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The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, [1840], at

p. 528


Indra comes to Gokula: praises Krishńa, and makes him prince over the cattle. Krishńa promises to befriend Arjuna.

AFTER Gokula had been saved by the elevation of the mountain, Indra became desirous of beholding Krishńa. The conqueror of his foes accordingly mounted his vast elephant Airávata, and came to Govarddhana, where the king of the gods beheld the mighty Dámodara tending cattle, and assuming the person of a cow-boy, and, although the preserver of the whole world, surrounded by the sons of the herdsmen: above his head he saw Garud́a, the king of birds, invisible to mortals, spreading out his wings to shade the head of Hari. Alighting from his elephant, and addressing him apart, Śakra, his eyes expanding with pleasure, thus spake to Madhusúdana: "Hear, Krishńa, the reason why I have come hither; why I have approached thee; for thou couldest not otherwise conceive it. Thou, who art the supporter of all, hast descended upon earth, to relieve her of her burden. In resentment of my obstructed rites I sent the clouds to deluge Gokula, and they have done this evil deed. Thou, by raising up the mountain, hast preserved the cattle; and of a verity I am much pleased, O hero, with thy wondrous deed. The object of the gods is now, methinks, accomplished, since with thy single hand thou hast raised aloft this chief of mountains. I have now come by desire of the cattle 1, grateful for their preservation, in order to install you as Upendra; and, as the Indra of the cows, thou shalt be called Govinda 2." Having thus said, Mahendra took a ewer from his elephant

p. 529

[paragraph continues] Airávata, and with the holy water it contained performed the regal ceremony of aspersion. The cattle, as the rite was celebrating, deluged the earth with their milk.

When Indra had, by direction of the kine, inaugurated Krishńa, the husband of Śachí said to him affectionately, "I have thus performed what the cows enjoined me. Now, illustrious being, hear what farther I propose, with a view to facilitate your task. A portion of me has been born as Arjuna, the son of Pritha: let him ever be defended by thee, and he will assist thee in bearing thy burden. He is to be cherished by thee, Madhusúdana, like another self." To this Krishńa replied, "I know thy son, who has been born in the race of Bharata, and I will

p. 530

befriend him as long as I continue upon earth. As long as I am present, invincible Śakra, no one shall be able to subdue Arjuna in fight. When the great demon Kansa has been slain, and Arisht́a, Keśin, Kuvalayápíd́a, Naraka, and other fierce Daityas, shall have been put to death, there will take place a great war, in which the burden of the earth will be removed. Now therefore depart, and be not anxious on account of thy son; for no foe shall triumph over Arjuna whilst I am present. For his sake I will restore to Kunti all her sons; with Yudhisht́hira at their head, unharmed, when the Bhárata war is at an end."

Upon Krishńa's ceasing to speak, he and Indra mutually embraced; and the latter, mounting his elephant Airávata, returned to heaven. Krishńa, with the cattle and the herdsmen, went his way to Vraja, where the wives of the Gopas watched for his approach.


528:1 Gobhischa chodita; that is, 'delegated,' says the commentator, 'by the cow of plenty, Kámadhenu, and other celestial kine, inhabitants of Goloka, the heaven of cows:' but this is evidently unauthorized by the text, as celestial cattle could not be grateful for preservation upon earth; and the notion of Goloka, a heaven of cows and Krishńa, is a modern piece of mysticism, drawn from such sectarial works as the Brahma Vaivartta P. and Hari Vanśa.

528:2 The purport of Indra's speech is to explain the meaning of two of Krishńa's names, Upendra and Govinda. The commentators on the Amara Kosha agree in p. 529 explaining the first, the younger brother of Indra, ### conformably to the synonyme that immediately follows in the text of Amara, Indrávaraja; a name that occurs also in the Mahábhárata: Krishńa, as the son of Devakí, who is an incarnation of Adití, being born of the latter subsequently to Indra. Govinda is he who knows, finds, or tends cattle; Gám vindati. The Pauráńik etymology makes the latter the Indra (### quasi ###) of cows; and in this capacity he may well be considered as a minor or inferior Indra, such being the proper sense of the term Upendra (Upa in composition); as, Upa-puráńa, 'a minor Puráńa,' &c. The proper import of the word Upendra has, however, been anxiously distorted by the sectarian followers of Krishńa. Thus the commentator on our text asserts that Upa is here synonymous with Upari, and that Upendratwa, 'the station of Upendra,' means 'rule in the heaven of heavens, Goloka;' a new creation of this sect, above Satya-loka, which, in the uncorrupt Pauráńik system, is the highest of the seven Lokas: see p. 213. So the Hari Vanśa makes Indra say, 'As thou, Krishńa, art appointed, by the cows, Indra superior to me, therefore the deities in heaven shall call thee Upendra.' The Bhágavata does not introduce the name, though it no doubt alludes to it in making the divine cow Surabhi, who is said to have come from Goloka with Indra, address Krishńa, and say, 'We, instructed by Brahmá, will crown you as our Indra.' Accordingly Krishńa has the water of the Ganges thrown over him by the elephant of Indra, and Indra, the gods, and sages praise him, and salute him by the appellation of Govinda. The Hari Vanśa assigns this to Indra alone, who says, 'I am only the Indra of the gods; thou hast attained the rank of Indra of the kine, and they shall for ever celebrate thee on earth as Govinda.' All this is very different from the sober account of our text, and is undoubtedly of comparatively recent origin.

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