Srimad Bhagavatam 11.27.02-06 - Conscience of a Worshiper (download mp3)
by Sri Vishwambhar Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
etad vadanti munayo
muhur niḥśreyasaṁ nṛṇām
nārado bhagavān vyāsa
ācāryo ’ṅgirasaḥ sutaḥ
All the great sages repeatedly declare that such worship brings the greatest benefit possible in human life. This is the opinion of Nārada Muni, the great Vyāsadeva and my own spiritual master, Bṛhaspati.
niḥsṛtaṁ te mukhāmbhojād
yad āha bhagavān ajaḥ
devyai ca bhagavān bhavaḥ
etad vai sarva-varṇānām
āśramāṇāṁ ca sammatam
śreyasām uttamaṁ manye
strī-śūdrāṇāṁ ca māna-da
O most magnanimous Lord, the instructions on this process of Deity worship first emanated from Your lotus mouth. Then they were spoken by the great Lord Brahmā to his sons, headed by Bhṛgu, and by Lord Śiva to his wife, Pārvatī. This process is accepted by and appropriate for all the occupational and spiritual orders of society. Therefore I consider worship of You in Your Deity form to be the most beneficial of all spiritual practices, even for women and śūdras.
O lotus-eyed one, O Supreme Lord of all lords of the universe, please explain to Your devoted servant this means of liberation from the bondage of work.
na hy anto ’nanta-pārasya
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, there is no end to the innumerable Vedic prescriptions for executing Deity worship; so I shall explain this topic to you briefly, one step at a time.
Here the word karma-kāṇḍa refers to the various Vedic methods of worship, culminating in Deity worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Just as the means of sense gratification and material renunciation are innumerable, the transcendental pastimes and qualities the Supreme Personality of Godhead enjoys in His own abode, called Vaikuṇṭha, are also innumerable. The various concepts of piety and methods of purification in the material world ultimately cannot be reconciled amongst themselves without accepting the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, since without appreciation of Him there is no definitive understanding of what is actually obligatory for a human being. Even though almost all human beings are engaged in various processes of worship, the Lord will now summarize this topic, describing how one should worship Him in His Deity form.