Sri Krishna grew up in Vrindavan. His parents and friends were cattle herders and therefore depended on agriculture and rain for their sustenance. They worshipped Lord Indra each year so that he would bless them with adequate rainfall. One such year, Krishna saw his father and the other villagers preparing for this grand puja and enquired about the preparations.
On being told about the nature of the ritual, he responded in his usual disarmingly provocative and yet adorably mischievous style, asking why they didn’t worship the Govardhan mountain instead, which provided ample grazing pastures for the cattle and also helped bring rain. The villagers were a little hesitant at first, worried that they would incur the wrath of Lord Indra, but little Krishna managed to convince them otherwise.
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One would have dismissed this as the playful meddling of a seven-year-old, but this was God himself in incarnation, and every action had a very deep-rooted reason. Constantly pampered by earthlings who were pleading for his mercy, Indra had become vain and full of pride. And Krishna decided something had to be done about it.
When Indra realised that the villagers were not going to worship him anymore, he became furious. In a fit of rage, he commanded the ferocious Samvartaka clouds to cause a deluge in Vrindavan and destroy the entire village.
When the heavy rain started, the villagers cowered in fear and began to regret angering Indra. Krishna appeared, asking them not to worry, and with the little finger of his left hand, created a giant umbrella for all the inhabitants of Vrindavan, protecting them from the rain. Whilst it was Krishna who was really holding up the mountain, all the villagers joined in with their staffs and sticks, in the belief that it was really them, for how could a tiny seven-year-old hold up an entire mountain.
Krishna let the merry villagers, who had placed their trust in him, enjoy the feeling of being powerful enough to hold up the mountain. Meanwhile, after watching Krishna perform the miraculous feat, Indra realised his folly and gave up his sense of false pride. He then surrendered to Krishna, and all was well again in Vrindavan! To this date, the Govardhan Puja (which was yesterday) is performed to mark the day when pride was reined in and belief was rewarded. In life, it is essential that on our pathway to spirituality, we do not cross the thin line between devotion and pride. Hare Krishna!