“Taking the oath, Janaka gave away Sita to Rama in all politeness and happiness in a beautiful scene that was reminiscent of when the king of mountains gave away Parvati to Shiva and when the ocean gave away Lakshmi to Vishnu.” (Janaki Mangala, Chand 18.1)
सन्कल्पि सि रामहि समरपी सील सुख सोभामई |
जिमि सन्करहि गिरिराज गिरिजा हरिहि श्री सागर दई ||
sankalpi si rāmahi samarapī sīla sukha sobhāmaī |
jimi sankarahi girirāja girijā harihi śrī sāgara daī ||
This sacred spot of land is nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The primary story of its relevance is found in texts like Bhagavata Purana and Vishnu Purana, but the lineage is actually to the spiritual world. In other words, the object was not just randomly placed in Vrindavana.
In Krishna-lila, Govardhana is notable for receiving the objects of worship originally intended for Indra, the king of heaven. It was somewhat of a tradition for the local residents to pay homage to Indra, as a way to give thanks for sufficient rainfall.
Shri Krishna taught several lessons simultaneously through His carefully considered alternative plan. He knew that Indra’s pride required curbing. That leader wasn’t necessarily appreciative of the people of Vrindavana and their worship.
As an example, imagine we have been regularly patronizing a local car dealership. We are on a first-name basis with the owner. They keep in contact regularly, to make sure we are satisfied. They know exactly the kind of car we need the next time around, when it is time to make a change.
If one day we should happen to purchase a new car somewhere else, this might cause hurt feelings. But we would never expect the owner of the previous dealership to come chasing after us with a hammer. We wouldn’t expect them to inflict violent punishment. After all, we bought so many cars from them in the past.
There was no loyalty discount with Indra. He was incensed over his worship being skipped. The plan was entirely due to Krishna. Though he was a young child, that darling of Vrindavana managed to convince his father, Nanda, who in turn got the other residents on board.
Krishna later took the form of the hill to give validation of the worship. Though it was a newly introduced procedure, the hill advised the people to continue the worship annually. Indra then targeted that specific area with a devastating flood.
In further proof that the hill is nondifferent from Krishna, it then served as the world’s greatest umbrella. The person leading the charge, who recommended the worship in the first place, lifted that king of mountains and held it in the air for seven days, giving shelter to the people who rushed underneath.
Giriraja also refers to the king of mountains, the Himalayas. In its personified form, in the way it originally appeared in this universe, that mountain is a living entity. Known as Himavata, he plays an important role in a particular marriage.
The great god, Mahadeva, is known for eka-patni vrata. He vows to have only one wife. His first wife leaves this world intentionally after the great dishonor shown to her husband. Sati’s own father is the person who insulted Mahadeva, and despite warnings to stay away, she went to his home and witnessed the miscarriage of justice firsthand.
Sati takes birth again as the daughter of Himavata. She is known as Parvati, and the expert seers make a prediction from the beginning. She will marry Lord Shiva. Upon later learning of this prophecy, Parvati undergoes intense austerity. This is to become qualified to marry Mahadeva, who is known as renunciation personified. He is the conqueror of lust.
Their later marriage is so beautiful and memorable that Goswami Tulsidas uses it as a comparison-point when describing the marriage of Sita to Rama. King Janaka of Mithila made a vow to give away his daughter in marriage to whichever prince could first lift the heavy bow of Lord Shiva. That bow had been passed down within the family.
In a sense, the same Mahadeva was a witness to that marriage, as the person he worships, Shri Rama, lifted that bow and raised it in the air. Janaka’s vow held true, and he gave away his daughter to Rama. Just like in the marriage of Parvati to Shiva, all the participants rejoiced, and the occasion is still celebrated to this day.
Giriraja a beautiful name,
Reminding of devastating rain.
How Krishna into air lifted,
Govardhana as umbrella gifted.
Also known as mountain’s king,
Whose daughter fame to bring.
By austerity in forest deep,
Mahadeva’s vow to keep.
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