Govardhan Festival is very edifying for all of us. The whole
Truth is written in a very colourful and heart-touching, but
very simple story. What we gain from it, is that it is not worth
taking shelter with anybody in the world, except God. It is obvious
that the moral of this story is important for us, because it
was written for our spiritual use, and it is repeated year after
year for this reason, not only in India but all over the world
in lectures and different performances.
Govardhan story illustrates human faults. The character who is
inclined to make mistakes is called Indra in the story, but actually
he personifies all of us. Indra thought that he was the Lord
of everything, the center of the universe, and he thought that
the most important duty of people was to glorify him and pray
to him. He expected this from people, and we can say, this kept
him alive. This illness afflicts all of us, too. We all suffer
from this disease. We mould the world according to our own selfish
interests. We would like everything in the world to serve us.
We make categories accordingly, and we condemn or reward everything
from the point of view of whether it serves our interests or
not. As Indra was the slave of this faulty conception and suffered
from it, we also suffer from these ideas in this world, not only
in our present life, but in previous lives. And as long as we
continue to think in this way, our condition will not change.
will become reality when we are free from this selfish view of
life and understand the origin of everything:
God Himself. Then we shall serve Him with thanks and love.
Indra recognized his mistake and understood who Krsna really
task is the same in this human life: to recognize God, to realize
Him and to be conscious of Him. Indra saw Krsna as a boy. Of
course not everybody makes the same mistake, but as a misconception,
it applies to everyone, since in one way or another we all
see God for something or someone other than He really is. One
thinks of Him as an abstract thought, another as the product
of human fantasy, and yet others take Him for a philosophical
principle. So it means there are a lot of faulty conceptions
people who think Him an impersonal, all-pervading energy, and
deny His personal identity. So in some way, we
all see Him incorrectly, just as Indra didn't understand who
was. Indra saw Him, but he couldn't realize His real identity.
Similarly, we also can see God every day, it is true; we
cannot see Him directly but in an indirect way, in His creation,
the world. But in spite of this, we often ask whether God
exists or not, and if He does, where He is? But it's easy to
everywhere, if one is not the slave of egoistic ideology.
Although there are lots of things that are close to us and remind
of God, we cannot see Him. This is just the same as Indra,
recognize the Lord, although he was standing right in front
only found Krsna when a great change occured in his heart, when
he became humble, and when his real spiritual character awakened
in his soul. He realized it was a mistake to expect people to
glorify him and pray to him. He understood that he was not in
the center of the universe, but only a tiny part of it. The spiritual
character or the real nature of the spirit is that somebody has
a natural, positive attitude to God. A person understands that
he or she is a tiny part of the Whole and at the same time, admitting
God's greatness and holiness, one also glorifies Him happily.
So when this real spiritual nature emerged victorious in the
heart of Indra, at that moment he saw Krsna in another way. Indra
not only understood that God existed, but that he hadn't seen
Him before, and then Indra realized that he had tried to imitate
edifying story has been illustrated in many ways in the world.
We can find parallel stories in the Bible and in the Tragedy
of Madach or in Milton's Lost Paradise: why does the soul come
into this world, and why does it suffer? Somehow every story
offers a similar comment: we try to play God's role or we try
to force it on ourselves. This wrong conception causes us different
suffering, troubles and worries. Of course in many cases it is
not exactly a matter of, „I want to be God.” That is not the
issue. Perhaps someone never thinks that. But the mentality by
which someone expects another's service and glorification or
forms the world according to oneís own benefit, this mentality
shows that somehow, directly or indirectly, that person wants
to place himself in God's position.
in this story is very important. He says: „Maharaj Nanda and
inhabitants of Vrndavan! Break with tradition and don't make
sacrifices to the demigods!„ It's well known that nearly every
religion has a particular mundane feature. Krsna turns our attention
to the highest level: let's not follow the mundane side of religion,
nor the rituals which otherwise can help for some people at a
certain level. But if we want to achieve the most elevated spiritual
ideal, letís not adopt the mundane religious aspects such as
worship of demigods, but let's be devoted to the origin of the
world, the pure transcendental God. In this respect, Indra represents
the demigods. And the demigods, as we know from the teaching
of the Gita, are respected by people for different material benefits.
People desire lots of money, power, success, a high reputation
and career; everything that is appreciated in the material world.
All knowledge and science that we have learned since our childhood
invite us to gather these material goods that we need for happiness.
This means serving those things. So in this story Indra actually
personifies material life. Of course there are different explanations
for this. As we know, the different planets are in connection with
different demigods: the Moon is with Chandra, the Sun is with Surya,
and so on. From a certain point of view, we can interpret the story
as hope of people in the stars, astrology, destiny, and other material
sciences. People often think that destiny punishes or rewards us
according to our fortune. If we are lucky, we are rewarded, and
if we are unlucky we are punished by unknowable and unfair destiny.
few of us who are aware that destiny or providence doesn't punish
or reward, but we punish and reward ourselves. If we realize
this eternal truth, we can turn our life in the right direction.
Walking on this path we won't complain, „O, why was fate so unfair
to me; why do I suffer so much; why do I have to live in such
difficult conditions?” If we are on the right track, we won't
have such feelings, but we'll enjoy spiritual peace, harmony
and other joys of spiritual life.
So the essence of the story in short is: don't
have faith in the material sciences, material welfare or in blind
fortune, but believe in that Person Who stands over everything,
Who is the source of everything including the different spiritual
and material energies. He is the origin of the world. And our duty
is to find the right relationship with Him. When we have found
it, we will have a harmonious relationship with the whole world
- including the material world.
this story has far greater significance than we first notice.
It is worth meditating on the lesson of it, the conclusion which
is open to us and blesses us. By meditating on it we can be sure
to gain a new treasure which does not just open our spiritual
eyes, but will illuminate our whole life, showing the way to
God, Krsna, and make our life perfect.
B. A. Narayan