From KRSNA, The Supreme Personality of Godhead,
To reciprocate with His devotees, Krsna protects them in the most astonishing ways, such as lifting a huge mountain. Although appearantly a helpless boy, Krsna is actually the only shelter for everyone. The residents of Vrndavana spontaneously trun to Him when faced with any danger.
Krsna and Balarama once saw that the cowherd men were preparing a similar sacrifice in order to pacify Indra, the King of heaven, who is responsible for supplying water. As stated in the Caitanya-caritamrta, a devotee of Krsna has strong and firm faith in the understanding that if he is simply engaged in Krsna consciousness and Krsna's transcendental loving service, then he is freed from all other obligations. A pure devotee of Lord Krsna doesn't have to perform any of the ritualistic functions enjoined in the Vedas; nor is he required to worship demigods. Just by performing the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies or worshiping the demigods, one does not develop devotional service for Krsna. But one who is engaged fully in the service of the Lord has already finished with all Vedic injunctions.
In order to stop all such activities by His devotees, Krsna wanted to firmly establish exclusive devotional service during His presence in Vrndavana. Krsna knew that the cowherd men were preparing for the Indra sacrifice, because He is the omniscient Personality of Godhead, but as a matter of etiquette, He began to inquire with great honor and submission from elder personalities like Maharaja Nanda.
Krsna asked His father, "My dear father, what is this arrangement going on for a great sacrifice? What is the result of such a sacrifice, and for whom is it meant? How is it performed? Will you kindly let Me know? I am very anxious to know this procedure, so please explain to Me the purpose of this sacrifice."
Upon this inquiry, His father, Nanda Maharaja, remained silent, thinking that his young boy would not be able to understand the intricacies of performing the sacrifice.
Krsna, however, persisted: "My dear father, for those who are liberal and saintly, there is no secrecy. They do not think anyone to be a friend or enemy, because they are always open to everyone. And even for those who are not so liberal, nothing should be secret for the family members and friends, although secrecy may be maintained for persons who are inimical. Therefore you cannot keep any secrets from Me. All persons are engaged in fruitive activities. Some know what these activities are, and they know the result, and some execute activities without knowing the purpose or the result. A person who acts with full knowledge gets the full result; one who acts without knowledge does not get such a perfect result. Therefore, please let Me know the purpose of the sacrifice you are going to perform. Is it according to Vedic injunction? Or is it simply a popular ceremony? Kindly let Me know in detail about the sacrifice."
On hearing this inquiry from Krsna, Maharaja Nanda replied, "My dear boy, this ceremonial performance is more or less traditional. Because rainfall is due to the mercy of King Indra, and the clouds are his representatives, and because water is so important for our living, we must show some gratitude to the controller of this rainfall, Maharaja Indra. We are arranging, therefore, to pacify King Indra, because he has kindly sent us clouds to pour down sufficient quantity of rain for successful agricultural activities. Water is very important; without rainfall we cannot farm or produce grains. We cannot live if there is no rainfall. Itis necessary for successful religious ceremonies, economic development, and, ultimately, liberation. Therefore we should not give up the traditional ceremonial function; if one gives it up, being influenced by lust or greed or fear, then it does not look very good for him."
After hearing this, Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in the presence of His father and all the cowherd men of Vrndavana, spoke in such a way as to make Indra very angry. He suggested that they forego the sacrifice. His reasons for discouraging the sacrifice performed to please Indra were twofold.
First, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita, there is no need to worship the demigods for any material advancement; all results derived from worshiping the demigods are simply temporary, and only those who are less intelligent are interested in temporary results.
Second, whatever temporary result one derives from worshiping the demigods is actually granted by the permission of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is clearly stated in the Bhagavad-gita, mayaiva vihitan hi tan. Whatever benefit is supposed to be derived from the demigods is actually bestowed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Without the permission of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one cannot bestow any benefit upon others. But sometimes the demigods become puffed up by the influence of material nature; thinking themselves all in all, they forget the supremacy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is clearly stated that in this instance Krsna wanted to make King Indra angry. Krsna's advent was especially meant for the annihilation of the demons and protection of the devotees. King Indra was certainly a devotee, not a demon, but because he was puffed up, Krsna wanted to teach him a lesson. He first tried to make Indra angry by stopping the Indra-puja that had been arranged by the cowherd men in Vrndavana.
