P. 6

overcome by any human efforts. Thus frustration and defeat are inevitable for all living entities by the natural
        course of birth, old age, disease and death which are inescapable phases of the material body.

        The Lord gave all living entities in the human form a process to satisfy their material desires through a system
        of sacrifice to the demigods. However, He also instructed that such material enjoyment is not the purpose of
        human life. Whatever benefits they may achieve by the process of sacrifice, are only to help them have an easier
        time in the material world to attain material needs so that they can consecrate more time for self-realization.

        In the present age most priests mislead people to think that attaining material benefits in this life and the next
        through Vedic sacrifices is the goal of life. This is true in Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and many other
        religions that engage in blessings for material benefits such as health, long life, prosperity, material happiness,
        salvation in a heaven of sense gratification. Such materially inclined priests use the system of sacrifice to make
        a living and therefore they encourage people to misuse the system for material benefit, thus ignoring the real
        purpose of life.

        Lord Krishna does not approve of the unnecessary worship of the demigods. The demigods are simply agents of
        the Lord that act as conduits to receive offerings and transfer them to the Supreme Lord and also to receive
        benefits from the Lord to offer to the performers of sacrifice. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has given a
        good example of Maharaja Khatvanga to understand this important point, which is misunderstood by hundreds
        of millions of pious followers of different religions. Worship of the demigods for material benefit will not lead
        to eternal life with Lord Krishna.

        Maharaja Khatvamga was a formidable warrior who was unconquerable. He was requested by the demigods to
        engage in fighting the demons. Khatvamga helped the demigods defeat the demons, who wanted to reward
        him by offering him material benedictions. Khatavanga wisely asked the demigods how loing he had to live and
        he was informed that he would die very soon. The king immediately left the demigods abode where one can
        enjoy heavenly pleasures much greater than on the earth planet. He  returned to his own home and began
        earnestly  to  focus  his mind on the  Supreme  Personality  of  Godhead, Lord  Krishna.  Khatavamga  was  not a
        materialist  interested  only  in  family,  material  possessions  and  sense  gratification.  He  had  the  vision  and
        determination of a genuine devotee to see and use everything in the material world in the service of Lord
        Krishna. He successful in his meditation on Lord Krishna and attained eternal liberation by remembering Lord
        Krishna at the moment of death. (see SB 2.1.13)

        Lord Krishna explains:

                                            ahaṁ hi sarva-yajñānāṁ / bhoktā ca prabhur eva ca
                                              na tu mām abhijānanti / tattvenātaś cyavanti te

        “I am the only enjoyer and master of all sacrifices. Therefore, those who do not recognize My true transcendental
        nature fall down.” (Bg 9.24)

        Persons seeking material benefits by worship the demigods do not realize that the benefits offered by them
        (ayur,  arogya,  aisvarya…  –  long  life, health,  material opulence  and  more)  are  all temporary. The demigods
        themselves are subject to birth and death. Only Lord Krishna also known as Mukunda, the giver of liberation,
        can confer eternal life free from birth, old age, disease, death and all material entanglement.

                               devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛṇāṁ pitṝṇāṁ / na kiṅkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan
                           sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ / gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartam
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