bhuvo bharāṇām uru-bhāra-janmanām
camū-patīnām abhavāya deva
This verse utilizes an attractive poetic device. Lord Kṛṣṇa’s descent into the world is said to be for the abhava, literally “nonexistence” or “destruction,” of the demoniac warlords, and simultaneously for the bhava, or “existence, prosperity,” of those who faithfully serve the Lord’s lotus feet.
True existence, indicated here by the word bhava, is sac-cid-ānanda, eternal and full of bliss and knowledge. To an uninformed observer, it may appear that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is simply rewarding His followers and punishing His enemies the way any ordinary person might do. This specific doubt about the Lord is raised extensively in the Sixth Canto in connection with Kṛṣṇa’s taking the side of the faithful demigods against the faithless demons in a particular cosmic war. In that canto the Vaiṣṇava authorities clearly explain that in fact Lord Kṛṣṇa is the father and Lord of all living beings and that all His activities are therefore meant for the benefit of all existence. Lord Kṛṣṇa does not really cause the nonexistence of anyone; rather He curbs the foolish, destructive, material ways of those who defy the laws of God. These laws are created to ensure the prosperity, harmony and happiness of the entire creation, and their violation is an unjustifiable disturbance.
Certainly Indra hoped that Lord Kṛṣṇa would count him among the devotees and not the demons, although considering Indra’s actions one might doubt where his loyalties actually lay. Indra was aware of this possible doubt and thus, as we find in the next verse, he tried his best to surrender to the Supreme Lord.