asnaty anantah khalu tattva-kovidaih
sraddha-hutam yan-mukha ijya-namabhih
na vai tatha cetanaya bahis-krte
asnati—eats; anantah—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; khalu—nevertheless; tattva-kovidaih—persons in knowledge of the Absolute Truth; sraddha—faith; hutam—offering fire sacrifices; yat-mukhe—whose mouth; ijya-namabhih—by different names of demigods; na—never; vai—certainly; tatha—as much; cetanaya—by living force; bahih-krte—being bereft of; huta-asane—in the fire sacrifice; paramahamsya—regarding devotees; paryaguh—never goes away.
Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Ananta, eats through the fire sacrifices offered in the names of the different demigods, He does not take as much pleasure in eating through fire as He does in accepting offerings through the mouths of learned sages and devotees, for then He does not leave the association of devotees.
According to Vedic injunctions, a fire sacrifice is held in order to give food to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the names of the different demigods. While performing a fire sacrifice, one pronounces the word svaha in mantras such as indraya svaha and adityaya svaha. These mantras are uttered to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead through demigods such as Indra and Aditya, for the Supreme Personality of Godhead says:
“I am not in Vaikuntha nor in the hearts of the yogis. I remain where My devotees engage in glorifying My activities.” It is to be understood that the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not leave the company of His devotees.
Fire is certainly devoid of life, but devotees and brahmanas are the living representatives of the Supreme Lord. Therefore to feed brahmanas and Vaisnavas is to feed the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. It may be concluded that instead of offering fire sacrifices, one should offer foodstuffs to brahmanas and Vaisnavas, for that process is more effective than fire yajna. The vivid example of this principle in action was given by Advaita Prabhu. When He performed the sraddha ceremony for His father, He first of all called Haridasa Thakura and offered him food. It is the practice that after finishing the sraddha ceremony, one should offer food to an elevated brahmana. But Advaita Prabhu offered food first to Haridasa Thakura, who had taken his birth in a Muhammadan family. Therefore Haridasa Thakura asked Advaita Prabhu why He was doing something which might jeopardize His position in brahmana society. Advaita Prabhu replied that He was feeding millions of first-class brahmanas by offering the food to Haridasa Thakura. He was prepared to talk with any learned brahmana on this point and prove definitely that by offering food to a pure devotee like Haridasa Thakura, He was equally as blessed as He would have been by offering food to thousands of learned brahmanas. When performing sacrifices, one offers oblations to the sacrificial fire, but when such oblations are offered to Vaisnavas, they are certainly more effective.
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