Goddess Worship

Sarasvati the Goddess of Learning

Sarasvatī, the Goddess of Learning

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The other day I was doing some service at the Hare Krishna Temple here in New Vrindavan, West Virginia, and I ran into some Indian guests. After we greeted each other one of them asked me “when did you become a Hindu?” “I never became a Hindu” I replied, “I am a Hare Krishna devotee, a disciple of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I am not a Hindu. I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Kṛṣṇa.”

So just to make things a little clearer…both to myself and others, I did some research from Srila Prabhupada’s books to find the proper understanding of Goddess Worship, or worship of the demigods.

…Worship of demigods is discouraged herein because even the greatest demigods like Brahmā and Śiva only represent part of the opulence of the Supreme Lord. (Bg 10.42)

…The goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, and all-powerful demigods like Brahmā and Śiva are engaged in the worship of Viṣṇu or Lord Kṛṣṇa; therefore who can be more powerful than Mukunda (Lord Kṛṣṇa) to be factually called the Supreme Personality of Godhead? The goddess of fortune, Lakṣmījī, Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are not independently powerful; they are powerful as expansions of the Supreme Lord, and all of them are engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, and so also are the living entities. (from purport SB 1.18.21)

…Both the living entity and the demigods are subordinate to the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead…not a blade of grass moves without the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Generally, persons who are distressed in the material world go to the demigods, as they are advised in the Vedic literature. A person wanting some particular thing may worship such and such a demigod. For example, a diseased person is recommended to worship the sun-god; a person wanting education may worship the goddess of learning, Sarasvatī; and a person wanting a beautiful wife may worship the goddess Umā, the wife of Lord Śiva. In this way there are recommendations in the śāstras (Vedic scriptures) for different modes of worship of different demigods. And because a particular living entity wants to enjoy a particular material facility, the Lord inspires him with a strong desire to achieve that benediction from that particular demigod, and so he successfully receives the benediction. The particular mode of the devotional attitude of the living entity toward a particular type of demigod is also arranged by the Supreme Lord. The demigods cannot infuse the living entities with such an affinity, but because He is the Supreme Lord or the Supersoul who is present in the heart of all living entities, Kṛṣṇa gives impetus to man to worship certain demigods. (from purport Bg 7.21)

…Everyone thinks that his intelligence is perfect. Sometimes one employs his intelligence in the worship of Umā, the wife of Lord Śiva, in order to obtain a beautiful wife. Sometimes, when one wants to become as learned as Lord Brahmā, he employs his intelligence in the worship of the goddess of learning, Sarasvatī. Sometimes, when one wishes to become as opulent as Lord Viṣṇu, he worships the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī.

Intelligence should be employed in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As soon as one uses his intelligence in this way, the goddess of fortune automatically becomes favorable to him. The goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, never remains without her husband, Lord Viṣṇu. Consequently, when one worships Lord Viṣṇu he automatically obtains the favor of the goddess of fortune. (from purport SB 4.25.28)

Full text and purports from above excerpts More

The Goddess Durga

Durga1

This morning, the above picture of the Goddess Durga crossed my desk, so I thought I would do a short post on Her. After some research in Srila Prabhupada’s books it is described: “Following the orders of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the goddess Durgā creates, maintains and annihilates…Because the goddess Durgā satisfies Kṛṣṇa, we should therefore offer respects to goddess Durgā.” As devotees there is no need to worship the demigods, but because the demigods are also servants of Lord Krishna, we offer them our respect.

…Durgā—the goddess Pārvatī, the wife of Lord Śiva—is extremely powerful. She can create, maintain and annihilate any number of universes by her sweet will, but she acts under the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, not independently. Kṛṣṇa is impartial, but because this is the material world of duality, such relative terms as happiness and distress, curses and favors, are created by the will of the Supreme. Those who are not nārāyaṇa-para, pure devotees, must be disturbed by this duality of the material world, whereas devotees who are simply attached to the service of the Lord are not at all disturbed by it. For example, Haridāsa Ṭhākura was beaten with cane in twenty-two bazaars, but he was never disturbed; instead, he smilingly tolerated the beating. Despite the disturbing dualities of the material world, devotees are not disturbed at all. Because they fix their minds on the lotus feet of the Lord and concentrate on the holy name of the Lord, they do not feel the so-called pains and pleasures caused by the dualities of this material world. (from purport SB 6.17.29)

This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kuntī, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings. By its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again. (Bg 9.10)

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Goddess Durgā

Durga

This morning I ran across this nice image of the Goddess Durgā. Durgā-devī, is actually the external energy of Kṛṣṇa, the shadow energy of the Lord. People in general worship goddess Durgā, the wife of Lord Śiva, for material prosperity. As devotees of Krishna, we do not worship the demigods or demigoddess’s. As Srila Prabhupada points out;

There is a misconception that there are many Gods. Actually that is not a fact. God is one, but there are many other powerful living entities who are in charge of different departments of administration. They are called demigods. All the demigods are servants who carry out the orders of the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead.

Only the less intelligent worship the demigods for their various purposes. The most intelligent worship only the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa.

Sometimes we, the members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, are accused of not approving of the worship of demigods….

…Because Kṛṣṇa and His energy appeared simultaneously, people have generally formed two groups—the śāktas and the Vaiṣṇavas—and sometimes there is rivalry between them. Essentially, those who are interested in material enjoyment are śāktas, and those interested in spiritual salvation and attaining the spiritual kingdom are Vaiṣṇavas. Because people are generally interested in material enjoyment, they are interested in worshiping Māyādevī, the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Vaiṣṇavas, however, are śuddha-śāktas, or pure bhaktas, because the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra indicates worship of the Supreme Lord’s energy, Harā. A Vaiṣṇava prays to the energy of the Lord for the opportunity to serve the Lord along with His spiritual energy. Thus Vaiṣṇavas all worship such Deities as Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, Sītā-Rāma, Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa and Rukmiṇī-Dvārakādhīśa, whereas durgā-śāktas worship the material energy under different names. ( from purport SB 10.2.11-12)

…But he also points out that we offer all respect to the demigods as they are all servants of the Lord.

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