Govardhan puja & Annakut- Sanatan Dharma's solution for sustainable future
Govardhan pooja is held on the next day of Deepawali along with Yagna (prayer), worship of cows, & Annakoot (food feast) prepared for Brahmins & needy. Each and every household gets some food from their houses for the big feast and offer gratitude to bounties of Nature we enjoy. Govardhan puja is part of Bal Leela (childhood pastimes) of Sri Krishna with a deep message for humanity we must know as followers of Sanatan Dharma.
Seven year old little Krishna asks his parents mother Yashoda & Nand Baba, "why is this pooja taking place, for whom and what is the purpose of these prayers?” Nand baba said, “We are doing preparations for worshipping the deity Indra because he is the God of rains! He orders the clouds to shower rain and thus, the crops and plants grow and all farmers get their food. So, he is our God and we are worshipping him to make him happy.”
To this little Krishna replies, “Baba, Why to worship such a God who needs to be pleased and if not worshipped gets angry? You have been worshipping Indra Dev for many years, but have you ever seen him? On the other hand, we have forests, cows, rivers, mountains & Brahmins we see and live with. They provide us with food, rains, protection, dharma and spiritual knowledge. Indra dev is never visible and does not give anything, therefore, we must offer prayers to the Govardhan hill, cows, the rivers & Brahmins.
When Indra Dev came to know that instead of him people are going to worship mountains, cows & Brahmins, he felt insulted. He ordered the clouds to burst upon and destroy everyone in Brij where Krishna lived. It started raining massively with ferocious thunders and windstorms. Little Krishna prayed to Govardhan mountain for protection and it became light enough for little Krishan to be lifted with his ring finger. This is how Sri Krishna also came to be known as Govardhangirihari, one who lifted mountain Govardhan. All the villagers and their cattle took shelter under Govardhan mountain for seven days of continuous rain.
Indra Dev finally realised the real glory of Sri Krishna & sought atonement for his mistake. Lord Krishna forgave Indra dev & advised him to be humble and not accept rewards or any form of worships in favour of discharging his natural duties as a king (Swadharma), which can disrupt the cycle of life.
Thus, Govardhan Puja not only helps us realise the importance of Mother Nature to become more attentive & grateful towards her but also be selflessly committed to our duties without expecting any fruit in return. When a human becomes overpowered by his ego, he starts exploiting others and Mother Nature as a resource to meet his selfish ambitions and urges. Our current environmental and social concerns of global warming, COVID pandemic, pollution, war, corruption etc are the result of Indra (Indra literally means senses, one who lives by body awareness only) like pride & greed from wealth, status and power. When we remain humble and discharge our duties without expecting any special treatment or rewards, not only we prosper spiritually but also materially in harmony with Mother Nature.