The demigods,being pleased by sacrificies, will also please you, and thus, by cooperation between men and demigods, properity will reign for all.
The demigods are empowered administrators of material affairs.
The supply of air, light, water and all other benedictions for maintaining the body and soul of every living entity is entrusted to the
demigods, who are innumerable assistants in different parts of the
body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Their pleasures and
displeasures are dependent on the performance of yajnas by the
human being. Some of the yajnas are meant to satisfy particular
demigods; but even in so doing. Lord Vishnu is worshiped in all
yajnas as the chief beneficiary. It is stated also in the Bhagavad-Gita
that Krishna Himself is the beneficiary of all kinds of yajnas: bhoktdram yajna-tapasdm. Therefore, ultimate satisfaction of the yajnapati is the chief purpose of all yajnas. When these yajnas are
perfectly performed, naturally the demigods in charge of the different departments of supply are pleased, and there is no scarcity in the
supply of natural products.
Performance of yajnas has many side benefits, ultimately leading
to liberation from material bondage. By performance of yajnas, all
activities become purified, as it is stated in the Vedas: dhdra-suddhau
sattva-suddhih sattva-suddhau dhruva smrtih smrti-lambhe sarva-
granthindm vipramoksah. By performance of yajna one's eatables
become sanctified, and by eating sanctified foodstuffs one's very
existence becomes purified; by the purification of existence finer
tissues in the memory become sanctified, and when memory is
sanctified one can think of the path of liberation, and all these
combined together lead to Krishna consciousness, the great necessity
of present-day society.
- istan bhogan hi vo deva
- dasyante yajna-bhavitah
- tair dattan apradayaibhyo
- yo bhunkte stena eva sah.
In charge of the various necessities of life, the demigods, being
satisfied by the performance of yajna [sacrifice], will supply all
necessities to you. But he who enjoys such gifts without offering
them to the demigods in return is certainly a thief.
The demigods are authorized supplying agents on behalf of the
Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu. Therefore, they must be
satisfied by the performance of prescribed yajnas. In the Vedas. there
are different kinds of yajnas prescribed for different kinds of demigods, but all are ultimately offered to the Supreme Personality of
Godhead. For one who cannot understand what the Personality of
Godhead is, sacrifice to the demigods is recommended. According to
the different material qualities of the persons concerned, different
types of yajnas are recommended in the Vedas. Worship of different
demigods is also on the same basis-namely, according to different
qualities. For example, the meat-eaters are recommended to worship the goddess Kali, the ghastly form of material nature, and
before the goddess the sacrifice of animals is recommended. But for
those who are in the mode of goodness, the transcendental worship
of Vishnu is recommended. But ultimately all yajnas are meant for
gradual promotion to the transcendental position. For ordinary
men, at least five yajnas, known as panca-maha-yajna, are necessary.
One should know, however, that all the necessities of life that the
human society requires are supplied by the demigod agents of the
Lord. No one can manufacture anything. Take, for example, all the
eatables of human society. These eatables include grains, fruits,
vegetables, milk, sugar, etc., for the persons in the mode of good-
ness, and also eatables for the non-vegetarians, like meats, none of
which can be manufactured by men. Then again, take for example
heat, light, water, air, etc., which are also necessities of life-none of
them can be manufactured by the human society. Without the
Supreme Lord, there can be no profuse sunlight, moonlight, rainfall,
breeze, etc., without which no one can live. Obviously, our life is
dependent on supplies from the Lord. Even for our manufacturing
enterprises, we require so many raw materials like metal, sulphur,
mercury, manganese, and so many essentials-all of which are
supplied by the agents of the Lord, with the purpose that we should
make proper use of them to keep ourselves fit and healthy for the
purpose of self-realization, leading to the ultimate goal of life,
namely, liberation from the material struggle for existence.
of life is attained by performance of yajnas. If we forget the purpose
of human life and simply take supplies from the agents of the Lord
for sense gratification and become more and more entangled in
material existence, which is not the purpose of creation, certainly we
become thieves, and therefore we are punished by the laws of
material nature. A society of thieves can never be happy, because
they have no aim in life. The gross materialist thieves have no
ultimate goal of life. They are simply directed to sense gratification;
nor do they have knowledge of how to perform yajnas. Lord
Caitanya, however, inaugurated the easiest performance of yajna,
namely the sankirtana-yajna, which can be performed by anyone in
the world who accepts the principles of Krishna consciousness.
- yajna-sistasinah santo
- mucyante sarva-kilbisaih
- bhunjate te tv agham
- papa ye pacanty atma-karanat.
The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because
they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare
food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.
The devotees of the Supreme Lord, or the persons who are in Krishna
consciousness, are called santas, and they are always in love with the
Lord as it is described in the Brahma-samhitd (5.38): premanjana-
cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti.
