śriyaḥ patir yajña-patiḥ prajā-patir
dhiyāṁ patir loka-patir dharā-patiḥ
patir gatiś cāndhaka-vṛṣṇi-sātvatāṁ
prasīdatāṁ me bhagavān satāṁ patiḥ
śriyaḥ—all opulence; patiḥ—the owner; yajña—of sacrifice; patiḥ—the director; prajā-patiḥ—the leader of all living entities; dhiyām—of intelligence; patiḥ—the master; loka-patiḥ—the proprietor of all planets; dharā—earth; patiḥ—the supreme; patiḥ—head; gatiḥ—destination; ca—also; andhaka—one of the kings of the Yadu dynasty; vṛṣṇi—the first king of the Yadu dynasty; sātvatām—the Yadus; prasīdatām—be merciful; me—upon me; bhagavān—Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa; satām—of all devotees; patiḥ—the Lord.
May Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the worshipable Lord of all devotees, the protector and glory of all the kings like Andhaka and Vṛṣṇi of the Yadu dynasty, the husband of all goddesses of fortune, the director of all sacrifices and therefore the leader of all living entities, the controller of all intelligence, the proprietor of all planets, spiritual and material, and the supreme incarnation on the earth (the supreme all in all), be merciful upon me.
Since Śukadeva Gosvāmī is one of the prominent gata-vyalīkas, who are freed from all misconceptions, he therefore expresses his own realized perception of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa as being the sum total of all perfection, the Personality of Godhead. Everyone is seeking the favor of the goddess of fortune, but people do not know that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the beloved husband of all goddesses of fortune. In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is said that the Lord, in His transcendental abode Goloka Vṛndāvana, is accustomed to herding the surabhi cows and is served there by hundreds of thousands of goddesses of fortune. All these goddesses of fortune are manifestations of His transcendental pleasure potency (hlādinī-śakti) in His internal energy, and when the Lord manifested Himself on this earth He partially displayed the activities of His pleasure potency in His rāsa-līlā just to attract the conditioned souls, who are all after the phantasmagoria pleasure potency in degraded sex enjoyment. The pure devotees of the Lord like Śukadeva Gosvāmī, who was completely detached from the abominable sex life of the material world, discussed this act of the Lord's pleasure potency certainly not in relation to sex, but to relish a transcendental taste inconceivable to the mundaners who are after sex life. Sex life in the mundane world is the root-cause of being conditioned by the shackles of illusion, and certainly Śukadeva Gosvāmī was never interested in the sex life of the mundane world. Nor does the manifestation of the Lord's pleasure potency have any connection with such degraded things. Lord Caitanya was a strict sannyāsī, so much so that He did not allow any woman to come near Him, not even to bow down and offer respects. He never even heard the prayers of the deva-dāsīs offered in the temple of Jagannātha because a sannyāsī is forbidden to hear songs sung by the fair sex. Yet even in the rigid position of a sannyāsī He recommended the mode of worship preferred by the gopīs of Vṛndāvana as the topmost loving service possible to be rendered to the Lord. And Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the principal head of all such goddesses of fortune, and therefore She is the pleasure counterpart of the Lord and is nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa.
In the Vedic rituals there are recommendations for performing different types of sacrifice in order to achieve the greatest benefit in life. Such benedictions as the results of performing great sacrifices are, after all, favors given by the goddess of fortune, and the Lord, being the husband or lover of the goddess of fortune, is factually the Lord of all sacrifices also. He is the final enjoyer of all kinds of yajña; therefore Yajña-pati is another name of Lord Viṣṇu. It is recommended in the Bhagavad-gītā that everything be done for the Yajña-pati (yajñārtāt karmaṇaḥ), for otherwise one's acts will be the cause of conditioning by the law of material nature. Those who are not freed from all misconceptions (vyalīkam) perform sacrifices to please the minor demigods, but the devotees of the Lord know very well that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the supreme enjoyer of all performances of sacrifice; therefore they perform the saṅkīrtana-yajña (śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ [SB 7.5.23]), which is especially recommended in this age of Kali. In Kali-yuga, performance of other types of sacrifice is not feasible due to insufficient arrangements and inexpert priesthood.
