Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita discourages the worship of demigod. Those who do not know the difference between Krishna and demigod, worship demigod believing that demigods are also Supreme God like Krishna. So, Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita that “men of small intelligence worship demigod.” Generally, those people who have lots of material desires surrender to demigods and engage in demigod worship. Demigod worshipped believe that a particular demigod can quickly give them results.
Who are demigods?
Demigods are jiva tattva, living beings, like you and me. They also live in this material world. Demigods are much more powerful than you and me but they are not as powerful as Krishna or Krishna’s plenary expansion. Demigods live in the higher planets like sun planet, moon planet and other heavenly planets. Because of their punya (piety) they have been given very important responsibilities by Krishna to manage this material universe.
They are empowered representative of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Lord. They get their power from Krishna. Let us understand relationship between Krishna and the demigods.
- Just as a king has different ministers to take care of his kingdom, similarly the demigods assist Krishna in managing this material creation.
- All the ministers in a kingdom work under the king as per his instructions. Similarly, the various demigods who have been given different responsibilities to manage the affairs of this material universe work under Lord Krishna. They act as per the will of Krishna.
- Just as ministers remain in the cabinet as per the pleasure of the king similarly the demigods remain in their position as per the pleasure of Krishna.
Indra, Surya, Chandra, Vayu etc are demigods. Even Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma are demigods. But Lord Shiva has a unique position.
Importance of performing yajnas to please demigod
Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita 3.10 that to live happily in this world and to attain liberation it is important that we cooperate and please the demigods. Demigods are pleased by the performance of sacrifices, yajnas. And when they are pleased, they supply all the necessities of life so that we can live happily in this world. Bhagavad Gita 3.11.
Who is actually worshipped in yajna?
However, when one performs yajna for the demigods then one indirectly worships Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna. Lord Vishnu is the plenary expansion of Lord Krishna. Lord Vishnu is the yajna – pati. The yajna – kunda is the mouth of Lord Vishnu and the fire of the yagna – kunda is the tongue of Lord Vishnu. In all the yajnas Lord Vishnu is the chief beneficiary.
Srila Prabhupada, the founder acharya of Iskcon, explains, “Some of the yajnas are meant to satisfy particular demigods; but even in so doing, Lord Viṣṇu is worshiped in all yajnas as the chief beneficiary. It is stated also in the Bhagavad-gita that Kṛṣṇa Himself is the beneficiary of all kinds of yajnas: bhoktaraṁ yajna-tapasam.” Bhagavad Gita 3.11 purport.
The results one gets by worshipping the demigods is actually given by Lord Krishna only. Krishna says this in Bhagavad Gita 7.22.
So, if we worship Lord Krishna directly then there is no need to separately worship the demigods.
In this age of Kaliyuga the best yajna is the sankirtana yajna i.e. the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. It pleases Krishna and when Krishna is pleased demigods also become happy.
Why the result one gets by worshipping demigods is limited and temporary?
Those who are less intelligent and does not know that demigods are parts and parcel of Krishna worship demigods for material benedictions. Since demigods are not Supreme Lord, so the result one gets by worshipping the demigods are limited and temporary.
The worshipped of demigod goes to the planet of demigod after leaving the body. They live in the planet of demigod till his piety is not exhausted. Once their pious deeds come to an end, they have to leave the planet of demigod and have to come to the earthly planet again. Also, we have to understand that the planets of the demigods are in this material universe only. The planets of demigods are devastated at the time of annihilation. Also, those who reside on the planet of demigods continue to live in this material world only where there is repeated cycle of birth and death.
But when one becomes a devotee of Krishna then he returns to the planet of Krishna which is permanent and from there no one returns to this material world.
Krishna says, “Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet.” Bhagavad Gita 7.23.
When one goes to the planet of Krishna then one never comes back to this material world. In the planet of Krishna there is no disease, old age and death. Also, there is no misery. Everyone lives happily with Krishna for eternity.
When we worship Krishna, the results are limitless and permanent.
So, it is said that instead of worshipping the demigods one should worship Krishna, the Supreme Lord. In fact, demigods also worship Lord Krishna.
Why separate worship of demigod not required for devotees of Krishna?
In Srimad Bhagavatam 4.31.14, it is explained that if we water the root then automatically the branches, twigs and leaves gets satisfied and if we feed the stomach then the entire body gets nourished. Similarly, if we worship and serve the Supreme Lord Krishna then automatically all the demigods and the living entities gets satisfied. It is because the demigods and living entities are parts and parcels of Krishna.
So, for devotees of Krishna separate worship of demigod is not required as explained in Bhagavad Gita. In Krishna’s Govardhan Lila also we see that Krishna did not approve the worship of Indra, the demigod. And in that pastime, we see that Indra, the king of heaven, begs forgiveness from Krishna for his mistake. He understands and accepts that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he is subordinate to Krishna. He is Indra because Krishna gave him that post. Indra one of the most prominent demigods, while offering prayers to Lord Krishna says, “O Lord, You have shown mercy to me by shattering my false pride and defeating my attempt [to punish Vṛndāvana]. To You, the Supreme Lord, spiritual master and Supreme Soul, I have now come for shelter.” Srimad Bhagavatam 10.27.13
So, devotees of Krishna respect the demigods but worship Krishna, the Supreme Lord. This in fact pleases the demigods. So Bhagavad Gita recommends worship of Krishna and not the worship of demigod.