Tales from Srimad Bhagavatam: Krishna Lifts the Govardhana – LX

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Nilanjana recounts the famous tale of Lord Krishna lifting the Govardhana to save the people of Vrindavan, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.

Sukha said, “Now Krishna, we all know, was very, very naughty. And this time his prank was on Indra, the rain god and also the god of all devas (celestial beings).

“Krishna noticed that everybody was busy discussing something. Curiosity got the better of him and he approached his father with the request to understand what is keeping everybody so busy and excited. Nanda responded that they were all busy preparing for the rite to pacify the god of rain, Indra. These rituals are for general good, for good rainfall so that the vegetation is abundant and the cows can feed on them to give enough milk for the cowherd community to sustain itself.

“Krishna thought a little and disagreed with this logic. He argued that while the rain god may be important the Govardhana hill was more important. It is the hill that nurtures cows, the hill that provides them shelter and the hill that has been sustaining them for so long. Nature has been so kind and one should dedicate all rites and rituals to her.

“Eventually, Nanda and the elders of the community were completely convinced. They realised that in their attempt to pacify the rain god, they were ignoring nature and Govardhana. Hence they agreed to Krishna’s suggestion and performed the rituals for Govardhana. Krishna even assumed a suitable form and declared that he was the “spirit of Govardhana”. Only Balarama knew his little secret!

“Now, Indra was very annoyed with the cowherds for this act and decided to punish them. He ordered his rain clouds to cause a heavy downpour and flood the whole of Vrindavan. The cowherds got scared and rushed to Krishna for help. He asked all of them to assemble at the foothills of Govardhana with all essentials and the cattle. He then lifted up the Govardhana and provided a natural shelter to all who assembled under it. The deluge went on for seven day and seven nights. And Krishna held the hill up for shelter. Finally, Indra understood his folly and the rains subsided. Once the cowherds went back home, Krishna kept the hill back in its regular place. Indra came down from his mighty abode and apologised to Krishna.

“Gradually it began dawning on the simple cowherds that Krishna was not another ordinary boy for his feats were rather uncommon. They asked Nanda about it and even he agreed. But then they had got used to miracles on a regular basis and perhaps the novelty of these incidents ceased to charm them. This was of course as per the divine plan only!” 

Was Parikshit tired of being told so many stories? It did not seem so. Death was fast approaching him and he had so many more stories to hear…

 (To be continued)

Footnote: Srimad Bhagavatam is often called the Bhagavad Purana. Authored by Ved Vyasa, the stories are about the various avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu, also known as Narayana. These stories are narrated by Sukhadeva to King Parikshit.

©Nilanjana Dey

Photos from the Internet

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