Position of demigods and pure devotees

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Position of demigods

Sometime we have confusion on the position of demigods. We also observe that Vaishnavas, especially Gaudiya vaishnavas, do not worship demigods whereas the spiritual master and acharya are worshiped thrice a day! Is it mere sentimentalism or is there a solid philosophy behind it. Srimad Bhagavatam answers this question in the below verse, as to whose shelter devotees should seek, and it’s very instructive purport on the position of demigods.

sarvato manaso ’saṅgam ādau saṅgaṁ ca sādhuṣu
dayāṁ maitrīṁ praśrayaṁ ca bhūteṣv addhā yathocitam

A sincere disciple should learn to dissociate the mind from everything material and positively cultivate association with his spiritual master and other saintly devotees. He should be merciful to those in an inferior position to him, cultivate friendship with those on an equal level and meekly serve those in a higher spiritual position. Thus he should learn to deal properly with all living beings.

High position of demigods

Śrīla Madhvācārya has quoted from the Garuḍa Purāṇa to demonstrate that within this universe those who take birth as demigods, great ṛṣis or pious human beings are all considered santaḥ, or saintly persons. According to Bhagavad-gītā, traiguṇya-viṣayā vedāḥ: the varṇāśrama culture described in Vedic literature deals mostly with the living entities who are struggling within the three modes of nature. The Vedic literatures teach such conditioned souls that material happiness can be achieved only through pious works. In this sense, the demigods are to be considered the most pious living entities within the three modes of material nature. The ṛṣis, or the great saintly mystics of the universe, who are able to travel at will to various planets and who cultivate mystic powers, are to be considered somewhat below the demigods. And those human beings on earth who perfectly execute the Vedic rituals are to be considered in the third or lowest category of santaḥ, or saintly persons.

Pure devotees transcends the material modes

But a devotee of the Lord is beyond the three modes of material nature. Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):

māṁ ca yo ’vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate

“One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.” Thus Lord Krishna clearly says that a Vaiṣṇava who does not fall down from the regulations of bhakti-yoga is beyond the three modes of nature. And Lord Krishna advised Arjuna, a Krishna-bhakta, to transcend the three material qualities of the illusory creation of māyā (nistraiguṇyo bhavārjuna).

What about demigods?

In the Eighteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā (18.40) the Lord says:

na tad asti pṛthivyāṁ vā divi deveṣu vā punaḥ
sattvaṁ prakṛti-jair muktaṁ yad ebhiḥ syāt tribhir guṇaiḥ

“There is no being existing, either here or among the demigods in the higher planetary systems, who is free from the three modes of material nature.” Thus the demigods are not exempt from the pollution of the three modes of material nature, whereas a pure devotee actually becomes guṇātīta, or transcendental to the influence of māyā.


Therefore, one should cultivate the association of the uttama-adhikārī, or pure devotee of the Lord, as stated previously (Bhāg. 11.3.21):

tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam
śābde pare ca niṣṇātaṁ brahmaṇy upaśamāśrayam

“Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters.”…

One cannot be liberated without association with a pure devotee of the Lord.

(SB 11.3.23+p)


All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

P.S. Please read the full purport at SB 11.3.23

Importance of Guru and Initiation

Hare Krishna.

9th November, 2015. Gurgaon

This is the second of lecture of HG Jananivas Prabhu gave on the importance of Guru and initiation. I wrote the first part two weeks back. This particular verse, SB 6.16.28, is from a chapter which continues the story of ‘Citraketu’

Let’s again read the verse which Jananivas Prabhuji explained

O King Parīkṣit, after only one week of repeatedly practicing the mantra received from the spiritual master, Citraketu achieved the rule of the planet of the Vidyādharas as an intermediate product of his spiritual advancement in knowledge. (SB 6.16.28)

Purport by Srila Prabhupada:

If a devotee, after being initiated, adheres rigidly to the instructions of the spiritual master, he is naturally endowed with the material opulences of vidyādhara-adhipatyam and similar posts as by-products. A devotee need not practice yoga, karma or jñāna to achieve a successful result. Devotional service alone is competent to award a devotee all material power. A pure devotee, however, is never attached to material power, although he gets it very easily without personal endeavor. Citraketu received this side benefit of his devotional service, which he rigidly performed in accordance with the instructions of Nārada

Jananivas prabhu stated in the second of his lecture that that one may ask a question that if Hare Krishna mahamantra is so powerful then why does one need a spiritual master?

Prabhuji then quoted the second verse of Shiksastakam to prove the validity of above question.

namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-shaktis

( In these transcendental names, you have invested all Your transcendental energies.)

Jananivas Prabhu again asked ‘So what is the need of Guru? Guru shakti is also there. Prabhuji added that it is a fact that the holy name is all-powerful and holy name can reveal everything. We can not say the Holy Name can not give this. Holy name is Krishna. Actually everything is in the Holy Name and you don’t need a guru. But..there is no example of someone who has made it without the guru!

