ananyāś cintayanto māṁ
ye janāḥ paryupāsate
yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham
But those who always worship Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form – to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have.
One who is unable to live for a moment without Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot but think of Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours a day, being engaged in devotional service by hearing, chanting, remembering, offering prayers, worshiping, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, rendering other services, cultivating friendship and surrendering fully to the Lord. Such activities are all auspicious and full of spiritual potencies, which make the devotee perfect in self-realization, so that his only desire is to achieve the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a devotee undoubtedly approaches the Lord without difﬁculty. This is called yoga. By the mercy of the Lord, such a devotee never comes back to this material condition of life. Kṣema refers to the merciful protection of the Lord. The Lord helps the devotee to achieve Kṛṣṇa consciousness by yoga, and when he becomes fully Kṛṣṇa conscious the Lord protects him from falling down to a miserable conditioned life.
ye ’py anya-devatā-bhaktā
te ’pi mām eva kaunteya
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.
“Persons who are engaged in the worship of demigods are not very intelligent, although such worship is offered to Me indirectly,” Kṛṣṇa says. For example, when a man pours water on the leaves and branches of a tree without pouring water on the root, he does so without sufﬁcient knowledge or without observing regulative principles. Similarly, the process of rendering service to different parts of the body is to supply food to the stomach. The demigods are, so to speak, different ofﬁcers and directors in the government of the Supreme Lord. One has to follow the laws made by the government, not by the ofﬁcers or directors. Similarly, everyone is to offer his worship to the Supreme Lord only. That will automatically satisfy the different ofﬁcers and directors of the Lord. The ofﬁcers and directors are engaged as representatives of the government, and to offer some bribe to the ofﬁcers and directors is illegal. This is stated here as avidhi-pūrvakam. In other words, Kṛṣṇa does not approve the unnecessary worship of the demigods.
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.
Here it is clearly stated that there are many types of yajña performances recommended in the Vedic literatures, but actually all of them are meant for satisfying the Supreme Lord. Yajña means Viṣṇu. In the Third Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā it is clearly stated that one should only work for satisfying Yajña, or Viṣṇu. The perfectional form of human civilization, known as varṇāśrama-dharma, is speciﬁcally meant for satisfying Viṣṇu. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa says in this verse, “I am the enjoyer of all sacriﬁces because I am the supreme master.” Less intelligent persons, however, without knowing this fact, worship demigods for temporary beneﬁt. Therefore they fall down to material existence and do not achieve the desired goal of life. If, however, anyone has any material desire to be fulﬁlled, he had better pray for it to the Supreme Lord (although that is not pure devotion), and he will thus achieve the desired result.
yānti deva-vratā devān
pitṝn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā
yānti mad-yājino ’pi mām
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.
If one has any desire to go to the moon, the sun or any other planet, one can attain the desired destination by following speciﬁc Vedic principles recommended for that purpose, such as the process technically known as Darśa-paurṇamāsa. These are vividly described in the fruitive activities portion of the Vedas, which recommends a speciﬁc worship of demigods situated on different heavenly planets. Similarly, one can attain the Pitā planets by performing a speciﬁc yajña. Similarly, one can go to many ghostly planets and become a Yakṣa, Rakṣa or Piśāca. Piśāca worship is called “black arts” or “black magic.” There are many men who practice this black art, and they think that it is spiritualism, but such activities are completely materialistic. Similarly, a pure devotee, who worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead only, achieves the planets of Vaikuṇṭha and Kṛṣṇaloka without a doubt. It is very easy to understand through this important verse that if by simply worshiping the demigods one can achieve the heavenly planets, or by worshiping the Pitās achieve the Pitā planets, or by practicing the black arts achieve the ghostly planets, why can the pure devotee not achieve the planet of Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu? Unfortunately many people have no information of these sublime planets where Kṛṣṇa and Viṣṇu live, and because they do not know of them they fall down. Even the impersonalists fall down from the brahma-jyotir. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is therefore distributing sublime information to the entire human society to the effect that by simply chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra one can become perfect in this life and go back home, back to Godhead.
patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a ﬂower, a fruit or water, I will accept it.
