Following is an excerpt from the lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 10, Chapter 27: Lord Indra and Mother Surabhi Offer Prayers
Verse 21 – by Vraj Bihari Das
indram nas tvabhiseksyamo
brahmana codita vayam
avatirno ’si visvatman
As ordered by Lord Brahma, we shall perform Your bathing ceremony to coronate You as Indra. O Soul of the universe, You descend to this world to relieve the burden of the earth.
Surabhi makes it quite clear in this verse that she has had enough of the leadership of imperfect demigods like Purandara (Indra), and now she is determined to directly serve the Supreme Lord. Since Brahma has ordered her, her attempt to coronate Lord Krsna as her personal Lord is authorized by higher authority. Moreover, Lord Krsna Himself comes down to the earth to relieve the burden of self-destructive, mundane administration, and thus it is perfectly consistent with the Lord’s own purpose that He become the Lord of Surabhi. Since the Lord rules millions of universes, He can certainly take care of mother Surabhi.
In fact, Surabhi wanted to bathe the Lord for her own purification, and she earnestly makes her proposal to Visvatma, the Soul of the universe, Sri Krsna.
Krishna maintains Dharma in the universe through a system developed by him. So he takes care of that system by helping everyone in it whenever needed and punishing those who did mistakes. Indra is one of the persons in that system. To be exact, he is the leader of demigods. Indra is qualified to become Indra by his good qualities and proper approach. Krishna helps him whenever needed and also punishes him for mistakes. Indra was shown as a foolish person in Srimad Bhagavatam to explain that the pure devotee was the important person and not the mixed devotee. In the past time of Indra killing Vritrasura, Vritrasura was shown as hero as he was the pure devotee and Indra felt bad for killing a pure devotee. Also Indra was shown this way because we can learn from the activities of Indra. Many Puranas had many past times of Krishna. But what is special in Srimad Bhagavatam is that it shows the good characters in bad people and bad characters in good people.
Indra is a devotee and there is no doubt in it. He accepted that he was proud which creates purification and understanding of the Anarthas. He also glorified Krishna as father, spiritual master and king. Further he begged for forgiveness from Krishna. This shows that even if you slip, if your aspirations are pure, you can get Krishna consciousness. Prabhupada says that Indra was pure but due to some miscalculation he slipped. Indra’s prayers reveal that a devotee may also make mistakes. And how a devotee gets back, after the mistake, makes the devotee special.
When Indra, the leader of demigods, started praising Krishna, his people and the animals below him also praises Krishna. This is how the behavior of leader affects his followers. A Leader should be impartial, loving and accommodating. Leader is a person who takes responsibility for his mistakes, rather than complaining. An example is that Lord Vishnu says the four Kumaras “I will lop off my arms if its conduct is hostile to you”. Another example is that when Chitraketu Maharaj treats one of his queens special who gave birth to his only child, his other queens became envious and poisoned the child. Here the partiality of leader created serious problems. From Indra’s past time, we also understand that position is very dangerous. Our great knowledge and powerful position can be a reason for our pride. But we should avoid pride and see our self as servant of Krishna.
Indra was threatened when Narnarayan Rishi was doing Tapasya. Indra felt insecure that the Rishi wanted his position. So, he sent, Kamdev, to shoot an arrow the Rishi. But the Rishi was not bewildered and gave a gift to Indra. India was insecure as like everyone in material world. But the devotees who got connected to Krishna will never feel insecure. There are two principles which Vaishnava always follows – Amani and Manadena. Amani means not expecting respect and Manadena means considering other devotees as more advanced. Humility is important for both these principles. A pride person always expresses violence like Indra. But a humble person will express forgiveness for the pride he already had. We can accept the praise from others but we should always remember that we are the servant of Krishna.
Sometimes we did not see the intention of the person and punished the person based on our understanding of the action. Even Shakti, the better half of Lord Shiva also misunderstood Chitraketu Maharaj and cursed him without understanding the intention of him about Lord Shiva. Later Shiva explained the intention and told Shakti that intention of Chitraketu Maharaj is as beautiful as her.
This is very beautifully explained in this Audio to a great length, please download and listen to it.