“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)
“Is there anything comparable in Vedic culture to the Christmas holiday, as it is celebrated today? I know there are the appearance day anniversaries of the Supreme Lord and His many avataras, like Krishna and Rama. I know that there is Diwali, but I guess I am looking for something where people exchange gifts. A holiday children can look forward to.”
There is a commonly invoked comparison to Mr. Scrooge. This is a reference to the main character from the Charles Dickens short story, A Christmas Carol. The person starts off as stingy, not even wanting to celebrate Christmas, which is an annual occasion that the society around him warmly welcomes. Through a series of events, Scrooge eventually changes his mind.
The moniker lives on, however. Sometimes business owners are proud to be identified in the same light, as it conveys the importance they hold to turning a profit, of commitment to hard work and earning an honest living. They take great joy in joking with the employees, “I am Mr. Scrooge. Christmas is cancelled! Be prepared to show up to work.”
A fitting comparison could be made with the king of heaven, Indra, and what happened to him one time because of the cunning plot of a small child known as Krishna. As the Christmas holiday tends to center on giving and receiving gifts of the material variety, so Indra was expecting to be honored by the residents of Vrindavana, as per tradition.
Except Krishna managed to convince the head of the town, who also happened to be his father, to worship Govardhana Hill instead. The child was not acting on a whim or showing a lack of intelligence. He presented fair and reasonable arguments for the decision, that Govardhana was dear to the cows and that the cows were the most important commodity and dependents to the people of the village.
It would be a grand celebration. Every kind of food preparation imaginable, to satisfy the five kinds of taste, to have a visual to match the outpouring of love, would be presented to Govardhana. At the end of the celebration, Krishna revealed to everyone that the hill was the same as Him. Though a seemingly inanimate object, Govardhana was Krishna’s land, and hence non-different from Him.
“One who neglects the worship of Govardhana Puja, as I am personally conducting it, will not be happy. There are many snakes on Govardhana Hill, and persons neglecting the prescribed duty of Govardhana Puja will be bitten by these snakes and killed. In order to assure the good fortune of the cows and themselves, all people of Vrindavana near Govardhana must worship the hill, as prescribed by Me.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 24)
Indra did not take kindly to his version of Christmas being cancelled. Where were the gifts? Where was the attention to duty? Where was the appreciation for the abundance of rain provided to nourish the crops? Where was the memory of the past successful observances?
Indra could only see in one direction: revenge. Seething with rage, he directed the samvartaka cloud to inundate the area around Govardhana Hill. Wash away the people and their precious savior, Shri Krishna. Teach them a lesson never to be forgotten.
It ended up the other way around. Indra was humiliated in defeat, as the child was actually more powerful than any demigod. Shri Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill and used it as an umbrella. The samvartaka could do nothing. The people were safe. A new tradition was born, one that people celebrate to this day, showing their love for God in ways that He always appreciates.
Indra the yajna expecting,
Not for people rejecting.
Instead towards Govardhana to go,
Now his revenge to know.
But Krishna easily protecting,
With hill in air projecting.
So that best tradition to make,
Advantage every year to take.