by Shrila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami
(The following section is a footnote added by Gopala Bhatta Gosvami)
In Narada Pancaratra, Bharadvaja Samhita 3.22.25, the process of atonement for a Vaishnava is described:
prayashcittam tu paramam
prapattis tasya kevalam
kuryat karmatmakam vapi
gira pada rajo’ mbubhih
tatha tat kirtanadibhih
shuddhir esha visheshatah
krita yajnah samstash ca
danani ca tapamsi ca
nityam arcayata harim
“For a Vaishnava the highest kind of atonement is full surrender to the Lord. Otherwise one should perform activities while remembering Lord Vasudeva. By seeing the Lord’s devotee, touching his feet, serving him, feeding him with cooked grains and water, speaking sweetly, taking the dust of his feet and drinking the water from his feet, eating mahaprasada of the Lord and chanting the names of the Lord, one can purify oneself specially from the contamination of seeing and touching non- devotees.
One who constantly engages in worshipping Lord Hari is considered to have performed all activities like sacrifice, charity, penance, austerity, atonement etc”.
Again there are other statements in 2.59 and 3.73:
vrittir bhagavatanam hi
sarvah bhagavatah kriyah
saiva yat kriyate punah
purvesham uttaresam ca
nyaso nashara pap manam
ayam hi kshamapanam param
“To perform activities which are related to the Supreme Lord is the occupation of the Vaishnava and the same activities repeated again and again is called prayashcitta, or atonement. Those who have fully surrendered to the lotus feet of the Absolute Personality of Godhead are freed from all kinds of sinful activities which they committed previously and may happen to commit in the future. Such types of surrender are the atonement for all offences.”
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam 6.1.16 it is said:
narayana paran mukham
na nishpunanti rajendra
“Just as a pot of liquor cannot be purified by washing with water, similarly, those who are not surrendered to the Supreme Lord Narayana, cannot be purified by undergoing so many atonements “
(This ends the footnote).
The phrase ‘sad bhudevadi’ refers to devotees of Krishna (sat) and the Vaishnava brahmanas (bhudeva), who are purified by name, mantra and gayatri. ‘Adi’ refers to all other living entities. Therefore atonement consists of worship of and service to the devotees of Krishna. That service consists of bathing, feeding, offering drinks, garlands, sandalwood and cloth. Because of his complete surrender to Krishna, the devotee is always internally and externally similar to the Lord Himself. He is therefore pure. He has no need to perform fruitive vows or wear kusha grass rings for purification.
(Referring to the fourth verse quoted from the Padma Purana 🙂
The devotee of Krishna means one who has none other than Krishna as his worshipable Deity. “Naishthikah” means one who is conversant with Bhagavata-dharma and is faithful to the Lord. “Muni” means a person who knows what must be done. A Vaishnava should not worship demigods such as Ganesha, neither should he offer obeisances to their deities or to pots that they have been installed in. He should not look at them, glorify them or remember them, nor should he blaspheme them. What to speak of blaspheming the demigods, it is not proper for the Vaishnavas to criticize any moving or non-moving living entity. The servant of the Lord should not eat the remnants of demigods. ‘O Narada, the association of those who worship any demigod should be avoided strictly. Thus a soul fixed in his actions to please the Lord becomes fully surrendered.’
6. Vishnu Purana (more evidence forbidding worship of devatas)
In the Brihad-Vishnu Purana it is said:
na darbha-dharanam kuryan-
na ca sankalpam acaret
na kamyam sattvato margam
“The followers of Lord Vishnu should neither wear kusha grass rings, perform sankalpa, follow the path of fruitive activities, or worship demigods like Lord Shiva etc.”
‘Sattvata’ means the followers of shuddha-sattva, or the devotees of Lord Vishnu only. The words ‘kamya’ and ‘ca’ refer to the worship of devatas and pitris which are daily or periodic. These should not be performed by the Vaishnava.
The difficulty in performing devata worship
Those who are entangled in karma, worship the devatas and pitris through daily and periodic rites. They must worship individually all the thirty-three million demigods such as Ganesha etc. If a person performs shraddha he must start with his father, mother, grandfather, great-grand father and worship all those forefathers up to those who are generated directly from Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe. Is there a problem if one does otherwise? Four scriptural evidences are given here:
a. In the Brihad-Vishnu Purana it is said:
pujyah sarve tu lokanam
vibudhah pitarash ca vai
sarva karmasu rajendra
sarvam cet vyartham anyatha
“O king of kings, in every ritual, everyone must worship all the demigods and forefathers. Otherwise everything is fruitless.”
