“In this way, Brahma, the master of this universe, after offering humble and respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead and circumambulating Him three times, was ready to return to his abode known as Brahmaloka. By His gesture, the Supreme Personality of Godhead gave him permission to return.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 14)
So many gods from which to choose. People inheriting the tradition from their ancestors travelling in different directions. Though they are classified as belonging to the “Hindu” faith, the exercise is not uniform. A colorful panorama of beautiful deities, aligned together, and yet offering specific rewards to their worshipers. How to resolve the confusion?
Indeed, within the history documented in Vedic literature itself there are so many stories of people being benefitted by this god and that. The starting point is a desire. Worship in a specific procedure then follows. With enough dedication the supplication bears fruition. The god of choice, a deva residing in the heavenly realm, appears on the scene and agrees to grant boons.
From several incidents, along with supporting theoretical and practical knowledge, we see that one person is the best to approach. He is the benefactor of the benefactors. We see that the boons offered by the devas aren’t perfect, either.
1. Hiranyakashipu’s boons
De facto immortality. Sufficient protection to live in peace. Safe from attack against every type of known creature. Protected at night and during the day. Both inside and outside, on land and in the sky, from every kind of weapon, as well.
The boons received were specific due to the requests. Hiranyakashipu, symbolizing the materialist’s primary interest in comfort and wealth, won the favor of Lord Brahma, who is the creator. The future terror of the world specifically avoided worshiping Vishnu, who is known in the Vedas as the original person. Brahma may have created, but before him there was Vishnu. Before Vishnu there was no one, and so He is also described as anadi.
The problem is that you either have immortality or you don’t. There is no imitation version or one constructed from component pieces. Hiranyakashipu received evidence of the defect in his plan first through the survival of his saintly son against wicked attacks. Prahlada had no such deal with Brahma, and yet the crown could not kill him, no matter how much they tried.
Later on, mortality would show its gruesome face to the king deserving the fiercest punishment. The same Vishnu arrived in a half-man/half-lion figure inspiring fear and awe in everyone around. Hiranyakashipu did not survive the encounter, and with the end of life came the expiration of his gifts from the creator.
2. Govardhana Puja
This was a more innocent affair. At least it should have been viewed that way. Vishnu was again on the scene, but this time as the all-attractive youth named Krishna. He inspired the residents of the farm community of Gokula to perform the inaugural Govardhana Puja to honor the nearby hill that meant so much to everyone.
The issue was that the sacrifice, or yajna, was a kind of replacement. Instead of worshiping Indra, the king of heaven, as per tradition, the people shifted their offerings towards the hill. Everyone was pleased, and Krishna confirmed that the hill was non-different from Him.
As a devata, Indra should have been happy, as well. He is on the side of the good guys. Vishnu has helped his party countless times in the struggles with the Daityas. Hiranyakashipu had previously usurped Indra’s post by force. It was not until the advent of Narasimha that everything returned to normal.
Unfortunately, envy took hold. Indra was so upset that the people ignored him. He retaliated by sending a devastating rainstorm to the area. Make no mistake, there was every intention of destroying the people and their cows.
The person who wields so much power was embarrassed in the face of a youth with a bluish hue. Giving further confirmation of the sacred nature of that massive piece of land, Krishna lifted up Govardhana Hill and used it as an umbrella. The rain lost its teeth, so to speak, and Indra was reminded again of the unlimited potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
3. Brahma stealing the cows
He learned to create after worshiping Vishnu. The generation of the 8,400,000 varieties of species is through the use of three main ingredients: goodness, passion and ignorance. There is complexity and beauty built into every facet of the nature attributed to him.
Yet nothing would have been possible for Brahma without the sanction of Vishnu. He worshiped properly and only then was able to create. During the same advent of Krishna, the four-necked origin of the species became jealous one time. There was curiosity, as well, to see just how the Supreme Lord would handle a difficult situation.
Brahma stole Krishna’s cowherd friends in secret. He took the cows under their protection, as well. Now what would Krishna do? What would He say to the parents and elders upon returning from the fields? How would He save the day?
As Krishna is the source of energy, the energetic to the many sparks of energy that are spirit souls, He simply expanded Himself. No one could tell. The game went on for an entire year until Brahma finally relented. The creator was defeated, and he felt contrite afterwards.
Much time and effort is saved by approaching Bhagavan directly. He is the most fortunate person, so He has the most impactful rewards to distribute. Moreover, He exclusively applies discrimination. If a reward is not in our interest, it will not be received. Like a loving parent, His mercy involves guidance, to show the way towards transcendence.
Despite in high position seated,
Demigods many times defeated.
Like when Indra rain sending,
Then Govardhana as umbrella extending.
Or Brahma the cows to steal,
More magic Krishna to reveal.
Better when to the origin going,
Best interests for everyone knowing.
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