A Chance to Continue Service

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev! 

Today is the auspicious day of Govardhan pooja. The entire wonderful pastime of Krishna lifting the Govardhana hill and the circumstances leading to the same and the purpose of the pastime is so beautifully portrayed in one single verse by
Sukadev Goswami in Srimad Bhagavatam 10.26.25:

deve varṣati yajña-viplava-ruṣā vajrāsma-varṣānilaiḥ sīdat-pāla-paśu-striy ātma-śaraṇaṁ dṛṣṭvānukampy utsmayan
utpāṭyaika-kareṇa śailam abalo līlocchilīndhraṁ yathā bibhrad goṣṭham apān mahendra-mada-bhit prīyān na indro gavām

Indra became angry when his sacrifice was disrupted, and thus he caused rain and hail to fall on Gokula, accompanied by lightning and powerful winds, all of which brought great suffering to the cowherds, animals and women there. When Lord Krishna, who is by nature always compassionate, saw the condition of those who had only Him as their shelter, He smiled broadly and lifted Govardhana Hill with one hand, just as a small child picks up a mushroom to play with it. Holding up the hill, He protected the cowherd community. May He, Govinda, the Lord of the cows and the destroyer of Indra's false pride, be pleased with us.

Our beloved spiritual master, H H Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj being a true rasika (in full knowledge of the mellows) and bhaavuka (expert and thoughtful) used to always wonder which literature in the world other than Bhagavatam can give such a graphic description of a full pastime in just a few lines? We have seen the various pastimes in Bhagavatam of so many demons being sent by Kamsa to kill Krishna and we see that they have all been killed by the Lord. Here we see in this pastime that Indra has committed a grievous offence of attacking and trying to destroy the whole of Vrindavana which is the life and soul of Krishna (Krishna calls the cowherd community as mat parigraham – "My own family" ) and we find that Indra, the administrative demigod is not killed but is being forgiven by the Lord and being given another chance of service. The reason we can see is that Krishna regarded Indra as a deviant son and devotee who is to be corrected. This is clear from Srimad Bhagavatam verse 10.25.17 where Krishna says on seeing the onslaught of hail and blasting wind which is the work of Indra, 

na hi sad-bhāva-yuktānāṁ surāṇām īśa-vismayaḥ
matto ’satāṁ māna-bhaṅgaḥ praśamāyopakalpate

Since the demigods are endowed with the mode of goodness, the false pride of considering oneself the Lord should certainly not affect them. When I break the false prestige of those bereft of goodness, My purpose is to bring them relief.

Srila Vishvanatah Cakravarthi Takura commenting on this verse writes that Krishna speaks this verse with the intention that, "I am not going to completely crush this weak Indra out of spite, but I will correct this fault pride which has arisen in My devotee." Maharaj always says that all the prayers offered by various devotees in Srimad Bhagavatam are very important but more important than the prayers, are the verses that are spoken just before the prayers which make us come to the mood of the prayers and also the verses that are spoken by the Lord in reply to those prayers. In this pastime, we see that after Indra offered nice prayers to the Lord in the 27th chapter of Tenth canto, Krishna speaks three verses which are real gems. They are all worth remembering by all of us. 

SB 10.27.15: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Indra, it was out of mercy that I stopped the sacrifice meant for you. You were greatly intoxicated by your opulence as King of heaven, and I wanted you to always remember Me."

Here Krishna very clearly reveals the purpose of stopping the sacrifice supposed to be offered to Indra and that is out of mercy to Indra that he should not become intoxicated by his opulence and forget Krishna. Indra himself admits in his prayers that when the sacrifice was disrupted he became fiercely angry because of false prestige and he tried to destroy Krishna's cowherd community with severe rain and wind. Just like a doctor diagnoses and treats the sickness of a patient, and just like a caring father corrects his son, Krishna acted in a way to correct Indra for his own good. 

SB 10.27.16: "A man blinded by intoxication with his power and opulence cannot see Me nearby with the rod of punishment in My hand. If I desire his real welfare, I drag him down from his materially fortunate position."

SB 10.27.17

gamyatāṁ śakra bhadraṁ vaḥ kriyatāṁ me ’nuśāsanam
sthīyatāṁ svādhikāreṣu yuktair vaḥ stambha-varjitaiḥ

Indra, you may now go. Execute My order and remain in your appointed position as King of heaven. But be sober, without false pride.

Having said in SB 10.27.16 that He can drag down a person from a materially fortunate position if He desires the real welfare, Krishna advises Indra in the next verse to just go and carry on his service in his appointed position. This means that Krishna does not dismiss Indra from his service for this offence, but just forgives him and gives him another chance to continue his service, but He sends him away with a word of advice and that is to be sober without false pride. Here Krishna uses the word "vah" two times while referring to Indra. Vah is a plural form but that is used for Indra and from this we have to understand that this instruction is for all of us who all have some appointed positions under the Supreme Lord. We are committing so many offences in the course of our devotional service, but with all that, if we are still able to continue to attend the programs, continue to read Bhagavatam, continue to serve devotees, continue to chant our rounds, continue to have darshan of the deities, then we have to realize that it is purely out of the causeless mercy of the Lord, just like a loving parent always giving us another chance to correct ourselves. This does not mean that we can endlessly continue with our false pride. It does not mean that we are never going to learn our lessons. We have to remember that Krishna is standing near us ready with the rod of punishment (danda paanim). How much time will it take Him to just use it? So we should always remember Krishna's advice to be sober and without false pride and repent by chanting the following prayer offered by Indra in SB 10.27.8:

sa tvaṁ mamaiśvarya-mada-plutasya
kṛtāgasas te ’viduṣaḥ prabhāvam
kṣantuṁ prabho ’thārhasi mūḍha-cetaso
maivaṁ punar bhūn matir īśa me ’satī

Engrossed in pride over my ruling power, ignorant of Your majesty, I offended You. O Lord, may You forgive me. My intelligence was bewildered, but let my consciousness never again be so impure.

I pray that I should not be like animal which is stubborn in nature. The moment after the master beats the animal it again commits the same offence. I pray at the lotus feet of Girivaradhaari to purify me of this animalistic tendency within me. 

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev, 
Vaijayantimala devi dasi, 
Abu Dhabi.