Category Archives: Demigod Worship

Material desires? Nothing to worry

It is said that even if a person is full of material desires he is directed to worship Lord Shri Krishna. Then why it is said that it is an offense to keep material attachments while chanting the mahamantra?

It is an offense as you said but if we go to Krishna with material desires even while doing offenses, we will be slowly purified and attain pure devotional service. It is an offense and will be obstacle to achieve pure devotional service. But going to Krishna even with desires will begin one’s progress toward Krishna. On the way he will be cleansed of desires as well.

How is it possible for anybody who is chanting for material desires to give up his very purpose of chanting? What is the remedy?

He will not give up desires but the effect of chanting is that the desires will dissolve. As the desires dissolve because of his chanting holy names he will be aware of real aim of holy names, that is love of Godhead.

Why go through tedious devotional service than to worship demigods as Lord Shiva who are quickly pleased?

Because you can get pure devotional service in the end even if you don’t desire it right now by worshiping Krishna with material desires. But if you worship demigods then that pure love of Godhead will not be achieved. By devotional service you will be free from material world. This cannot be achieved by worshiping demigods.

Surrender unto Me

Bhagavad-Gita 18.66 says that we should abandon all varieties of religion and surrender to the Lord. We find that in the case of demigod worshippers they are attached to meat eating and other vices, even when they start chanting a round a day, the level of surrender is not really very high. What should we do?

The particular verse you have quoted is one of the final instructions of Lord Krishna to Arjuna and requires a high level of faith and surrender. Krishna also says that one must not disturb the faith of other people as they may lose whatever little faith they have in Vedic knowledge. Rather than asking new devotees to give up demigod worship, meat eating it is more expedient to ask them to add Krishna to their lives and let the process of devotional service cleanse their material desires.

Symptoms to identify Bhagavan

Who is Satya Sai Baba? Is he a Bhagavan as people call him?

We are not familiar with his teachings to comment on his identity. Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Gita mention the characteristics of an authorized incarnation. There are auspicious markings on the Lotus feet. The advent of the particular incarnation must be predicted in the scriptures. He must be able to show the universal form which Krishna revealed to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. He must perform extraordinary activities and not just perform some magic tricks. The purpose of the particular incarnation is also revealed in the scriptures. There are many other indications also. Only if these conditions are satisfied, we can accept somebody to be an incarnation.

There are also many references in the scriptures, of people having a few siddhis, who falsely claim to be God to cheat the innocent public. We must guard against this phenomenon which is unfortunately quite prevalent in India.

Goal of worshipping Krishna

Is this true that to reach Krishna we should go through channel of demigods. Are Ganapati and mother Durga demigods? What is difference between worshipping demigods and worshipping Krishna?

To reach Krishna we have to worship Krishna. The Bhagavad Gita explains that if we worship the demigods we go to them and if we worship Krishna we go to Him.

Ganapati and Durga are demigods.

The demigods are normally worshipped for material benedictions which also ultimately come from Krishna. Krishna is however worshipped to attain pure devotional service unto Him.

Worship of Vishnu Incarnations

The scriptures do not allow worship of demigods, but can I worship Lord Nrisimha who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu for material desires. It is also said that by reading the Nrisimha Kavacha all the material desires are fulfilled. Is that true?

The scriptures explain that whether we have no material desires or are full of material desires one should worship Krishna only. By worshipping the demigods for satisfying material desires one gets more conditioned in this material world whereas by worshipping Krishna one gets freed.

By regularly chanting the Nrisimha Kavacha or any other prayer that glorifies Vishnu, one may be able to fulfill material desires, however the only result that we can expect in the long term is pure unalloyed devotional service (Bhakti).

The position of Lord Shiva

Is Lord Shiva the supreme as many in India say or if not what is his position and why do people give more importance to Lord Shiva even though Lord Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-Gita? Do we really need to worship him and Lord Ganesha?

Lord Shiva is unlimitedly glorious. Lord Shiva is in fact far above the other devas like Indra and Lord Brahma. The others are all jivas; they are conditioned living beings empowered in various ways for the administration of the material world. But Lord Shiva is above them all. He is practically on the same level as Lord Vishnu Himself.

Still, a distinction exists, for Lord Shiva is directly in touch with the material energy whereas Lord Vishnu is always beyond it. The Brahma-samhita gives the example that Lord Vishnu is like milk whereas Lord Shiva is like yogurt. There is no difference between yogurt and milk. Still, milk is the original substance, of which yogurt is a transformation.

Lord Shiva may properly be regarded as being non-different from Lord Vishnu, because Lord Shiva is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu for performing specific functions. So when Lord Shiva is glorified as the Supreme Lord, the glorification is correct because Lord Shiva is the most highly empowered and exalted representative of Lord Vishnu.

