“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)
“Let me tell you a quick story. I was working at this company for a long time. Typical corporate environment, at least as far as I am familiar. You have the executive class, the employees at the lower tier, and then the fleet, so to speak. The hourly employees are many, while the executives are smaller in number.
“My colleagues and I were in the middle group. We had our own offices, so we were physically separated from the majority consisting of the hourly employees. One of my colleagues, in particular, always complained about one of the executives. He did not like them; there was almost like a grudge. A vendetta that never ran out of fuel.
“Most of his complaints were valid, but I got sick of hearing them, after a while. What was going to be done to change things, anyway? After a few years, this colleague of mine got another job. They moved on to a better place. I was happy for both them and myself, thinking I was now free to work in peace.
“The problem is, they kept asking me how things were going. They wanted to know about that executive they had a feud with. I was flabbergasted. Why did they care so much? They were promoted to a better place. Why even waste a single thought on the place you just left?
“I pass on this story because I am reminded from reading about the behavior of King Indra in the aftermath of the first Govardhana Puja. Is that what happens when you go to heaven? You are still worried about what takes place on earth? What is the benefit to being promoted, then?”
In Indra’s defense, you could use the justification of interference with a specific yajna. The people of Vrindavana were accustomed to worshiping Indra, to honoring him, to feeding him through the sacrificial fire on an annual basis.
One time they decided to skip it. Little Krishna, the darling child of Nanda and Yashoda, convinced the community to redirect their offerings to Govardhana Hill. There was a method to the madness. This supposedly rebellious act was rooted in dharma, though Indra was unaware.
The incident does give confirmation of the warnings provided by the acharyas of the Vaishnava tradition. They say that reaching the heavenly realm in the material world is not very worthwhile. They use Bhagavad-gita as the source authority, wherein the same Krishna, as an adult, teaches Arjuna that there is only flickering happiness in working your way towards svarga-loka.
ते तं भुक्त्वा स्वर्ग-लोकं विशालं
क्षीणे पुण्ये मर्त्य-लोकं विशन्ति
एवं त्रयी-धर्मम् अनुप्रपन्ना
गतागतं काम-कामा लभन्ते
te taṁ bhuktvā svarga-lokaṁ viśālaṁ
kṣīṇe puṇye martya-lokaṁ viśanti
evaṁ trayī-dharmam anuprapannā
gatāgataṁ kāma-kāmā labhante
“When they have thus enjoyed heavenly sense pleasure, they return to this mortal planet again. Thus, through the Vedic principles, they achieve only flickering happiness.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.21)
Indra is the king of the heavenly region. Why should he mind if people living in a village turn towards Govardhana Hill? Why would he want to retaliate with devastating rain, meant to inflict grave harm and damage? Why should he be so jealous of a small child?
The incident shows that the people in Vrindavana were in a superior position. Though they could not summon the samvartaka cloud to target enemies, they had Krishna there to protect them. They had Nanda’s son and His strength, which was exhibited in the subsequent lifting of the hill and holding it aloft to serve as the world’s greatest umbrella.
Vrindavana’s residents were with Krishna, and so they did not need to peek behind them. They were not concerned with Indra’s enjoyment, wrath, happiness, sadness, envy, and so forth taking place in another realm. The presence of the personal God turns any place into the imperishable Vaikuntha, and so devotees are always happy chanting His names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Like Vaikuntha place granting,
So they always happy chanting.
Not of heavenly realm to care,
Or how others elsewhere to fare.
Because everything there to need,
Like pleased Govardhana to feed.
Indra attacking them when,
Shri Krishna saving then.