What is the Significance of Number 56 in Chappan Bhog?

According to legends, the people of Braj had a custom of offering sumptuous food to Lord Indra – the rain god. In return, Lord Indra promised good rains to nourish their crops.

Lord Krishna believed that this was a harsh price that poor farmers had to pay. Furthermore, he wanted the people of Braj to accept the importance of Govardhan Parvat (mountain).

Lord Krishna explained to the villagers that Govardhan Parvat protects the villagers from harsh climatic conditions, so the villagers started worshiping the mountain instead of Indra.

Enraged by this gesture of the villagers, Indra brought heavy rain, and soon the village was drowned.

People prayed to Lord Krishna to save their lives.

Lord Krishna came to their rescue and lifted the huge Govardhan Parvat and placed it on the tip of his little finger to save his villagers from Indra’s wrath. Everyone, including cattle, took shelter under the mountain.

The rain continued for 7 days and thus Lord Krishna continued to stand holding the mountain until Lord Indra realized his mistake and the rain stopped. Since then Lord Krishna came to be known as Govardhandhari, the one who bears the Govardhan Parvat.

Yashoda Maiya (Krishna’s mother) usually fed Lord Krishna 8 meals a day, but he did not eat any food during these 7 days. Therefore, at the end of the seventh day, once the rain had stopped, the villagers gratefully offered a total of 56 dishes (8 meals multiplied by 7 days) to Lord Krishna. Thus the concept of 56 (Chappan) Bhog (Prasada) emerged and it became a ritual of offering 56 dishes to Lord Krishna/Govardhan Parvat during auspicious occasions & festivals.

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