sampracaratsu nana-yagesu viracitanga-kriyesv apurvam yat tat kriya-phalam dharmakhyam pare brahmani yajna-puruse sarva-devata-linganam mantranam artha-niyama-kataya saksat-kartari para-devatayam bhagavati vasudeva eva bhavayamana atma-naipunya-mrdita-kasayo havihsv adhvaryubhir grhyamanesu sa yajamano yajna-bhajo devams tan purusavayavesv abhyadhyayat.
sampracaratsu—when beginning to perform; nana-yagesu—various kinds of sacrifice; viracita-anga-kriyesu—in which the supplementary rites were performed; apurvam—remote; yat—whatever; tat—that; kriya-phalam—the result of such sacrifice; dharma-akhyam—by the name of religion; pare—unto the transcendence; brahmani—the Supreme Lord; yajna-puruse—the enjoyer of all sacrifices; sarva-devata-linganam—which manifest all the demigods; mantranam—of the Vedic hymns; artha-niyama-kataya—due to being the controller of the objects; saksat-kartari—directly the performer; para-devatayam—the origin of all demigods; bhagavati—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vasudeve—unto Krsna; eva—certainly; bhavayamanah—always thinking; atma-naipunya-mrdita-kasayah—freed from all lust and anger by his expertise in such thinking; havihsu—the ingredients to be offered in the sacrifice; adhvaryubhih—when the priests expert in the sacrifices mentioned in the Atharva Veda; grhyamanesu—taking; sahMaharaja Bharata; yajamanah—the sacrificer; yajna-bhajah—the recipients of the results of sacrifice; devan—all the demigods; tan—them; purusa-avayavesu—as different parts and limbs of the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda; abhyadhyayat—he thought.
After performing the preliminaries of various sacrifices, Maharaja Bharata offered the results in the name of religion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva. In other words, he performed all the yajnas for the satisfaction of Lord Vasudeva, Krsna. Maharaja Bharata thought that since the demigods were different parts of Vasudeva’s body, He controls those who are explained in the Vedic mantras. By thinking in this way, Maharaja Bharata was freed from all material contamination, such as attachment, lust and greed. When the priests were about to offer the sacrificial ingredients into the fire, Maharaja Bharata expertly understood how the offering made to different demigods was simply an offering to the different limbs of the Lord. For instance, Indra is the arm of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Surya [the sun] is His eye. Thus Maharaja Bharata considered that the oblations offered to different demigods were actually offered unto the different limbs of Lord Vasudeva.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead says that as long as one does not develop the pure devotional service of sravanam kirtanam, hearing and chanting, one must carry out his prescribed duties. Since Bharata Maharaja was a great devotee, one may ask why he performed so many sacrifices that are actually meant for karmis. The fact is that he was simply following the orders of Vasudeva. As Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita, sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me.” (Bg. 18.66) Whatever we do, we should constantly remember Vasudeva. People are generally addicted to offering obeisances to various demigods, but Bharata Maharaja simply wanted to please Lord Vasudeva. As stated in Bhagavad-gita: bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram (Bg. 5.29). A yajna may be carried out to satisfy a particular demigod, but when the yajna is offered to the yajna-purusa, Narayana, the demigods are satisfied. The purpose of performing different yajnas is to satisfy the Supreme Lord. One may perform them in the name of different demigods or directly. If we directly offer oblations to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the demigods are automatically satisfied. If we water the root of a tree, the branches, twigs, fruits and flowers are automatically satisfied. When one offers sacrifices to different demigods, one should remember that the demigods are simply parts of the body of the Supreme. If we worship the hand of a person, we intend to satisfy the person himself. If we massage a person’s legs, we do not really serve the legs but the person who possesses the legs. All the demigods are different parts of the Lord, and if we offer service to them, we actually serve the Lord Himself. Demigod worship is mentioned in Brahma-samhita, but actually the slokas advocate worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda. For instance, worship of the goddess Durga is mentioned this way in Brahma-samhita (5.44):
Following the orders of Sri Krsna, the goddess Durga creates, maintains and annihilates. Sri Krsna also confirms this statement in Bhagavad-gita. Mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram: “This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings.” (Bg. 9.10)
We should worship the demigods in that spirit. Because the goddess Durga satisfies Krsna, we should therefore offer respects to goddess Durga. Because Lord Siva is nothing but Krsna’s functional body, we should therefore offer respects to Lord Siva. Similarly, we should offer respects to Brahma, Agni and Surya. There are many offerings to different demigods, and one should always remember that these offerings are usually meant to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Bharata Maharaja did not aspire to receive some benediction from demigods. His aim was to please the Supreme Lord. In the Mahabharata, among the thousand names of Visnu, it is said yajna-bhug yajna-krd yajnah. The enjoyer of yajna, the performer of yajna and yajna itself are the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord is the performer of everything, but out of ignorance the living entity thinks that he is the actor. As long as we think we are the actors, we bring about karma-bandha (bondage to activity). If we act for yajna, for Krsna. there is no karma-bandha. Yajnarthat karmano ’nyatra loko ’yam karma-bandhanah: [Bg. 3.9]) “Work done as a sacrifice for Visnu has to be performed. otherwise work binds one to this material world.” (Bg. 3.9)
Following the instructions of Bharata Maharaja, we should act not for our personal satisfaction but for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bhagavad-gita (17.28) it is also stated:
Sacrifices, austerities and charities performed without faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead are nonpermanent. Regardless of whatever rituals are performed, they are called asat, nonpermanent. They are therefore useless both in this life and the next.
Kings like Maharaja Ambarisa and many other rajarsis who were pure devotees of the Lord simply passed their time in the service of the Supreme Lord. When a pure devotee executes some service through the agency of another person, he should not be criticized, for his activities are meant for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. A devotee may have a priest perform some karma-kanda, and the priest may not be a pure Vaisnava, but because the devotee wants to please the Supreme Lord, he should not be criticized. The word apurva is very significant. The resultant actions of karma are called apurva. When we act piously or impiously, immediate results do not ensue. We therefore wait for the results, which are called apurva. The results are manifest in the future. Even the smartas accept this apurva. Pure devotees simply act for the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore the results of their activities are spiritual, or permanent. They are not like those of the karmis, which are nonpermanent. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (4.23):
“The work of a man who is unattached to the modes of material nature and who is fully situated in transcendental knowledge merges entirely into transcendence.”
A devotee is always free from material contamination. He is fully situated in knowledge, and therefore his sacrifices are intended for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

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