For the intelligent person, it is essential to be in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, in order to achieve a permanent, blissful abode for eternal happiness. The process of achieving such a marvelous result is very easy and can be attempted even by the poorest of the poor, without any kind of qualiﬁcation. The only qualiﬁcation required in this connection is to be a pure devotee of the Lord. It does not matter what one is or where one is situated. The process is so easy that even a leaf or a little water or fruit can be offered to the Supreme Lord in genuine love and the Lord will be pleased to accept it. No one, therefore, can be barred from Kṛṣṇa consciousness, because it is so easy and universal. Who is such a fool that he does not want to be Kṛṣṇa conscious by this simple method and thus attain the highest perfectional life of eternity, bliss and knowledge? Kṛṣṇa wants only loving service and nothing more. Kṛṣṇa accepts even a little ﬂower from His pure devotee. He does not want any kind of offering from a nondevotee. He is not in need of anything from anyone, because He is self-sufﬁcient, and yet He accepts the offering of His devotee in an exchange of love and affection. To develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the highest perfection of life. Bhakti is mentioned twice in this verse in order to declare more emphatically that bhakti, or devotional service, is the only means to approach Kṛṣṇa. No other condition, such as becoming a brāhmaṇa, a learned scholar, a very rich man or a great philosopher, can induce Kṛṣṇa to accept some offering. Without the basic principle of bhakti, nothing can induce the Lord to agree to accept anything from anyone. Bhakti is never causal. The process is eternal. It is direct action in service to the absolute whole.
Here Lord Kṛṣṇa, having established that He is the only enjoyer, the primeval Lord and the real object of all sacriﬁcial offerings, reveals what types of sacriﬁces He desires to be offered. If one wishes to engage in devotional service to the Supreme in order to be puriﬁed and to reach the goal of life – the transcendental loving service of God – then one should ﬁnd out what the Lord desires of him. One who loves Kṛṣṇa will give Him whatever He wants, and he avoids offering anything which is undesirable or unasked. Thus meat, ﬁsh and eggs should not be offered to Kṛṣṇa. If He desired such things as offerings, He would have said so. Instead He clearly requests that a leaf, fruit, ﬂowers and water be given to Him, and He says of this offering, “I will accept it.” Therefore, we should understand that He will not accept meat, ﬁsh and eggs. Vegetables, grains, fruits, milk and water are the proper foods for human beings and are prescribed by Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself. Whatever else we eat cannot be offered to Him, since He will not accept it. Thus we cannot be acting on the level of loving devotion if we offer such foods.
In the Third Chapter, verse 13, Śrī Kṛṣṇa explains that only the remains of sacriﬁce are puriﬁed and ﬁt for consumption by those who are seeking advancement in life and release from the clutches of the material entanglement. Those who do not make an offering of their food, He says in the same verse, are eating only sin. In other words, their every mouthful is simply deepening their involvement in the complexities of material nature. But preparing nice, simple vegetable dishes, offering them before the picture or Deity of Lord Kṛṣṇa and bowing down and praying for Him to accept such a humble offering enable one to advance steadily in life, to purify the body, and to create ﬁne brain tissues which will lead to clear thinking. Above all, the offering should be made with an attitude of love. Kṛṣṇa has no need of food, since He already possesses everything that be, yet He will accept the offering of one who desires to please Him in that way. The important element, in preparation, in serving and in offering, is to act with love for Kṛṣṇa.
