Prayers by Akrūra
Akrūra offered his prayers as follows: “My dear Lord, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You because You are the supreme cause of all causes and the original inexhaustible personality, Nārāyaṇa. From Your navel a lotus flower grows, and from that lotus Brahmā, the creator of this universe, is born. Since Brahmā is the cause of this universe, You are the cause of all causes. The elements of this cosmic manifestation – earth, water, fire, air, ether, ego and the total material energy, as well as nature, the marginal energy, the living entities, the mind, the senses, the sense objects and the demigods who control the affairs of the cosmos – are all produced from Your body.
“You are the Supersoul of everything, but no one knows Your transcendental form. Everyone within this material world is influenced by the modes of material nature. Even demigods like Lord Brahmā, being covered by the influence of material nature, do not exactly know Your transcendental existence beyond the cosmic manifestation of the three modes of material nature. Great sages and mystics worship You as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the original cause of all living entities, all cosmic manifestation and all demigods. They worship You as all-inclusive. Some of the learned brāhmaṇas also worship You by observing Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. They offer different kinds of sacrifices in the names of different gods. And there are others also, who are fond of worshiping transcendental knowledge. They are very peaceful, and after giving up all kinds of material activities, they engage in the sacrifice known as jñāna-yajña, the philosophical search for You.
“There are also devotees, known as bhāgavatas, who worship You as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. After being properly initiated in the method of Pañcarātra, they decorate their bodies with tilaka and engage in worshiping Your different forms of viṣṇu-mūrti. There are others also, known as Śaivites, followers of different ācāryas, who worship You in the form of Lord Śiva.”
It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that worship of demigods is also indirectly worship of the Supreme Lord. But such worship is not orthodox, because the worshipable Lord is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa. Demigods such as Brahmā and Śiva are incarnations of the material qualities, which are also emanations from the body of Nārāyaṇa. Actually, there was no one existing before the creation except Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The worship of a demigod is not on the same level as worship of Nārāyaṇa.
Akrūra said, “Although the minds of those who are devotees of the demigods are fixed on a particular demigod, because You are the Supersoul of all living entities, including the demigods, worship of the demigods indirectly goes to You. Sometimes, after flowing down from the mountains during the rainy season, small rivers fail to reach the sea; some reach the sea and some do not. Similarly, the worshipers of the demigods may or may not reach You. There is no guarantee. Their success depends on the strength of their worship.”
According to the Vedic principles, when a worshiper worships a particular demigod, he also conducts some ritual for Nārāyaṇa, Yajñeśvara, for, as it is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā, the demigods cannot fulfill the desires of their worshipers without the sanction of Nārāyaṇa, or Kṛṣṇa. The exact words used in the Bhagavad-gītā are mayaiva vihitān hi tān, which mean that the demigods can award some benediction after being authorized by the Supreme Lord. When a demigod worshiper comes to his senses, he can reason as follows: “The demigods can offer benedictions only after being empowered by the Supreme Lord, so why not worship the Supreme Lord directly?” Such a worshiper of the demigods may come to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but others, who take the demigods as all in all, cannot reach the ultimate goal.
Akrūra continued to pray, “My dear Lord, the whole world is filled with the three material modes of nature, namely goodness, passion and ignorance. Everyone within this material world is covered by these modes, from Lord Brahmā down to the nonmoving plants and trees. My dear Lord, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You because You are beyond the influence of the three modes. Except for You, everyone is being carried away by the waves of these modes. My dear Lord, fire is Your mouth, the earth is Your feet, the sun is Your eye, the sky is Your navel, and the directions are Your ears. Space is Your head, the demigods are Your arms, the oceans and seas are Your abdomen, and the winds and air are Your strength and vitality. All the plants and herbs are the hairs on Your body, the clouds are the hair on Your head, the mountains are Your bones and nails, the days and nights are the blinking of Your eyelids, Prajāpati (the progenitor) is Your genitals, and the rains are Your semen.