The santas, being always in a compact of love with the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, Govinda (the giver of all pleasures), or
Mukunda (the giver of liberation), or Krishna (the all-attractive per-
son), cannot accept anything without first offering it to the Supreme
Therefore, such devotees always perform yajnas in different
modes of devotional service, such as sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, arcanam, etc., and these performances of yajnas keep them
always aloof from all kinds of contamination of sinful association in
the material world. Others, who prepare food for self or sense
gratification, are not only thieves but also the eaters of all kinds of
sins. How can a person be happy if he is both a thief and sinful? It is
not possible. Therefore, in order for people to become happy in all
respects, they must be taught to perform the easy process of
sankirtana-yajna, in full Krishna consciousness. Otherwise, there can
be no peace or happiness in the world.
- annad bhavanti bhutani
- parjanyad anna-sambhavah
- yajnad bhavati parjanyo
- yajnah karma-samudbhavah.
All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from
rains. Rains are produced by performance of yajna [sacrifice], and
yajna is born of prescribed duties.
Srila Baladeva Vidyabhiisana, a great commentator on the
Bhagavad-Gita, writes as follows: The Supreme Lord, who is
known as the yajna-purusa, 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.
For this reason, the devotees of the Lord, who are in Krishna consciousness, offer food to Krishna and then eat-a process which
nourishes the body spiritually. By such action not only are past
sinful reactions in the body vanquished, but the body becomes
immunized to all contamination of material nature. When there is
an epidemic disease, an antiseptic vaccine protects a person from the
attack of such an epidemic. Similarly, food offered to Lord Vishnu
and then taken by us makes us sufficiently resistant to material
affection, and one who is accustomed to this practice is called a
devotee of the Lord. Therefore, a person in Krishna consciousness,
who eats only food offered to Krishna, can counteract all reactions of
past material infections, which are impediments to the progress of
self-realization. On the other hand, one who does not do so continues to increase the volume of sinful action, and this prepares the
next body to resemble hogs and dogs, to suffer the resultant reactions of all sins. The material world is full of contaminations, and
one who is immunized by accepting Prasad of the Lord (food
offered to Vishnu) is saved from the attack, whereas one who does not
do so becomes subjected to contamination.
Food grains or vegetables are factually eatables. The human being
eats different kinds of food grains, vegetables, fruits, etc., and the
animals eat the refuse of the food grains and vegetables, grass,
plants, etc. Human beings who are accustomed to eating meat and flesh must also depend on the production of vegetation in order to
eat the animals. Therefore, ultimately, we have to depend on the
production of the field and not on the production of big factories.
The field production is due to sufficient rain from the sky, and such
rains are controlled by demigods like Indra, sun, moon, etc., and
they are all servants of the Lord. The Lord can be satisfied by
sacrifices; therefore, one who cannot perform them will find him-
self in scarcity-that is the law of nature. Yajna, specifically the
sankirtana-yajna prescribed for this age, must therefore be
performed to save us at least from scarcity of food supply.
- karma brahmodbhavam viddhi
- brahmaksara-samudbhavam tasmat
- sarva-gatam brahma
- nityam yajne pratisthitam.
Regulated activities are prescribed in the Vedas, and the Vedas are
directly manifested from the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Consequently the all-pervading Transcendence is eternally situated
in acts of sacrifice.
Yajnartha-karma, or the necessity of work for the satisfaction of
Krishna only, is more expressly stated in this verse. If we have to work
for the satisfaction of the yajna-purusa, Vishnu, then we must find out
the direction of work in Brahman, or the transcendental Vedas. The
Vedas are therefore codes of working directions. Anything performed without the direction of the Vedas is called vikarma, or unauthorized or sinful work. Therefore, one should always take
direction from the Vedas to be saved from the reaction of work. As
one has to work in ordinary life by the direction of the state, one
similarly has to work under direction of the supreme state of the
Lord. Such directions in the Vedas are directly manifested from the
breathing of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
It is said, "The four Vedas-namely the Rg Veda, Yajur
Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda-are all emanations from the
breathing of the great Personality of Godhead." (Brhad-aranyaka
Upanisad 4.5.11) The Lord, being omnipotent, can speak by breathing air, for as it is confirmed in the Brahma-samhita, the Lord has
the omnipotence to perform through each of His senses the actions
of all other senses. In other words, the Lord can speak through His
breathing, and He can impregnate by His eyes. In fact, it is said that
He glanced over material nature and thus fathered all living entities.
After creating or impregnating the conditioned souls into the womb
of material nature. He gave His directions in the Vedic wisdom as to
how such conditioned souls can return home, back to Godhead. We
should always remember that the conditioned souls in material
nature are all eager for material enjoyment. But the Vedic directions
are so made that one can satisfy one's perverted desires, then return
to Godhead, having finished his so-called enjoyment.
It is a chance
for the conditioned souls to attain liberation; therefore the conditioned souls must try to follow the process of yajna by becoming
Krishna conscious. Even those who have not followed the Vedic
injunctions may adopt the principles of Krishna consciousness, and
that will take the place of performance of Vedic yajnas, or karmas.
- evam pravartitam cakram
- nanuvartayatiha yah aghayur
- indriyaramo mogham
- partha sa jivati.
My dear Arjun, one who does not follow in human life the cycle of
sacrifice thus established by the Vedas certainly leads a life full of sin.
