Harivamsha Purana

by Manmatha Nath Dutt | 1897 | 293,872 words | ISBN-10: 8178542188 | ISBN-13: 9788178542188

This page is entitled “indra sends down punishment” and represents Chapter 18 of the second book (‘Vishnu Parva’) of the Harivamsa (English translation in Prose). The Harivamsha Purana narrates the lineage and life-story of Krishna (Hari). Although not officially mentioned in the list of Puranas, this book includes topics such as geology, creation theory, time (manvantaras), ancient historical legends and accounts of royal dynasties.

Chapter 18 - Indra Sends Down Punishment

1. Vaishampayana said:—While in this wise the festivity, in his honor, was suppressed, Sakra, the king of the celestials said to the clouds called Samvartaka:—"

2. O you clouds, and elephants, if you cherish any respect for your king and if you consider it as your duty to do what pleases me (listen then to my words).

3. All these inhabitants of Vrindavana are attached to Damodara. Nanda and other Gopas have grown inimical towards my festival.

4. Therefore within seven nights, distress, with rain and winds, the precious kine which constitute their life-long subsistence and for which they pass by the name of Gopas[1].

5. I myself, stationed on (my elephant) Airavata, shall discharge dreadful rain, winds and showers effulgent like thunder and lightning.

6. With dreadful showers and winds you will kill all the kine and the inhabitants of Vraja and leave them after they all kiss the ground".

7. On account of his festival being put down by Krishna the powerful Pakashasana thus issued his mandate to the clouds.

8. Thereupon, the dreadful dark-blue clouds, resembling a mountain in size and muttering awfully, covered the sky on all sides.

9. Producing lightnings continually the clouds, adorned with the bow of Indra, enshrouded the welkin with darkness.

10. Touching one another, all the clouds, some resembling the elephants, some the Makaras[2] and some the serpents, began to move about in the sky.

11. Coming in contact with one another the clouds, resembling a million of elephants, covered the sky and created a very unfair day.

12. Showers of equal size, some resembling the hands of men, some the trunks of elephants and some bamboos the clouds began to pour down their watery contents.

13. People took that dreadful weather as a deep, unpassable and limitless ocean stationed in the sky.

14. Hearing the dreadful mutterings of the mountain like clouds, the birds could not come out of their nests and the animals began to fly away on all sides.

15. By the excessive showers discharged by the dreadful clouds resembling the hour of the universal dissolution the bodies of men grew discoloured.

16. The planets and stars disappearing from view, the sky, shorn of the rays of the sun and the moon was divested of its lustre.

17. With the continual showers of rain let off by the clouds the ground there assumed the form of a tank.

18. The peacocks began to cry aloud and the other birds began to emit their feeble notes. And the rivers, increasing their size, carried away the trees grown on their banks.

19. As if remonstrated with by the mutterings of clouds and the clap of thunderbolts the grass and trees began to tremble there.

20. Beside themselves with fear the milk-men began to speak amongst themselves: "We think the end of the world is at hand and the earth will be converted into one sheet of water."

21. The cows were greatly distressed by that dreadful downpour of rain. And they stood motionless and began to cry aloud.

22. Their body was soaked, thighs and feet were motionless, hoops and mouth inert, the hairs stood erect and their belly and udders grew lean.

23. Some died out of exhaustion, some took to their heels in fear and some with their calves sank under frost.

24. Some cows, of emaciated belly on account of hunger and wearied thighs, lay to sleep embracing their calves.

25. The cows and calves, thus assailed by rain, fell down trembling and with poor and distressing countenance looked towards Krishna and cried "Save us! Save us!"

26-27. Beholding this dreadful oppression over the cows on account of that inclemeny and the impending death of the Gopas the sweet-speeched Krishna was greatly worked up with anger. And meditating for a while he began to speak to himself:—"

28. I knew before that this will come to pass. However to protect them against this downpour of rain I will uproot this best of mountains Govardhana containing forests and woods and convert it into an asylum for the kine.

29. There is not a shadow of doubt that this mountain, a veritable planet on earth, when upheld by me, will be able to protect the kine and milk-men".

30. Thus meditating and displaying the strength of his arms Krishna, having truth for his prowess and resembling the best of mountains, uprooted that hill with his hands.

41. Then that foremost of mountains, containing clouds, upheld by Krishna with his left hand, shone there like a house on account of its caves.

32. When that mountain was uprooted the rocks, at its table-land, were shaken and the trees fell down.

33. And although that mountain was immoveable still, on account of Krishna’s power, with its whirling summits, falling trees and trembling tops it went up to the sky.

34. All the clouds, united, were pouring down their watery contents in its side. With their quick-coursing streams the rocks were loosened and the mountain too was continually agitated.

