by Shrila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami
(Following are five evidences to prove that the worship of demigods is no substitute for Vishnu worship.)
a. Bhagavad-Gita 9.23:
ye ‘py anya devata bhakta
te’pi mam eva kaunteya
This verse may be interpreted in three ways. One meaning is this: ‘My faithful devotees (from initiation to the point of death) who occasionally worship the devatas disregarding the forbiddance, actually worship Me alone with great determination, not the demigods. This is indicated by the word ‘eva’ which means that they really worship only Me. By worshipping Me alone, realizing they are servants and I am to be served, they become free from the cycle of birth and death. ‘
A second meaning is as follows: ‘All those who are not my devotees, filled with material desires (shraddhayanvita) worship demigods with great determination to achieve material results quickly. They worship Me in this way, thinking the demigods independent and equal to Me! They are not actually worshipping Me at all!
O son of Kunti, Arjuna, the prescribed process is to hear about Me, chant My names, remember and worship Me. By this alone can one be freed from the bondage of birth and death in this material world. All other works such as worshipping demigods, sacrifice, charity etc. are prohibited, because, being temporary they are the cause of the repeated cycle of birth and death. Therefore worship of Me is the best activity. Apart from this, there is no path to deliver oneself from the bondage of the material world, even for Brahma and Indra who have attained immortality by drinking nectar. What, then, to speak of mortals?’
The same verse may be interpreted in a third way. ‘Those worshippers of demigods, bewildered by My external potency, from their birth become Shaiva, Shakta, Shaura, Ganapatya etc. Later by the instructions of a bona fide spiritual master and the association of Vaishnavas they worship Me alone with extreme faith (shraddhayanvita), with no other shelter. They certainly become My devotees by the effect of My bhakti. But they must not worship with a material motive (avidhi purvakam). To worship Me and at the same time to worship demigods is called avidhi. Leaving aside such worship, a person must be dedicated to Me fully, without worshipping the devatas even in dreams. In that pure condition, that person becomes My devotee.’
b. Other than devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, everything is perishable or impermanent, and should therefore be abandoned. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam 6.9.22 it is said:
avismitam tam paripurna-kamam
svenaiva labhena samam prashantam
vinopasarpaty-aparam hi balishah
shva langulenati titarti sindhum
“Free from all material conceptions of existence and never wonder struck by anything, the Lord is always jubilant and fully satisfied by His own spiritual perfection. He has no material designation, and therefore He is steady and unattached. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the only shelter of everyone. Anyone desiring to be protected by others is certainly a great fool who desires to cross the sea by holding the tail of a dog.”
Those who are situated in varna and ashrama and do not worship the Supreme Lord Govinda, but superficial demigods, are greatly foolish. What are the qualities of Govinda? He is always satisfied by the perfection of His eight kinds of opulence called anima, laghima etc. He alone awards the surrendered souls their desired goal. Therefore, other than Him, no one else is fully satisfied.
Lord Govinda is ‘avismita,’ because being eternal, there is no question of wonder in Him. He is ‘prashanta,’ because He has a form desired by His devotees. Bewildered by the external potency of the Lord, a person leaves the devotional service of the Supreme Lord and worships demigods. He is foolish; he is described as a foolish man trying to cross the ocean by holding the tail of a dog. Thus, one who has turned his face from the Lord to serve demigods to fulfill his insignificant desires gets no result, as everything is dependent on the Supreme Lord. He has no way to escape from the bondage of repeated birth and death.
c. In Padma Purana it is said:
yatha dhritva shunah puccham
tartum icchet saritpatim
tatha tyaktva harim sevyam
“As a person desires to cross the ocean by holding a tail of a dog, similarly an unintelligent man desires to deliver himself from the material bondage by worshipping others, giving up Lord Hari.”
Here the word ‘anyopasanaya’ means serving or worshipping the external and marginal energies of the Lord, such as demigods and other living entities. Therefore, other than Lord Hari, there is no one else who is worshipable in this material world.
d. As Lord Shiva has mentioned to Narada:
naradhyo vai harim vina
bhavarnavacchinna ko ‘pi
sarva kamada kamadah
“O Narada, in this world no one else but Lord Hari is to be worshipped by all. Apart from Him, no one else can deliver the souls from the ocean of birth and death and no one can fulfil the desires of the materialists.”
‘Bhuvane’ means not only on this middle planet but on all the fourteen planets,the Supreme Lord Hari is to be worshipped by all, even Lord Brahma. It is concluded that other than Him no one in existence is to be worshipped. But even if one worships the Lord’s external and marginal potencies to fulfill all his desires according to prescription of the Vedas, Puranas, Smritis, and Agamas, the bestower of fulfillment to the demigods is Lord Shri Hari. Therefore, being among the external and marginal potencies, the demigods have no power to cut off the bondage of the ocean of birth and death. Except for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, no one can mitigate the great fear of the dangerous circuit of mundane existence.
e. In Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.19.9 Uddhava says to the Lord:
tapa-trayenapi hatasya ghore
santapya manasya bhavadhvanisha
pashyami nanyac-caranam tavanghri
“My dear Lord, for one tormented on the terrible path of birth and death and constantly overwhelmed by the threefold miseries, I do not see any possible shelter other than Your two lotus feet, which are just like a refreshing umbrella that pours down showers of delicious nectar.”
‘O Lord, on this terrible path of birth and death, the souls who are suffering by the miseries, such as adhidaivika, adhibhautika and adhyatmika, and entering repreatedly the womb have no shelter. Except for the umbrella of Your lotus feet, I don’t see any other shelter. As a person protects himself from the fierce sunshine and rain by holding an umbrella, so the souls who are bound by the ropes of birth and death escape that bondage by going under the umbrella of Your lotus feet.
‘amritam’ means the four kinds of salvations such as attaining the same abode as the Lord and serving His lotus feet and thereby attaining liberation from the transmigration of the body. The Lord’s feet produce showers of bliss in the form of different types of liberation, like the unlimited drops of water in a shower of rain. For that reason, there is no other way to get out from the existence of the mundane world, except these two lotus feet of Yours, O Absolute Truth, Personality of Godhead! In this world You are the only shelter of the demigods, demons and human beings. One who does not worship Your lotus feet never achieves liberation. And the one who serves Your lotus feet becomes free from the bondage of the material world and remains in happiness always –in this llife and the next.’ The consciousness of full surrender
It has been shown that human beings should avoid the adoration of the demigods, and take complete shelter of the Lord. As stated in Sanat-Kumara Samhita:
ananya sadhanarthash ca
syad ananya prayojanah
nanyam ca pujayed devam
na nameta smaren na ca
na pashyen na ca gayec ca
na ca nindet kadacana
nanyocchishtam ca bhunjita
nanya shesham ca dharayet
“One should always be in a state of full shelter, have no other practice or goal and have no other need. One should not worship, pay obeisances, remember, see, praise, and should never criticize the demigods. One should not eat the remnants (ucchishta) of others, should not accept the left overs (shesha) of others. And one should avoid talking with and praising nondevotees.”
FOOTNOTE: After serving out a meal, the left-over unserved portion is called ‘shesha’.
Sat Kriya Sara Dipika, Part Six
BY: SUN STAFF
Sep 30, 2016 — CANADA (SUN) — By Shrila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. Printed by The Bhaktivedanta Academy, Mayapur (1995).