Govardhan And Krishna-A Tale of Ecology

Govardhan and Krishna
Krishna holding Goverdhan

There is a story in the Bhagwata Puranas about Shri Krishna lifting the ‘Govardhan Parvat’ or Govardhan Hill when he was only a small child. The story goes like this:

Once, when the people of Braj (where Shree Krishna had taken an avatar) were planning for the Puja of Lord Indra, Shri Krishna, a child then, questioned them as to why they were doing so. Nanda Maharaj told Krishna that this was done every year to please Lord Indra so that he continued to grace the people of Braj by providing rain as and when required.

Govardhan Hills

Govardhan and Krishna
Govardhan Parvat

But Krishna explained that they were farmers and they should only do their duty or ‘Karma’ to the best of their abilities, by concentrating on farming and protecting their cattle, rather than performing pujas or conduct sacrifices like this for any natural phenomenon. He told them if they wanted to worship, they should worship and take care of local ecology. Like the Goverdhan hill and forest which brought rain-bearing clouds and then stopped those clouds and provided the rain to the region.

Govardhan and Krishna

Finally convinced by Krishna, the villagers did not perform with the puja.

Krishna holding Goverdhan

Furious with the inhabitants of Braj for listening to the little child Krishna and worshipping the Govardhan Hill instead of him, lndra, the King of Heaven, decided to punish them by sending terrible rain clouds to flood the land of Vrindavan. Calling the Samavartaka clouds of devastation

Govardhan and Krishna

As terrible rains and thunderstorms ravaged the land. Krishna lifted up the entire Govardhan Hill at once with His left hand’s little finger and held it up like an umbrella. One by one all the inhabitants of Braj, along with their cows took shelter under Govardhan Hill. For seven days they stayed under the hill, safe from the terrible rains and surprisingly undisturbed by hunger or thirst. They were also astounded to see the huge Govardhan Hill resting perfectly balanced on Krishna’s little finger.

Stunned by these events, King Indra called back the clouds. The sky became clear again and the sun shone brightly over Vrindavan. All the inhabitants of Braj including Nanda Maharaj, Yasoda, and Balarama hailed Krishna and embraced Him with happiness.

Govardhan and Krishna
Image Credit: Vrindavan Das

This was how the false pride of King Indra was removed. He came to Lord Krishna with folded hands and prayed to Him for forgiveness. Shri Krishna, being the Supreme Personality of Godhead, bestowed his grace on Indra and also enlightened him about his ‘Dharma’ and duties.

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