“My dear Lord, all living entities, including different grades of demigods and different grades of overlords, kings and other living entities, are resting in You as parts and parcels of the big unit. One cannot know You by experimental knowledge. One can simply understand Your transcendental existence to be like the great ocean, in which different grades of living entities are included, or like the udumbara fruit, out of which small mosquitoes come. My dear Lord, whatever eternal forms and incarnations You accept when You appear in this world are meant for relieving the living entities of their ignorance, illusion and lamentation. All people, therefore, can appreciate the incarnations and pastimes of Your Lordship and eternally glorify Your activities. No one can estimate how many forms and incarnations You have, nor can anyone estimate the number of universes that are existing within You.
“Let me therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto the fish incarnation, who appeared in the ocean of devastation although Your Lordship is the cause of all causes. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Hayagrīva incarnation, who killed the two demons Madhu and Kaiṭabha; let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You, who appeared as the gigantic tortoise that held up the great mountain Mandara and who appeared as the boar that rescued the earth planet, which had fallen into the water of the Garbhodaka. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto Your Lordship, who appeared as Nṛsiṁhadeva to deliver all kinds of devotees from the fearful condition of atheistic atrocities. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You, who appeared as Vāmanadeva and covered the three worlds simply by extending Your lotus feet. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You, who appeared as the Lord of the Bhṛgus in order to kill all the infidel administrators of the world. And let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You, who appeared as Lord Rāma to kill demons like Rāvaṇa. You are worshiped by all devotees as the chief of the Raghu dynasty, Lord Rāmacandra. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You, who appear as Lord Vāsudeva, Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa, Lord Pradyumna and Lord Aniruddha. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You, who appear as Lord Buddha to bewilder the atheistic and demoniac. And let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You, who appear as Kalki to chastise the so-called royal order degraded to the abominable condition of the mlecchas, who are below the jurisdiction of Vedic regulative principles.
“My dear Lord, everyone within this material world is conditioned by Your illusory energy. Under the impression of false identification and false possession, everyone is transmigrating from one body to another on the path of fruitive activities and their reactions. My dear Lord, I am no exception among these conditioned souls. I am falsely thinking myself happy in possessing my home, wife, children, estate, property and friends. In this way I am acting as if in a dreamland, because none of these are permanent. I am a fool to be always absorbed in thoughts of such things, accepting them as permanent truths. My dear Lord, due to my false identification, I have accepted as permanent everything which is nonpermanent, such as this material body, which is not spiritual and is the source of all kinds of miserable conditions. Being bewildered by such concepts of life, I am always absorbed in thoughts of duality, and I have forgotten You, who are the reservoir of all transcendental pleasure. I am bereft of Your transcendental association, being just like a foolish creature who leaves a watering hole covered by water-nourished vegetation and goes in search of water in the desert. The conditioned souls want to quench their thirst, but they do not know where to find water. They give up the spot where there is actually a reservoir of water and run into the desert, where there is no water. My dear Lord, I am completely incapable of controlling my mind, which is now driven by the unbridled senses and is attracted by fruitive activities and their results. Therefore, my intelligence is very miserly. My dear Lord, Your lotus feet cannot be appreciated by any person in the conditioned stage of material existence, but somehow or other I have come near Your lotus feet, and I consider this to be Your causeless mercy upon me. You can act in any way because You are the supreme controller. I can thus understand that when a person becomes eligible to be delivered from the path of repeated birth and death, it is only by Your causeless mercy that he comes nearer to Your lotus feet and becomes attached to Your devotional service.”
Akrūra fell down before the Lord and said, “My dear Lord, Your transcendental, eternal form is full of knowledge. Simply by concentrating one’s mind upon Your form, one can understand in full knowledge everything that be, because You are the original source of all knowledge. You are the supreme powerful, possessing all kinds of energies. You are the Supreme Brahman and the Supreme Person, supreme controller and master of the material energies. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You because You are Vāsudeva, the resting place of all creation. You are the all-pervading Supreme Personality of Godhead, and You are also the Supreme Soul residing in everyone’s heart and giving direction to act. Now, my Lord, I am completely surrendered unto You. Please give me Your protection.”
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the fortieth chapter of Kṛṣṇa, “Prayers by Akrūra.”