2006 (Gaurabda 520) VyAsa-pUjA offering
by Rasananda das

nama oM viSNu-pAdAya kRSNa-preSThAya bhU-tale
zrImate bhaktivedanta-svAmin iti nAmine

namas te sArasvate deve gaura-vANI-pracAriNe

oM ajJAna-timirAndhasya jJAnAJjana-zalAkayA
cakSur unmIlitaM yena tasmai zrI-gurave namaH

On the occasion of your VyAsa-pUjA, the day of your blessed appearance in this world, I make the following humble offering. It is a compilation of verses and quotations from various authoritative literatures. Simply the titles have been composed by me.

The primacy of honoring and worshiping the greatly elevated, confidential devotees of the Lord.

Many of the verses in the compilation say ‘unto the devotee’, or ‘unto the spiritual master’ [or guru]. The reader should understand that these references are to the topmost devotees and the topmost gurus. There are grades of devotees -- from the person who upon seeing the devotees or the deity or hearing the chanting of the Lord’s names or by any means of some experience of Him being gained by a person and some seed of faith being planted -- up to the topmost devotee, greatly empowered to establish the principles of religion throughout the world. Similarly there are different grades of gurus: in one sense any devotee of Krishna, or Visnu, is a guru, but only a devotee on the topmost platform -- much favored by the Lord and greatly empowered by Him, constantly receiving dictation from Him -- can be called jagat-guru... spiritual master of the whole world, whom even elevated beings on other planets worship. Such a guru is also the sampradaya acarya... the acarya of the whole line of tradition. Other devotees and gurus are to be honored and worshipped according to the level of their adhikara.

(SB means zrImad-BhAgavatam; CC Means Caitanya Caritamrta; Bg, or BG, means Bhagavad Gita; p after a reference means that the selection is from the Bhaktivedanta purport as published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust; HBV means Hari Bhakti Vilas and CB means Caitanya Bhagavata.)

Lord KRSNa considers His devotees greater than Himself:

AtmA haite kRSNa bhakte baDa kari’ mane / ihAte bahuta zAstra-vacana pramANe AtmA haite—than His own self; kRSNa—Lord KRSNa; bhakte—His devotee; baDa kari’ mAne—accepts as greater; ihAte—in this connection; bahuta—many; zAstra vacana—quotations from revealed scripture; pramANe—evidences. Lord KRSNa considers His devotees greater than Himself. In this connection the scriptures provide an abundance of evidence.
- CC Adi 6.101

The Lord is more pleased with the glorification of His devotee than that of Himself directly:

Nobody can be better devotee than RAdhArANI. So as soon as RAdhA’s name is there, KRSNa is more pleased. So that is the way. So if we glorify the devotees, the character of the devotees, before the Lord, He’s more pleased than to glorify Himself, He directly.
- Lecture - SB 7.9.11-13, Hawaii, March 24, 1969

The real meaning of the Vedic knowledge is revealed only to those advanced aspirants who have the same implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master:

yasya deva parA bhaktir / yathA deve tathA gurau
tasyaite kathitA hy arthAH / prakAzante mahAtmanaH

"Only unto those great souls who have the same implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge, spiritual realization (brahmabhUta) automatically revealed."
- zvetAzvatara UpaniSad 6.23

The worship of the devotees is better than the worship of Krishna directly:

mad-bhakta-pUjAbhyadhikA / sarva-bhUteSu man-matiH
Worshiping My devotees is better than worshiping Me directly.
- SB 11.19.21

ArAdhanAnAM sarveSAM / viSNor ArAdhanaM param
tasmAt parataraM devi / tadIyAnAM samarcanam

“My dear DevI, although the Vedas recommend worship of demigods, the worship of Lord ViSNu is topmost. However, above the worship of Lord ViSNu is the rendering of service to VaiSNavas, who are related to Lord ViSNu."