The impersonalist philosophers, who wish to maintain that the Absolute Truth is without senses, cannot comprehend this verse of Bhagavad-gītā. To them, it is either a metaphor or proof of the mundane character of Kṛṣṇa, the speaker of the Bhagavad-gītā. But, in actuality, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Godhead, has senses, and it is stated that His senses are interchangeable; in other words, one sense can perform the function of any other. This is what it means to say that Kṛṣṇa is absolute. Lacking senses, He could hardly be considered full in all opulences. In the Seventh Chapter, Kṛṣṇa has explained that He impregnates the living entities into material nature. This is done by His looking upon material nature. And so in this instance, Kṛṣṇa’s hearing the devotee’s words of love in offering foodstuffs is wholly identical with His eating and actually tasting. This point should be emphasized: because of His absolute position, His hearing is wholly identical with His eating and tasting. Only the devotee, who accepts Kṛṣṇa as He describes Himself, without interpretation, can understand that the Supreme Absolute Truth can eat food and enjoy it.
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform – do that, O son of Kuntī, as an offering to Me.
Thus, it is the duty of everyone to mold his life in such a way that he will not forget Kṛṣṇa in any circumstance. Everyone has to work for maintenance of his body and soul together, and Kṛṣṇa recommends herein that one should work for Him. Everyone has to eat something to live; therefore he should accept the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Kṛṣṇa. Any civilized man has to perform some religious ritualistic ceremonies; therefore Kṛṣṇa recommends, “Do it for Me,” and this is called arcana. Everyone has a tendency to give something in charity; Kṛṣṇa says, “Give it to Me,” and this means that all surplus money accumulated should be utilized in furthering the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Nowadays people are very much inclined to the meditational process, which is not practical in this age, but if anyone practices meditating on Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours a day by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra round his beads, he is surely the greatest meditator and the greatest yogī, as substantiated by the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā.
vimukto mām upaiṣyasi
In this way you will be freed from bondage to work and its auspicious and inauspicious results. With your mind ﬁxed on Me in this principle of renunciation, you will be liberated and come to Me.
One who acts in Kṛṣṇa consciousness under superior direction is called yukta. The technical term is yukta-vairāgya.This is further explained by Rūpa Gosvāmī as follows:
yuktaṁ vairāgyam ucyate
Rūpa Gosvāmī says that as long as we are in this material world we have to act; we cannot cease acting. Therefore if actions are performed and the fruits are given to Kṛṣṇa, then that is called yukta-vairāgya. Actually situated in renunciation, such activities clear the mirror of the mind, and as the actor gradually makes progress in spiritual realization he becomes completely surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore at the end he becomes liberated, and this liberation is also speciﬁed. By this liberation he does not become one with the brahma-jyotir, but rather enters into the planet of the Supreme Lord. It is clearly mentioned here: mām upaiṣyasi, “he comes to Me,” back home, back to Godhead. There are ﬁve different stages of liberation, and here it is speciﬁed that the devotee who has always lived his lifetime here under the direction of the Supreme Lord, as stated, has evolved to the point where he can, after quitting this body, go back to Godhead and engage directly in the association of the Supreme Lord.
Anyone who has no interest but to dedicate his life to the service of the Lord is actually a sannyāsī. Such a person always thinks of himself as an eternal servant, dependent on the supreme will of the Lord. As such, whatever he does, he does it for the beneﬁt of the Lord. Whatever action he performs, he performs it as service to the Lord. He does not give serious attention to the fruitive activities or prescribed duties mentioned in the Vedas. For ordinary persons it is obligatory to execute the prescribed duties mentioned in the Vedas, but although a pure devotee who is completely engaged in the service of the Lord may sometimes appear to go against the prescribed Vedic duties, actually it is not so.
It is said, therefore, by Vaiṣṇava authorities that even the most intelligent person cannot understand the plans and activities of a pure devotee. The exact words are tāṅra vākya, kriyā, mudrā vijñeha nā bujhaya (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya 23.39). A person who is thus always engaged in the service of the Lord or is always thinking and planning how to serve the Lord is to be considered completely liberated at present, and in the future his going back home, back to Godhead, is guaranteed. He is above all materialistic criticism, just as Kṛṣṇa is above all criticism.