Bhagavad-gita 9.23-24
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
New York, December 10, 1966


ye ’py anya-devata-bhakta yajante sraddhayanvitah te ’pi mam eva kaunteya yajanty avidhi-purvakam

So worship of the Supreme Lord and worship of other demigods, that is being discussed in this verse by Lord Sri Krsna. Actually, there is no need of worshiping any demigod beside the Supreme. But in the lower stage… Just like the other day we have discussed. Because we cannot immediately give up our concept of material existence and material happiness and material distress—we take into consideration very seriously, without any spiritual life, or without any idea of spiritual existence—therefore sometimes recommended in the Vedic literature that “For this purpose you can worship this demigod.” Just the, just like the other day I gave you the example that those who are diseased, they are recommended to worship the sun-god.

There are different kinds of desires. One who wants beautiful wife, he has been recommended to worship Uma, the wife of Lord Siva. In this way, there are hundreds of demigods and we have got hundreds of desires. Just like one who wants to eat flesh, oh, he’s advised to worship goddess Kali because the Vedic literature will not allow to have a regular slaughterhouse. No. That cannot be. But still, those who want the facility of eating flesh, they are advised that, “All right, you worship goddess Kali, and sacrifice a goat before the goddess, and eat it.” But there is a great list of formulas to make that, I mean to say, sacrifice of goat, not that I take a goat or cow to the slaughterhouse and cut it. No, that is not allowed. The idea is to restrict him, not to encourage him.

Just like, not your country, in our country, there is prohibition. In some cities there is strictly prohibition. No wine can be available. But still, there are wine shops, under government license. So this wine shop does not mean to encourage citizens to come and drink wine. No. The idea is to restrict, to restrict. Those who cannot live without liquor, for them, there is some concession. Because one must live after all. Similarly, one who cannot avoid meat-eating, for him, that demigod, goddess Kali… But unfortunately, some foolish persons, they have advertised by goddess Kali worshiping, he has become God. These are all foolishness. This recommendation… Here it is said by Lord Krsna, te ’pi mam eva kaunteya: “That worship of different demigods is indirectly offering worship to Me because they are My representatives.” But avidhi-purvakam. Avidhi-purvakam means “It is not prescribed.” Avidhi-purvakam. It is, what is called, in English, which is not legal. Illegal.

Devotee: Prohibited.

Prabhupada: Eh? Not prohibited. Something which is not allowed by law, but sometimes some concession is given. So anyway, it is clearly stated here, avidhi-purvakam. But vidhi-purvakam, also.

Vidhi-purvakam means under regulation. Just like in your body. In your body you have to take special care of your stomach, the digesting machine for your foodstuff. If your digestion is all right, then the energy will be supplied equal to the all parts of the body. So that is necessary. But at the same time, it is not prohibited that you should not take care of the hand which is a part of your body. That’s all right. Similarly, to worship demigods may be accepted if people know that these demigods are authorized agents of the Supreme Lord. There is acceptance of Supreme Lord. But those fools who do not accept the Supreme God and misunderstand that “This particular type of demigod is all in all,” oh, they are doing nonsense. They are doing nonsense. They are keeping, placing, so many competitors of the Supreme Lord. That is avidhi-purvakam. Avidhi-purvakam. That is illegal. Nobody can be competitor of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord is known as asamordhva. Asama-urdhva. Nobody is greater than the Supreme Lord, and nobody is equal, on the same level.

Everyone, whatever he may be, however powerful he may be, they are all living entities. There are innumerable living entities, and some of them are, by degree, one is powerful more than the other. So in the material world we can see that Brahma, Lord Brahma, is the most powerful demigod. Similarly, Lord Siva is also next to Brahma or equal to Brahma. Somebody says he’s more than Brahma. Whatever it may be. So Lord Siva and Lord Brahma are considered to be the most powerful demigods, but still, it is prohibited that one should not think of them as equal to the Supreme Lord. It is strictly prohibited in Vaisnava Puranas. It is said like this: yas tu narayanam devam…

yas tu narayanam devam brahma-rudradi-daivataih samatvenaiva vikseta sa pasandi bhaved dhruvam

“Any person who keeps on the same level demigods like Brahma- Rudra”—that means Brahma and Lord Siva—“with Narayana”— Narayana is the Supreme Lord—yas tu narayanam devam brahma-rudradi-daivataih… They are very big, big demigods, but even they cannot be placed on the equal level of Narayana, the Supreme Lord. Yas tu samatvena vikseta: Anyone says that “To me everyone is the same, he is pasandi.” He is pasandi means nonfaithful, unfaithful, unbeliever. He is pasandi. Sa pasandi bhaved dhruvam. He’s unbeliever. He has no faith in God. He’s an unbeliever. So if we worship demigods as part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, then it is all right. But if we accept a particular type of demigod as He is the Lord, then that is irregular. That is not… That is not accepted here in the Bhagavad-gita—avidhi-purvakam.

aham hi sarva-yajnanam bhokta ca prabhur eva ca na tu mam abhijananti tattvenatas cyavanti te

