bhagavaty acalo bhāvo
All living entities in different statuses of life within the material creation, beginning from the first demigod, Brahmā, down to the small ant, are conditioned under the law of material nature, or the external energy of the Supreme Lord. The living entity in his pure state is conscious of the fact that he is a part and parcel of the Lord, but when he is thrown into the material world on account of his desire to lord it over material energy, he becomes conditioned by the three modes of material nature and thus struggles for existence for the highest benefit. This struggle for existence is something like following the will-o’-the-wisp under the spell of material enjoyment. All plans for material enjoyment, either by worship of different demigods as described in the previous verses of this chapter or by modernized advancement of scientific knowledge without the help of God or demigod, are illusory only, for despite all such plans for happiness, the conditioned living being within the compass of material creation can never solve the problems of life, namely birth, death, old age and disease. The history of the universe is full of such planmakers, and many kings and emperors come and go, leaving a planmaking story only. But the prime problems of life remain unsolved despite all endeavors by such planmakers.
Actually human life is meant for making a solution to the problems of life. One can never solve such problems by satisfying the different demigods, by different modes of worship, or by so-called scientific advancement in knowledge without the help of God or the demigods. Apart from the gross materialists, who care very little either for God or for the demigods, the Vedas recommend worship of different demigods for different benefits, and so the demigods are neither false nor imaginary. The demigods are as factual as we are, but they are much more powerful due to their being engaged in the direct service of the Lord in managing different departments in the universal government. The Bhagavad-gītā affirms this, and the different planets of the demigods are mentioned there, including the one of the supreme demigod, Lord Brahmā. The gross materialists do not believe in the existence of God or the demigods. Nor do they believe that different planets are dominated by different demigods. They are creating a great commotion about reaching the closest celestial body, Candraloka, or the moon, but even after much mechanical research they have only very scanty information of this moon, and in spite of much false advertisement for selling land on the moon, the puffed-up scientists or gross materialists cannot live there, and what to speak of reaching the other planets, which they are unable even to count. However, the followers of the Vedas have a different method of acquiring knowledge. They accept the statements of the Vedic literatures as authority in toto, as we have already discussed in Canto One, and therefore they have full and reasonable knowledge of God and demigods and of their different residential planets situated within the compass of the material world and beyond the limit of the material sky. The most authentic Vedic literature, accepted by the great Indian ācāryas like Śaṅkara, Rāmānuja, Madhva, Viṣṇusvāmī, Nimbārka and Caitanya and studied by all important personalities of the world, is the Bhagavad-gītā, in which the worship of the demigods and their respective residential planets are mentioned. The Bhagavad-gītā (9.25) affirms:
yānti deva-vratā devān
pitṝn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā
yānti mad-yājino ’pi mām
“The worshipers of demigods reach the respective planets of the demigods, and the worshipers of forefathers reach the planets of the forefathers. The gross materialist remains in the different material planets, but the devotees of the Lord reach the kingdom of God.”
We also have information from the Bhagavad-gītā that all the planets within the material world, including Brahmaloka, are but temporarily situated, and after a fixed period they are all annihilated. Therefore the demigods and their followers are all annihilated at the period of devastation, but one who reaches the kingdom of God gets a permanent share in eternal life. That is the verdict of Vedic literature. The worshipers of the demigods have one facility more than the unbelievers due to their being convinced of the Vedic version, by which they can get information of the benefit of worshiping the Supreme Lord in the association of the devotees of the Lord. The gross materialist, however, without any faith in the Vedic version, remains eternally in darkness, driven by a false conviction on the basis of imperfect experimental knowledge, or so-called material science, which can never reach into the realm of transcendental knowledge.
Therefore unless the gross materialists or the worshipers of the temporary demigods come in contact with a transcendentalist like the pure devotee of the Lord, their attempts are simply a waste of energy. Only by the grace of the divine personalities, the pure devotees of the Lord, can one achieve pure devotion, which is the highest perfection of human life. Only a pure devotee of the Lord can show one the right way of progressive life. Otherwise both the materialistic way of life, without any information of God or the demigods, and the life engaged in the worship of demigods, in pursuit of temporary material enjoyments, are different phases of phantasmagoria. They are nicely explained in the Bhagavad-gītā also, but the Bhagavad-gītā can be understood in the association of pure devotees only, and not by the interpretations of politicians or dry philosophical speculators.