A Mountain on a Finger
Tales from Indian Mythology
Retold by Vasu Gangapalli
Once upon a time, long long ago, the people of Vrindavan worshipped Lord Indra, the God of rain. Lord Indra was very proud and arrogant person by nature, who stayed in heaven, and rode upon his majestic white elephant named Iravath. Lord Krishna decided to teach Indra a good lesson.
One day, he asked the people of Vrindavan to gather under a huge banyan tree.
‘My dear people of Vrindavan,’ Lord Krishna addressed them, ‘I want you all to stop worshiping Indra from today onwards.’
‘Oh, then, to whom should we pray instead, Krishna?’ They asked him, quite surprised.
‘I would like you all to worship Govardhan Mountain instead as his forest on which our livelihood depends.’ Lord Krishna replied.
‘We will do as you say!’ They said in unison. It brought a smile on Lord Krishna’s face.
The people of Vrindavan obeyed Lord Krishna and stopped worshiping Indra. Indra came to know about this, and was enraged.
‘How dare they do this to me!’ He cried at the top of his voice, which echoed in heaven, ‘I would teach these silly people a good lesson which they will never forget in their life time!’
So Indra decided to punish them. He called upon the clouds which were under his control.
‘I want you all to rain continuously over Vrindavan, and you won’t stop until I tell you too!’ He ordered them.
‘We’ll do that!’ They replied to his command.
It started to rain heavily in Vrindavan. The people were really terrified by the heavy rain and thought that it would destroy not only their crops, but their beautiful village as well. Worst of worst, they even feared that they all might die too. They all went to Lord Krishna and pleaded with him to rescue them and the Vrindavan.
‘My dear people, you need not worry, when I’m there!’ Lord Krishna replied, ‘Believe in me, and I will take care of you!’ He added smiling at them. His very smile lifted the worries from their troubled minds.
Lord Krishna lifted the mountain Govardhan on his little finger of his left hand, while he held his favourite flute in his right hand. He held the entire mountain like an umbrella for seven days and seven nights over the people of Vrindavan. The entire village of Vrindavan came under the shelter of the huge mountain.
The clouds got tired and exhausted pouring down continuously on Vrindavan. Most of them returned back to Indra.
‘We give up! We can’t go on anymore!’ They all cried, defeated.
‘Why? What happened?’ Indra asked rather puzzled.
‘Lord Krishna has come to their rescue! We feel it’s futile to continue further. Please go and see for yourself.’ One of them replied.
Indra saw from his royal abode of heaven what was happening down in Vrindavan. He realised his mistake and was really ashamed of himself. He asked the remaining clouds to stop the rain immediately.
He went down to planet Earth and reached the village of Vrindavan on his feet.
‘Krishna, I seek your kind apology!’ He said, bowing down, ‘Please forgive me being proud and arrogant! ’
‘Indra, always remember that greatness comes from what good things you do to others, and not by what you feel about yourself!’ Lord Krishna replied, smiling at him.
‘Yes, my lord, I have learnt a good lesson.’ Indra said, smiling back at him.
Lord Krishna placed back mountain Govardhan back from where he had lifted it. The people of Vrindavan started praising Lord Krishna for his leela.