With this purpose in mind, Krsna began to talk as if He were an atheist supporting the philosophy of karma-mimamsa. Advocates of this type of philosophy do not accept the supreme authority of the Personality of Godhead. They put forward the argument that if anyone works nicely, the result is sure to come. Their opinion is that even if there is a God who gives man the result of his fruitive activities, there is no need to worship Him, because unless man works, He cannot bestowanygood result. They say that instead of worshiping a demigod or God, people should give attention to their own duties, and thus the good result will surely come.
Lord Krsna began to speak to His father according to these principles of the karma-mimamsa philosophy. "My dear father," He said, "I don't think you need to worship any demigod for the successful performance of your agricultural activities. Every living being is born according to his past karma and leaves this life simply taking the result of his present karma. Everyone is born in different types or species of life according to his past activities, and he gets his next birth according to the activities of this life. Different grades of material happiness and distress, comforts and disadvantages of life, are different results of different kinds of activities, from either the past or present life."
Maharaja Nanda and other elderly members argued that without satisfying the predominating god, one cannot derive any good result simply by material activities. This is actually the fact. For example, it is sometimes found that, in spite of firstclass medical help and treatment by a first-class physician, a diseased person dies. It is concluded, therefore, that firstclass medical treatment or the attempts of a first-class physician are not in themselves the cause for curing a patient; there must be the hand of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Similarly, a father's and mother's taking care of their children is not the cause of the children's comfort. Sometimes it is found that in spite of all care by the parents, the children go bad or succumb to death. Therefore material causes are not sufficient for results. There must be the sanction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Nanda Maharaja therefore advocated that, in order to get good results for agricultural activities, they must satisfy Indra, the superintending deity of the rain supply. Lord Krsna nullified this argument, saying that the demigods give results only to persons who have executed their prescribed duties. The demigods cannot give any good results to the person who has not executed the prescribed duties; therefore demigods are dependent on the execution of duties and are not absolute in awarding good results to anyone.
Krsna further explained to His father: "We do not derive any special benefit from Indra. Even if he is there, he pours water on the ocean also, where there is no need of water. So he is pouring water on the ocean or on the land; it does not depend on our worshiping him.
"As far as we are concerned, we do not need to go to another city or village or foreign country. There are palatial buildings in the cities, but we are satisfied living in this forest of Vrndavana. Our specific relationship is with Govardhana Hill and Vrndavana forest and nothing more. I therefore request you, My dear father, to begin a sacrifice which will satisfy the local brahmanas and Govardhana Hill, and let us have nothing to do with Indra. "
After hearing this statement by Krsna, Nanda Maharaja replied, "My dear boy, since You are asking, I shall arrange for a separate sacrifice for the local brahmanas and Govardhana Hill. But for the present let me execute this sacrifice known as Indra-puja."
But Krsna replied, "My dear father, don't delay. The sacrifice you propose for Govardhana and the local brahmanas will take much time. Better take the arrangement and paraphernalia you have already made for the Indra-yajna and immediately engage it to satisfy Govardhana Hill and the local brahmanas."
Nanda Maharaja finally relented. The cowherd men then inquired from Krsna how He wanted the yajna performed, and Krsna gave them the following directions. "Prepare very nice foodstuffs of all descriptions from the grains and ghee collected for theyajna. Prepare rice, dal, then halava, pakora, puri and all kinds of milk preparations like sweet rice, rabri, sweetballs, sandesa, rasagulla, and laddu and invite the learned brahmanas who can chant the Vedic hymns and offer oblations to the fire. Thebrahmanas should be given all kinds of grains in charity.
"Then decorate all the cows and feed them well. After performing this, give money in charity to the brahmanas. As far as the lower animals are concerned, such as the dogs, and the lower grades of people, such as the candalas, or the fifth class of men, who are considered untouchable, they also may be given sumptuous prasadam. After nice grasses have been given to the cows, the sacrifice known as Govardhana-puja may immediately begin. This sacrifice will very much satisfy Me."
