Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu again bestowed His mercy upon Raghunatha dasa by giving him a stone from Govardhana Hill and a garland of small conchshells.
Previously, when Sankarananda Sarasvati had returned from Vrndavana, he had brought the stone from Govardhana Hill and also the garland of conchshells.
He presented Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu with these two items-the garland of conchshells and the stone from Govardhana Hill.
Upon receiving these two uncommon items, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu 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. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would say, "This stone is directly the body of Lord Krsna."
For three years He kept the stone and garland. Then, greatly satisfied by the behavior of Raghunatha dasa, the Lord delivered both of them to him.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Raghunatha dasa, "This stone is the transcendental form of Lord Krsna. Worship the stone with great eagerness."
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura writes in his Anubhasya that in the opinion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the govardhana-sila, the stone from Govardhana Hill, was directly the form of Krsna, the son of Maharaja Nanda. The Lord used the stone for three years, and then in the heart of Raghunatha dasa the Lord awakened devotional service to the stone. The Lord then gave the stone to Raghunatha dasa, accepting him as one of His most confidential servants. However, some envious people conclude that because Raghunatha dasa had not taken birth in the family of a brahmana, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not give him the right to worship the Deity directly but instead gave him a stone from Govardhana. This kind of thought is naraki, or hellish. As stated in the Padma Purana,
arcye visnau sila-dhir gurusu nara-matir vaisnave jati-buddhih . . .
yasya va naraki sah. If one thinks that the worshipable salagrama-sila is a mere stone, that the spiritual master is an ordinary human being or that a pure Vaisnava preaching the bhakti cult all over the world is a member of a particular caste or material division of society, he is considered a naraki, a candidate for hellish life. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed that the govardhana-sila, the stone taken from Govardhana, is nondifferent from the body of Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He indirectly advised such foolish persons that one should not be envious of a Vaisnava who belongs to a different caste or sect. One should accept a Vaisnava as transcendental. In this way one can be saved; otherwise, one is surely awaiting a hellish life.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued, "Worship this stone in the mode of goodness like a perfect
brahmana, for by such worship you will surely attain ecstatic love of Krsna without delay.
"For such worship, one needs a jug of water and a few flowers from a tulasi tree. This is worship in complete goodness when performed in complete purity.
"With faith and love, you should offer eight soft tulasi flowers, each with two tulasi leaves, one on each side of each flower."
After thus advising him how to worship, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally offered Raghunatha dasa the govardhana-sila with His transcendental hand. As advised by the Lord, Raghunatha dasa worshiped the sila in great transcendental jubilation.
Svarupa Damodara gave Raghunatha dasa two cloths, each about six inches long, a wooden platform and a jug in which to keep water.
Thus Raghunatha dasa began worshiping the stone from Govardhana, and as he worshiped he saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, the son of Nanda Maharaja, directly in the stone.
Thinking of how he had received the govardhana-sila directly from the hands of Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu, Raghunatha dasa was always overflooded with ecstatic love.
The amount of transcendental bliss that Raghunatha dasa enjoyed simply by offering water and tulasi is impossible to achieve even if one worships the Deity with sixteen kinds of paraphernalia.
After Raghunatha dasa had thus worshiped the govardhana-sila for some time, Svarupa Damodara one day spoke to him as follows.
"Offer the Govardhana stone eight kaudis worth of the first-class sweetmeats known as khaja and
sandesa. If you offer them with faith and love, they will be just like nectar."
Raghunatha dasa then began offering the costly sweetmeats known as khaja, which
Govinda, following the order of Svarupa Damodara, would supply.
When Raghunatha dasa received from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu the stone and the garland of
conchshells, he could understand the Lord's intention. Thus he thought as follows.
"By offering me the govardhana-sila, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has offered me a place near Govardhana Hill, and by offering me the garland of
conchshells, He has offered me shelter at the lotus feet of Srimati
Raghunatha dasa's transcendental bliss was boundless. Forgetting everything external, he served the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu with his body and mind.
Who could list the unlimited transcendental attributes of Raghunatha dasa? His strict regulative principles were exactly like lines on a stone.
The words pasanera rekha are very significant. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami followed the regulative principles so strictly and rigidly that they were compared to the lines on a stone. As such lines cannot be erased at any time, so the regulative principles observed by Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami could not be changed under any circumstances.