Purport: ... There are recommendations in the Vedas for the worship of various demigods as well as Lord ViSNu. In this quotation from the Padma PurANa, Lord ziva answers a question posed to him by goddess DurgA. This verse is also included in the Laghu-bhAgavatAmRta (2.4), by zrIla RUpa GosvAmI. The words viSNor ArAdhanam refer to the worship of Lord ViSNu, or KRSNa. Thus the supreme form of worship is the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, zrI KRSNa. It is further concluded that the worshiper of Lord ViSNu renders better service by worshiping the devotee of Lord KRSNa. There are different types of devotees—those in zAnta-rasa, dAsya-rasa, sakhya-rasa, vAtsalya-rasa and mAdhurya-rasa. Although all the rasas are on the transcendental platform, mAdhurya-rasa is the supreme transcendental mellow. Consequently it is concluded that the worship of devotees engaged in the Lord’s service in mAdhurya-rasa is the supreme spiritual activity. zrI Caitanya MahAprabhu and His followers mainly worship Lord KRSNa in mAdhurya-rasa. Other VaiSNava AcAryas recommended worship up to vAtsalya-rasa. ... zrI Caitanya MahAprabhu appeared in this Age of Kali to exhibit the superexcellence of mAdhurya-rasa, a gift never previously bestowed by any AcArya or incarnation. Consequently zrI Caitanya MahAprabhu is accepted as the most magnanimous incarnation. It is He only who distributed love of KRSNa while exhibiting the superexcellence of loving KRSNa in the conjugal rasa.
- CC Madhya 11.31 p

Worship of devotees is better than worship of Krishna:

ye me bhakta-janAH pArtha na me bhaktAz ca te janAH
mad-bhaktAnAM ca ye bhaktAs te me bhakta-tamA matAH

“My dear PArtha, one who claims to be My devotee is not so. Only a person who claims to be a devotee of My devotee is actually My devotee.”
- CC Madhya 11.28, Lord Caitanya quoting the Adi PurANa.

“AmAra bhaktera pUjA—AmA haite baDa”
sei prabhu vede-bhAgavate kailA daDha

That same Supreme Personality of Godhead has declared in the Vedas and zrImad BhAgavatam, “Worship of My devotees is superior to worship of Me.
- CB Adi Khanda 1.8

One should worship acarya first, then the Lord, otherwise one’s worship is fruitless:

"prathamam tu gurum pujya tatas caiva mamarcanam kurvan siddhim avapnoti hy anyatha nisphalam bhavet" ...

"If anyone worships his spiritual master first and then Me, he certainly achieves perfection. Otherwise, his worship remains fruitless."
- HBV 4.344, quoting SmRti  MahArnava, spoken by Lord Krishna

Those who worship the Supreme Lord but are indifferent to the worship of His devotees are eligible for punishment by the lord of death, Yamaraj:

... many people who worship the Supreme Lord remain indifferent to the worship of His devotees and as a result are eligible for punishment by Yamaraj...
- CB Madya 3.169-170 p

Failure to properly worship the spiritual master results in falldown:

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has pointed out that the original cause of offending the Lord and falling down from one's position is one's not learning how to properly worship a bona fide spiritual master. One who is trained to offer respectful obeisances and worship to the bona fide spiritual master automatically offers proper worship to the Supreme Lord. Without the mercy of a bona fide spiritual master, even a so-called religious man will gradually become atheistic, offend the Lord by foolish speculation and fall into a hellish condition of life.
- SB 11.5.3 p

Worship of the Lord without worship of devotee is simply a manifestation of false pride:

arcayitvA tu govindaM / adIyAn nArcayet tu yaH
na sa bhAgavato jJeyaH / kevalaM dAmbhikaH smRtaH

"One who performs worship of Lord Govinda but fails to worship His devotees should be understood to be not a devotee of the Lord but simply a victim of false pride."
- Quoted in CB Madya 3.169-170 P and in SB 11.3.26 P

Worship of the confidential devotee -- antaranga bhakta guru more is more important than direct worship of God:

In the Vamana-kalpa, Lord Brahma explains: "One's mantra is identical with his spiritual master. One's spiritual master is identical with Lord Hari. When the spiritual master is pleased, then Lord Hari is pleased." It is also said: "When Lord Hari is angry, one's spiritual master can protect him. When one's spiritual master is angry, no one can give protection. Therefore with all efforts one should strive to please his spiritual master." Therefore one should always serve his spiritual master. In  another place in the scriptures, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself declares: "First one should worship his spiritual master, and afterward worship Me.  One who does this attains perfection.  One who does not finds that all his efforts are in vain."

In the Narada-pancaratra it is said: "With body, mind and words, one should worship his Vaisnava spiritual master who is as good as Lord Visnu, who teaches the science of Lord Visnu. One who knows the true meaning of the scriptures is a Vaisnava and one who teaches the true meaning of the verses in the scriptures is always to be worshipped. What more need be said?  He is a manifestation of Lord Visnu Himself."

In the Padma Purana, Rsi Devadyuti prays: "For me devotion to my spiritual master it is more important than devotion to Lord Hari. If I am devoted to my spiritual master, then Lord Hari will personally reveal Himself to me."

