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Lord Krishna lifts Govardhana Hill.
When Indra understood that his sacrifice had been cancelled, he became furious with Nanda Maharaja and the other cowherd men for accepting Krishna as their Lord. (As the common saying states: “Pride goes before the fall.) Angry Indra summoned the clouds of universal destruction, which are known as Samvartaka.
Imagining himself to be the supreme controller, Indra said, “Just see how these cowherd men living in the forest have become intoxicated by their prosperity! They have surrendered to an ordinary human being and thus offended the demigods. Taking shelter of Krishna is like the foolish attempt of men who abandon knowledge of self-realization and instead try to cross the ocean of material existence in the false boats of fruitive sacrifices. These cowherd men have acted inimically toward me by accepting Krishna, who thinks Himself very wise, but is simply a foolish, arrogant, overtalkative child.”
Shridhara Svami comments that although Indra wanted to insult Krishna, through his words, the goddess Sarasvati actually praised Him. Not accepting Krishna’s arguments, Indra called him “balisa”, meaning “foolish”, but which can also be taken as “free from pretensions, like a child”. “Stabdham” means “arrogant”, but can also be taken to mean that Krishna bows down to no one because He is the supreme. “Agyam” means “foolish”, but can also be taken to mean that there is nothing more for Krishna to know, because He is omniscient. “Pandita-maninam” means “thinking himself very learned”, but could also be taken to mean that Krishna is honored by all knowers of the Absolute Truth. “Krishnam martyam” means “Krishna, an ordinary human being”, but could also be construed as, “although Krishna is the Supreme Lord, He nevertheless appears in this world as a human being, out of affection for His devotees.”
Indra then told the clouds, “The people of Vrindavana have become mad with pride and this has been further aggravated by Krishna. Go now and cut down their false pride by destroying all of their animals.”
At first, the clouds were afraid to execute Indra’s order, and so the king of heaven reassured them by saying, “I will follow you, riding upon Airavata, and I will be accompanied by the powerful wind-gods, who will decimate the village of Nanda Maharaja.”
Being so ordered, and released untimely from their bonds, the clouds of universal destruction went to the pasturing grounds of Nanda Maharaja and began pouring down torrents of rain. Propelled by the wind-gods, the clouds blazed with lightning and roared with thunder as they hurled down hailstones and torrents of rain as thick as massive columns.
The earth soon became flooded so that high ground could no longer be distinguished from low. The cows, with bowed heads and calves kept underneath their bodies- the other animals, shivering from the rain and wind- and the cowherd men and women, pained by the cold- all approached Lord Govinda for shelter.
The cowherd men and ladies pleaded, “O Krishna, please deliver the poor cows from Indra’s wrath. O Lord, You are so affectionate to Your devotees. Please save us as well.”
Seeing the inhabitants of Vrindavana rendered practically unconscious by the onslaught of hail and blasting wind, the Supreme Lord Hari understood this to be the work of angry Indra. Although one may doubt how Indra could inflict suffering upon the Lord’s associates, this was actually done for the purpose of intensifying their meditation upon Him.
Shri Krishna thought to Himself, “Because We stopped his sacrifice, Indra has caused this terrible storm. By My mystic power I will counteract this disturbance. Demigods like Indra become proud of their opulence and foolishly consider themselves to be Lords of the universe. I shall now destroy this ignorance. I must protect the cowherd community, for I am their only shelter. Indeed, they are My family, and I have taken a vow to protect My devotees.”
Lord Krishna then picked up Govardhana Hill with His left hand, just as easily as a child holds aloft a mushroom. He then said, “Mother, Father, residents of Vraja- if you wish, you may come under this hill with your cows. Do not fear that the hill will fall from My hand, and don’t be afraid of the rain, for your deliverance has already been arranged.”
Their minds having become pacified, everyone entered beneath the hill, where they found ample room for the cows, their belongings and themselves. Forgetting hunger and thirst, and all other considerations of personal pleasure, Lord Krishna stood holding Govardhana Hill for seven days. The people of Vraja also stood for one week, gazing upon Krishna, and also undisturbed by hunger, thirst or any kind of fatigue.
Vishvanatha Chakravarti explains that by the potency of Lord Krishna, Govardhana Hill acquired inconceivable capacity. Because of this, everyone fit underneath nicely, and the striking of Indra’s thunderbolts did not disturb the hill, nor did the landscape of Vrindavana become destroyed by the Samvartaka clouds.
When Indra observed this display of Krishna’s inconceivable potency, he became most astonished. Pulled down from his platform of false pride, and his intentions thwarted, Indra ordered the clouds to desist.
Seeing that the fierce wind and rain had ceased, the sky had become clear, and the sun was shining, Lord Krishna said, “My dear cowherd men, please go out now, along with your wives, children and possessions. Don’t be afraid. The rain has stopped and the floods have subsided.”
After herding together their cows and loading their things onto wagons, the cowherd men went out. Then, while all living beings looked on, the Supreme Personality of Godhead put down Govardhana Hill in its original place, just as it was before.
All the residents of Vrindavana were overwhelmed with ecstatic love, and they came forward to congratulate Krishna, according to their relationship- some embracing Him, others bowing down, and so forth. The cowherd women presented water mixed with yogurt and unbroken grains of barleycorn as a token of honor, while showering auspicious benedictions upon Him. Mother Yashoda, Mother Rohini, Nanda Maharaja, and Balarama all embraced Krishna and offered Him their affectionate blessings.
In the heavens, the demigods sang praises of Krishna, blew their conch shell and beat on drums, while showering flowers with great satisfaction.
Lord Krishna then went with His friends to tend the cows while the gopis returned home, singing joyfully about the lifting of Govardhana Hill.