“As the director of different kinds of clouds, Indra called for the samvartaka. This cloud is invited when there is a need to devastate the whole cosmic manifestation. The samvartaka was ordered by Indra to go over Vrindavana and inundate the whole area with an extensive flood. Demonically, Indra thought himself to be the all-powerful supreme personality.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 25)
Friend1: What would you say is the relationship between God and religion?
Friend2: Hmm. That is a strange question.
Friend1: Intentionally so.
Friend2: What exactly is your definition of religion?
Friend1: No need to get too technical here. Just answer the question, as is.
Friend2: It sounds like a trap. God is the object of religion. He is the reason for following a certain type of faith, if that is how you define it.
Friend1: I wanted the confirmation. Religion exists specifically for knowing Him. He is synonymous with religion.
Friend2: Sure, but you could run into issues here. Someone takes to a certain way of life in order to further their position.
Friend1: But this is about beyond the present life.
Friend2: Yes, and so I have the chance to influence where I will go. I want to win heaven. Eternal life, supposedly. Though I don’t really know what that means, I have heard that religion will get me there.
Friend1: Instead of the opposite.
Friend2: Eternal condemnation. Falling to hell and staying there forever.
Friend2: With no chance of redemption.
Friend1: I could see why people would be scared into submitting to a certain faith.
Friend2: And attending service at a house of worship on a regular basis.
Friend1: The reason I ask these supposedly obvious questions today is because I think I’ve heard the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, described as a rebel on occasion.
Friend2: Rebelling against what?
Friend1: Well, in some cases religion itself. He is like the greatest iconoclast, but it doesn’t make sense to me.
Friend2: What are some examples?
Friend1: You should be able to tell me, but what first comes to mind is Govardhana Puja.
Friend2: Oh, for sure. That is a great illustration of the contradiction. The religion, if you call it, at the time was to worship the king of heaven on an annual basis. This was more or less a business transaction. Worship Indra and then be rewarded with sufficient rainfall.
Friend1: Since he would be pleased by the yajna, which is sacrifice.
Friend2: Remember that no matter how much society thinks it is advancing, the basics stay the same. You need the elements of nature to survive. Without sufficient rain for the crops, you can’t enjoy your high-speed internet or drive your fast cars.
अन्नाद् भवन्ति भूतानि
यज्ञाद् भवति पर्जन्यो
annād bhavanti bhūtāni
yajñād bhavati parjanyo
“All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rain. Rains are produced by performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed duties.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.14)
Friend1: Krishna put a halt to that specific demigod’s worship, for that particular year.
Friend2: He persuaded the people, who loved Him so much, to worship Govardhana Hill instead. This would seem like the very definition of atheism. Breaking from tradition. Inventing your own kind of worship. An inanimate object instead of a living demigod.
Friend1: We see that there is immediate punishment for this behavior, as well.
Friend2: The devastating rain. Indra paid them back handsomely. More rain than they could ever imagine, threatening to wash everyone away. The iconoclastic rebel supported His decision by holding the very hill above His head for seven days, making it the world’s most amazing umbrella.
Friend1: Proving that Govardhana Puja is the way to go moving forward.
Friend2: Showing that Krishna is indeed the embodiment of religion. While He may seem to violate the rules every now and then, there is a higher purpose to serve. Devotion to Him is the real meaning of dharma. Everything else is but a component, a way to progress towards the proper end.
Despite annual offerings to send,
Indra forgiveness not to extend.
So that his awesome power demonstrating,
Sending wind and rain devastating.
But that rebel with a cause,
With new umbrella a pause.
After lifting hill from ground,
With Him real religion found.