Annakut-Gowardhan Puja: A day when Lord Krishna taught Indra devta a lesson in humility
New Delhi, Oct 22: Every year, the next day after Diwali, Hindus around the world celebrate the Annakut-Gowardhan festival to show gratitude to nature for its abundant supply that keeps life ticking on earth and to worship Lord Krishna.
Celebrated as a thanksgiving to nature, the festival is called Annakut which literally means 'mountain of food'. The day is also famously celebrated as Gowardhan Puja. This year, however, the festival of Annakut or Gowardhan Puja, is being celebrated on Wednesday due to Solar Eclipse (Surya Grahan) on Tuesday.
Annakut festival is actually a part of Gowardhan festival where food made of cereals like wheat, rice, curry made of gram flour and leafy vegetables is cooked and offered to Lord Krishna. On this occasion, 56 distinct food items that include seven vegetables, seven drinks and seven sweets are offered to the mountain, metaphorically representing the Gowardhan Hill. It is the way people thank the gods and nature for protecting them and providing them with food.
When Sri Krishna deflated Indra's ego
Lord Krishna is known for his miracles and his mischief. Once he decided to teach Lord Indra, the god of rains, an interesting lesson in humility. The Bhagwata, one of the most important classics of India describing the life and times of Krishna, tells an interesting tale about the Lord. It is about how he crushed the ego of Rain God Indra and taught an important lesson of life, through the incident to the world.
Once Lord Krishna convinces his father Nanda Maharaj and the villagers to not perform puja to please Lord Indra. He tells them that they should focus only on doing their duty. Everyone found his logic quite appealing and they decided to not perform any puja that year. This, however, did not go down very well with Lord Indra. With his ego bruised, Lord Indra decided to teach the villagers and Lord Krishna a lesson.
So, for the next seven days, Indra decided to flood the village with non-stop rains. Indra used all his strength to flood the village with incessant rains that continued for seven days, but he had underestimated Lord Krishna's powers. Lord Krishna made all the villagers and their cattle climb the Gowardhan Hill and then with his little finger, he lifted the hill over the clouds and thus saved everyone from the rains and Lord Indra's wrath.
Humiliated Indra then apologised to Krishna and conceded his defeat. This became a lesson for Indra and the world that pujas or respect should be earned from love and not fear. Also, ego can make one blind as Indra failed to realise that he was fighting a losing battle from the word go because he was taking on the Supreme Being.
Lord Krishna is believed to have lifted the mountain on the Pratipada Tithi, Shukla Paksha of Kartik month. Hence, Hindus perform Gowardhan puja or Annakut Puja to commemorate the Lord's gesture. It is celebrated a day after Diwali.