Jananivas Prabhuji said that Srila Prabhupada wrote in one of his purport that at the time of initiation one gets a spiritual body and we have to accept this on the strength of shastras, Prabhupada quoted Sanatana Goswami in Hari-bhakti-vilasa for the same. There the example of bell metal has been given. Bell metal when it is mixed with another metal, mercury, it turns into gold!  Prabhupada said if you know this art then you can do it. The yogis know it, you have to drink the mercury and when you drink it and digest it then pass the urine on the bell metal, it turns it into gold! So the Devotees said O! Srila Prabhupada can we start producing gold? Srila Prabhupada replied ‘first  digest mercury’. Mercury is deadly poisonous, we drink it and we will die. So we have to be powerful enough to be able to drink mercury.   ( Please press here to read the transcription of this very same conversation between Prabhupada and his disciples)

Jananivas Prabhuji continued ‘so they have given this example that Bell metal turns into gold, similarly a persons coming outside the vedic culture, malechas, yavanas, pulindas, etc., if they take this process of initiation,  they can also get the spiritual body. And Prabhupada said you may not notice that all of a sudden you got two more arms when you get initiation, it may not happen like that, but, he said, at least you can see that the subtle body changes. The gross body may not change but definitely you can see that the subtle body change. We didn’t know anything about Krishna few years ago, many didn’t even heard of Krishna and suddenly Krishna comes into our life and suddenly Krishna, Krishna, Krishna… He is everywhere. So the mind has changed.  Earlier the mind was thinking of only sense gratification but now it considers himself as a servant of Krishna and is thinking of Krishna.  This is what happens, everything becomes Krishna, Krishna, Krishna. So we can see that the subtle body has changed. And of the two, the subtle body is more important than the gross body because the gross body is the product of the subtle body. Sanatana Goswami says that we have to accept that at the time of initiation one gets a spiritual body and a spiritual name and Krishna recognises us by that given name!

Prabhuji stated that this is the idea in all these stories in Bhagavatam that one has to meet a devotee.  This is the finishing touch. It’s drop of mercy from a devotee. In all these stories practically one sees, we need a little bit of mercy, half a drop, quarter of a drop, that’s only what it takes…one drop and then everything happens. It is the finishing touch to our devotional progress. Prabhuji reiterated that without initiation into the chanting of the holy names of the supreme personality of Godhead, without performing devotional service, without that little drop of mercy from the devotee of Krishna, it is impossible to get rid of anxiety and lamentation.

Prabhuji stressed that if these stages had not come into the life of Citraketu, he would have been lamenting the whole life and the next life and he would have gone lamenting forever! There is no cure for this lamentation, except performing devotional service and getting one little bit of a drop of mercy. Then that makes everything go. Otherwise we are going to stay in this material world and we must be in illusion and lament, that’s the only thing everyone is doing in this world. If they don’t accept a guru, they don’t accept the process of bhakti, they will be in a state of lamentation and hankering.

Jananivas Prabhuji then quoted Prabhupada who said that all that which goes on this material world for the karmis they are hankering and they are lamenting. Hankering for something they can’t get or they want and lamenting because they can’t have it. This is all what goes on in this world and it will go on forever.  Just taking the shelter of a pure devotee, and the process of devotional service, is the supreme cure for this material world. Otherwise there is no cure  and one must go on lamenting and hankering.

(HG Jananivas Prabhu)

Question: Prabhuji, you said without initiation a person must lament and hanker, what about those devotees who accept Srila Prabhupada as their direct guru but do not take initiation from a living guru, will they be also suffering from lamentation ?

HG Jananivas Prabhuji: Well, here in this verse, it is said that he took initiation and very rigidly followed the principles. So the principle is evaṁ paramparā-prāptam (BG 4.2). If in our sampradaya then we have to accept a guru who is connected to Srila Prabhupada. So why jump over? Jumping over means not adhering the instructions of the spiritual master. It’s okay to say that I am Srila Prabhupada’s disciple but is Prabhupada considering you his disciple? It’s said that it is the spiritual master who decides what constitutes the devotional service not the disciple. If Prabhupada comes to you and connects you that’s okay. If it’s just that I want to take initiation and I will accept his as my guru, that’s okay, but is Prabhupada accepting it? If Prabhupada is there, he comes and accepts then it’s okay. But if he is not then just because I want this particular guru and I am not going through the proper channel, I am not adhering strictly to the principles, then why should there be fruit for my chanting.

This concludes the second and final part of lecture by Jananivas Prabhuji, to read first part of the lecture please press here. To hear and download lectures on various topics by HG Jananivas Prabhuji please click here.

All glories to Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.