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, therefore advised the cowherd men to stop the Indra-yajna and begin the Govardhana-puja in order to chastise Indra, who was very much puffed up at beingthe supreme controller of the heavenly planets. The honest and simple cowherd men headed by Nanda Maharaja accepted Krsna's proposal and executed in detail everything He advised. They performed Govardhana worship and circumambulation of the hill. (Following the inauguration of Govardhana-puja, people in Vrndavana still dress nicely and assemble near Govardhana Hill to offer worship and circumambulate the hill, leading their cows all around.)
According to the instruction of Lord Krsna, Nanda Maharaja and the cowherd men called in learned brahmanas and began to worship Govardhana Hill by chanting Vedic hymns and offering prasadam. The inhabitants of Vrndavana assembled together, decorated their cows, and gave them grass. Keeping the cows in front, they began to circumambulate Govardhana Hill. The gopis also dressed themselves very luxuriantly and sat on bulldriven carts, chanting the glories of Krsna's pastimes. Assembled there to act as priests for Govardhana-puja, the brahmanas offered their blessings to the cowherd men and their wives, the gopis.
When everything was complete, Krsna assumed a great, transcendental form and declared to the inhabitants of Vrndavana that He was Himself Govardhana Hill in order to convince the devotees that Govardhana Hill and Krsna Himself are identical. Then Krsna began to eat all the food offered there. The identity of Krsna and Govardhana Hill is still honored, and great devotees take rocks from Govardhana Hill and worship them exactly as they worship the Deity of Krsna in the temples. Devotees therefore collect small rocks or pebbles from Govardhana Hill and worship them at home, because this worship is as good as Deity worship.
The form of Krsna who began to eat the offerings was separately constituted, and Krsna Himself along with other inhabitants of Vrndavana began to offer obeisances to the Deity as well as to Govardhana Hill. In offering obeisances to the huge form of Krsna Himself and Govardhana Hill, Krsna declared, "Just see how Govardhana Hill has assumed this huge form and is favoring us by accepting all of the offerings." Krsna also declared at that meeting, "One who neglects the worship of Govardhana-puja, as I am personally conducting it, will notbe happy. There are many snakes on Govardhana Hill, and persons neglecting the prescribed duty of Govardhana-puja will be bitten by these snakes and killed. In order to assure the good fortune of the cows and themselves, all people of Vrndavana near Govardhana must worship the hill, as prescribed by Me."
Thus performing the Govardhana-puja sacrifice, all the inhabitants of Vrndavana followed the instructions of Krsna, the son of Vasudeva, and afterwards they returned to their respective homes.
* * *
When Indra understood that his sacrifice to be offered by the cowherd men in Vrndavana was stopped by Krsna, he became angry, and he vented his anger upon the inhabitants of Vrndavana, who were headed by Nanda Maharaja, although Indra knew perfectly well that Krsna was personally protecting them. As the director of different kinds of clouds, Indra called for the samvartaka. This cloud is invited when there is need to devastate the whole cosmic manifestation. The samvartaka was ordered by Indra to go over Vrndavana and inundate the whole area with an extensive flood.
Demonically, Indra thought himself to be the all-powerful supreme personality. When demons become very powerful, they defy the supreme controller, the 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 devotees all protection, and they should completely depend on His mercy. Indra cursed the action of the inhabitants of Vrndavana and said, "By defying the authority of the demigods, the inhabitants of Vrndavana will suffer in material existence. Having neglected the sacrifice to the demigods, they cannot cross over the impediments of the ocean of material misery." Indra further declared, "These cowherd men in Vrndavana have neglected my authority on the advice of this talkative boy who is known as Krsna. He is nothing but a child, and by believing a child, they have enraged me."
Thus he ordered the samvartaka cloud to go and destroy the prosperity of Vrndavana. "The men of Vrndavana," said Indra, "have become puffed up over their material opulence and their confidence in the presence of their tiny friend Krsna. He is simply talkative, childish, and unaware of the complete cosmic situation, although He is thinking Himself very advanced in knowledge. Because they have taken Krsna so seriously, they must be punished, and so I have ordered the samvartaka cloud to go there and inundate the place. They should be destroyed with their cows."
Ordered by King Indra, all the dangerous clouds appeared above Vrndavana and began to pour water incessantly, with all their strength and power. There was constant lightning and thunder, blowing of severe wind, and incessant falling of rain. The rainfall seemed to fall like piercing sharp arrows. By pouring water as thick as pillars, without cessation, the clouds gradually filled all the lands in Vrndavana with water, and there was no visible distinction between higher and lower land.