The Lord says, “I am the only enjoyer, beneficiary of all kinds of sacrifices.” Aham hi bhokta. Aham hi sarva-yajnanam bhokta. Bhokta means enjoyer. Just like in the office, or in the factory, so many workers, they are working day and night, producing money, but who is the bhokta? Who is the enjoyer? The enjoyer is the proprietor. They are not enjoyer. They are laborers. They are workers. Similarly the, the, any kind of worship, any kind of sacrifice, any kind of charity, any kind of penance, any kind of austerity, any kind of philosophical discussion, any kind of meditation… There are so many things recommended for self- realization or the Supreme Absolute Truth realization. So Lord Krsna says, “Of all those processes, the ultimate beneficiary is I am, Myself, Lord Krsna.” Aham hi sarva-yajnanam bhokta prabhur eva ca. “Master.” Prabhu means master. Na tu mam abhijananti: “People do not know Me,” na tu mam abhijananti, “that ‘Krsna is the Supreme Enjoyer, the Absolute Enjoyer.’ ”

We are all enjoyed. There are two things: enjoyer and the enjoyed. Just like a crude example can be given that the husband and wife. The husband is supposed to be the enjoyer, and the wife is supposed to be the enjoyed. But the enjoyment is the same for both. But if you make division, it is understood that husband is predominator, and the wife is predominated. So here prabhu, prabhu means He’s the predominator. And everyone is predominated, everyone. Therefore, those who are predominated, their duty is to satisfy the predominator, and when the predominator is satisfied, both the predominator and the predominated gets the equal result.

So the Vaisnava philosophy is… They want to remain predominated by the supreme predominator. And the Mayavada philosophy, the monists, they want to merge into the predominator. Their idea is to become themselves predominator. When they fail to become predominator in this material world… We are all trying to become predominator. Everyone is trying. Bhokta. “I shall…” Competition is going on. You are predominator, say, for one thousands of worker or office clerk. Your office is so big. So I want to make my office bigger than you. So I want to become greater predominator than you. This is our competition, is going on. But none of us is actually predominator. We are all predominated. And because we do not know that “I can never be a predominator,” therefore I am under illusion, maya.

The real predominator is the Supreme Lord, Krsna. Aham hi sarva-yajnanam bhokta prabhur eva ca. He’s the predominator. Na tu mam abhijananti. People, they do not know. They want to become predominator themselves. That is not possible. By nature, he’s not so. I want to be predominator, but actually, I am being predominated by my desires, by my lust, by my anger, by my avarice, and so many good qualities. They are controlling me. I am angry. So I tell you something nonsense. You see? So that… I am predominated by the anger principle, kama-krodha. So therefore one who knows that “I am not predominator; I am predominated…”

Suppose I am, I am the head of the family. I am thinking that “I am head of the family.” But I am being controlled by the family members. I want to satisfy my wife. I want to satisfy my children. And if they are unsatisfied, then there is disruption in my family. Suppose I want to become the president. So my business will be to keep the citizens satisfied. Otherwise, next vote, I shall not get the post. So I am being predominated by the voting power. But I am thinking that “I am predominator.” This is called illusion. Nobody is predominator. He’s predominated by some other principle. Therefore, one who knows this, one who does not know, na tu mam abhijananti, one who does not know, tattvena atas cyavanti te, they fall down, under the illusion, cyavanti te. And one who knows that “I can never become the predominator, I shall always remain the predominated…” If I do not become predominated voluntarily by the Supreme Lord, if I do not surrender unto Him and voluntarily agree to be predominated by the Lord, then I shall be predominated by the elements of material nature, this kama, krodha, lobha, lust, desire, anger, enviousness, so many things. They’ll predominate me. The senses will predominate me. Actually, we are, at the present moment, we are servants of the senses. My senses dictate something. I am obliged to do it. I cannot avoid it.

A simple thing: as soon as my tongue dictates, “Please smoke,” oh, immediately I have to take one cigarette. Immediately. If somebody does not smoke, then he asks permission. Sometimes… We do not smoke. Sometimes some gentleman comes and he becomes too much agitated by not smoking, say, for five minutes or ten minutes. He asks permission, “Swamiji, can I smoke?” He’s being predominated. He does not know. He’s thinking that “I am smoking,” but he does not know that smoking is eating him. He’s thinking that “I am enjoying LSD,” but LSD is killing him. This is the position. It’s killing him. So because he does not know that who is the predominator, therefore cyavanti, he’s falling down. He’s falling down. So best thing is intelligence. Best intelligence is to accept Supreme Lord, Krsna, as the predominator and be predominated by Him. That is our natural life. One who does not know, he falls down. Na tu mam abhijananti tattvena… Tattvena, by truth. Simply to know Krsna, “Oh, Krsna was somebody born in India, and He was very powerful and He was very intelligent. He has written Bhagavad-gita…” But we do not know actually what Krsna is. And this society especially meant to broadcast the knowledge about Krsna. Therefore we have named particularly this society the Society for Krishna Consciousness. There is the… People do not know it. They are writing commentaries on Krsna’s book, but they are speaking nonsense because they do not know Krsna. Tattvenatas cyavanti te: “They fall down from the truth.”

