Of all the Lord’s infinite names that attempt to explain His
innumerable auspicious qualities, extraordinary manifestations and His Sarvatva, Govinda is symbolic of His Saulabhya, pointed out Kalyanapuram Sri Aravamudhachariar in a discourse.
Suka states that Krishna had interrupted the sacrifice to
Indra to teach him a lesson in humility and to rid him of his
pride in his prosperous position as Indra. In anger at being
denied the offerings of the people, Indra had sent torrential
rains, hailstones and storm to punish the people. But
Krishna, moved by pity, had uprooted the Mountain Govardhana and lifted it as one would a mushroom and held it as an umbrella to keep the people safe. Indra understands Krishna’s greatness. Ashamed of his act, he seeks Krishna’s pardon.
Along with Surabhi, the divine cow, he performs
Govinda Pattabhisheka. Surabhi bathes Krishna with her
milk in the presence of Indra and other celestial sages and
devas and Indra crowns Krishna as the Lord and protector
of the cows and Gokula and proclaims Him as Govinda.
Interpreters have dealt at length on the relative supremacy
of the name Govinda over the name Narayana. Andal
refers to this in a hymn when she hails the name Govinda as
totally devoid of any shortcomings whatsoever. He remains
untainted by His Maya by which He creates, sustains and
protects the entire universe. While all beings in creation are
subjected to ignorance and bondage because of His Maya,
He alone can relieve this bondage of every jivatma.
It is also believed that the truly devout count on the protection
that His name promises as it is more effective than
Him. Draupadi pins her faith in the efficacy of His divine
Nama when being humiliated in the Kaurava court. Such is
the response to her prayer that there is no taint to her modesty that seemed to be at stake.