“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)
“This will certainly come across as one of the strangest questions you receive, so bear with me. I want to be able to phrase it properly. I guess you could say I will describe a certain type of behavior. It is not uncommon. Many people fall victim to it. I am not sure where it fits into the common presentation of the need for bhakti-yoga, in the modern day.
“Let’s say that a famous person becomes embroiled in a scandal. It could be a politician, someone running for the highest office in the land. Corruption gets uncovered. Lewd photographs. Evidence of rampant criminal behavior.
“The accidental revelations are through the son of the politician. They are troubled, to say the least. Drug abuse. Alcohol addiction. Illicit connection with women. In the latest scandal, media entities get ahold of this politician’s son’s photographs stored on a computer.
“Boy oh boy, these pictures are bad. I mean really bad. A friend of mine keeps telling me about them, as they are sporadically made public. I feel it is wrong to even talk about, to take joy in someone’s failures. At the same time, this is how gossip works. This is why there is an entire industry revolving around the day-to-day happenings of celebrities.
“How do we avoid this behavior? I don’t think it is mentioned in the four regulative principles, as given by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in the parampara system. I guess you could say it is advised to avoid idle gossip. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says to not engage in gramya-katha, which is talk of the village.
“I guess I want to address the underlying cause. It is one thing to say to avoid this and don’t do that, but it would be easier to find the proper path if I knew exactly what was causing the attention and interest in the first place. Do you see what I am saying?”
One of the weaknesses associated with a life devoted to sense gratification is envy. No matter how much I enjoy, someone will always be in a superior position. No matter how much money I have, there are rivals. This is because none of us can become God. His position is taken since time immemorial.
Even if you become the king of heaven, the leader in svarga-loka, you are not immune to envy and jealousy. We can study the incident of the first Govardhana Puja. If you are enjoying soma-rasa and have attendants to cater to your every need, why would you be interested with what is happening on earth?
In this case the people of a small rural community decided to ignore Indra for a single time in a year. They were accustomed to worshiping him, and the king of heaven happily received the attention. It was a formal worship in his honor, yajna.
At the insistence of Shri Krishna, who was a small boy at the time, the people worshiped a nearby hill instead. They directed their offerings to Govardhana, which confirmed the genuineness of this newly created ritual by speaking to the people. Shri Krishna assumed the identity of the hill, proving that God’s land is as good as God.
Indra became so incensed that he decided to retaliate. He wasn’t necessarily taking pleasure in someone else’s pain, but he was consumed by envy. If successful, he would be able to stand back and be happy at the destruction that he caused. It would be happiness at the expense of someone else’s destruction.
The potential victims were innocent women, children, cows, trees, and village leaders. As previously stated, Krishna was a mere child, so if He were swept away by the rainstorm dropped by Indra that would be a tragedy under any normal definition of the word.
Fortunately, Krishna stopped the crisis. The people were safe and secure. The same Govardhana that they just worshiped ended up protecting them. Projected into the air, above Krishna’s head, that large tract of land served as the world’s most amazing umbrella. Krishna shielded the people from Indra’s vengeance.
It is an indication of saintly life to be more focused on the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The comparison is to the swan. Those who are still in material life, not caring at all about advancing in consciousness, are like crows. The supreme swan, paramahamsa, always sees God wherever they go. They do not take joy in another’s pain, whereas the crow is always rummaging through garbage, desperate to find some truth in a life otherwise rooted in illusion.
The solution to every deficiency in character is increased association with paramahamsas and the person that they worship. In other words, hearing stories such as the first Govardhana Puja and directly calling out to the lifter of that great hill can purify unwanted characteristics: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
To you this truth confiding,
That feeling like joyriding.
Through another’s wreck,
Daily latest news to check.
How purification then to come,
When by this illusion done?
Shelter of Govardhana’s lifter take,
Purity through life of devotion make.