmanga were strolling  in the Swamy Ramanuja garden  maintained by  the devotee Ananthzhvan,  out of abundant mercy Goddess Mahalakshmee  has submitted  to Azhwan . 

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She was under the Champaka tree under the watchful eye of Azhvan. The Lord commanded the  Archakas of the temple to go to the garden and  honor  the azhvan  and with respects invite Azhwan to the temple. Promptly, the  Archakas went to the garden  with the temple honours and were bewildered to see Alarmelmanga who was in the disguise of princess and Azhwan under the Champaka tree.

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In the Dvaparayuga, the Lord was tied to the mortar by Yasoda. The same way, in this Kaliyuga, Alarmelmanga was tieddown to the Champaka tree  by Anathazhwan. They conveyed to him the Lord’s command. Ananthazhvan with full remorse  begged pardon and was  crest-fallen that he has done  bhagavath apachara. With all humility he seeked  forgivance for the unexpected error .

He immediately  released Alarmelmanga and prostrated  before her  repeatedly praying for forgiveness. Alarmelmanga  smilingly advised that  Anathazhwan that he should consider her as his daughter as agreed . Immediately, she transformed herself into a  princess . Anathazhwan finishing his morning oblations took his   daughter with flowers and garlands in procession to the temple.

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He bowed before the Lord  repeatedly and humbly praying for  his mercy said LORD please forgive me for the foolish act .Here Adiyen has come with the Jaganmatha .Please forgive me and accept heras she was so kind to bless me in being her father . 

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The  divine princess  immediately transformed herself and adorned the chest of Lord Srinivasa. This was the origin of the tradition considering Alarmelmanga as the daughter of Anathazhwan and the Lord of the Seven Hills as Anathazhwan’s son in-law. In the Tamil month of Purattasi, during the Rathotsavam, on the eigth day of  Srivari Brahmotsava, it is customary even today to adorn the Lord with Pitamabara and silken cloth as Sambhavana of Anathazhwan,the father-in-law. 

There is a benediction to Anathazhwan

Malaiyil vengadavarkku mamanar vazhiye

Alarmelmangai tiruvukku appanar vazhiye

(Glory to Ananthazhvan who is the father-in-law of Lord Srinivasa!

 Glory to Ananthazhvan who is the  father of Alarmenmangai!)

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 Swamy Ananthalwan joined eternity with  Lord  Venkateshwara on the sacred Thiru Adi Pooram day ( July- August) .

Even today , Lord Venkateswara visits this  garden and bestows honours on the Magizha Tree.

 The satari at the main sanctum sanctorum is glorified as  Sadagopa in remembrance of Nammazhwar.

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The  Satari  in the Swamy Ramanuja shrine is  glorified as Ananthalwan.

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Few more divine pastimes of Azhwar and LORD  are shared in below posts

Please click on the below links…….

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/the-divine-crowbar-at-the-entrance-of-tirumala-temple/

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/the-ants-at-tirumala/

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics credits : Google images

Video credits :  Ramyagiri      SVBC CHANNEL