‘Lokanam’ means those materialistic persons who follow the path of the demigods, forefathers and Vedic activities, without considering their permanent and perishable results. ‘Vai’ means certainly. ‘Sarva karmasu’ means in all nitya, naimittika and kamya karmas related to forefathers and other demigods. ‘Sarve’ means the thirty-three million demigods beginning from Ganesha, and all the forefathers beginning from one’s own mother and father upto that person who is the ultimate founder of his dynasty, who is born from Brahma. The word ‘ca’ refers to all the relatives and lineage of one’s family. ‘ O King Yudhishthira, they all should be worshipped, if someone is worshipped and another is not, then the whole performance will be useless. ‘
b. Similarly in the Shruti, it is said:
om karma-phalaptah karmi yajet
havya-kavya-mayaih kama van
sarvamsh ca devan pitrin atithimsh ca
purnam viphalam no yajan tad vai iti
“The karmis who desire the result of their work should worship all the demigods, forefathers and guests with appropriate paraphernalia and ingredients, so that they may attain the fruit of their actions. If this is not done properly, then their endevour is useless. “
‘Vai’ means they must do; ‘kama-van’ — one who has lusty desires; ‘karmi’ — one who is engaged in mundane activities; ‘havya-kavya-mayaih’ — the proper things to offer the demigods and ancestors; ‘atithim’ — those guests who never came before; ‘ca’ — the family, relatives and the lineage of the family. The second ‘ca’ refers to guests in general and all living entities; ‘karmi’ — the performer of all kinds of activities, like nitya, namittika, kamya, daiva, paitra, mangalya etc.
The Sanskrit root of the verb ‘yaj’ has many meanings. It indicates here the worship of demigods, performance of shraddha and tarpana for the ancestors, proper respect, behaviour and service with good food and water for the guests, service to unexpected guests, family members and other relatives with proper behaviour and speech, and satisfying all living entities with food and water.
‘Karma-phalaptah’ means if one performs the activity properly, he is sure to gain the result. Otherwise, he will lose the fruit. If some of the demigods are worshipped and some are not, some of the forefathers are given food by performing shraddha and tarpana and some are not, some guests are respected and others are not, and among the living entities – including family members and relatives – if some of them are satisfied and others are not, then whatever one has done is useless.
c. According to Devi Purana :
tan no krite pratyavayi
pujanam karmatho narah
“One who is expert in fruitive activities should worship all the demigods and forefathers in every auspicious performances, otherwise the doer gets the opposite result.”
The word ‘mangalyadishu’ refers to the activities known as nitya, naimittika, kamya and paitra. ‘karmathah’ — who is very expert in perfoming the fruitive acitivities; ‘narah’ — human beings who are under one of the varnas; ‘pujanam’ — worshipping the demigods and offering shraddha and tarpana to the forefathers.
The meaning is that if the 33 million demigods like Ganesha, etc. and all the forefathers beginning with one’s own mother and father up to those who are the source of one’s dynasty, born from Brahma himself, are not worshipped or satisfied properly, then one gets an opposite result–as if he did no such activities at all.
d. Similarly in the Rudra-Yamala it is said:
devatah pitarah sarve
shive pujyah prayatnatah
nyunah syur nishphalam kecit
grihibhir yadi karmasu
“O Durga, bestower of auspiciousness, householders should worship all the demigods and ancestors in all performances. If some of them are not worshipped, then all the performances become useless.”
The plural word ‘karmasu’ refers again to activities like nitya and naimittika; ‘grihibhih’– by householders only; ‘prayatnatah’ means carefully. All the demigods and forefathers must be worshipped. This means that among the thirty-three million demigods beginning from Ganesha and all the forefathers, if some of them are not worshipped and not offered the shraddha and tarpana, then the doer does not get any result, because the performance is not complete. It is useless. More evidences are not included as this would increase the size of the book.
Thus, if those householders, who are not initiated by harinama-mantra, worship the thirty-three million demigods (like Ganesha etc) incompletely in their actions of nitya, naimittika etc. and if they offer shraddha and tarpana incompletely to their forefathers (beginning from their mother, father up to Brahma, the source of their dynasty) then according to the proofs of the Puranas, Vedas, Upa-Puranas, and Agamas, all these actions are considered useless – fruitless, a cause of disappointment.
And on the other hand, if those who are initiated by a bona-fide spiritual master into the holy name of the Lord, being of any of the four varnas, perform such nitya and naimittika acts for the devatas and pitris, then they are committing seva and namaparadha.
Therefore, for both the devotees of Lord Krishna and those who born either outside the varnashrama system or within, the worshipable Deity is Lord Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and no one else, because He is the controller of all. This is the principle.
(Some people think that worshipping devatas is the same as worshipping Vishnu. The following section refutes that misunderstanding.)
There are some other persons who think that since the whole universe is pervaded by the potency of Lord Shri Vishnu therefore this world is also Vishnu . Thus by worshipping demigods, Vishnu is automatically worshipped. But actually that kind of worship is not recommended; it is forbidden. This is proven here by the words of Lord Krishna Himself.
Sat Kriya Sara Dipika, Part Five
BY: SUN STAFF
Sep 28, 2016 — CANADA (SUN) — By Shrila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. Printed by The Bhaktivedanta Academy, Mayapur (1995).
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