“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)
1. Might is right?
“If you are physically stronger than someone else, does that make you superior? The bullies tend to dominate the school playgrounds. They can intimidate others into handing over their lunch money. In the case where overt stealing can’t take place due to the watchful eye of authority, there are subtle ways to accomplish the same. Harass to give change at the lunch counter. Intimidate into allowing plagiarism; blatant cheating.
“In the political sphere, if your country has a larger army, more military might, you might be able to invade another country outright, without proper justification. After all, there is nothing the other side can do. But is this the proper way to behave? Is physical strength the way to measure justice?”
2. Survival of the fittest?
“If you live longer than me, does that make you superior? Are you a stronger person? Does that indicate a better way of living? The tree stands in one place for thousands of years. One person stays locked in their home for years out of fear relating to a contagious illness. If such a person is able to prolong life that way, should we immediately seek their counsel on complex subjects, affixing expert status?”
3. The strongest person is automatically the best?
“I am witness to an arm-wrestling competition. It follows a tournament style. One-on-one matchups, completed in a series of rounds. Eventually, you get a winner. Now, that proves they are able to defeat their individual opponents, but they did not necessarily go against every participant in the tournament.
“When it comes to pondering matters of life and death and the purpose to an existence, should I turn to that person? Is their victory in the tournament an indication of superiority? Are they automatically an expert in everything? Their word is final, since they have the ability to assert dominance over others?”
4. He with the most money should be honored and worshiped within society?
“The richest man in the world. This is based on a net worth figure calculated from stock holdings in a particular publicly traded company. That is why the title keeps moving. One day this guy is the richest, the next it is someone else. News events move markets. Commodity prices play a role. Politics. Wars. There is no guarantee that the shares you own in a company will be worth something when you need to cash in.
“Should the wealthiest person be worshiped? Should they be given top priority for providing input on matters of public policy? Should they get a seat at the table with world leaders, influencing laws that could make or break a particular industry?”
5. That person wielding the most influence in society is most qualified to be the leader?
“Whether it be wealth or some other form of notoriety, if someone is able to influence others, should they become the leader? Are they then best equipped to handle the pressures of the job, to answer the complaints of the citizens, who number in the millions?
“In other words, is the ability to influence on a large scale a qualification for leading people? Remember, this is not commenting after the fact. There is no luxury of hindsight. You have to know what to do when an emergency strikes. You have to act quickly, sometimes bucking the trend, ignoring the experts.”
We ask these questions after reviewing the story of the first Govardhana Puja. The king of heaven certainly thought himself to be the most powerful. He wielded might to such a degree that he could wash away a large tract of land in a matter of minutes.
This is precisely what he tried to do. He was the leader in the heavenly realm, svarga-loka. This is not an easily achieved post. Austerity, penance, sacrifice, dedication, perseverance, and significant time devoted to the righteous path in a human form earns you a spot in heaven in the afterlife. From there you are not guaranteed to become the leader, though you can enjoy for a long time.
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)
The residents of heaven live for a long time in comparison to the population of earth. This would qualify as leading the competition of survival of the fittest. Indra is the strongest based on his position, and he has a tremendous ability to influence.
Despite his superior standing, Indra was defeated. Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is always immeasurably ahead of everyone else. This is one of the reasons for the name Bhagavan. He has every opulence imaginable, to the highest degree and simultaneously.
He defeated Indra’s strength using a hill as an umbrella. Krishna outsmarted the king of heaven. He withstood the attacks for seven straight days. He protected others in the process. The Supreme Lord was not distracted by those around Him; the attention did not get diverted.
This is one incident out of countless which shines the spotlight on the proper object of worship. Bhagavan is always in the superior position, and no human being or resident of the heavenly region can ever compete with Him. No one can become God; that position has been reserved since time immemorial.
By opulences deserved,
Since forever reserved.
To Bhagavan the one,
Surpassing Him none.
Not even king of heaven enraged,
Who coup at Govardhana staged.
But defeated by hill raised,
To this day Krishna praised.
Categories: the five