Monday, December 10, 2012

50 Bhagavatha - Krishna's subdues Indra's pride 

Krishna saw that Vraja was getting ready for the worship of Indra - the god of rain. Although Krishna knows this, he asks his father Nanda: "O father, kindly tell me what is the occasion for the unusual flutter? What will be the fruit of it, and for whom is it intended? By whom and through what materials is this sacrifice going to be performed? Success crowns only the actions of a thoughtful person. Has that been considered by you for this ritual or does it follow the course of the world? Please explain me as I am eager to know more about it."
Nanda replies: "Dear child! Indra is the god of rain. The clouds are the manifestations of his own self. They pour forth water which is the life and delight of living beings. We worship the ruler of the clouds with sacrificial performances conducted by means of substances produced with water. We subsist on the remains of such sacrifices for the attainment of religious merit, economic self-sufficiency and enjoying worldly possessions. It is Indra who yields a good crop as a result of our efforts (in the form of agriculture). One who relinquishes a religious practice that has come down through generations, out of greed, fear or prejudice, surely does not augur well."
Krishna, addresses his father (in order to rouse the anger of Indra and thereby crush his pride): "A creature is born by the force of his past actions. What have the created beings to do with Indra, who is incapable of altering the course of actions performed by men according to his own nature? Only by performing one's own duty, determined by one's own nature can one live happily. We in Vraja, have agriculture and predominantly, the raising of cattle, as our means of subsistence. Impelled by the rajo guna, clouds shower water all around. It is through such water that living beings achieve their purpose of getting food etc., What has Mahendra got to do with this?
"We have neither cities, nor territories nor villages in our possession. The forest is our only abode, as we live in woodlands and mountains. So from now on, let us worship the cows, the brahmanas and the mount Goverdhana, through whom we sustain our livelihood. Let the very same materials gathered for Indra's worship be used for the worship of Goverdhana. Let varieties of excellent food be offered to brahmanas, the cows, the downtrodden and all others with reverence, as may be deemed proper. If it pleases you, dear father, let this view of mine be adopted."
Nanda and the other elders approved of it and did everything precisely according to Krishna's advice. The cowherds and the womenfolk, well adorned, celebrated Goverdhana going around it clockwise, riding in bullock carts keeping the cattle wealth ahead of them. To infuse confidence in the mind of the cowherds, Krishna assumed a personified form of Goverdhana and consumed the offerings and declared: "I am the mountain, Goverdhana." And he himself offered greetings to his other self of his, as the mountain."Look! the mountain has shown its grace to us..." After the oblations, and worship of Goverdhana with due ceremony, the cowherds returned to Vraja along with Krishna.
Indra, coming to know that his worship has been stopped by Krishna, gets angry with Nanda and the other gopas. He mobilises a host of destructive Saamvartaka clouds (used only at the time of dissolution of the universe): "Due to the pride, begotten of wealth, the cowherds have despised me, depending on Krishna who is a garrulous, foolish, arrogant and ignorant mortal! They have offended divinity! Get rid of their rigidity caused by pride of wealth -- bring their cattle to destruction. I will follow on my Airavatha, and proceed to Vraja along with the wind god. We will annihilate Nanda's Vraja."
The clouds do as commanded. They torment Vraja with sharp and violent showers with hailstones accompanied by lightning and rolling thunder. The tempestuous winds and the thick columns of rain flooding the earth created panic in the people of Vraja. The volumes of flowing water removed all distinction of high and low lands. The cowherds, shivering with cold and fear seek refuge in Krishna. "Krishna, protect us and the cows and calves of Vraja from the anger of Indra!" 
Krishna says to himself: "The gods who are endowed with the quality of sattva, cannot afford to be proud of being the ruler of the worlds. I will use my divine power and protect Vraja, which has sought shelter in me, as this constitutes my own family, and this is my unshakeable vow!" Observing thus, Krishna uproots with one hand the Mount Goverdhana, even as a child would pull out a mushroom, and lifted it up. He reassures them: "O mother, father and the people of Vraja, comfortably take shelter in the cavity beneath the mountain along with your cattle. No need to fear that the mountain will fall from my hand. Away with the fear of storm and rain, since your protection against them has been ensured."
The cowherds come under the safely of the mountain held up by Krishna, along with the cows, bullock-carts, and other dependents. Gazed upon by the inhabitants of Vraja, who stood there disregarding the pangs of hunger, thirst and personal comfort, Krishna held up the mountain for a whole week, and did not stir from his position.
Indra, astonished to see the power of Krishna and shorn of his pride, stops his clouds from the showers. The sky was cleared of the clouds, the downpour stops, and Krishna speaks to the gopas of Vraja: "Dismiss all fear and go out, O cowherds, with all the aged, the womenfolk, children and cattle. The rains have ceased. The rivers are emptied of the flood." The cowherds gradually come out from under the mountain loading their carts. Krishna also sets down the mountain as before in its own place -- as the entire village looked on in wonder. After hugs from Balarama and their parents, a show of affection by other cowherds and womenfolk, and blessings by the elders, Krishna accompanies the delighted people and cattle in the journey back to Vraja.

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Srimad Bhagavatham