The situation was very dangerous, especially for the animals. The rainfall was accompanied by great winds, and every living creature in Vrndavana began to tremble from the severe cold. Unable to find any other source of deliverance, they all approached Krsna to take shelter at His lotus feet. The cows especially, being much aggrieved from the heavy rain, bowed down their heads, and taking their calves underneath their bodies, they approached the Supreme Personality of Godhead to take shelter of His lotus feet.
At that time all the inhabitants of Vrndavana began to pray to Lord Krsna. "Dear Krsna," they prayed, "You are allpowerful, and You are very affectionate to Your devotees. Now please protect us, who have been much harassed by angry Indra."
Upon hearing their prayer, Krsna could also understand that Indra, being bereft of his sacrificial honor, was pouring down rain that was accompanied by heavy pieces of ice and strong winds, although all this was out of season.
Krsna understood that this was a deliberate exhibition of anger by Indra. He therefore concluded, "This demigod who thinks himself supreme has shown his great power, but I shall answer him according to My position, and I shall teach him that he is not autonomous in managing universal affairs. I am the Supreme Lord over all, and I shall thus take away his false prestige, which has arisen from his power. The demigods are My devotees, and therefore it is not possible for them to forget My supremacy, but somehow or other he has become puffed up with material power and thus is now maddened. I shall act in such a way as to relieve him of this false prestige. I shall give protection to My pure devotees in Vrndavana, who are at present completely at My mercy and whom I have taken completely under My protection. I will save them by My mystic power."
Thinking in this way, Lord Krsna immediately picked up Govardhana Hill with one hand, exactly as a child picks up a mushroom from the ground. Thus He exhibited His transcendental pastime of lifting Govardhana Hill.
Lord Krsna then began to address His devotees, "My dear brothers, My dear father, My dear inhabitants of Vrndavana, you can now safely enter under the umbrella of Govardhana Hill, which I have just lifted. Do not be afraid of the hill and think that it will fall from My hand. You have been too much afflicted from the heavy rain and strong wind; therefore I have lifted this hill, which will protect you exactly like a huge umbrella. I think this is a proper arrangement to relieve you of your immediate distress. Be happy along with your animals underneath this great umbrella."
Being assured by Lord Krsna, all the inhabitants of Vrndavana entered beneath the great hill and appeared to be safe along with their property and animals.
The inhabitants of Vrndavana and their animals remained there for one week without being disturbed by hunger, thirst, or any other discomforts. They were simply astonished to see how Krsna was holding up the mountain with the little finger of His left hand. Seeing the extraordinary mystic power of Krsna, Indra, the king of heaven, was thunderstruck and baffled in his determination. He immediately called for all the clouds and asked them to desist.
When the sky became completely cleared of all clouds and there was sunrise again, the strong wind stopped. At that time Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, known now as the lifter of Govardhana Hill, said, "My dear cowherd men, now you can leave and take your wives, children, cows and valuables, because everything is ended. The inundation has gone down, along with the swelling waters of the river."
All the men loaded their valuables on carts and slowly left with their cows and other paraphernalia. After they had cleared out everything, Lord Krsna very slowly replaced Govardhana Hill exactly in the same position as it had been before.
* * *
A surabhi cow from Goloka Vrndavana, as well as King Indra from the heavenly planet, then appeared before Krsna. Indra, the king of heaven, was conscious of his offense before Krsna. Therefore he stealthily appeared before Him from a secluded place. He immediately fell down at the lotus feet of Krsna, although his own crown was dazzling like sunshine. Indra knew about the exalted position of Krsna because Krsna is the master of Indra, but he could not believe that Krsna could come down and live in Vrndavana among the cowherd men. When Krsna defied the authority of Indra, Indra became angry because he thought that he was all in all within this universe and that no one was as powerful as he. But after this incident, his false puffed-up prestige was destroyed.
Being conscious of his subordinate position, he appeared before Krsna with folded hands and began to offer the following prayers.
