KRISHNA EPISODE 33 – Prevention of Sacrifice to Indra

While living in that very locality (viz. Vrndāvana, Vraja) in the company of Balarama, even the glorious Lord Krishna feigned as if he did not notice the cowherds engaged in preparation for the Indra-yaga (worship of the rain,god Indra). Despite his thorough knowledge of it, the omniscient glorious Lord who was the indwelling Soul of all beings, with

great humility, enquired of elderly Gopas of whom Nanda was prominent.  “May it be told to me, Oh father, what occasion for your hurry and flurry has arrived? (If it be a sacrifice) what is the fruit or purpose of it? Who is regarded as competent to perform it? And with what materials is it to be performed?

I am desirous of hearing it, Oh father! Please do tell it to me, who am eager to learn. For there is nothing worth concealing in the case of the righteous who look upon the self same soul as abiding in all beings also in the case of those who do not discriminate between people (or things) as their own or as of others (and are of impartial outlook), have no friends, aliens or enemies, and have nothing to hide from others. But to those who retain this discrimination, the neutrals may be avoided as enemies, but a friend or a well-wisher has been called as one’s own self (and as such, nothing should be kept secret from him. I, being such, should be confided with this sacrifice affair).

People perform actions with or without understanding the purpose or the fruit of the act. The ignorant persons do not accomplish the fruit of that action (to that extent) as people with full knowledge achieve.May it be clearly explained to me who am inquisitive about it, as to whether your present course of action (viz. performance of sacrifice to Indra) has been undertaken after enquiring into the Shastras or in consultation with friends or is it a mere blind traditional function in the ways of the world.

Nanda explained: The great god Indra is (the presiding deity of) the rainfall itself and clouds are his loving manifestations. They shower water which is the very source of delight and life of all beings. Oh child! We and other people like us, worship Indra, the ruler of clouds and controller of the world, by performing sacrifices with materials produced with his seminal discharge viz. Rain-water. It is on the remnants of the sacrifice that people subsist for achieving their three purposes in life (viz. dharma righteousness, artha-affluence and worldly prosperity and kama-enjoyment of pleasures). The rain-god is the real bestower of fruits to persons who exert themselves in agriculture, industry etc. He who, out of passion, greed, fear or hatred, gives up the customary religious rites handed down by tradition, does not attain his real good.

Hearing the explanatory speech of Nanda as well as that of other residents of Vraja, Kesava (Krsna) addressed his father with a view to provoking Indra’s wrath (and finally to discomfit him). The glorious Lord said: A being comes into existence only by its own past deeds (karma), and passes away through the force of its own karmas. It is only through the instrumentality of one’s past actions, that the being experiences worldly pleasures, pain, fear or blessings (hereafter). (The favour or disfavour of a divinity is immaterial and irrelevant).

If there be any authority like the Supreme Ruler to dispense fruits of actions of others, and if he were to resort to confer fruits of the deeds on the doer of the actions, and he will have no control over him who abstains from committing any act. What power can Indra exercise on beings who follow the course of their actions (and experience the resulting fruit)? He is incapable of modifying its destined course of action of human beings according to their own individual nature. (It is the Almighty God and not Indra who can do it.)

People are the slaves of their Nature and follow their own individual natural disposition and proclivities. The whole world of gods, asuras and human beings thus has. their being established in nature and follow it. It is through the force of past actions (karma) that a being comes by and casts off corporeal forms of a high or low order. It is (nothing but one’s Karma that assumes the role of) an enemy, a friend, an indifferent person, a preceptor or the Supreme Controller.

Hence abiding in one’s own nature (i.e. following one’s natural disposition) one should do one’s duty (according to one’s own class or position in life), and thus respect (lit. adore) it (one’s prescribed karma). That deed whereby one can lead a happy (and a successful) life is verily his deity.A person who, entertaining faith in one god offers services to another, does not attain happiness and welfare, just as an unchaste woman gratifying her paramour, (fails to get prosperity or happiness). A Brahmaņa should maintain his livelihood by the study and the teachings of the Vedas; the Kşattriya by the protection of the earth; a person from the Vaisya community, by means of vårta (as explained in the next verse); and a Südra by rendering service to the twice-born castes (mentioned above).”

Värta is four-fold: viz. agriculture, commerce, rearing of cattle and the fourth, usury. As far as we are concerned, cows (the cattle) have been the means of our subsistence, The attributes called sattva, rajas, and tamas are causes of the maintenance, creation and dissolution of the Universe. It is through rajas that the universe of various kinds of things is created by the mutual union of man and woman.  It is after being impelled by rajas that the clouds shower water all round. By means of these waters people accomplish their purpose (of growing food etc.). What has the great Indra to do with this?

Father! We have no towns, no countries or territories, no villages or no houses to dwell. We are forever forest-dwellers, living in jungles and on mountains. Therefore, let a sacrifice dedicated for the propitiation of cows, Brahmanas and the mount (Govardhana) be instituted. And let this sacrifice be accomplished with the materials collected for the worship to Indra. Let different varieties of sweet dishes from rice, boiled in milk with sugar, down to boiled pulses and various puddings and cakes be prepared and all the milk collected from all the cows be brought together.

Let sacrificial fires be properly fed with oblations by Brahmanas who are well versed in the Vedas, and let various food preparations be given to them along with cows, as sacrificial fees.Food should also be distributed to all others upto the candala, the low castes and dogs as may be deemed proper. Cows should be supplied with grass and the above mentioned. articles of food be offered as bali to the mount Govardhana. After taking your meals you put on your ornaments and painting yourselves with sandal-pastes etc, and putting on excellent clothes, circumambulate by the right side to the cow, Brahmanas, sacrificial fires and the Govardhan mountain.

This is my view and religious belief, Oh father. It may be adopted if it is approved of by you. This type of worship and sacrifice will be liked by cows, Brahmanas, the mountain (Govardhana) itself and by me as well. Hearing the exposition of (the creed as the glorious Lord who, as the Time-Spirit was desirous of crushing the pride of Indra, the Gopas headed by Nanda approved of it with words, “Correct, very nice”.

And they carried out everything as Krishna, the slayer of the demon Madhu, instructed them. Having got recited the benedictory hymns (and the expiatory rites to avert evil) known as Soastyayana, they propitiated with great respect, the mountain (Govardhana) and Brahmanas with those very materials (collected for Indra-yaga, the worship of and sacrifice to Indra) and offered grass to the kine. With their wealth of cattle in front of them, they circumambulated the mount (Govardhana) by keeping that mount always on their right.

With the gracefully adorned Gopa women singing the exploits of Kṛṣṇa, and with Brähmaņas pronouncing benedictions, the cowherds who also wore excellent ornaments, rode their carts with bullocks yoked to them, and went round the mountain keeping it ever to their right.  In order to inspire confidence and belief in the Gopas, Krishna, on his part assumed a totally different personality. Announcing that he is the mountain Govardhana itself, he with his gigantic body, consumed the enormous quantity of the food offered. Thereupon, along with the inhabitants of Vraja Krishna presented salutation to his own other form and exclaimed, “How wonderful! Lo! This mountain has manifested himself.

This mountain is capable of taking any form he likes, at will. He kills the forest-dwellers who showed disrespect to him. To him let us bow for the welfare of us as well as of our cattle. The Gopas thus carried out the worship of the mountain, the cows and the Brahmanas according to the directions of Lord Vasudeva and they returned to Vraja along with Krishna.

Categories: Bhagwat Puran, Krishna Avataar, Lord Krishna, Uncategorized

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