prayena veda tad idam na mahajano ’yam
devya vimohita-matir bata mayayalam
trayyam jadi-krta-matir madhu-puspitayam
vaitanike mahati karmani yujyamanah
prayena—almost always; veda—know; tat—that; idam—this; na—not; mahajanah—great personalities besides Svayambhu, Sambhu and the other ten; ayam—this; devya—by the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vimohita-matih—whose intelligence is bewildered; bata—indeed; mayaya—by the illusory energy; alam—greatly; trayyam—in the three Vedas; jadi-krta-matih—whose intelligence has been dulled; madhu-puspitayam—in the flowery Vedic language describing the results of ritualistic performances; vaitanike—in the performances mentioned in the Vedas; mahati—very great; karmani—fruitive activities; yujyamanah—being engaged.
Because they are bewildered by the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Yajnavalkya and Jaimini and other compilers of the religious scriptures cannot know the secret, confidential religious system of the twelve mahajanas. They cannot understand the transcendental value of performing devotional service or chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. Because their minds are attracted to the ritualistic ceremonies mentioned in the Vedas—especially the Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Rg Veda—their intelligence has become dull. Thus they are busy collecting the ingredients for ritualistic ceremonies that yield only temporary benefits, such as elevation to Svargaloka for material happiness. They are not attracted to the sankirtana movement; instead, they are interested in dharma, artha, kama and moksa.
Since one may easily achieve the highest success by chanting the holy name of the Lord, one may ask why there are so many Vedic ritualistic ceremonies and why people are attracted to them. This verse answers that question. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (15.15), vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah: the real purpose of studying the Vedas is to approach the lotus feet of Lord Krsna. Unfortunately, unintelligent people bewildered by the grandeur of Vedic yajnas want to see gorgeous sacrifices performed. They want Vedic mantras chanted and huge amounts of money spent for such ceremonies. Sometimes we have to observe the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies to please such unintelligent men. Recently, when we established a large Krsna-Balarama temple in Vrndavana, we were obliged to have Vedic ceremonies enacted by brahmanas because the inhabitants of Vrndavana, especially the smarta-brahmanas, would not accept Europeans and Americans as bona fide brahmanas. Thus we had to engage brahmanas to perform costly yajnas. In spite of these yajnas, the members of our Society performed sankirtana loudly with mrdangas, and I considered the sankirtana more important than the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. Both the ceremonies and the sankirtana were going on simultaneously. The ceremonies were meant for persons interested in Vedic rituals for elevation to heavenly planets (jadi-krta-matir madhu-puspitayam), whereas the sankirtana was meant for pure devotees interested in pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We would simply have performed sankirtana, but then the inhabitants of Vrndavana would not have taken the installation ceremony seriously. As explained here, the Vedic performances are meant for those whose intelligence has been dulled by the flowery language of the Vedas, which describe fruitive activities intended to elevate one to the higher planets.
Especially in this age of Kali, sankirtana alone is sufficient. If the members of our temples in the different parts of the world simply continue sankirtana before the Deity, especially before Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, they will remain perfect. There is no need of any other performances. Nevertheless, to keep oneself clean in habits and mind, Deity worship and other regulative principles are required. Srila Jiva Gosvami says that although sankirtana is sufficient for the perfection of life, the arcana, or worship of the Deity in the temple, must continue in order that the devotees may stay clean and pure. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura therefore recommended that one follow both processes simultaneously. We strictly follow his principle of performing Deity worship and sankirtana along parallel lines. This we should continue.
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