(This chapter gives information about mount Govardhan popularly known amongst vaishnavas as Shri Girirajji)
Govardhan Leela Shri Giriraj Parikrama
Shri Girirajji or mount Govardhan is the same mountain which Shri Krishna had held on the small finger of his left hand for 7 days to protect the Vrajvasis from the rain of angry Lord Indra. Shri Girirajji is located at Jatipura 20 kms. west of the city of Mathura.
Shri Girirajji is the son of mount Dronachal.He was very huge in expanse (80km long, 20 km high and 50 broad).It so happened that sage Pulastya wanted to take Shri Girirajji to Varanasi.Shri Girirajji agreed but on othe condition that he would not budge from the place where the sage placed Shri Girirajji for the first time.The sage accepted this condition.The sage transformed Shri Girirajji to a very small stone and started on his journey.When he reached Vrajbhumi the sage wanted urinate so he placed Shri Girirajji down.After he had answered the nature's call he returned to where Shri Girirajji was placed and tried to lift him but Shri Girirajji did not budge.On seeing this the sage became very angry and gave a curse to Shri Girirajji that he would slowly and regularly decrease in size (one til per day) .It is said that once Shri Girirajji was so huge that his shadow would fall in the waters of river Yamuna (20 kms. away).The truth of this story can be gauged by the fact that Shri Gusainji had to mount an elephant to do the poojan of Shri Girirajji while today we can do the same by merely standing at our feet.
When Shri Krishna was 7 years old he saw the people making preparations for the Indrayaag (a yagya to please Lord Indra).On seeing this Shri Krishna adviced the villagers not to do the yagya but to do the poojan of Shri Girirajji who protected them, gave their cattles grass and pure water for everyone to drink and also small caves in which they could relax.The Vrajvasis accepted Krishna's advice and decided to do the poojan of Shri Girirajji in place of Indrayaag.Shri Krishna completed the 'Govardhan pooja' and offered him the bhog after the poojan.
At that moment black clouds started to form in the sky and suddenly it started raining very heavily.The rain and storm accompanying it were so strong that the Vrajvasis started trembling with fear and they approaced none other than Shri Krishna for protection.On seeing his loved ones in need Shri Krishna decided to help them.He went to the mount Govardhan and lifted it in his left hand in such a way that it formed a huge umbrella of unimaginable dimensions!!All the Vrajvasis, along with their families & cattle, came in the shelter of this huge umbrella.This rain continued for 7 days non-stop and Shri Krishna used the umbrella of mount Govardhan for 7 days to protect the people & cows of Vraj.On seeing this Lord Indra accepted defeat and approahed Shri Krishna to seek his mercy.Surabhi, the celestial cow of Lord Indra, bathed Shri Krishna with her milk and Indra prostrated in front of Shri Krishna.The whole universe celebrated this victory, Shri Krishna had dented Indra's ego and so from that day Lord Krishna was known as "Indra-daman" also.
Shri Krishna was the first to do the poojan and parikrama of Shri Girirajji.Shri Mahprabhuji & Shri Gusainji had done the same by offering milk to Shri Girirajji as part of his poojan.The vaishnavas also follow the same procedure to this day and do the parikrama (circumnavigate) of Shri Girirajji.The parikrama can be done in 3 ways :
On foot : The vaishnavas do the parkrama barefoot, singing kirtans and reciting the Ashtakshar mantra.
Doodh dhara : In this type also the vaishanvas walk barefoot but they carry a small pot which is filled with milk.A very small hole is done at the base of this pot so that a stream of milk is continuously falling while the parikrama is being done.
Dandvati : This parikrama is not done on foot but it is done by doing sashtang dandvat (prostrate) along the whole path of the parkirama.This hard parikrama is completed in 10-15 days time.
The path of the giriraj parikrama can be varied according to ones strength.It has three different routes.The more the distance the more are the spots of Shri Krishna's leelas are seen.The different routes are as follows:
Saat-kosi Parikrama(generally prefferred route) : The distance is seven kos (21 kms).The route of this parikrama is from Mukharvind (Jatipura) - Govardhan village - Mansi Ganga - Udhav kund - Radha kund - Anyuar village - Govind kund - Poochri village - Surabhi kund - back to Mukharvind.
Panch-kosi Parikrama : The distance is five kos (15kms).This route goes straight from Govardhan village to Anyuar village, skipping Radha kund on the way.
Nav-kosi Parikrama :The distance is nine kos (27 kms).In this route Chandra sarovar is added to the route after Govardhan village is crossed.