It is said in the Bhagavatam that “discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart” 3.25.25. Please take the time to absorb yourselves in the following narration from Sivaram Swami’s Nava Vraja Mahima and relish how wonderful Krsna and his devotees are. It is sure that it will melt your hearts.
All is well here in Vrndavana. Please come!
Krsna Convinces the Gopas That He Can Lift Govardhana Hill
Indra was furious that the Vraja-vasis had stopped offering the sacrificeme ant for him and offered it instead to Govardhana Hill. He thus sent rains of destruction to punish them. It was in Paitha that Krsna consulted with His cowherd friends what to do. Rain fell in solid columns, flooding the pastures around Govardhana Hill. Beneath an expansive kadamba tree, Krsna, knee deep in water and shivering from cold, held Sridama’s hand as He
addressed His friends.
“O friends! Subala, Madhumangala, and Subhadra! Angry King Indra is determined to destroy the Vraja-vasis.” As Krsna spoke, a nearby tree, toppled by the wind, crashed to the ground, dramatising Gopala’s statement. Frightened by the crashing tree and pelting rain, little Visala wrapped himself around Krsna’s left arm and buried his face in Krsna’s chest.
With a slight smile, an older gopa said, “Kanai! It was Your suggestion that our people ignore the king of heaven. Now it is Your duty to protect them.” “Protect them?” exclaimed another older boy, Gobhatta. “How will our butter-soft friend protect the Vraja-vasis against this deluge?” Krsna replied, as He gently stroked Visala to comfort him, “Friend! I have a plan.” As if in defiance of Hari, lightning flashed over Giriraja and the gale-force winds gusted even stronger. The air was thick with rain, leaves, and flying debris. Krsna’s soft radiance enveloped His stricken friends as His soothing voice continued, “The best protection from a rain storm is an umbrella. Therefore I propose to protect the Vraja-vasis.”
“By giving them umbrellas!” exclaimed Subala. “It will take more than umbrellas to protect us from this torrent,” Vijaya added. “Maybe you should give them boats,” said another drenched gopa. Krsna accepted the sarcasm of His friends with a beneficent smile and, with a soaked peacock feather dangling from His turban, replied, “There is one umbrella which will also serve as a boat to carry us over this great danger.”
Raising His voice over the roaring thunder Hari added, “After the Annak¡ta ceremony, Govardhana Hill assured us of His protection. Therefore He will be our umbrella and our boat.” The cowherd boys cast incredulous glances at one another. “And who will lift Your gigantic umbrella?” they asked in unison. The rain, thunder, and lightning let up to give everyone a better chance to hear Krsna vow, “I will! I will lift Giriraja and give shelter to
our people and animals.”
None of the boys took their talkative friend seriously. One by one, they simply humoured Him. “Oh, that’s rich,” replied Sridama. “I have to carry Your lunch pack because it’s too heavy .” “And you’re going to lift a mountain?” finished Vijaya. Subala chided, “Friend! This is no time for jokes. Let’s hear a practical proposal.” But Krsna simply raised His charming eyebrows and smiled.
Still hugging Krsna’s arm, little Visala looked up and cried, “Kanai! I cannot let You do anything dangerous.” Devaprastha added, “Let’s find Baladeva, He’ll solve this problem. He’s the eldest.” But Krsna merely turned towards Govardhana Hill and continued, “Empowered by the love of My friends, I can lift the three worlds, what to speak of a hill.”
“Impossible!” said the older boys. “It’s too dangerous,” added the younger ones. “Even if it were possible,” Stokakrsna asserted, “I would never allow it!” But Krsna just kept smiling, as rainwater dripped from His turban onto His face. The boys, knowing well Krsna’s willful nature, exchanged uneasy glances. Then an older boy spoke up, “Kanai. Don’t bite off more than You can chew. You may have killed some demons, but lifting Govardhana Hill is another thing. If You failed, surely You would sink in a mire of embarrassment.” “It’s beyond You,” yelled one gopa. “You’re dreaming,” said another.
Stokakrsna began to think that Krsna might just be able to do it. Hadn’t He already performed miracles? But if Krsna were to suddenly lift Govardhana Hill without warning, some of the boys might die of shock, overwhelmed with anxiety for Krsna’s safety. So to reassure the boys of Krsna’s strength, Stokakrsna thought to test Him. Stokakrsna said, “Be reasonable Kanai! A little wrestling tires You. How can You lift a hill?”
Just as Krsna was about to reply, Madhumangala, head wrapped in his cadara, stepped forward and said, “Friend! Right as you are about Krsna’s excessive self-esteem, why do you underestimate me?” Startled, Stokakrsna turned as Madhu announced, “Krsna may be a weakling, and His fickle appetite may be the cause of His frailty, but I am a storehouse of mystic power. I can empower Him to do the impossible.”
Madhu stuck his thumbs in his belt and rolled on his heels, and the gopas laughed hysterically. When their laughter died down, Stokakrsna challenged both Krsna and His friend, “Brother! Let us test Your strength — and Madhu’s mystic power.” Pointing to the tree that sheltered the boys, Stokakrsna said: “First let us see You twist the trunk of this kadamba tree, like wringing out a wet piece of cloth. When You have done that, then we light believe You can lift Govardhana Hill.” In the midst of applause, Sridama stepped
forward and announced, “Stokakrsna! Even I can twist this puny twig. Let Gopala not only twist the trunk of this tree but also tie its branches together in a knot. Then I will give my consent for a greater undertaking.”
Stokakrsna looked to his friend. What could Krsna not do? Such feats would hardly be a challenge for Him. Yet true to Krsna’s humanlike pastimes, Stokakrsna raised his eyebrows as if to say, “Kanai! Do the needful.” And Krsna did just that. As easily as Mother Yasoda could twist the churning rod in a pot of butter, He twisted the tree’s trunk between the palms of His hands and then, to the amazement of His friends, gathered the branches of the tree into two enormous handfuls and tied them together in a knot as the gopas clapped and cheered.
Love and wonder are inseparable; the greater the love, the greater is the sense of marvel. And for those who love Krsna, that increasing sense of wonder causes the impossible, the superhuman, to seem merely wonderful. Thus the humanly impossible feats Krsna performed, rather than distancing Him from His friends by awe, simply endeared Him to them all the more. Tying the branches of a tree into an enormous knot or lifting Govardhana Hill are deeds beyond the scope of great mortals, what to speak of small boys. But the Vraja-vasis loved Krsna so much that they accepted Krsna’s superhuman acts as mere wondrous feats. They could not think of Him as superhuman. They simply thought, “How wonderful is our boy Krsna!” And with every wonderful deed Krsna performed, the Vraja-vasis’ love for Him increased more and more. They never considered Hari to be anything but a cowherd, one of them, a village acquaintance, the whimsical son of Mother Yasoda. Having satisfied His friends with His prowess and secured their permission, Krsna hurried off towards Govardhana Hill. The cowherd boys followed in Krsna’s wake, entering the rain-filled darkness, fully confident that once again He would do something truly wonderful.