Govinda’s glory

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.