GOVARDHAN PUJA, 8 NOVEMBER 2018
Govardhan Puja, 8 November 2018
Govardhan Puja a holy Hindu event and a sacred worship day. Govardhan Puja is part of the 5-day Diwali celebration-festivity. Govardhan Puja falls on the 4th day, i.e., the day after the main Diwali celebration. The name Govardhan refers to the hill-Parvat in Gokul-Vrindavan, the Braj region; Lord Krishna had spent his childhood in this area. Govardhan also sometimes refers to taking care of cows. Lord Krishna is also called Govardhan Dhari, meaning the one who held the Govardhan hill. Puja means the prayer ceremony.
Govardhan Puja is done mainly in worship to Lord Krishna; though Govardhan Puja also coincides with the occasion of the Gujarati New Year.
Govardhan Puja is not a gazetted holiday but a restricted-optional holiday in India. Most Government and private offices and institutions remain open. The main activity on the occasion of Govardhan Puja is to offer vegetarian food and sweets to Gods, but the focus is on Lord Krishna. Govardhan Puja is also called Annukut. Annukut means a large quantity or mountain of food.
In a legend, Lord Krishna had lifted the Govardhan hill on his little finger to protect and provide shelter to the native villagers in the Vrindavan area from severe rains, floods, and storm; the God of rain, Lord Indra, once became angry with the natives of the area and as a result did so. The frightened natives had approached Lord Krishna to resolve the problem. In turn, Lord Krishna also confronted Lord Indra. It is believed that Lord Krishna was of the opinion that it was the duty of Lord Indra to provide adequate rain and that the natives of this region did not need to pray-worship Lord Indra to provide rain. Therefore, Lord Krishna asked the natives to stop praying to Lord Indra that enraged him.
On Govardhan Puja, some devotees gather little soil from outside or garden area. They make a small replica-model denoting the Govardhan hill. They decorate it by placing flowers, colors, etc. Diyas-oil lamps and flute are sometimes placed near it with some food and drink items like curd, sugarcane, grain, rice, fresh milk, etc. They then perform a Parikrama, the ritual of going around it and perform Puja-Arti, prayers. Many natives wear traditional often colorful dresses. Prasad, sanctified sweet food, is distributed after the Puja.
A Mantra for Govardhan Puja is—
Laksheerya Lokapaalaanaan Dhenuroopen Sansthita
Ghrtan Vahati Yagyaarthe Yamapaashan Vyapohatu
लक्ष्मीर्या लोकपालानां धेनुरूपेण संस्थिता ।
घृतं वहति यज्ञार्थे यमपाशं व्यपोहतु ।।
Also Read - Diwali, 7 November 2018