Q Why did Arjuna, a great devotee of the Lord approach Lord Indra a demigod for help? Does this not contradict the teachings of Srila Prabhupada that intelligent men worship only Krishna?
A. My reply will be a two part response. First, bear in mind that the message of Bhagavad Gita and the message of Srimad Bhagavatam are describing unalloyed devotion to Krsna as the ultimate goal. This is the highest teaching and the means of the highest attainment of life. While this is true, the Mahabharata is presenting another important lesson of life, namely the principles of ethics and morality which should guide human society, whether one is an exalted unalloyed devotee of Krsna or not. Everyone should be ethical and moral, and these instructions are found in Mahabharata. The reference of Arjuna seeking weapons from the demigods adds to the grandeur of the figure of Arjuna, who was a most exalted friend of Krsna. Because of that dearness to Krsna, he had the capacity to even travel from the earthly planet to the svarga loka region, etc. What I am indicating here is that there are two levels of instructions which we find in scriptures. One level is describing the highest possible attainment, the other is describing the religious principles which should guide our life. You should not become confused when you read various literatures and find that there are different levels of instructions or teaching-by-example exhibited by great devotees. The second part of my answer has to do with the exalted nature of Arjuna. Because Arjuna was Krishna’s unalloyed devotee, therefore whatever Arjuna did was exclusively in the line of service to his master and dear friend Lord Krsna. On the other hand, if someone less qualified than Arjuna were to go to the demigods for divine astras, their purpose would not be the same. They would want to do this for name and fame, or for influence, of for some personal aggrandizement. That is not the case of Arjuna, given his exalted and pure devotion to Krsna. Therefore his activities are not subject to the same defects that others might be subject to, even when performing the same activities.