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Nandababa said, "My son, this is the day we worship Indra. It has been the family tradition or many generations. We believe that we get the rains by the Grace of Indra. Because of the rain, we get food - which enables us and our cattle to survive. This is why we worship Indra."
"Baba," persisted Shri Krishna, "What kind of tradition is this? The Indra of Heaven lives in Heaven. We have never even seen him. We have no kingdom, nor any city. We do not even a village! We are vanavasis, and live at the foot of the Giriraj." The Shrimad Bhagavata says:
"Therefore, our Devta is the Giriraj. It is the mountain who gives us fruits and food. It is Giriraj, who our cattle graze upon. Then, why don't you worship Giriraj instead?"
Shri Krishna convinced Nandababa by His reasoning. All the other Gopas also agreed with Shri Krishna. He was ready to shatter Indra's vanity of having powers of destruction. Nandababa and the gwaals used the items of worship, which they had prepared for Indra's worship, to worship the Giriraj.
Although Shri Krishna seemed just a child, he is, here, the Lord incarnate. He is an exception. Indeed, if even a child says something which is rational and relevant, we should accept the suggestion. Our scriptures have stated that Dharma is harmed when even elders speak irreligiously - 'Yuktiheenavichaare' shu dharmahaanih prajaayate'. So, the older generation should never claim greater experience and knowledge, to discard a good suggestion made by a youngster.
The step taken by Shri Krishna was revolutionary. He rejected the Indra puja. And, what was the result? Indra's real form was exposed before all the people of Vraja, and his inflated ego was shattered.
It has been seen that when people get used to receiving gifts and tokens of respect, they get so habituated to this, that they are distressed if this is curtailed. They get angry, thinking, "Why wasn't I given gifts and respect this time?" they do not realize that gifts and respect are a token of the reverence, which is in the heart of the one who gives them. The receiver has no right to expect either respect, or any gift.
Indra had begun to accept the worship of the Vrajavasis, as his due. When he was not given this worship, he got angry with them. A perfect example arose, of how anger blinds one - whether it is a human being, or a demi-god. Indra angrily ordered the rain clouds to destroy all the cows and animals in Vraja - 'pashoon nayata sankshyam'.
The clouds began to pour sheets of water over Vraja. Lightening flashed all round. The windswept rain worsened. Large chunks of hail fell from the sky. The Vrajavasis were terrified. They surrendered to Shri Krishna, begging Him to protect them. The Lord said, "Do not worry. Come under the Govardhan." Saying this, he lifted the mountain.
In the story of Subandhu in the Rig Veda, it is stated that the hand of a human is Ishwara, it is even greater than the Ishwara - 'ayam me hasto bhagavaan, ayam me hasto bhagavattarah.' This means that a person who has hands (the ability to act) does not need to look up to God, and ask Him to do this or that. My friend, use your hand, and offer all you do, to the Lord.
This is exactly what Shri Krishna did, showing Indra His hand, and sending the unspoken message, "You want to harass the Vrajavasis? Then see how I place the mountain on your head! He did this because the Devta, Indra, abides in the hands. The Lord wanted to shatter Indra's vanity, so he lifted up the mountain, and placed it on the tip of the organ of action - the hand -, which symbolized Indra. Then he said, "Now, Sonny, lift this! Not I, but you lift the mountain. Not only that, keep it lifted until your ego is shattered to smithereens!"
When Shri Krishna had held the Govardhan up for seven days at a stretch, the gwaal baals said, "Kanhaiya, you have not had any rest at all. You have held up the mountain on one hand. Your hand must be paining. Shift the mountain to Shridama's hand for a while. Allow us to massage this left hand of yours, to help the blood circulation. If you feel that this suggestion is suggestion is insulting to you, then don't give the mountain to him - just shift it to your right hand. This will allow you left hand to get some rest.
Shri Krishna said, "My brothers, please don't worry about me. If you insist on helping, just prop up the mountain with you wooden staffs - that will be helpful to me."
That is why, whenever the gwaal baals got angry, they'd say, "See here, Kanhaiya. You did not lift the Giriraj all by yourself. We also lent a helping hand by propping our staffs to help you."
This proves that to obtain the Grace of God, people need to put in an effort. A sadhak cannot progress without this.
When his ego was thus shattered, Indra came with Kamadhenu and apologized. He then eulogized the Lord, crowning Him as Govind, or Upendra. Kamadhenu, however, maintained that Indra may be the Indra (King) of the Devtas; the cows did not accept him as their Indra. Since that day, the Indra of the cows is the Lord Incarnate Govind-Gopal, and not the Indra of Heaven.