In one sense, all living beings are non-different from Lord Vishnu, because Lord Vishnu is everything (vasudevah sarvam iti). In another sense, all living beings are different from Lord Vishnu, because Lord Vishnu is the supreme and all others, including even Lord Shiva, are His eternal servants. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained this state of affairs as acintya-bhedabheda-tattva, or simultaneous oneness and difference.

According to the Shrimad Bhagavatam (12.13.16), Lord Shiva is the greatest of all Vaishnavas, or devotees of Lord Vishnu. The relationship between Lord Vishnu and His devotees is very intimate and sublime, and especially so for the greatest of His devotees, Lord Shiva.

In a spirit of transcendental love, Lord Krishna, although the Supreme Lord, takes the role of a charioteer for a devotee like Arjuna, or a dependent child for a devotee like Yashoda. In this way, the Lord becomes the devotee of His devotee. Similarly, at Rameshwaram and elsewhere, the Lord acts as the devotee of His most exalted devotee Lord Shiva.

It was Lord Vishnu who saved the demigods from the terrible poison, but He did so through His empowered incarnation Lord Shiva, in order to show Lord Shiva’s glories. With this understanding, the devotees of the Hare Krishna movement worship Lord Shiva with the greatest reverence and respect.

Respect Demigods

I am a bit confused as my family worships demigods and want me to do the same but I like to worship only Krishna. Am I disrespecting the demigods?

Certainly, you are not disrespecting demigods. However it is better to know how to properly worship demigods and Lord Krishna.

In the Bhagavad-Gita, worship of different demigods or rendering service to them is not approved. It is stated in the seventh chapter, twentieth verse: “Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.”

The Supreme Lord, who is known as the Yajna-purusha, or the personal beneficiary of all sacrifices, is the master of all the demigods, who serve Him as the different limbs of the body serve the whole. Demigods like Indra, Candra and Varuna are appointed officers who manage material affairs, and the Vedas direct sacrifices to satisfy these demigods so that they may be pleased to supply air, light and water sufficiently to produce food grains. When Lord Krishna is worshiped, the demigods, who are different limbs of the Lord, are also automatically worshiped; therefore there is no separate need to worship the demigods.

So yes, followers of the Krishna consciousness movement believe in the demigods and they offer their due respects to them. In fact, they offer respect to all living beings, seeing them all as servants of Lord Krishna. But they worship and love only the Supreme Person, following His instructions in the Bhagavad-Gita to give up all varieties of worship and just surrender to Him.

Faith in demigods

Q. What do I do with my faith in particular demigod built up for so many years?

A. Someone may have worshiped a particular demigod with faith for many years. Now having come to proper understanding based on knowledge from scriptures and guidance from bona fide acharyas, he has decided to become a devotee of Lord Krishna. For most of such people, such a transition is very painful. Their heart is given to someone and now their intelligence wants them to worship someone else.

To keep matters simple and pain free, one could still maintain a relationship with the particular demigod although now it may be in a different light. Before, he would worship the demigod thinking him to be the supreme. Now, he may continue worshipping the demigod since he has affection for him, yet based on his knowledge of the demigod’s true position, now he sees him as an empowered representative of the Supreme Lord. Now, his respect for him is based on truth rather than on sentiments, which sometimes may be based on illusory perceptions of the demigod’s grandeur. Thus, the affectionate relationship with the demigod may continue and simultaneously, the worshiper endeavors to advance in his relationship with the supreme Lord, who is his eternal, well-wishing father.

Disrespecting Demigods

Q. Anyway demigods are not supreme. Do we disrespect them?

A. A person in true knowledge does not disrespect anyone. Demigods are exalted personalities, empowered by the Supreme Lord Himself to carry out certain administrative functions for universal management. Seeing their loyalty and sincerity, they have been specifically appointed in their positions.

We may have respect for everyone but our heart may be reserved for the object of our love— Lord Krishna. Further, our love for the supreme Lord will be judged by our respect for His will and His decisions in appointing certain personalities in certain positions.
Thus, a true devotee of Lord Krishna based on his love for his Lord and knowledge of the positions of demigods does not disrespect demigods in any manner.

Fear of worshiping Krishna

Q. When I start worshiping Krishna, will I be treated as unchaste by my worshipable deity?

A. The Supreme Lord is the source of all that exists (BG. 10.8). He is described as sarva karana karanam (Bs 5.1). To maintain His creation, He has also created an entire system of demigods for its efficient governance, just as a cabinet of ministers is formed for the efficient governance of a country. The demigods in charge of a particular function know very well their position and their duty vis-à-vis their worshipable Lord.  Continue reading Fear of worshiping Krishna