“When everything was complete, Krishna assumed a great transcendental form and declared to the inhabitants of Vrindavana that He was Himself Govardhana Hill in order to convince the devotees that Govardhana Hill and Krishna Himself are identical. Then Krishna began to eat all the food offered there.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 24)
Bhakti-yoga is not a dry or tasteless activity, reserved only for the time after the transition to statelessness. The individual can never be without individuality. They always have the service tendency, though sometimes it can be greatly suppressed or misdirected.
As the occasion of Govardhana Puja relates to Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is an ideal case study on the emotions that can be involved in the direct interaction with the person who is beyond the material world and the different concepts in duality, such as birth and death, manifest and unmanifest, and close by and far away.
The setting is the farm community of Gokula Vrindavana. The people are simple, but also intelligent. They are not chasing after money, wealth or fame. They are satisfied with what the cows and the land produce. The animals under their care are happy and free to roam about. They are not afraid of untimely death for the purpose of satisfying the human taste buds.
The tradition in that area is to worship the god of heaven, Indra. There is a puja in his honor, and it is more or less a formality. The people are grateful for the rain arriving from up above. This is an aspect of nature that can never be controlled or replaced. No matter how much technology advances, the essential aspects of life like sunlight, rain, air, and land remain.
Nanda Maharaja leads the way. He directs the entire community. No one has an issue with the Indra-puja, except for Nanda’s son Krishna. As children are known to be, Krishna is curious as to what is going on. Why the preparations? Who is this Indra that needs to be worshiped? What happens if you don’t pay homage?
As He is the Supreme Lord, Krishna has the most intelligence. At a young age He gives wonderful arguments to the father. The objective is to direct the puja paraphernalia to the nearby Govardhana Hill instead. Krishna gives the justification that the cows are the most dear to the community. Since Govardhana is dear to the cows, it should be worshiped instead of Indra.
Nanda proposes conducting both worship ceremonies simultaneously, but Krishna convinces him to focus only on Govardhana Hill. What will happen if you skip Indra’s puja for one year? There should be some satisfaction from the many past performances.
Unfortunately, the ways of envy are not logical. Indra immediately forgets the past and focuses only on the present, which he considers to be the greatest insult. Envious of Krishna’s influence on the people, Indra directs the cloud of destruction, the one reserved for the end of the world, to target the Govardhana area. This would surely wipe everyone out, but revenge was primary on his mind.
Even in the presence of the Supreme Lord there can be fear. Not necessarily that He will attack or punish without justification; fear that something bad will occur. That is possible when the relationship is so close that a person forgets they are in the presence of the Almighty.
This fear is actually auspicious. Though the residents were afraid for their lives, they had the shelter of Shri Krishna. After Indra’s attack, Nanda’s son wisely used the just worshiped hill as an umbrella. A small child is capable of lifting a gigantic hill and holding it up in the air only if the visual of the body has no bearing on potency.
This incident proves that Krishna is not limited by the supposed form He manifests. He can eat with His eyes, run with His mind, and hear with His hands. He can rest the heaviest object on the weakest finger on the typically non-dominant hand and not feel any discomfort.
Under common law, a person who intentionally tries to wipe innocent people out with a targeted attack of massive amounts of water would face stiff punishment. The justice system would send them away for a long time.
Shri Krishna is so kind that He forgives instantly. He would have to; otherwise no one could return to His spiritual kingdom. Every person has some flaws, defects, or past behavior over which they are not proud. Indra’s transgression happened to occur on the largest scale, but his subsequent words of contrition were enough to win the favor of the Supreme Lord.
Despite from envy spinning,
Indra later His favor winning.
Emotion in bhakti life to see,
Not like motionless stone to be.
Grateful for the cows and land,
Fear from lack of control to command.
Amazing but events not fictitious,
When related to Krishna auspicious.