By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Previously, when Śankarānanda Sarasvatī had returned from Vrindāvana, he had brought the stone from Govardhana Hill and also the garland of conchshells. He presented Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu with these two items—the garland of conchshells and the stone from Govardhana Hill. Upon receiving these two uncommon items, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was extremely happy. While chanting, He would put the garland around His neck. The Lord would put the stone to His heart or sometimes to His eyes. Sometimes He would smell it with His nose and sometimes place it on His head. The stone from Govardhana was always moist with tears from His eyes. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu would say, “This stone is directly the body of Lord Krishna.” For three years He kept the stone and garland. Then, greatly satisfied by the behavior of Raghunātha dāsa, the Lord delivered both of them to him. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructed Raghunātha dāsa, “This stone is the transcendental form of Lord Krishna. Worship the stone with great eagerness.” [Bhaktivedanta Translation to CC Antya 6.288 – 294]
Who is a Candidate for Hellish Life?
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thākura writes in his Anubhāsya that in the opinion of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the govardhana-śilā, the stone from Govardhana Hill, was directly the form of Krishna, the son of Mahārāja Nanda. The Lord used the stone for three years, and then in the heart of Raghunātha dāsa the Lord awakened devotional service to the stone. The Lord then gave the stone to Raghunātha dāsa, accepting him as one of His most confidential servants. However, some envious people conclude that because Raghunātha dāsa had not taken birth in the family of a brāhmana, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not give him the right to worship the Deity directly but instead gave him a stone from Govardhana. This kind of thought is nārakī, or hellish. As stated in the Padma Purāna, arcye visnau śilā -dhīr gurusu nara-matir vaisnave jāti-buddhih . . . yasya vā nārakī sah. If one thinks that the worshipable śālagrāma-śilā is a mere stone, that the spiritual master is an ordinary human being or that a pure Vaishnava preaching the bhakti cult all over the world is a member of a particular caste or material division of society, he is considered a nārakī, a candidate for hellish life. When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructed that the govardhana-śilā, the stone taken from Govardhana, is nondifferent from the body of Śrī Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He indirectly advised such foolish persons that one should not be envious of a Vaishnava who belongs to a different caste or sect. One should accept a Vaishnava as transcendental. In this way one can be saved; otherwise, one is surely awaiting a hellish life. [Bhaktivedanta Purport to Chaitanya Charitamrita Antya 6.294 ends]
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu continued, “Worship this stone in the mode of goodness like a perfect brāhmana, for by such worship you will surely attain ecstatic love of Krishna without delay. “For such worship, one needs a jug of water and a few flowers from a tulasī tree. This is worship in complete goodness when performed in complete purity. “With faith and love, you should offer eight soft tulasī flowers, each with two tulasī leaves, one on each side of each flower.” After thus advising him how to worship, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally offered Raghunātha dāsa the govardhana-śilā with His transcendental hand. As advised by the Lord, Raghunātha dāsa worshiped the śilā in great transcendental jubilation. Svarūpa Dāmodara gave Raghunātha dāsa two cloths, each about six inches long, a wooden platform and a jug in which to keep water. Thus Raghunātha dāsa began worshiping the stone from Govardhana, and as he worshiped he saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, the son of Nanda Mahārāja, directly in the stone. Thinking of how he had received the govardhana-śilā directly from the hands of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Raghunātha dāsa was always overflooded with ecstatic love. The amount of transcendental bliss that Raghunātha dāsa enjoyed simply by offering water and tulasī is impossible to achieve even if one worships the Deity with sixteen kinds of paraphernalia. [Bhaktivedanta Translations to CC Antya 6.295 – 302]