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When Kṛṣṇa saved the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana from the wrath of Indra by lifting Govardhana Hill, a surabhi cow from Goloka Vṛndāvana, as well as King Indra from the heavenly planets, appeared before Him. Indra, the King of heaven, was conscious of his offense before Kṛṣṇa; therefore he stealthily appeared before Him in a secluded place. He immediately fell down at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, although his own crown was dazzling like sunshine. Indra knew about the exalted position of Kṛṣṇa because Kṛṣṇa is the master of Indra, but he could not believe that Kṛṣṇa could come down and live in Vṛndāvana among the cowherd men. When Kṛṣṇa defied the authority of Indra, Indra became angry because he thought that he was all in all within this universe and that no one was as powerful as he. But after this incident, his false, puffed-up prestige was destroyed. Being conscious of his subordinate position, he appeared before Kṛṣṇa with folded hands and began to offer the following prayers.
“My dear Lord,” Indra said, “being puffed up by my false prestige, I thought that You had offended me by not allowing the cowherd men to perform the Indra-yajña, and I thought that You wanted to enjoy the offerings that were arranged for the sacrifice. I thought that in the name of a Govardhana sacrifice You were taking my share of profit, and therefore I mistook Your position. Now by Your grace I can understand that You are the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, and that You are transcendental to all material qualities. Your transcendental position is viśuddha-sattva, which is above the platform of the material mode of goodness, and Your transcendental abode is beyond the disturbance of the material qualities. Your name, fame, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes are all beyond this material nature, and they are never disturbed by the three material modes. Your abode is accessible only for one who undergoes severe austerities and penances and becomes completely freed from the onslaught of material qualities like passion and ignorance. If someone thinks that when You enter within this material world You accept the modes of material nature, he is mistaken. The waves of the material qualities are never able to touch You, and You certainly do not accept them when You are present within this world. Your Lordship is never conditioned by the laws of material nature.
“My dear Lord, You are the original father of this cosmic manifestation. You are the supreme spiritual master of this cosmic world, and You are the original proprietor of everything. As eternal time, You are competent to chastise offenders. Within this material world there are many fools like me who consider themselves to be the Supreme Lord or the all in all within the universe. You are so merciful that without accepting their offenses You devise means so that their false prestige is subdued and they can know that You, and no one else, are the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
“My dear Lord, You are the supreme father, the supreme spiritual master and the supreme king. Therefore, You have the right to chastise all living entities whenever there is any discrepancy in their behavior. The father, the spiritual master and the supreme executive officer of the state are always well-wishers of their sons, their students and their citizens respectively. As such, the well-wishers have the right to chastise their dependents. By Your own desire You appear auspiciously on the earth in Your eternal varieties of forms; You come to glorify the earthly planet and specifically to chastise persons who are falsely claiming to be God. In the material world there is regular competition between different types of living entities to become supreme leaders of society, and after being frustrated in achieving the supreme positions of leadership, foolish persons claim to be God, the Supreme Personality. There are many such foolish personalities in this world, like me, but in due course of time, when they come to their senses, they surrender unto You and again engage themselves properly by rendering service unto You. And that is the purpose of Your chastising persons envious of You.
“My dear Lord, I committed a great offense unto Your lotus feet, being falsely proud of my material opulences, not knowing Your unlimited power. Therefore, my Lord, kindly excuse me, because I am fool number one. Kindly give me Your blessings so that I may not act so foolishly again. If You think, my Lord, that the offense is very great and cannot be excused, then I appeal to You that I am Your eternal servant; You appear in this world to give protection to Your eternal servants and to destroy the demons who maintain great military strength just to burden the very existence of the earth. As I am Your eternal servant, kindly excuse me.
“My dear Lord, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You because You are the Supreme Person and the Supreme Soul. You are the son of Vasudeva, and You are the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, the master of all pure devotees. Please accept my prostrated obeisances. You are the personification of supreme knowledge. You can appear anywhere, according to Your desire, in any one of Your eternal forms. You are the root of all creation and the Supreme Soul of all living entities. Due to my gross ignorance, I created a great disturbance in Vṛndāvana by sending torrents of rain and a heavy hailstorm. I acted out of severe anger caused by Your stopping the sacrifice which was to be held to satisfy me. But, my dear Lord, You are so kind to me that You have bestowed Your mercy upon me by destroying all my false pride. I therefore take shelter of Your lotus feet. My dear Lord, You are not only the supreme controller but also the spiritual master of all living entities.”