35. The milk-men however could not perceive the raining clouds, the rock-pouring mountain and the roaring wind.

36. The clouds, attached to the mountain, coming in contact with the springs that best of mountains shone there as if bedecked with peacock feathers.

37. Vidyadharas, Uragas, Gandharvas and Apsaras began to exclaim from all sides—"Gifted with wings the mount Govardhana is flying up".

38. White, crimson and dark mineral substances began to trickle down from the earthen layer of that uprooted mountain containing a thousand of layers.

39. Some of the summits of that best of mountain were slackened, some were shattered and the highly elevated ones entered into clouds.

40. With the shaking of the mountains, the trees also shook, and their flowers fell down on all sides of the ground.

41. The big-hooded serpents, having half of their body adorned, issued out of their holes and the birds began to fly up in the sky.

42. Out of fear consequent upon the raising up of the mountain and of heavy downpour these sky rangers began continually to fly up and come down.

43. The lions in anger began to roar like clouds surcharged with water and the tigers like that of the churning rods.

44. Having its form metamorphosed that mountain, consisting of even, uneven and impassable places, appeared like another mountain.

45. On account of the excessive downpour of showers it appeared like Tripura[3] stupified by Rudra in in the sky.

46. Upheld by the rod-like hand of Krishna that huge mountain, covered with dark-blue clouds, appeared there like an umbrella.

47. The muttering of the clouds making him dream, Govardhana slept there placing his cave-like face on the pillow of Krishna’s arm.

48. Having its summit covered with trees divested of the notes of the birds and soaked with the showers and shorn of the cries of peacocks, that mountain shone there like the sky.

49. The summit and forest of that high mountain were as if possessed by fever on account of its table-lands shaking and trembling.

50. Hastened by the king of gods and driven by the wind the clouds began to pour down before it continually their contents.

51. Upheld by Krishna’s hand that mountain, covered with clouds, appeared like a country marked with the signs of wheels when oppressed by a king.

52. As a populous village places before it a city so the clouds stood encircling that mountain.

53. For protecting the Gopas like unto Brahma the Lord Krishna raised up that mountain and kept it on the tip of his finger. He then smilingly said.

54. "By some heavenly means which is even beyond the comprehension of the gods I have constructed this mountainous house, an asylum for the cows where no wind blows.

55-57. Let the flocks of cows speedily enter into it and peacefully and happily live there where no violent wind blows. Do you, of your own accord, make divisions of the room proportionate to your superiority of position and the number of flocks and put a stop to the downpour of showers. The big house, that I have constructed by uprooting this hill extending over five Kos and one Kos in breadth, can even accommodate the three worlds, what to speak of Vraja".

58-59. There arose a great tumult of the Gopas accompanied by the mutterings of clouds outside and the noise of the cows. And arranged in rows by the milk-men the kine entered into the huge cave of that best of mountains.

60. And standing at the foot of that mountain like a rising pillar of stone Krishna held that hill with one hand like a beloved guest.

61. Thereupon taking with them their carts and vessels the inhabitants of Vraja, afraid of rain, entered into that rocky house.

62. Beholding this superhuman feat of Krishna and finding his words falsified the powerful Satakratu asked the clouds to desist.

63. And surrounded by clouds which deprived the earth of all festivities for seven nights he returned again to the celestial region.

64. Thus after seven nights when the king of gods desisted and the sky was freed of clouds and become clear the sun rose in its full effulgence.

63. The cows and the milk-men returned to their respective quarters by the same road by which they had entered (the cave).

66. For the well-being of all the worlds the Lord Krishna, the giver of boons and identical with all the elements, established, with a delighted heart, that best of mountains[4].

Footnotes and references:


Literally the word means one who protects kine from go, kine and the root pa, to protect.


A root of acquatic animal resembling a crocodile.


The Danava chief who was defeated by Rudra or Siva in the war between the gods and demons.


This miracle of Krishna’s holding up of the mountain Govardhana on one of his fingers has been described in almost all the Puranas and even in the Sabha Parva of the Mahabharata. This incident, no doubt, on the face of it, appears highly incredible for, it is not possible for a man, nay for a boy of ten years of age to raise up a huge mountain like Govardhana. It is undoubtedly an allegory signifying the wonderful power of Krishna displayed by him for protecting the Gopas. The following explanation may be safely vouchsafed of the allegory. When he suppressed the worship of Indra and all his followers attacked the Gopas, Krishna placed them all, with their cattle and goods, on that hill and himself fought with the followers of Indra. It is mentioned in the latter portion of this Chapter that the Gopas entered into the hollow of the mountain, their 'hilly house' and so forth. This probably may suggest an explanation that they took shelter in one of the huge caves of the mountain and Krishna guarded them against the attack of the worshippers of Indra. Whatever may be the explanation it is undoubtedly true that he displayed a superhuman feat on this occasion.

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