In such a situation there is no need even to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead separate from the worship of one's spiritual master. This is explained in the pancaratra, where, in the course of describing the results of purascarana (religious ceremonies), it is said: "As an alchemist's touch turns copper into gold, so the spiritual master's touch makes his disciple transcendental like Lord Visnu Himself." This is also explained in Srimad Bhagavatam (10.80.34), where Lord Krsna declares: “I, the Soul of all beings, am not as satisfied by ritual worship, brahminical initiation or begetting good children, penances or self-discipline as I am by faithful service rendered to the spiritual master.”

Srila Sridhara Svami, the original commentator on the Vedanta Sutra, comments:

“This verse explains that no one is more to be worshiped than the spiritual master who gives transcendental knowledge. Therefore no duty is more important than the worship of him. In this verse the word "ijya" means "the ritual duties of a householder", "prajatih" means “begetting good children” or “the second birth by accepting the sacred thread” and describes the duties of a brahmacari. "Tapasa" describes the duties of a vanaprastha and “upasamena” describes the duties of a sannyasi.  "Aham" means "I”, the Supreme Personality of Godhead". The Lord then declares: "I, the Soul of all beings, cannot be satisfied by these things in the same way as I am by faithful service rendered to the spiritual master."
- Sat Sandarbha, Bhakti Sandarbha, Anuccheda 237, 8-17

Worship of the guru has precedence over all others:

Athau gurupuja: the worship of the guru has precedence over all others.
- Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Lecture – “Assuming Responsibility of Being Guru”

“First guru-kRpA, then kRSNa-kRpA”:

To understand Vedic literature means one must have firm faith in KRSNa and firm faith in guru, not that “My guru is not so learned, so let me capture KRSNa directly.” That is useless. That is useless. Caitanya MahAprabhu says, guru-kRSNa-kRpAya pAya bhakti-latA-bIja. One can get the seed of the plant or creeper of bhakti, how? Guru kRSNa-kRpA. By the mercy of guru and by the mercy of KRSNa, not that kRSNa-kRpA. First guru-kRpA, then kRSNa-kRpA.
- Lecture, SB 1.15.27, New York, March 6, 1975

Worship of great saintly persons representative of Krishna is better than direct worship of Him:

"...pure devotees of the Lord are as glorious as the Lord; they are, in fact, recommended by the Lord as more worshipable then He Himself. Worship of the devotee is more potent than worship of the Lord. It is therefore the duty of the transcendental students to hear of pure devotees, as explained by similar devotees of the Lord, because one cannot explain about the Lord or His devotee unless one happens to be a pure devotee himself." - SB 3.13.4 Purport

"My dear Srutadeva, you may therefore accept all these great saintly persons, brahmanas and sages as My bona fide representatives. By worshiping them faithfully, you will be worshiping Me more diligently. I consider worship of My devotees to be better than direct worship of Me. If someone attempts to worship Me directly without worshiping My devotees, I do not accept such worship, even though it may be presented with great opulence."
- from Krishna Book, chapter 86.

mad-bhakta-pUjAbhyadhikA / sarva-bhUtes'u man-matih'
Worshipping My devotees is better than directly worshipping me.
- CB Adi 1.9

The words mad-bhakta-pUjAbhyadhikA are significant in this verse. AbhyadhikA indicates "superior quality." The Lord is extremely satisfied with those who offer worship to His pure devotees, and He rewards them accordingly. Because of the Lord's generous appraisal of His pure devotees, worship of the pure devotees is described as superior to worship of the Lord Himself."
- SB 11.19.21 p

Mad-bhakta-pUjA abhyadhikA. To worship VyAsadeva, worship the bona fide spiritual master and worship the Lord, they are the same. Rather, Krishna says that if you worship His bona fide representative, that worship is better than directly worshiping. Directly it is not possible to worship the Supreme Lord.
- lecture, SB 1.7.5 VRndAvana, Sept 4 '76

"amara bhaktera pUjA-AmA haite baDa" / sei prabhu vede-bhagavate kailA daDha
That same Supreme Personality of Godhead has declared in the Vedas and zrimad BhAgavtam, "Worship of My devotee is superior to worshipping me."
- Caitanya Bhagavata Adi 1.8

arcayitvA tu govindam / tadIyaM nArcayet tu yaH
na sa bhAgavato jJeyaH / kevalaM dAmbhikaH smRtaH

