“When Indra understood that the sacrifice offered by the cowherd men in Vrindavana was stopped by Krishna, he became angry, and he vented his anger upon the inhabitants of Vrindavana, who were headed by Nanda Maharaja, although Indra knew perfectly well that Krishna was personally protecting them.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 25)
Indra, the king of heaven, was quite upset. He was awaiting the tradition of the worship made in his honor, from a specific group of people. They had worshiped him before; it was not a new tradition. The people of Vrindavana were not concocting a different, competing system of religion.
Rather, like any intelligent person, Nanda Maharaja understood that not everything is in the individual’s hands. Every person has to work. Whether they don’t like their chosen occupation or they prefer to remain at the office for hours into the night, they must still perform some action. They will have to do something in order to remain alive, to fill the time moving forward.
कर्मण्य् एवाधिकारस् ते
मा फलेषु कदाचन
मा कर्म-फल-हेतुर् भूर्
मा ते सङ्गो ऽस्त्व् अकर्मणि
karmaṇy evādhikāras te
mā phaleṣu kadācana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr
mā te saṅgo ‘stv akarmaṇi
“You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.47)
At the same time, we do not have a right to enjoy the fruits of our labor. This is according to the superior understanding, information descending from the top. We are compelled to work, but the outcome is not in our hands. Though we expect a certain result based on previous observation, there is no guarantee of the future.
This could be something as simple as the rain falling. Nanda Maharaja, the leader in Vrindavana, understood that without the rain there was no chance at survival. This was especially important in a rural community, which depended on cow protection.
Therefore, the people had no issue with worshiping Indra, the king of heaven. A little inconvenience, a little time dedicated for someone else’s benefit. The reward on the other side would be worth it.
One year, however, there was an interruption in service. Indra did not get his yajna. The preparations were there. Everything was on track for a successful completion, but Nanda’s son stepped in and came up with other plans.
With Indra there was a certain expectation. It is understandable that he became a little upset, as we tend to follow a similar pattern when there is an interruption in service.
“Seriously, it is the worst time for this to happen. I have a big presentation for work in a few hours. I cannot even access my slide deck, as the files are stored on a network drive. There is no access to the corporate network when there isn’t even internet at home.
“What am I going to do? I use internet to communicate with everyone. I might have to dig up a personal phone number for one of my colleagues, letting them know what is going on. This is terrible.”
“Fortunately, the storm did not do as much damage as was anticipated. Our home is still standing. One of the pieces of the backyard fence came apart. It flew some twenty feet backwards; just to give you an idea of the intensity of the winds.
“The problem is so many people are without electricity. There is no timeline for restoration. Food sitting in the fridge will go bad. It is still hot and humid outside. No way to turn on an electric fan or run the air conditioning. People are essentially helpless.”
3. Satellite television
“Here we go again. With a thunderstorm rolling through the area, the reception on the television keeps going out. This satellite service offers so many channels, and for a discount, but you are out of luck during these storms. We will have to wait it out, even though we wanted to watch this big game. It was all people were talking about the last few weeks.”
4. Heating oil
“Around where we live, I like to refer to winter as ‘the season of ice.’ It is not just cold; that would be doing a disservice to the weather gods. The temperature drops so severely that if you stay outside for too long you will freeze to death.
“I have heard of people who tried to walk a mile to their next destination. They were forced to enter establishments along the route, since they needed to warm up. They couldn’t tolerate the cold and wind.
“Well, our heating oil ran out last week and the company says they are in a shortage. We don’t know when the next delivery will occur. This creates a dangerous situation in the home. We have some electrical space heaters. Hopefully those don’t cause problems from consuming too much power.”
5. Food delivery
“This is why I hate getting delivery. Everyone else raves about it. You can stay in bed, press a few buttons on your smartphone, and everything is taken care of. That sounds great, in theory, but the reality is always something different.
“I am so hungry that I ordered a ton of food. The app had an estimated time of delivery, which expired several hours ago. I have no idea if this food is coming or not. Should I order from someplace else? The restaurant said it is out of their hands, that they gave the food to the delivery person already. This is the worst.”
Indra was so upset at his interruption in service, of being fed through the oblations dropped in the sacrificial fire, that he decided on revenge. This would be something like the local car dealership, to whom you have been a loyal customer, suddenly chasing after you with an axe. It is out of revenge; they are upset you decided to buy your latest car from another dealer.
The people of Vrindavana skipped the Indra-yajna in favor of worshiping the nearby Govardhana Hill. This was at Krishna’s insistence, as Indra was more than aware. He was incensed that Krishna worked His magic in that way.
Indra knew that Krishna was protecting the people, but he still retaliated. Sending a torrential downpour to the area surrounding Govardhana Hill, the intent was to inflict lethal damage. Fortunately, Krishna’s protection was for real. It was an impenetrable defense, as the natural disaster of a flood could not affect the people protected by Krishna and His favorite hill.
The Govardhana who had just been worshiped directly saved the people by becoming an umbrella. Krishna insisted that the tradition be continued annually thereafter. The greatest impediment was on the first Govardhana Puja, and Krishna’s same protection would continue into the future.
Upon revenge determination,
Indra choosing retaliation.
Since yajna interrupted,
Annual service disrupted.
But Krishna at heart of dispute,
To stand in protection resolute.
By lifting that sacred hill,
Commencing tradition followed still.
Categories: the five