We have information from the Bhagavad-gītā (3.10-11) that Lord Brahmā, after giving rebirth to the conditioned souls within the universe, instructed them to perform sacrifices and to lead a prosperous life. With such sacrificial performances the conditioned souls will never be in difficulty in keeping body and soul together. Ultimately they can purify their existence. They will find natural promotion into spiritual existence, the real identity of the living being. A conditioned soul should never give up the practice of sacrifice, charity and austerity, in any circumstances. The aim of all such sacrifices is to please the Yajña-pati, the Personality of Godhead; therefore the Lord is also Prajā-pati. According to the Kaṭha Upaniṣad, the one Lord is the leader of the innumerable living entities. The living entities are maintained by the Lord (eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān). The Lord is therefore called the supreme Bhūta-bhṛt, or maintainer of all living beings.
Living beings are proportionately endowed with intelligence in terms of their previous activities. All living beings are not equally endowed with the same quality of intelligence because behind such development of intelligence is the control of the Lord, as declared in the Bhagavad-gītā (15.15). As Paramātmā, Supersoul, the Lord is living in everyone's heart, and from Him only does one's power of remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness follow (mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca). One person can sharply remember past activities by the grace of the Lord while others cannot. One is highly intelligent by the grace of the Lord, and one is a fool by the same control. Therefore the Lord is Dhiyām-pati, or the Lord of intelligence.
The conditioned souls strive to become lords of the material world. Everyone is trying to lord it over the material nature by applying his highest degree of intelligence. This misuse of intelligence by the conditioned soul is called madness. One's full intelligence should be applied to get free from the material clutches. But the conditioned soul, due to madness only, engages his full energy and intelligence in sense gratification, and to achieve this end of life he willfully commits all sorts of misdeeds. The result is that instead of attaining an unconditional life of full freedom, the mad conditioned soul is entangled again and again in different types of bondage in material bodies. Everything we see in the material manifestation is but the creation of the Lord. Therefore He is the real proprietor of everything in the universes. The conditioned soul can enjoy a fragment of this material creation under the control of the Lord, but not self-sufficiently. That is the instruction in the Īśopaniṣad. One should be satisfied with things awarded by the Lord of the universe. It is out of madness only that one tries to encroach upon another's share of material possessions.
The Lord of the universe, out of His causeless mercy upon the conditioned souls, descends by His own energy (ātma-māyā) to reestablish the eternal relation of the conditioned souls with Him. He instructs all to surrender unto Him instead of falsely claiming to be enjoyers for a certain limit under His control. When He so descends He proves how much greater is His ability to enjoy, and He exhibits His power of enjoyment by (for instance) marrying sixteen thousand wives at once. The conditioned soul is very proud of becoming the husband of even one wife, but the Lord laughs at this; the intelligent man can know who is the real husband. Factually, the Lord is the husband of all the women in His creation, but a conditioned soul under the control of the Lord feels proud to be the husband of one or two wives.
All these qualifications as the different types of pati mentioned in this verse are meant for Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and Śukadeva Gosvāmī has therefore especially mentioned the pati and gati of the Yadu dynasty. The members of the Yadu dynasty knew that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is everything, and all of them intended to return to Lord Kṛṣṇa after He had finished His transcendental pastimes on the earth. The Yadu dynasty was annihilated by the will of the Lord because its members had to return home with the Lord. The annihilation of the Yadu dynasty was a material show created by the Supreme Lord; otherwise the Lord and the members of the Yadu dynasty are all eternal associates. The Lord is therefore the guide of all devotees, and as such, Śukadeva Gosvāmī offered Him due respects with love-laden feelings.
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