नानात्वात्स्वक्रियानीशा: प्रोचु: प्राञ्जलयो विभुम् ॥ ३८ ॥
procuḥ prāñjalayo vibhum
ete — of all these physical elements; devāḥ — the controlling demigods; kalāḥ — parts and parcels; viṣṇoḥ — of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kāla — time; māyā — external energy; aṁśa — part and parcel; liṅginaḥ — so embodied; nānātvāt — because of various; sva-kriyā — personal duties; anīśāḥ — not being able to perform; procuḥ — uttered; prāñjalayaḥ — fascinating; vibhum — unto the Lord.
The controlling deities of all the above-mentioned physical elements are empowered expansions of Lord Viṣṇu. They are embodied by eternal time under the external energy, and they are His parts and parcels. Because they were entrusted with different functions of universal duties and were unable to perform them, they offered fascinating prayers to the Lord as follows.
The conception of various controlling demigods who inhabit the higher planetary systems for the management of universal affairs is not imaginary, as proposed by persons with a poor fund of knowledge. The demigods are expanded parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu, and they are embodied by time, external energy and partial consciousness of the Supreme. Human beings, animals, birds, etc., are also parts and parcels of the Lord and have different material bodies, but they are not the controlling deities of material affairs. They are, rather, controlled by such demigods. Such control is not superfluous; it is as necessary as the controlling departments in the affairs of a modern state. The demigods should not be despised by the controlled living beings. They are all great devotees of the Lord entrusted to execute certain functions of universal affairs. One may be angry with Yamarāja for his thankless task of punishing sinful souls, but Yamarāja is one of the authorized devotees of the Lord, and so are all the other demigods. A devotee of the Lord is never controlled by such deputed demigods, who function as assistants of the Lord, but he shows them all respects on account of the responsible positions to which they have been appointed by the Lord. At the same time, a devotee of the Lord does not foolishly mistake them to be the Supreme Lord. Only foolish persons accept the demigods as being on the same level as Viṣṇu; actually they are all appointed as servants of Viṣṇu.
Anyone who places the Lord and the demigods on the same level is called a pāṣaṇḍī, or atheist. The demigods are worshiped by persons who are more or less adherents of the processes of jñāna, yoga and karma, i.e., the impersonalists, meditators and fruitive workers. The devotees, however, worship only the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu. This worship is not for any material benefit, as desired by all the materialists, even up to the salvationists, mystics and fruitive workers. Devotees worship the Supreme Lord to attain unalloyed devotion to the Lord. The Lord, however, is not worshiped by others, who have no program for attaining love of God, which is the essential aim of human life. Persons averse to a loving relationship with God are more or less condemned by their own actions.
The Lord is equal to every living entity, just like the flowing Ganges. The Ganges water is meant for the purification of everyone, yet the trees on the banks of the Ganges have different values. A mango tree on the bank of the Ganges drinks the water, and the nimba tree also drinks the same water. But the fruits of both trees are different. One is celestially sweet, and the other is hellishly bitter. The condemned bitterness of the nimba is due to its own past work, just as the sweetness of the mango is also due to its own karma. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (16.19):
kṣipāmy ajasram aśubhān
āsurīṣv eva yoniṣu
“The envious, the mischievous, the lowest of mankind — these do I ever put back into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life.” Demigods like Yamarāja and other controllers are there for the unwanted conditioned souls who always engage in threatening the tranquillity of the kingdom of God. Since all the demigods are confidential devotee-servitors of the Lord, they are never to be condemned.