Thus praised by Indra, Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, smiled beautifully and then replied in a grave voice like a rumbling cloud: “My dear Indra, I stopped your sacrifice just to show you My causeless mercy and to remind you that I am your eternal master. I am the master not only of you but of all the other demigods as well. You should always remember that all your material opulences are due to My mercy. No living entity can independently become opulent; one must be favored by My mercy. Everyone should always remember that I am the Supreme Lord. I can show anyone My favor, and I can chastise anyone, because no one is superior to Me. If I find someone overpowered by false pride, in order to show him My causeless mercy I withdraw all his opulences.”
It is noteworthy that Kṛṣṇa sometimes removes all of a rich man’s opulences in order to facilitate his becoming a soul surrendered to Him. This is a special favor of the Lord’s. Sometimes it is seen that a person is very opulent materially, but due to his devotional service to the Lord he may be reduced to poverty. One should not think, however, that because he worshiped the Supreme Lord he became poverty-stricken. The real purport is that when a person is a pure devotee but at the same time, by miscalculation, wants to lord it over material nature, the Lord shows His special mercy by taking away all material opulences until at last he surrenders unto the Supreme Lord.
After instructing Indra, Lord Kṛṣṇa asked him to return to his kingdom in the heavenly planets and to remember always that he is never the supreme but is always subordinate to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He also advised him to remain as King of heaven but to be careful of false pride.
After this, the transcendental surabhi cow who had come with Indra to see Kṛṣṇa offered her respectful obeisances unto Him and worshiped Him. The surabhi offered her prayer as follows: “My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, You are the most powerful of all mystic yogīs because You are the soul of the complete universe, and only from You has all this cosmic manifestation taken place. Therefore, although Indra tried his best to kill my descendant cows in Vṛndāvana, they remained under Your shelter, and You have protected them all so well. We do not know anyone else as the Supreme, nor do we go to any other god or demigods for protection. Therefore, You are our Indra, You are the supreme father of the whole cosmic manifestation, and You are the protector and elevator of all the cows, brāhmaṇas, demigods and others who are pure devotees of Your Lordship. O Supersoul of the universe, let us bathe You with our milk, for You are our Indra. O Lord, You appear just to diminish the burden of impure activities on the earth.”
Then the surabhi cow bathed Kṛṣṇa with her milk, and Indra bathed Him with the water of the celestial Ganges through the trunk of his carrier elephant. After this, the surabhi cows and all the demigods and their mothers joined the heavenly king, Indra, in worshiping Lord Kṛṣṇa by bathing Him with Ganges water and the milk of the surabhis. Thus Govinda, Lord Kṛṣṇa, was pleased with all of them. The residents of all higher planetary systems, such as Gandharvaloka, Vidyādharaloka, Siddhaloka and Cāraṇaloka, all combined and glorified the Lord by chanting His holy name as their wives and damsels danced with great joy. They very much satisfied the Lord by incessantly pouring flowers from the sky. When everything was very nicely and joyfully settled, the cows overflooded the surface of the earth with their milk. The water of the rivers began to flow with various tasty liquids and give nourishment to the trees, producing fruits and flowers of different colors and tastes. The trees began to pour drops of honey. The hills and mountains began to produce potent medicinal plants and valuable stones. Because of Kṛṣṇa’s presence, all these things happened very nicely, and the lower animals, who were generally envious of one another, were envious no longer.
After satisfying Kṛṣṇa, who is the Lord of all the cows in Vṛndāvana and who is known as Govinda, King Indra took His permission to return to his heavenly kingdom. As he passed through cosmic space, he was surrounded by all kinds of demigods. This great incident is a powerful example of how Kṛṣṇa consciousness can benefit the world. Even the lower animals forget their envious nature and become elevated to the qualities of the demigods.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Twenty-seventh Chapter of Kṛṣṇa, "Prayers by Indra, the King of Heaven."