One who performs worship of Govinda but fails to worship His devotees should be understood to be not a devotee of the Lord but simply a victim of false pride.
- Padma Purana Uttara-kaNDa

ye me bhakta-janAh' pArtha / na me bhaktAs" ca te janAh'
mad-bhaktAnAm' ca ye bhaktAs / te me bhakta-tamA matAHh'

"Lord Krishna told Arjuna, 'Those who are My direct devotees are actually not My devotees, but those who are the devotees of My servant are factually My devotees.'
- CC Madhya 11.28 quoting Adi Purana

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu requested Ramananda Raya to retire from his government post and come to SrI Purusottama-ksetra (Jagannatha Puri) to live with Him. When this proposal was submitted to King PratAparudra, he immediately accepted it and also encouraged Ramananda Raya by allowing him a full pension. This was very much appreciated by the Lord, and this confirms the fact that the Lord is more pleased when one serves the servant of the Lord. In ordinary parlance it is said, “If you love me, love my dog.”
- CC Madya 11.27 p

KRSNa doesn’t accept anyone’s service directly:

Narottama dasa Thakura says. If you don’t become a faithful servant of VaiSNava, there is no possibility of your liberation. cADiyA vaiSNava-sevA nistAra pAyecha kebA, tAGdera caraNa-sevi-bhakta-sane vAsa, janame janame haya ei abhilASa.

This is Narottama dAsa ThAkura’s... Our determination should be to serve the previous guru and AcArya. EvaM paramparA-prAptam. That is our determination. TAGdera caraNa-sevi. Our service... Not directly KRSNa. Because to serve VaiSNava is more than serving KRSNa directly. Mad-bhakta-pUjAbhyadhikA. KRSNa likes that. He doesn’t accept anyone’s service directly. That is a gross mistake.
- Lecture, SB 1.7.44 VRndAvana, October 4, 1976

So bhagavat-priyANAm, one who is very dear to KRSNa, if you love such person, then KRSNa is more pleased. KRSNa is more pleased. Bhagavat-priyANAm. There is a version in the PurANas, DevI PurANa. PArvatI was asking questions to Lord ziva, and Lord ziva was replying. This is the process at home. The wife is supposed to inquire from the husband about spiritual advancement of life, and the husband must be competent to reply all the questions of wife. That will keep relation very nice. zravaNaM kIrtanam. That is bhakti. So PArvatI was asking... Because according to Vedas, there are so many demigods. ViSNu is sometimes taken, but ViSNu is not... BrahmA, ViSNu, Mahezvara. They are the principal deities. So the inquiry was “Which worship is the best? ViSNu, or Lord ziva, or BrahmA or Candra?” There are so many demigods. Sometimes they are misunderstood that all of them are Gods. No. They are called demigods. God is one. That is... Originally, God is KRSNa. IzvaraH paramaH kRSNaH. So the inquiry was, “There are so many gods. So which worship is the best?” So Lord ziva replied, ArAdhanAnAM sarveSAM viSNor ArAdhanaM param, tasmAt parataraM devi tadIyAnAM samarcanam. Means “My dear wife, Devi...” Wife is addressed “Devi,” not by name. The husband should address the wife, “Devi.” They must be like devI. DevI means goddess. And the wife must address the husband as “lord.” This is the system. So he replied, “Devi, ArAdhanAnAM sarveSAm. There are many kinds of recommendation. ‘If you want this, you worship this God. If you want this, you worship...’ ” These are described in the BhAgavatam. “So of all different types of worship, the worshiping of Lord ViSNu is the best,” he said. ArAdhanAnAM sarveSAM viSNor ArAdhanaM param. And again he said, tasmAt parataraM devi: “There is still better worship.” What is called? What is that? TadIyAnAM samarcanam: “To worship the devotee of ViSNu, VaiSNava.” TadIyAnAM samarcanam. That is the best. First of all he said, viSNor ArAdhanaM param: “That is the supreme.” Then again he said, tasmAt, “From that,” tasmAt parataram, “still better,” tadIyAnAM samarcanam, “to worship the devotee of God.” So this is very simple method. You cannot approach God. It is not very easy thing. But God’s representative, God’s devotee, on behalf of God, who is canvassing, tadIyAnAm—that worship is better. TadIyAnAM samarcanam.
- SB 1.15.51 lecture, Los Angeles, December 28, 1973

A few other verses that indicate the greatness of pure devotees are as follows:

One pure devotee can change the world:

