Govardhan Puja

The name ‘Govardhana’ has two primary translations. In the literal meaning, ‘Go’ translates to ‘cows’, and ‘vardhana’ translates to ‘nourishment’. Another meaning of ‘Go’ is ‘the senses’ and ‘vardhana’ can also mean ‘to increase’ – thus the name is also translated by devotees of Krishna as ‘that which increases the senses’ in their attraction to Krishna.

Govardhan Puja is day after Deepawali (festival of lights) is celebrated. Pious people keep awake the whole night and cook (56 or 108) different types of food for the bhog (the offering of food) to Krishna.

This ceremony is called ankut or annakuta which means a mountain of food. Various types of food – cereals, pulses, fruit, vegetables, chutneys, pickles, and salads – are offered to the Deity and then distributed as prasada to devotees.

Families create an image of Giriraj Govardhan (the mountain) from cow dung, adorning it with miniature cow figures as well as grass as twigs, representing trees and greenery. Someone from a cow-herding caste officiates the ritual, circling the hill with a cow and a bull, followed by families in the village. They partake in the sanctified food after offering the food to the hill.

New Gokula Farm
Govardhan puja with similar traditions and rigor is performed by most Krishna Bhagawan Temples across the world, Once such event is happening close to Sydney is on Sunday 3rd November starting at 11am at ISKON New Gokula Farm in Cessnock, Hunter Valley.

Gopuja will be performed at 12pm and Govardhan hill puja at 12.30 followed by some Lila katha, a dance performance and delicious Prasad. I hope many of you will be able to join in this celebration.

“Drought” in NSW has affected all farmers and farms equally, due to lack of substantial rain during last two years, New Gokula Farm, ISKCON is struggling to provide feed and water to 73 cows/bulls, and other farm animals.

Hindu Coouncil of Australia, Hindu Benevolent Fund have recently raised some during October long weekend i.e. Pad Yatra and have visited the farm last week the condition on the ground is really dire. We hope drought ends soon for all of NSW. ISKON and New GOkula Farm are doing wonderful job during in these difficult time in taking care of the farm animals. We wish it rains abundantly very soon to clear this drought.

History of Govardhan Puja – It is the day upon which Lord Krishna defeated Indra, the deity of thunder and rain. As per the story, Sri Krishna saw huge preparations for the annual offering to Indra and questions his father Nanda about it. He debated with the villagers about what their ‘dharma’ truly was. They were farmers, they should do their duty and concentrate on farming and protection of their cattle. He continued to say that all human beings should merely do their ‘dharma’, to the best of their ability and not pray or conduct sacrifices for natural phenomenon. The villagers were convinced by Krishna, and did not proceed with the special puja (prayer). Indra was then angered, and flooded the village. Sri Krishna then lifted Mt Govardhan and held it up as protection to his people and cattle from the rain. Indra finally accepted defeat and recognized Krishna as supreme. This aspect of Krishna’s life is mostly glossed over – but it actually set up on the basis of the ‘karma’ philosophy later detailed in the Bhagavad Gita – source wikipedia

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