pratipadam anukālaṁ hanta samvardhayan gāḥ |
trijagati nija-gotraṁ sārthakaṁ khyāpayan me
nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam||6||
O Govardhan! You make your name (increaser of cows) meaningful by always providing land, water, grasses and the shade of your trees to the cows and thus you proclaim yourself in the three worlds! Please allow me to live close by you!
Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: In this verse Shripad Raghunath ascertains how suitable the name of Govardhan is and prays to be allowed to live close to the Hill. At different places Shri Giriraj has facilities were the cows are herded, where they can drink water, table-lands where they can rest, places where there is grass for them to graze and places where there are trees whose shades protect them from the heat and rain. Because he thus protects and maintains the cows the hill is justly called go (cows) vardhana (protector). When He was seven years old Lord Shri Gopāladeva told Nanda and the Brajavasis just that when they were about to worship Indra with a sacrifice and He made it clear to them that they should give that up and worship Govardhan Hill instead.
na naḥ puro janapadā na grāmā na gṛhā vayam
vanaukasas tāta nityaṁ vana-śaila-nivāsinaḥ
tasmād gavāṁ brāhmaṇānām adreś cārabhyatāṁ makhaḥ
ya indra-yāga-sambhārās tair ayaṁ sādhyatāṁ makhaḥ
We do not possess any cities, territories, villages, or even houses, O father! We are cowherders, therefore we are eternally forest and mountain dwellers! Let us therefore offer sacrifice to the cows, the brāhmaṇas and the (Govardhan) Hill! (Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.24.24-25)
Shridhara Svāmī explains in his commentary on this Bhāgavata verse:
asmākaṁ yoga-kṣema hetur vana śailādaya eveti bhāvaḥ
O father! The cows provide our livelihood, and this hill provides everything to them! Therefore he is our worshipable Godhead (instead of Indra)!
The cowherdmen floated in an ocean of topmost bliss when they heard these reasonable words of Gopāla and they gave up their traditional worship of Indra to turn to worship of Govardhan. As the cowherds commenced this the cows, that were their means of subsistence, filled all directions with an ecstatic tumult, and this increased the bliss of the cowherds unlimitedly.
ānanda-janano ghoṣo mahān mudita-gokulaḥ
turya-praṇāda-ghoṣaś ca vṛṣabhānāṁ ca garjjitaiḥ
hāmbā-ravaś ca vatsānāṁ gopānāṁ harṣa-vardhanaḥ
When the Govardhan pūjā commenced in Vraja a great ecstatic tumult arose in all directions and the cows went beside themselves of bliss. Transcendental sounds were heard, cows and bulls were bellowing, calves could be heard to moo in all directions and all the people of Vraja were submerged in an ocean of bliss.” (Hari-vaṁśa)
While Govardhan was worshipped the Lord Himself assumed the wonderful form of Shri Giriraj and offered boons, so the cowherds prayed for an increase in their number of cows. He also personally ordered them:
sa uvāca tato gopān giri-prabhavayā giriḥ
adya prabhṛti cejyo’haṁ goṣu ced asti vo dayā
ahaṁ vaḥ prathamo devaḥ sarva-kāma-karaḥ śubhaḥ
mama prabhāvāc ca gavām ayutāny eva bhokṣatha
śivaś ca vo bhaviṣyāmi mad-bhaktānāṁ vane vane
raṁsye ca saha yusmābhir yathā divigatas tathā
ye ceme prathitā gopa-nanda-gopa purogamāḥ
evaṁ prītaḥ prayacchāmi gopānāṁ vipulaṁ dhanam
With a voice as deep as the clouds the huge form of Govardhan told the cowherds: “If you are kind to your cows, then you should worship me from today on! I am your first worshipable deity and I can fulfill all your desires and arrange for your welfare! By my power you can enjoy the possession of many thousands of cows! You are my devotees and there is auspiciousness for my devotees in all the forests (in the form of ample grass, water etc. for the maintenance of the cows). I will play with you as I ramble with my associates in my transcendental abode! With love I will give ample wealth to all the renowned cowherds of Vraja, headed by Nanda Mahārāja!”
For this reason Shri Govardhan, who deserves his name, provides the cows with plenty of fragrant, soft, enjoyable and nutritious grass, which gives them wonderful strength, nourishment and satisfaction and which will increase their huge output of milk, making it smell like lotus flowers. This milk will please Shri Gopāladeva and thus the love of the cowherders for Gopāla’s lotus feet will increase beyond description! Similarly, Govardhan quenches the thirst of the cows and cowherd boys with cool drinkable water from its brooks and cascades and provides them with places to rest and protection against rain and heat under the thick shade of his trees. Govardhan also expands the service of the cows through various means, like providing them tablelands where they can blissfully walk around or lie down to rest. In this way Govardhan Hill makes his name, meaning “protector and maintainer of cows,” useful!
Shripad Raghunath says: “O Giriraj! Please allow me to live close by you, so that I can become blessed with the vision of my beloved Shriman Madana Gopāla-deva and his friends, who are herding and protecting the cows there. Hence I say: nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana tvam.
sthala jala tala ghāsa vṛkṣa-chāyā dāne;
vardhana koroho tumi sadā gābhī-gaṇe
tāi govardhana nāma anvartha tomāra;
ata eva tava pade prārthanā āmāra
sevāra saubhāgya tomāra tri-jagate khyāti;
tomāra nikaṭe āmāya dibe ki vasati?
gocāraṇe śrī govinde kon śubha kṣaṇe;
niścaya pāibo dekhā tuyā saṅga guṇe
Because you maintain the cows with your land, water, grass and the shade of your trees you fully deserve the name Govardhan. Therefore I offer one prayer unto you. You are famous throughout the three worlds for your fortune of devotional service. Will you allow me to reside close to you? Then I would certainly be able to see Shri Govinda herding his cows at some blessed moment, on the strength of your association!”