Srimad Bhagavatam 11.14.05-07 - Unity in Diversity in Vedic Path (download mp3)
by Radhika Vallabha Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
tebhyah pitrbhyas tat-putra
kindevah kinnara naga
bahvyas tesam prakrtayo
yabhir bhutani bhidyante
bhutanam patayas tatha
citra vacah sravanti hi
From the forefathers headed by Bhrgu Muni and other sons of Brahma appeared many children and descendants, who assumed different forms as demigods, demons, human beings, Guhyakas, Siddhas, Gandharvas, Vidyadharas, Caranas, Kindevas, Kinnaras, Nagas, Kimpurusas, and so on. All of the many universal species, along with their respective leaders, appeared with different natures and desires generated from the three modes of material nature. Therefore, because of the different characteristics of the living entities within the universe, there are a great many Vedic rituals, mantras and rewards.
If one is curious why Vedic literatures recommend so many different methods of worship and advancement, the answer is given here. Bhrgu, Marici, Atri, Angira, Pulastya, Pulaha and Kratu are the seven great brahmana sages and forefathers of this universe. The Kindevas are a race of human beings who are, like the demigods, completely free from fatigue, sweat and body odor. Seeing them, one may thus ask, kim devah: “Are they demigods?” Actually, they are human beings living on another planet within the universe. The Kinnaras are so called because they are kiñcin narah, or “a little like human beings.” The Kinnaras have either a human head or human body (but not both) combined with a nonhuman form. The Kimpurusas are so called because they resemble human beings and thus prompt the question kim purusah: “Are these human beings?” Actually, they are a race of monkeys who are almost like human beings.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explains that this verse describes the varieties of forgetfulness of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The different Vedic mantras and rituals are especially meant for the different species of intelligent beings throughout the universe; but this proliferation of Vedic formulas indicates only the variety of material illusion and not a variety of ultimate purpose. The ultimate purpose of the many Vedic injunctions is one — to know and love the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord Himself is emphatically explaining this to Sri Uddhava.