Living only for the satisfaction of the senses, such a person lives in
The mammonist philosophy of "work very hard and enjoy sense
gratification" is condemned herein by the Lord. Therefore, for those
who want to enjoy this material world, the above-mentioned cycle of
performing yajnas is absolutely necessary. One who does not follow
such regulations is living a very risky life, being condemned more
and more. By nature's law, this human form of life is specifically
meant for self-realization, in either of the three ways-namely
karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, or bhakti-yoga. There is no necessity of
rigidly following the performances of the prescribed yajnas for the
transcendentalists who are above vice and virtue; but those who are
engaged in sense gratification require purification by the above-
mentioned cycle of yajna performances. There are different kinds of
activities. Those who are not Krishna conscious are certainly engaged
in sensory consciousness; therefore they need to execute pious work.
The yajna system is planned in such a way that sensory conscious
persons may satisfy their desires without becoming entangled in the
reaction of sense-gratificatory work.
The prosperity of the world
depends not on our own efforts but on the background arrangement
of the Supreme Lord, directly carried out by the demigods. There-
fore, the yajnas are directly aimed at the particular demigods mentioned in the Vedas. Indirectly, it is the practice of Krishna
consciousness, because when one masters the performance of yajnas
one is sure to become Krishna conscious. But if by performing yajnas
one does not become Krishna conscious, such principles are counted
as only moral codes. One should not, therefore, limit his progress
only to the point of moral codes, but should transcend them, to
attain Krishna consciousness.
- yas tv atma-ratir eva syad
- atma-trptas ca manavah
- atmany eva ca santustas
- tasya karyam na vidyate.
But for one who takes pleasure in the self, whose human life is one of
self-realization, and who is satisfied in the self only, fully satiated-
for him there is no duty.
A person who is fully Krishna conscious, and is fully satisfied by his
acts in Krishna consciousness, no longer has any duty to perform. Due
to his being Krishna conscious, all impiety within is instantly cleansed,
an effect of many, many thousands of yajna performances. By such
clearing of consciousness, one becomes fully confident of his eternal
position in relationship with the Supreme. His duty thus becomes
self-illuminated by the grace of the Lord, and therefore he no longer
has any obligations to the Vedic injunctions. Such a Krishna conscious
person is no longer interested in material activities and no longer
takes pleasure in material arrangements like wine, women and
- naiva tasya kretenartho
- nakrteneha kascana na
- casya sarva-bhutesu
- kascid artha-vyapasrayah.
A self-realized man has no purpose to fulfill in the discharge of his
prescribed duties, nor has he any reason not to perform such work.
Nor has he any need to depend on any other living being.
A self-realized man is no longer obliged to perform any prescribed
duty, save and except activities in Krishna consciousness. Krishna consciousness is not inactivity either, as will be explained in the following verses. A Krishna conscious man does not take shelter of any
person-man or demigod. Whatever he does in Krishna consciousness
is sufficient in the discharge of his obligation.
- tasmad asaktah satatam
- karyam karma samacara
- asakto hy acaran karma
- param apnoti purusah.
Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one
should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment
one attains the Supreme.
The Supreme is the Personality of Godhead for the devotees, and
liberation for the impersonalist. A person, therefore, acting for
Krishna, or in Krishna consciousness, under proper guidance and with-
out attachment to the result of the work, is certainly making progress toward the supreme goal of life. Arjun is told that he should
fight in the Battle of Kuruksetra for the interest of Krishna because
Krishna wanted him to fight. To be a good man or a nonviolent man is
a personal attachment, but to act on behalf of the Supreme is to act
without attachment for the result. That is perfect action of the
highest degree, recommended by the Supreme Personality of God-
head, Sri Krishna.
Vedic rituals, like prescribed sacrifices, are performed for purification of impious activities that were performed in the field of sense
gratification. But action in Krishna consciousness is transcendental to
the reactions of good or evil work. A Krishna conscious person has no
attachment for the result but acts on behalf of Krishna alone. He
engages in all kinds of activities, but is completely nonattached.
- karmanaiva hi samsiddhim
- asthita janakadayah
- loka-sangraham evapi
- sampasyan kartum arhasi.
Kings such as Janak attained perfection solely by performance of
prescribed duties. Therefore, just for the sake of educating the
people in general, you should perform your work.
Kings like Janak were all self-realized souls; consequently they
had no obligation to perform the prescribed duties in the Vedas.
Nonetheless they performed all prescribed activities just to set
examples for the people in general. Janak was the father of Sita and
father-in-law of Lord Sri Ram. Being a great devotee of the Lord,
he was transcendentally situated, but because he was the king of
Mithila (a subdivision of Bihar province in India), he had to teach
his subjects how to perform prescribed duties.
Lord Krishna and
Arjun, the Lord's eternal friend, had no need to fight in the Battle of
Kuruksetra, but they fought to teach people in general that violence
is also necessary in a situation where good arguments fail. Before the
Battle of Kuruksetra, every effort was made to avoid the war, even by
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the other party was
determined to fight. So for such a right cause, there is a necessity for
fighting. Although one who is situated in Krishna consciousness may
not have any interest in the world, he still works to teach the public
how to live and how to act. Experienced persons in Krishna consciousness can act in such a way that others will follow, and this is
explained in the following verse.