"My dear Lord," Indra said, "being puffed up by my false prestige, I thought that You had offended meby not allowing the cowherd men to perform the Indrayajna, and I thought that You wanted to enjoy the offerings that were arranged for the sacrifice. I thought that in the name of a Govardhana sacrifice, You were taking my share of profit, and therefore I mistook Your position. Now by Your grace I can understand that You are the Supreme Lord, Personality of Godhead, and that You are transcendental to all material qualities. Your transcendental position is visuddha-sattvam, which is above the platform of the material mode of goodness, and Your transcendental abode is beyond the disturbance of the material qualities. Your name, fame, form, qualities, and pastimes are all beyond this material nature, and they are never disturbed by the three material modes. Your abode is accessible only for one who undergoes severe austerities and penances and who is completely freed from the onslaught of material qualities like passion and ignorance. If someone thinks that when You come within this material world You accept the modes of material nature, he is mistaken. The webs of material qualities are never able to touch You, and You certainly do not accept them when You are present within this world. Your Lordship is never conditioned by the laws of material nature.
"Please accept my prostrated obeisances. You are the personification of supreme knowledge. You can appear anywhere according to Your desire in any one of Your eternal forms. You are the root of all creation and the Supreme Soul of all living entities. Dut to my gross ignorance, I created a great disturbance in Vrndavana by sending torrents of rain and a heavy hailstorm. I acted out of severe anger caused by Your stopping the sacrifice which was to be held to satisfy me. But my dear Lord, You are so kind to me that You have bestowed Your mercy upon me by destroying all my false pride. I therefore take shelter unto Your lotus feet."
Thus praised by Indra, Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, smiling beautifully, said, "My dear Indra, I have stopped your sacrifice just to show My causeless mercy and to revive your memory that I am your eternal master. I am not only your master but the master of all the other demigods as well. You should always remember that all your material opulences are due to My mercy. Everyone should always remember that I am the Supreme Lord. I can show anyone My favor, and I can chastise anyone, because no one is superior to Me. If I find someone overpowered by false pride, in order to show him My causeless mercy, I withdraw all his opulences."
After instructing Indra, Lord Krsna asked him to return to his kingdom in the heavenly planet and to remember always that he is never the supreme but is always subordinate to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He also advised him to remain as king of heaven, but to be careful of false pride.
After this, the transcendental surabhi cow, who also came with Indra to see Krsna, offered her respectful obeisances unto Him and worshiped Him. The surabhi offered her prayer as follows. "My dear Lord Krsna, You are the most powerful of all mystic yogis because You are the soul of the complete universe, and only from You has all this cosmic manifestation taken place. Therefore, although Indra tried his best to kill my descendant cows in Vrndavana, they remained under Your shelter, and You have protected them all so well. We do not know anyone else as the Supreme, nor do we go to any other god or demigods for protection. Therefore, You are our Indra, You are the supreme father of the whole cosmic manifestation, and You are the protector and elevator of all the cows, brahmanas, demigods, and others who are pure devotees of Your Lordship. O Supersoul of the universe, let us bathe You with our milk because You are our Indra. O Lord, You appear just to diminish the burden of impure activities on the earth."
In this way Lord Krsna was bathed by the milk of the surabhi cow, and Indra bathed Him with the water of the celestial Ganges through the trunk of his carrier elephant. After this, the king of heaven, Indra, along with surabhi cows and all other demigods and their mothers, worshiped Lord Krsna by bathing Him with Ganges water and the milk of the surabhis. Thus Govinda, Lord Krsna, was pleased with all of them. The residents of all higher planetary systems, such as Gandharvaloka, Vidhyadharaloka, Siddhaloka and Caranaloka, all combined and began to glorify the Lord by chanting His holy name. Their wives and damsels began to dance with great joy. They very much satisfied the Lord by incessantly pouring flowers from the sky. When everything was very nicely and joyfully settled, the cows overflooded the surface of the earth with their milk. The water of the rivers began to flow and give nourishment to the trees, producing fruits and flowers of different colors and tastes. The trees began to pour drops of honey. The hills and mountains began to produce potent medicinal plants and valuable stones. Because of Krsna's presence, all these things happened very nicely, and the lower animals, who were generally envious, were envious no longer.
After satisfying Krsna, who is the Lord of all the cows in Vrndavana and who is known as Govinda, King Indra took His permission to return to his heavenly kingdom. He was surrounded by all kinds of demigods, who passed with him through cosmic space. This great incident is a powerful example of how Krsna consciousness can benefit the world. Even the lower animals forget their envious nature and become elevated to the qualities of the demigods.