The name ‘Govardhana’ has two meanings: ‘Go’ means ‘cows’ and ‘vardhana’ means ‘nourishment’. ‘Go’ also means ‘the senses’ and ‘vardhana’ is ‘to increase’. So Govardhana nourishes the cows and increases the senses in attraction to Krishna.
Govardhana Hill is actually formed in the shape of a peacock. In the introduction to Madhurya Dhamby Padmalocana dasa, it is described: “Within the Holy Vraja Dham, Govardhana Hill is topmost. Radhakunda and Shyama-kunda are the tear-filled eyes of Govardhana where Radha Krishna enjoy Their most nectarean pastimes.
“Govardhana manifested from the heart of Lord Shri Krishna by the desire of Shrimati Radharani. He is non-different to Radha Krishna. His mood is as Their servant. He also serves all the residents of Vraja.” The Vrindavana cowherd men began preparing a sacrifice for pleasing the water supplier – Lord Indra. Wishing to firmly establish exclusive devotional service during His presence in Vrindavana, Krishna persuaded His father to put aside the traditional ceremony in favour of worshipping Govardhana Hill. To please Krishna, Nanda Maharaja agreed to worship Govardhana Hill and the local brahmanas.
Krishna instructed the residents to prepare very tasty foodstuffs, to invite the local brahmanas and give them charity, to worship Govardhana Hill, to decorate and feed the cows, and to give out sumptuous prasadam. When everything was complete, Krishna assumed a gigantic transcendental form and declared that He Himself was Govardhana Hill. He ate hundreds of offerings that had been presented and requested more! Indra responded with fury. He sent lightning, thunder, severe wind and incessant rain as thick as pillars to devastate Vrindavana.
When Vrindavana began to flood, the trembling residents, including the animals, approached Govinda for shelter. As a child picks up a mushroom, He lifted Govardhana Hill on His left pinkie and remained holding the hill for seven days. Noone was troubled by hunger, thirst or any discomfort. Thus Indra’s pride was smashed and Krishna’s beloved devotees were saved.
This important festival in honour of Krishna’s unique pastime will be celebrated at ISKCON Temple 3C Albert Road, Near Minto Park on Monday, 31 October