“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)
“I like the teaching in Bhagavad-gita about not being the doer. We make the choice to act; of that there is no doubt. This explains the variety in occupation, fashion styles, car purchases, place of living, size of domicile, and so forth. The living being is an individual at heart; even merging into Brahman is incomplete with respect to fulfillment due to the incompatibility with the natural yearning for identity.
“We tend to take those teachings from Shri Krishna to be related to the earthly experience. Also, specifically applying to the human species. For instance, the animals do not have karma. Neither do the plants. We could say that they are making their way through the karmic reactionary phase, but within those species there is no specific action and reaction consequence.
“The human beings have a higher potential for intelligence, and so there are rules pertaining to action and reaction. We can understand this through something as basic as driving. If you travel on the wrong side of the road, there will be harmful consequences, and not limited to the blaring siren from the traffic patrol officer.
“I was wondering if these laws applied to the heavenly realm, as well. Specifically, with the aspect of not being the doer. If someone in heaven takes to a specific action, is it material nature which again must cooperate for the result to manifest?”
We can look to the incident of the first Govardhana Puja for clarity. Though there is already the implied explanation through the revelation that even the heavenly realm is part of the material world. Created, maintained and then annihilated. Here at one time, remaining for some time, and then destroyed.
Though life in the heavenly planets, svarga-loka, is considerably advanced in comparison to the experience on earth, there is still the time factor lurking in the background. You gain entry through something the equivalent of a card holding a balance. The credits, so to speak, accumulate through pious activities.
This is another instance of karma, but under the more classic definition. Though we tend to think in terms of action and reaction, there are really different kinds of karma. The original word refers to prescribed activity. In other words, those things which you should do.
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)
Sacrifice, or yajna, is one of those prescribed activities. This is mentioned in Bhagavad-gita. The people of the heavenly realm, in addition to enjoying in many ways, also take care of the earthly population. They are high-level officials, if viewed from a government of the universe perspective. Yajna satisfies them, and in return they distribute much needed rain.
With the first Govardhana Puja, the king of heaven decided to show just how much rain the heavenly realm can drop. This was a case of a skipped yajna. The people went with worshiping a hill one year, at the insistence of a young child named Krishna. His appeal was convincing enough that they took their preparations originally targeted for Indra and moved them towards the nearby hill, which was dear to the cows.
Indra was so enraged by this supposed insult that he sent the samvartaka cloud to inundate the area around Govardhana Hill with tremendous amounts of rain. Just how much? The equivalent of what gets dropped during the end of the creation, when the time for universal destruction has arrived.
We have an individual living being make a choice for action, expecting a certain outcome. Yet he failed in that endeavor. Material nature did not cooperate, even though Indra is a controller of a significant aspect of that nature. This is because the target happened to involve Shri Krishna, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Nanda’s adorable son simply lifted the just-worshiped Govardhana Hill and held it up as an umbrella. He urged others to take safety underneath, and they followed that wise direction. This means that in any place within martya-loka, the place of repeated birth and death, we are always limited in our exercise of ability. The Almighty retains complete control, and He can thereby make our experience within this place a pleasant one, protecting us from devastating rain, if necessary.
The people as traitors calling,
So now devastating rain falling.
From Indra in heaven living,
A lesson in payback giving.
But even his wish just a hope,
Since limited in scope.
Because Krishna ultimately deciding,
Who shelter with Govardhana providing.