sampracaratsu nÄnÄ-yÄgeá¹£u viracitÄá¹ ga-kriyeá¹£v apÅ«rvaá¹ yat tat kriyÄ-phalaá¹ dharmÄkhyaá¹ pare brahmaá¹i yajÃ±a-puruá¹£e sarva-devatÄ-liá¹ gÄnÄá¹ mantrÄá¹Äm artha-niyÄma-katayÄ sÄká¹£Ät-kartari para-devatÄyÄá¹ bhagavati vÄsudeva eva bhÄvayamÄna Ätma-naipuá¹ya-má¹dita-kaá¹£Äyo haviá¸¥á¹£v adhvaryubhir gá¹hyamÄá¹eá¹£u sa yajamÄno yajÃ±a-bhÄjo devÄá¹s tÄn puruá¹£Ävayaveá¹£v abhyadhyÄyat
sampracaratsu - when beginning to perform; nÄnÄ-yÄgeá¹£u - various kinds of sacrifice; viracita-aá¹ ga-kriyeá¹£u - in which the supplementary rites were performed; apÅ«rvam - remote; yat - whatever; tat - that; kriyÄ-phalam - the result of such sacrifice; dharma-Äkhyam - by the name of religion; pare - unto the transcendence; brahmaá¹i - the Supreme Lord; yajÃ±a-puruá¹£e - the enjoyer of all sacrifices; sarva-devatÄ-liá¹ gÄnÄm - which manifest all the demigods; mantrÄá¹Äm - of the Vedic hymns; artha-niyÄma-katayÄ - due to being the controller of the objects; sÄká¹£Ät-kartari - directly the performer; para-devatÄyÄm - the origin of all demigods; bhagavati - the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vÄsudeve - unto Ká¹á¹£á¹a; eva - certainly; bhÄvayamÄnaá¸¥ - always thinking; Ätma-naipuá¹ya-má¹dita-kaá¹£Äyaá¸¥ - freed from all lust and anger by his expertise in such thinking; haviá¸¥á¹£u - the ingredients to be offered in the sacrifice; adhvaryubhiá¸¥ - when the priests expert in the sacrifices mentioned in the Atharva Veda; gá¹hyamÄá¹eá¹£u - taking; saá¸¥ - MahÄrÄja Bharata; yajamÄnaá¸¥ - the sacrificer; yajÃ±a-bhÄjaá¸¥ - the recipients of the results of sacrifice; devÄn - all the demigods; tÄn - them; puruá¹£a-avayaveá¹£u - as different parts and limbs of the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda; abhyadhyÄyat - he thought.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead says that as long as one does not develop the pure devotional service of Åravaá¹aá¹ kÄ«rtanam, hearing and chanting, one must carry out his prescribed duties. Since Bharata MahÄrÄja was a great devotee, one may ask why he performed so many sacrifices that are actually meant for karmÄ«s. The fact is that he was simply following the orders of VÄsudeva. As Ká¹á¹£á¹a says in Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ, sarva dharmÄn parityajya mÄm ekaá¹ Åaraá¹aá¹ vraja: âAbandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me.â (Bg. 18.66) Whatever we do, we should constantly remember VÄsudeva. People are generally addicted to offering obeisances to various demigods, but Bharata MahÄrÄja simply wanted to please Lord VÄsudeva. As stated in Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ: bhoktÄraá¹ yajÃ±a-tapasÄá¹ sarva-loka-maheÅvaram (Bg. 5.29). A yajÃ±a may be carried out to satisfy a particular demigod, but when the yajÃ±a is offered to the yajÃ±a-puruá¹£a, NÄrÄyaá¹a, the demigods are satisfied. The purpose of performing different yajÃ±as is to satisfy the Supreme Lord. One may perform them in the name of different demigods or directly. If we directly offer oblations to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the demigods are automatically satisfied. If we water the root of a tree, the branches, twigs, fruits and flowers are automatically satisfied. When one offers sacrifices to different demigods, one should remember that the demigods are simply parts of the body of the Supreme. If we worship the hand of a person, we intend to satisfy the person himself. If we massage a personâs legs, we do not really serve the legs but the person who possesses the legs. All the demigods are different parts of the Lord, and if we offer service to them, we actually serve the Lord Himself. Demigod worship is mentioned in Brahma-saá¹hitÄ, but actually the Ålokas advocate worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda. For instance, worship of the goddess DurgÄ is mentioned this way in Brahma-saá¹hitÄ (5.44):
