“When demons become very powerful, they defy the supreme controller, Personality of Godhead. Indra, though not a demon, was puffed up by his material position, and he wanted to challenge the supreme controller. He thought himself, at least for the time being, as powerful as Krishna. Indra said, ‘Just see the impudence of the inhabitants of Vrindavana! They are simply inhabitants of the forest, but being infatuated with their friend Krishna, who is nothing but an ordinary human being, they have dared to defy the demigods.’” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 24)
Friend1: I’m trying to understand why Indra was so upset at the first Govardhana Puja.
Friend2: Put yourself in his position. You are the king of heaven. Everyone worships you. There is respect offered. A reciprocal benefit; a kind of business relationship.
Friend1: I am the leader of the demigods in the heavenly region.
Friend2: Yes; it is not an insignificant post.
Friend1: Okay, I can maybe relate to the position. It is not easy having to deal with the asuras. They are the bad guys, so to speak. The conflict between the suras and the asuras has been ongoing since before anyone can remember.
Friend2: Put that aside for the moment. Imagine being worshiped by people on earth. They feel they are dependent on you. You are everything to them.
Friend2: Your ego is bound to swell. You might begin to think that you are more important than you really are. Sort of like that employee at the office who thinks they can jump ship and be as important at any other company.
Friend1: Where they will get more money, better benefits, more respect, and so forth.
Friend2: When, in truth, they are doing a good job, but they are not as important as they think. The work at the company will still get done if they are gone. Things might be a little inconvenient for a while, but it won’t be an earthshattering loss.
Friend1: I see, but Indra is kind of important. If he doesn’t supply the rain, the people who worship him will be in trouble. Especially if they are from a farm community, timely rainfall is vital to their livelihood.
Friend2: Now you are starting to think like you should. Add to the equation some disdain for your worshipers. You look down on them a little. You think they are less-intelligent villagers, who couldn’t make it on their own if they tried.
Friend1: I see. I guess it is easy for a person in power to fall into this trap. The benefactor loses respect for the dependents.
Friend2: Now imagine that those same worshipers, who you consider to be less intelligent, suddenly abandon worship and move on to something else. They follow the advice of some kid in their community. They decide to worship a nearby hill, instead.
Friend2: Even worse, the preparations are extraordinary. Every kind of delicious food imaginable. The worship goes so well that the hill personally thanks the people. Everyone is so happy. You have been completely forgotten.
Friend1: Oh man, I might get upset.
Friend2: If you are swayed by the false ego, then absolutely. You think that these people have totally disrespected you. They have belittled your position, without saying a word. It is the greatest insult, through omission.
Friend1: Alright, but come on! I am not going to send devastating rainfall to the area in retaliation.
Friend2: You’re not?
Friend2: How else are you going to prove to the people that they were wrong? How are they going to be reminded of your position if they have completely forgotten about you? You must demonstrate your force, in an unmistakable manner.
Friend1: Hmm. Maybe I will send them a sign. Sort of a warning shot.
Friend2: That’s what the devastating rain was. Indra would teach a lesson never to be forgotten.
Friend1: Oh boy, that is not good. After witnessing something like that, I would sure be mindful of letting my ego get the better of me in the future.
Friend2: That is one of the many benefits of the first Govardhana Puja. Indra was taught a lesson in humility. He was reminded of his actual position as servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Friend1: It is amazing that the same person who recommended the worship of the hill also happened to lift that hill to save the residents.
Friend2: It validated the trust of the people. They were not so simple-minded, after all. They sort of knew what they were doing. Their inclination to put faith in a child, the darling of mother Yashoda, was based on the highest knowledge. They knew Krishna was someone special, and so they would follow Him to the ends of the earth, and sometimes beneath it.
Taking shelter beneath,
To Indra’s vengeance underneath.
Since by their worship offended,
Where in new tradition pretended.
But Krishna there to save,
Govardhana as umbrella to behave.
So that understanding rightful place,
And false ego to erase.