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SB 10.40: The Prayers of Akrūra
This chapter relates Akrūra’s prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Akrūra prayed, “Brahmā, who created this visible world, emanated from the lotus navel of the Supreme Lord. The five elements of physical nature, the five corresponding objects of perception, the ten senses, the ego, the total nature, the primeval creator and the demigods all originate from His bodily limbs. He cannot be known by sensory knowledge, and thus even Brahmā and the other demigods are ignorant of His real identity.
“Different classes of people worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead in different ways. Fruitive workers worship Him by performing Vedic sacrifices, philosophers by renouncing material work and pursuing spiritual knowledge, yogīs by meditating, Śaivites by worshiping Lord Śiva, Vaiṣṇavas by following the injunctions of such scriptures as the Pañcarātra, and other saintly persons by worshiping Him as the original form of the self, of the material substance and of the controlling demigods. Just as rivers flow from various directions into the ocean, the worship of those who dedicate themselves to these various entities finds its ultimate purpose within the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu.
“The form of the total universe, the Virāṭ-rūpa, is imagined to be the form of Lord Viṣṇu. Like aquatics moving about in water or like tiny insects burrowing in an udumbara fruit, all living beings move about within the Lord. These living beings, bewildered by His Māyā, wander along the path of material work, falsely identifying with body, home and so forth. Under the sway of illusion, a foolish person may overlook a reservoir of water covered by grass and leaves and instead run after a mirage. Similarly, living beings caught in the grip of ignorance abandon Lord Viṣṇu and become attached to their bodies, homes and so on. Such faithful servants of their senses cannot take shelter of the Supreme Lord’s lotus feet. Only if, by His mercy, they get the association of saintly devotees will their material entanglement end. Only then can they develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness by serving the Lord’s pure devotees.”
nārāyaṇaṁ pūruṣam ādyam avyayam
brahmāvirāsīd yata eṣa lokaḥ
mahān ajādir mana indriyāṇi
sarvendriyārthā vibudhāś ca sarve
ye hetavas te jagato ’ṅga-bhūtāḥ
hy ajādayo ’nātmatayā gṛhītaḥ
ajo ’nubaddhaḥ sa guṇair ajāyā
guṇāt paraṁ veda na te svarūpam
God is transcendental to material nature. Unless we also transcend the limited consciousness of material existence, we cannot know Him. Even the greatest living entity in the universe, Brahmā, cannot understand the Supreme unless he comes to the platform of pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
sādhyātmaṁ sādhibhūtaṁ ca
sādhidaivaṁ ca sādhavaḥ
tvāṁ vai vaitānikā dvijāḥ
yajante vitatair yajñair
Akrūra has now described how those who follow the paths of Sāṅkhya, yoga and the three Vedas worship the Supreme Lord in different ways. In the various places where the Vedas appear to recommend that one worship Indra, Varuṇa and other demigods, these demigods are stated to be supreme. But at the same time the Vedas state that there is one supreme controller, the Absolute Truth. That is Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, who expands His potency through material creation into the forms of the demigods. Thus worship of the demigods goes to Him through the indirect method of karma-kāṇḍa, or fruitive religious rituals. Ultimately, however, one who wants to achieve eternal perfection should worship the Lord directly, in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Modern philosophers pursue knowledge without bothering to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus they naturally end up with meager, if not trivial, results.
yajanti tvan-mayās tvāṁ vai
The word saṁskṛtātmānaḥ, “they whose intelligence is pure,” is significant here. It implies that the worshipers mentioned before have not completely purified their intelligence of material contamination and thus worship the Lord indirectly. Those who are purified, however, directly worship the Lord, either as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa, or as one of His various plenary forms, such as Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna or Aniruddha, as indicated here.
The words tvām eva, “You also,” indicate that the path of worshiping Lord Śiva is indirect and therefore inferior. Akrūra himself is following the superior method by directly worshiping Kṛṣṇa, or Viṣṇu, with his prayers.
ye ’py anya-devatā-bhaktā
yady apy anya-dhiyaḥ prabho
The idea here is that even those who worship the demigods are indirectly worshiping the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu. The understanding of such worshipers, however, is imperfect.
viśanti sarvataḥ sindhuṁ
tadvat tvāṁ gatayo ’ntataḥ
Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself speaks on this issue of worship in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.23-25):
ye ’py anya-devatā-bhaktā
te ’pi mām eva kaunteya
ahaṁ hi sarva-yajñānāṁ
bhoktā ca prabhur eva ca
na tu mām abhijānanti
tattvenātaś cyavanti te
yānti deva-vratā devān
pitṝn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā
yānti mad-yājino ’pi mām
“Those who are devotees of other gods and who worship them with faith actually worship only Me, O son of Kuntī, but they do so in a wrong way. I am the only enjoyer and master of all sacrifices. Therefore, those who do not recognize My true transcendental nature fall down. Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; and those who worship Me will live with Me.”
bhavataḥ prakṛter guṇāḥ
teṣu hi prākṛtāḥ protā
sarvātmane sarva-dhiyāṁ ca sākṣiṇe
guṇa-pravāho ’yam avidyayā kṛtaḥ
sūryo nabho nābhir atho diśaḥ śrutiḥ
dyauḥ kaṁ surendrās tava bāhavo ’rṇavāḥ
kukṣir marut prāṇa-balaṁ prakalpitam
meghāḥ parasyāsthi-nakhāni te ’drayaḥ
nimeṣaṇaṁ rātry-ahanī prajāpatir
meḍhras tu vṛṣṭis tava vīryam iṣyate
lokāḥ sa-pālā bahu-jīva-saṅkulāḥ
yathā jale sañjihate jalaukaso
’py udumbare vā maśakā mano-maye
krīḍanārthaṁ bibharṣi hi
tair āmṛṣṭa-śuco lokā
mudā gāyanti te yaśaḥ
hayaśīrṣṇe namas tubhyaṁ
The Viśva-kośa dictionary states that the word akūpārāya indicates the king of tortoises.
vāmanāya namas tubhyaṁ
namas te raghu-varyāya
namaḥ saṅkarṣaṇāya ca
sātvatāṁ pataye namaḥ
namas te kalki-rūpiṇe
mohitas tava māyayā
ahaṁ mamety asad-grāho
mūḍhaḥ satya-dhiyā vibho
viparyaya-matir hy aham
na jāne tvātmanaḥ priyam
abhyeti mṛga-tṛṣṇāṁ vai
tadvat tvāhaṁ parāṅ-mukhaḥ
roddhuṁ pramāthibhiś cākṣair
hriyamāṇam itas tataḥ
tac cāpy ahaṁ bhavad-anugraha īśa manye
puṁso bhaved yarhi saṁsaraṇāpavargas
tvayy abja-nābha sad-upāsanayā matiḥ syāt
hṛṣīkeśa namas tubhyaṁ
prapannaṁ pāhi māṁ prabho
Thus end the purports of the humble servants of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda to the Tenth Canto, Fortieth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Prayers of Akrūra.”