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Bewilderment of Indra, the King of Heaven
Once Krishna and Balaram saw that the cowherd men were Preparing a sacrifice in order to pacify Indra, the King of Heaven, wno is responsible for supplying water. Krishna enquired from His father, Nanda Maharaj what was the need to perform such a sacrifice. Nanda Maharaj explained to Him, "My dear boy, this ceremonial performance is more or less traditional. Because the 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 rainfall, King Indra."
Krishna spoke to His father and all the cowherd men of Vrindavana in a way as to make Indra verv angry. He suggested that they forego the sacrifice. His reasons were twofold:
First, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita, there is no need to worship the demigods for any materia! advancement; all results derived from worshipping the demigods are simply temporary, and only those who are less intelligent are interested in temporary results.But sometimes the demigods become puffed up by the influence of material nature; thinking themselves to be the all in all, they forget the supremacy and control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the Shrimad Bhagavatam, it is clearly stated that in this instance Krishna wanted to make King Indra angry. Krishna'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, Krishna wanted to teach him a lesson. He first tried to make Indra angry by stopping the Indra Puja, which was arrariged by the cowherd men in Vrindavana.
Nanda Maharaj and all the cowherd men were always so captivated by the sweet words and beauty of Krishna that, for His pleasure, they were ready to do anything and everything that He wanted them to do. They asked Him how and for whom they should perform the sacrifice. Krishna asked them to prepare nice foodstuffs from the grains and ghee collected for the yajna. He asked them to prepare rice, dahl, halva, pakora, puri, sandesha, rasagulla. laddu etc and offer them all to the Govardhana Hill, a beautiful hill in the vicinity of Vrindavana. Thus the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, advised ue cowherd men to stop the Indra-yajna and begin the Govardhana Puja in order to chastise Indra who was very much DUffed up at being the controller of the heavenly planets. The honest and simple cowherd men headed by Nanda Maharaja accented Krishna's proposal and executed in detail everything He advised. They performed Govardhana-puja and circumam-bulation of the hill.
When Indra understood that the sacrifice offered by the cowherd men in Vrindavana was stopped by Krishna, he became angry. As the director of different kinds of clouds, Indra called for the Samvartaka Cloud, which is needed only at the time of the devastation of the entire 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. 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 declared, "These cowherd men in Vrindavana have neglected my authority on the advice of this talkative boy who is known as Krishna. He is nothing but a child, and by believing this child, they have enraged me. The men of Vrindavana have become too puffed up over their material opulence and their confidence in their tiny friend, Krishna. I have ordered the Samvartaka Cloud to go there and inundate the place. They should be destroyed along with their cows."
Ordered by King Indra, all the dangerous clouds appeared above Vrindavana and began to pour water incessantly, with all their strength and power. There was constant lightening and thunder, blowing of severe wind and incessant falling of rain. The ramfall was accompanied by great winds, and every living creature in Vrindavana began to tremble from the severe cold. Unable to find any other source of deliverance, they all approached Govinda to take shelter at His lotus feet. At that time all the inhabitants of Vrindavana began to pray to Lord Krishna, "Dear Krishna, You are all-powerful, and You are very affectionate to Your devotees. Now please protect us who have been much harassed by angry Indra." Upon hearing their prayer, Krishna could 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. Krishna understood that this was a deliberate exhibition of anger by Indra. He therefore concluded, "The demigods are My devotees, and therefore it is not possible for them to forget My supremacy, but somehow or other Indra has become puffed up with material power and thus is now maddened. I shall act in such a way to relieve him of this false prestige. I shall give protection to My pure devotees in Vrindavana by My mystic power."
Thinking in this way, Lord Krishna immediately picked up Govardhanaa Hill with one hand, exactly as a child picks up a mushroom from the ground. He invited all the residents of Vrindavana with their property and animals to take shelter under this hill. The inhabitants of Vrindavana 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 Krishna was holding up the mountain with the little finger of His left hand. Seeing the extraordinary mystic power of Krishna, Indra, the King of Heaven, was thunderstruck and baffled in his determination. He immediately called for the clouds and asked them to desist. When the sky became completely cleared of all clouds and there was sunrise again, the strong winds stopped. The demigods showered flowers from the heavens. All the residents of Vrindavana returned home happily, singing songs about the glorious pastimes of Lord Krishna.
After this incident, a surabhi cow from Goloka Vrindavana, as well as King Indra from the heavenly planet, appeared before Krishna. Indra was conscious of his offence before Krishna and immediately fell down at His lotus feet. Indra knew about the exalted position of Krishna, but he could not believe that Krishna could come down and live in Vrindavana among the cowherd men. When Krishna 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 prestige was destroyed. Indra offered many prayers glorifying Krishna and asked for forgiveness. Krishna, smiling beautifully, instructed Indra, "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 I am 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. If I find someone overpowered by false pride, in order to show him My causeless mercy, I withdraw all his opulences." Sometimes it is seen that a person is very opulent materially, but due to his devotional service to the Lord, he may be reduced to poverty. One should not think, however, that because he worshiped the Supreme Lord he became poverty-stricken. The real purport is that when a person is a pure devotee, but at the same time, by miscalculation, he wants to lord it over material nature, the Lord shows His special mercy by taking away all material opulences until at last he surrenders unto the Supreme Lord.
After this, the heavenly King Indra, along with the Surabhi cows and all the other demigods and their mothers, worshiped Lord Krishna by bathing Him with Ganges water through the trunk of Airavata, the carrier elephant of Indra, and with the milk of the surabhis. Lord Krishna was pleased with all of them. Lord Krishna asked Indra 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 the King of Heaven, but to be careful of false pride. Through this pastime, we can see that, although Indra is the king of the demigods, still he is subordinate to Krishna. We also see that both Brahma and Indra understood the truth that Lord Shri Krishna is the Supreme the hard way. If we are to understand that same truth the easy way without having to go through total bewilderment. the only way is by submissive hearing about the supreme controllership of Krishna from a pure devotee coming siiprer" ¦ an unbroken disciplic succession .