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SPEECH ON ANNAKUT
by a student at Annakut Manorath



Bal Krishnalal ki Jay!
Girirajdharan ki Jay!

Today is a very auspicious day; we are offering a variety of food -annakut- to our Lord. Annakut has been described in Vishnu Puran.

In Vraj Bhumi, it was the practice to arrange a yajna for Indra, the Lord of rain. The monsoon season brought new harvest that was first used to prepare delicious food items and offered them to Bhagvan.

One day, young Krishna, saw hectic activity going on in the village. His father, Nanda Ray, King of Gokul, was busy directing his village elders. Curious, Krishna began to inquire the reason behind all the activities. Nand Ray explained that they were arranging a big yajna in honor of Lord Indra, the king of rain. Since they belonged to the farming community, they were very dependant on timely rainfall for their crops and food grains. Lord Indra being the controlling deity of rainfall was therefore propitiated by the yajna to ensure timely and sufficient rainfall.

Krishna however began to dissuade his father from this yagna. He suggested that since God is bound to reward or punish every one in accordance with one's karma, a person should simply focus on performing his activity and enjoy the results. However, Nanda Ray said that while activity is essential, the mercy is also needed. Krishna argued that Indra sends rains even to the oceans, since he himself is duty-bound to do so. There was no need to worship him.

Krishna instead proposed that they should worship the Govardhana hill. The Govardhana hill was providing them with so many things like grass, water and shelter for their cows, which are the primary assets of the village community.

Nanda Ray was reluctant to give up the traditional ceremony they were performing for years. So he consulted his village elders and they relented and agreed to worship the Govardhana. They began the worship by first circumambulating Govardhana hill. The Gopis had prepared many food items and were offerred to the deity. All were awed to see Govardhana personified, personally accepting the foodstuffs offered in the ceremony. They were joyfully surprised to see that Govardhana personified looked exactly like Krishna.

Lord Indra was however very displeased with this. Anger and pride caused him to become furious; he summoned the destructive clouds, and ordered them to pour heavy rain over Vraj. So powerful were these rain clouds that soon entire area around Govardhan was deluged under rain fall, causing much pain to the people. Krishna simply picked up the Govardhana hill and asked all the villagers to take shelter under the hill with their families and animals. In this way, Krishna held the mountain up for seven days on the little finger of His left hand. No one felt any hunger, thirst or discomfort for the entire time they spent under the hill. Finally when Indra realized that he was actually up against the Supreme Lord. he ordered the clouds to stop. The villagers happily went back, singing the glories of Krishna, and Krishna replaced the Govardhana hill to its original position.

Now Indra was terrified at his offenses. Knowing that Krishna is specially merciful to the cows, he enlisted the help of Surabhi. He approached Krishna and fell prostrate at His feet. In beautiful prayers, Indra begged for forgiveness and the mercy of Krishna. Krishna forgave Indra and cautioned him against false pride.

Annakut has been organised evey year after celebrating Diwali, the end of the year and in the joy of welcoming the New Year. In temples and homes around the world this festival is regarded as the highlights of the year and celebrated by vaishnavas with great splendor.

There is a srory about Govardhan Hill in Garg Samhita. There lived Dronachala mountain in the Western India, Once a sage named Pulastya muni went to him and asked him to send his son Govardhan with him to Kashi. His son agreed to go with him on the condition that if he put him on the ground anywhere, he could not be moved from that place. Muni agreed. While passing through Vraj, Muni could not bear the weight of Govardhan and put him down. Govardhan could not be moved from that place and Muni became angry. He cursed him that every day Govardhana would reduce by the size of one seed of mustard. In accordance with the curse, Govardhana, which was initially two yojanas (sixteen miles) tall, has since been reducing in size. Krishna glorified Govardhan as Giritaj and initiated the practice of worshipping him. This practice is continued and every day Puja of Giriraj is perfotmed. Annakut, organized there, is awesome.

We have organised Annakut at the feet of Giriraj. Let us carry out Puja of Giriraj and request Girirajji to aqccept our offerings and bless us.

The prasad is distributed to all vaishnavas, irrespective of caste and creed. The prasad represents the grace of God. Let us thank our Lord for showering His Grace on us.

Jay Shri Krishna!