...a devotee, by his personal devotional service, can influence all the people of the whole world to become devotees of the Lord. lf there is only one pure devotee in pure Krsna consciousness, he can change the total consciousness of the world into Krsna consciousness.
- SB 4.8.80 p

Service to guru enables transcending of the modes' influence:

rajas tamaz ca sattvena / sattvaM copazamena ca
etat sarvaM gurau bhaktyA / puruSo hy aJjasA jayet
rajaH tamaH-the modes of passion and ignorance; ca-and; sattvena-by
developing the mode of goodness; sattvam-the mode of goodness; ca-also;
upazamena-by giving up attachment; ca-and; etat-these; sarvam-all;
gurau-unto the spiritual master; bhaktyA-by rendering service in devotion;
puruSaH-a person; hi-indeed; aJjasA-easily; jayet-can conquer.

One must conquer the modes of passion and ignorance by developing the mode of goodness, and then one must become detached from the mode of goodness by promoting oneself to the platform of zuddha-sattva. All this can be automatically done if one engages in the service of the (akincana, uttama adhikari) spiritual master with faith and devotion. In this way one can conquer the influence of the modes of nature. Just by treating the root cause of an ailment, one can conquer all bodily pains and sufferings. Similarly, if one is devoted and faithful to the spiritual master, he can conquer the influence of sattva-guNa, rajo-guNa and tamo-guNa very easily. YogIs and jJAnIs practice in many ways to conquer the senses, but the bhakta immediately attains the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the mercy of the spiritual master. Yasya prasAdAd bhagavat-prasAdo. If the spiritual master is favorably inclined, one naturally receives the mercy of the Supreme Lord, and by the mercy of the Supreme Lord one immediately becomes transcendental, conquering all the influences of sattva guNa, rajo-guNa and tamo-guNa within this material world. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gItA (sa guNAn samatItyaitAn brahma-bhUyAya kalpate [Bg. 14.26]). If one is a pure devotee acting under the directions of the guru, one easily gets the mercy of the Supreme Lord and thus becomes immediately situated on the transcendental platform. This is explained in the next verse. yasya sAkSAd bhagavatijJAna-dIpa-prade gurau, martyAsad-dhIH zrutaM tasya sarvaM kuJjara-zaucavat. The spiritual master should be considered to be directly the Supreme Lord because he gives transcendental knowledge for enlightenment. Consequently, for one who maintains the material conception that the spiritual master is an ordinary human being, everything is frustrated. His enlightenment and his Vedic studies and knowledge are like the bathing of an elephant.

Purport: It is recommended that one honor the spiritual master as being on an equal status with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. SAkSAd dharitvena samasta-zAstraiH. This is enjoined in every scripture. AcAryaM mAM vijAnIyAt. One should consider the AcArya to be as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In spite of all these instructions, if one considers the spiritual master an ordinary human being, one is doomed. His study of the Vedas and his austerities and penances for enlightenment are all useless, like the bathing of an elephant. An elephant bathes in a lake quite thoroughly, but as soon as it comes on the shore it takes some dust from the ground and strews it over its body. Thus there is no meaning to the elephant’s bath. One may argue by saying that since the spiritual master’s relatives and the men of his neighborhood consider him an ordinary human being, what is the fault on the part of the disciple who considers the spiritual master an ordinary human being? This will be answered in the next verse, but the injunction is that the spiritual master should never be considered an ordinary man. One should strictly adhere to the instructions of the spiritual master, for if he is pleased, certainly the Supreme Personality of Godhead is pleased. Yasya prasAdAd bhagavat-prasAdo yasyAprasAdAn na gatiH kuto ’pi.
- SB 7.15.25, 26, 27, verses and purports

One must know who is God and who is servant:

We must know what are the demigods, and what is their position. (i ) they are assistants, servants of God, Krsna. Krsna is the Supreme Lord and all others are servants. This has to be understood. God is one and there are many servants. Servants are not to be disrespected, but one must know who is God and who is servant.” Was there any harm, the man asked, if one respected the servants. “No harm. But we must know, ‘Here is servant and here is master’. Suppose the servant and master are together, and if I say ‘For me, either the servant or master, they are all the same’. Then the master will be insulted. You may be very liberal, so kind to everyone, but the master will be displeased. He will think, ‘This nonsense does not know who is master and who is servant’. Therefore, intelligence means to know who is master and who is servant.”
(This is a quotation from “The Great Transcendental Adventure - Pastimes of Srila Prabhupada in Australia" by Kurma dasa)

Your insignificant servant,
Rasananda das
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