chÄyeva yasya bhuvanÄni bibharti durgÄ
icchÄnurÅ«pam api yasya ca ceá¹£á¹ate sÄ
govindam Ädi-puruá¹£aá¹ tam ahaá¹ bhajÄmi
Following the orders of ÅrÄ« Ká¹á¹£á¹a, the goddess DurgÄ creates, maintains and annihilates. ÅrÄ« Ká¹á¹£á¹a also confirms this statement in Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ. MayÄdhyaká¹£eá¹a praká¹tiá¸¥ sÅ«yate sa-carÄcaram: âThis material nature is working under My direction, O son of KuntÄ«, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings.â (Bg. 9.10)
We should worship the demigods in that spirit. Because the goddess DurgÄ satisfies Ká¹á¹£á¹a, we should therefore offer respects to Goddess DurgÄ. Because Lord Åiva is nothing but Ká¹á¹£á¹aâs functional body, we should therefore offer respects to Lord Åiva. Similarly, we should offer respects to BrahmÄ, Agni and SÅ«rya. There are many offerings to different demigods, and one should always remember that these offerings are usually meant to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Bharata MahÄrÄja did not aspire to receive some benediction from demigods. His aim was to please the Supreme Lord. In the MahÄbhÄrata, among the thousand names of Viá¹£á¹u, it is said yajÃ±a-bhug yajÃ±a-ká¹d yajÃ±aá¸¥. The enjoyer of yajÃ±a, the performer of yajÃ±a and yajÃ±a itself are the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord is the performer of everything, but out of ignorance the living entity thinks that he is the actor. As long as we think we are the actors, we bring about karma-bandha (bondage to activity). If we act for yajÃ±a, for Ká¹á¹£á¹a, there is no karma-bandha. YajÃ±ÄrthÄt karmaá¹oÂ ânyatra lokoÂ âyaá¹ karma-bandhanaá¸¥: âWork done as a sacrifice for Viá¹£á¹u has to be performed; otherwise work binds one to this material world.â (Bg. 3.9)
Following the instructions of Bharata MahÄrÄja, we should act not for our personal satisfaction but for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ (17.28) it is also stated:
aÅraddhayÄ hutaá¹ dattaá¹
tapas taptaá¹ ká¹taá¹ ca yat
asad ity ucyate pÄrtha
na ca tat pretya no iha
Sacrifices, austerities and charities performed without faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead are nonpermanent. Regardless of whatever rituals are performed, they are called asat, nonpermanent. They are therefore useless both in this life and the next.
Kings like MahÄrÄja AmbarÄ«á¹£a and many other rÄjará¹£is who were pure devotees of the Lord simply passed their time in the service of the Supreme Lord. When a pure devotee executes some service through the agency of another person, he should not be criticized, for his activities are meant for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. A devotee may have a priest perform some karma-kÄá¹á¸a, and the priest may not be a pure Vaiá¹£á¹ava, but because the devotee wants to please the Supreme Lord, he should not be criticized. The word apÅ«rva is very significant. The resultant actions of karma are called apÅ«rva. When we act piously or impiously, immediate results do not ensue. We therefore wait for the results, which are called apÅ«rva. The results are manifest in the future. Even the smÄrtas accept this apÅ«rva. Pure devotees simply act for the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore the results of their activities are spiritual, or permanent. They are not like those of the karmÄ«s, which are nonpermanent. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ (4.23):
gata-saá¹ gasya muktasya
âThe work of a man who is unattached to the modes of material nature and who is fully situated in transcendental knowledge merges entirely into transcendence.â
A devotee is always free from material contamination. He is fully situated in knowledge, and therefore his sacrifices are intended for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.