“When the cowherd men of Vrindavana, under instruction of Krishna, stopped offering sacrifice to the heavenly King, Indra, the whole tract of land known as Vraja was threatened with being washed away by constant heavy rains for seven days. Lord Krishna, out of His causeless mercy upon the inhabitants of Vraja, held up the hill known as Govardhana with one hand only, although He was only seven years old. He did this to protect the animals from the onslaught of water.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.7.32)
The avid golfer who is not quite good enough to play professionally gives a warning. Never get too confident. Even if you have a few good days on the course, where it seems like you have finally figured out the game, maintain your humility. Otherwise the golf gods will come bearing down on you. The punishment will be swift, and the frustration of the past will quickly return.
In Vrindavana many years ago the people were wise, despite living very simply. They understood that something can’t come from nothing. Even if there were this small chunk of energy existing at the beginning of creation, someone had to put it there. Additionally, it had to exist somewhere. There had to be a location, and until someone knows for sure, that time and place will always be a mystery.
The people of this community attributed the origin to the Almighty. Bhagavan and Vishnu were a few Sanskrit names used to describe Him. The residents also acknowledged the presence of deputies. These were god-like figures, but not the Supreme Lord Himself. Living piously, those protectors of cows and the pious way of living didn’t want to needlessly offend any person in power.
In steps the young and adorable son of the king. Nanda Maharaja was blessed to have Krishna appear in his life. Everyone felt like the boy was their own, that He was sent from above to provide delight on a daily basis. Leading the community as usual, Nanda had everyone prepare for the annual Indra-yajna.
This was a sacrifice to the god of heaven, who had the distinction of being responsible for the rain. Sure, the laws of science say that certain elements combine to create rainfall. There is the sun using its powers to pick up moisture from the oceans. Then clouds form, eventually reaching the point where the water is returned back to the earth.
Understanding all of this, the people considered there was intelligence behind the workings of nature. Rain didn’t occur just randomly. This was a kind of misery, sourced in the devas, adhidaivika. If Indra were pleased, then clouds would be directed to target the fields that needed water for producing grains. What would be the harm in spending a little time each year to pay honor to someone with such an important role?
Nanda’s child had a different idea. Why not worship the nearby Govardhana Hill instead? Nanda wasn’t going to reject the idea outright. The people could do both. Krishna was so persuasive that the decision was reached to shift gears. No Indra-yajna this year. There was something going on behind the scenes. Krishna knew what He was doing.
The initial result was auspicious. Everyone had a good time worshiping the hill together. They brought an astounding number of food items. The hill even spoke to them afterwards, advising that the same worship should be conducted annually going forward.
As things were winding down, the situation changed. An ominous looking cloud appeared overhead, followed by devastating rain. Not your typical thunderstorm, the flash-flooding was so severe that it threatened to wash everyone away.
The initial thought was that this was the terrible revenge of the gods, and more specifically Indra. That inclination proved to be accurate. The king of heaven was indeed upset at being skipped over, especially due to the influence of Krishna. Something like the car dealer coming after you with a hammer for deciding to not purchase your next vehicle from them, Indra gave no respect to prior loyalty. Just one perceived offense was enough to earn his wrath.
No problem for Krishna, though. All along He had a higher purpose in mind. The literal meaning was validated through Krishna lifting up the just worshiped Govardhana, holding it high in the air. That massive piece of land served as the world’s largest umbrella. Crisis averted. The people safe and secure. The threat of danger from following His advice, but ultimately no harm.
Indra eventually relented, then apologizing for what he tried to do. The revenge of the gods was not enough to overcome the mercy of Krishna, who is the Almighty Himself. Those who seek His shelter have their devotion protected, even when all signs point in the other direction.
Signs pointing in other direction,
Where now to get protection?
Indra his vengeful wrath sending,
Because of skipped puja offending.
A terrible revenge crisis to avert,
When towards worshiped hill to revert.
There Krishna lifting high into air,
Saving all from flooding’s scare.
Categories: krishna pastimes