This is… So therefore we should try to know Krsna by parampara system. Krsna is delivering His instruction to Arjuna, and if we understand as Arjuna understood… That is mentioned in the Tenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita. Then we can understand Krsna to some extent. We cannot understand Krsna in full. That is not possible because He’s unlimited, and we are limited. So our power will fail to understand Krsna fully. But if we understand something, something about Him… Just like in the Bhagavad-gita, you’ll find,

janma karma me divyam yo janati tattvatah tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti kaunteya [Bg. 4.9]

“My dear Arjuna, anyone who simply knows how I take My birth and how I am working,” janma karma me divyam, “transcendentally, that person becomes immediately liberated.” How is that? Now, tyaktva deham: “After quitting this body, he never comes again to this material world.” Then where does he go? Mam eti: “In My kingdom.” So simply by knowing how Krsna, He is unborn, how He’s taking birth, and the Supreme, how He’s working like us—these two things, if you know, simply, about Krsna… How do we know? Therefore the Vedic injunction is tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet [MU 1.2.12] If you want to know Krsna, then you must approach a person who knows Krsna. Don’t try to know Krsna by your own imagination. People are trying to know Krsna by his faulty imagination. In that way Krsna cannot be known. So if you want to know Krsna, then you have to know Krsna as Arjuna knows. Because Arjuna understood Krsna, what He is. Otherwise, he would not have changed his decision. His decision was not to fight, but he changed his decision. He fought because he understood Krsna. Understood Krsna.

So here it is stated na tu mam abhijananti: “People do not know that I am the beneficiary, I am the enjoyer, of everything. I am the Lord of everything. Therefore everything should be done for Me. Everything should be offered to Me. That will make him happy, peace.” We are hankering after peace, but we do not know what is peace. We are unnecessarily, illegally claiming overlordship on Krsna’s property. How we can be in peace? The material agents, the material energy is there. Suppose if I encroach upon others’ property, will it be peaceful? The police action is already there. Why the police is there? So that one may not encroach upon others’ rights. Police is there. The law and, what is called, order, law and order department, department of law and order. So they are… Why that is? That everyone should be, I mean to say, free to enjoy his right. So you cannot encroach upon others’ right.

But here, in our material conception of life, our only business is to encroach upon the right of others. That is our business. We are all encroaching on the rights of others. That is our business. So how you can expect peace? I do not allow even a poor animal to live. I am encroaching upon his body. The poor animal is living at the cost of God, but I am encroaching upon his rights. And still, we want to establish our right. We encroach upon others’ property, others’ land, and we want peace. How there can be peace? Our business is to encroach upon others’ property, and we want to be peaceful? But there cannot be peaceful. The police action is there. Similarly, the material nature is the police action of the Supreme Lord. As the state is protected by the department of law and order, similarly, this whole universe is protected by the stringent laws of nature. If we violate, the stringent laws of nature will not excuse me. Even a children, if he transgresses the law of nature, if he touches fire, the fire will not excuse because he is child. No. Ignorance is no excuse. Similarly, everything, the Prabhu, the Supreme Lord, God, is the proprietor of everything. Aham hi sarva-yajnanam bhokta ca prabhur eva ca. Na tu mam abhijananti. They do not know that God is the proprietor of everything, so they are encroaching upon God’s property, and nature is punishing. This is our position. You cannot avoid.

Daivi hy esa gunamayi mama maya duratyaya [Bg. 7.14]. The law of nature is very strong and stringent. Just a small example: a child, touching fire. Oh, fire does not excuse. Just see how much stringent law of nature. So law of nature is very stringent. So everything belongs to Krsna, or the Supreme Lord, and we do not know it and therefore we are encroaching upon the property of Krsna, and law of, the law of nature is punishing us. This is going on. Now, if you want to stop this, then you have to surrender to the Lord. Mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te [Bg. 7.14]. Anyone who surrenders unto the Supreme, he becomes away from the stringent laws of nature. He becomes peaceful. He becomes happy. One who is in Krsna consciousness, he is happy. He is peaceful. He does not do any harm to anyone, not even to the ant. What to speak of other animals. He enjoys according to the direction of Krsna. And enjoys very nicely. So his life becomes peaceful, happy and everything. That is desire of life.(?) He becomes qualified with all the good qualities. Yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah. Anyone who becomes Krsna consciousness, all the good qualities automatically develop. Develop, they develop. Harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-gunah.

And one who is not in Krsna consciousness, he has no good qualification at all. Why? Mano-rathenasati dhava… Because he is hovering over the mental plane. He has no more any touch with the spiritual plane. So long we are on the material plane, or gross bodily plane, or subtle mental plane, oh, we have to suffer. We have to go to the spiritual platform, and that spiritual platform is Krsna consciousness. We have to change the consciousness from material platform, from mental platform, from intellectual platform, to the platform of Krsna. That is our program, Krsna consciousness. So if we become fully Krsna conscious, there is no chance of falling down. If we do not become then there is always chance of falling down, down, down, down, down. Thank you very much. (end)