sa niriksyambare devam
hamsa-vaham upasthitam
nanama sirasa bhumau
sah—he (Hiranyakasipu); niriksya—seeing; ambare—in the sky; devam—the supreme demigod; hamsa-vaham—who rides a swan airplane; upasthitam—situated before him; nanama—offered obeisances; sirasa—with his head; bhumau—on the ground; tat-darsana—by seeing Lord Brahma; maha-utsavah—very much pleased.
Seeing Lord Brahma present before him in the sky, carried by his swan airplane, Hiranyakasipu was extremely pleased. He immediately fell flat with his head on the ground and began to express his obligation to the lord.
Lord Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (9.23–24):
ye ’py anya-devata-bhakta
yajante sraddhayanvitah
te ’pi mam eva kaunteya
yajanty avidhi-purvakam
“Whatever a man may sacrifice to other gods, O son of Kunti, is really meant for Me alone, but it is offered without true understanding. I am the only enjoyer and the only object of sacrifice. Those who do not recognize My true transcendental nature fall down.”
In effect, Krsna says, “Persons engaged in the worship of demigods are not very intelligent, although such worship is indirectly offered to Me.” For example, when a man pours water on the leaves and branches of a tree without pouring water on the root, he does so without sufficient knowledge or without observing regulative principles. The process of watering a tree is to pour water on the root. Similarly, the process of rendering service to different parts of the body is to supply food to the stomach. The demigods are, so to speak, different officers and directors in the government of the Supreme Lord. One has to follow the laws made by the government, not by the officers or directors. Similarly, everyone is to offer his worship to the Supreme Lord only. That will automatically satisfy the different officers and directors of the Lord. The officers and directors are engaged as representatives of the government, and to offer some bribe to the officers and directors is illegal. This is stated in Bhagavad-gita as avidhi-purvakam. In other words, Krsna does not approve the unnecessary worship of the demigods.
In Bhagavad-gita it is clearly stated that there are many types of yajna performances recommended in the Vedic literatures, but actually all of them are meant for satisfying the Supreme Lord. Yajna means Visnu. In the Third Chapter of Bhagavad-gita it is clearly stated that one should work only for satisfying Yajna, or Visnu. The perfectional form of human civilization, known as varnasrama-dharma, is specifically meant for satisfying Visnu. Therefore, Krsna says, “I am the enjoyer of all sacrifices because I am the supreme master.” However, less intelligent persons, without knowing this fact, worship demigods for temporary benefit. Therefore they fall down to material existence and do not achieve the desired goal of life. If, however, anyone has any material desire to be fulfilled, he had better pray for it to the Supreme Lord (although that is not pure devotion), and he will thus achieve the desired result.
Although Hiranyakasipu offered his obeisances unto Lord Brahma, he was strongly inimical toward Lord Visnu. This is the symptom of an asura. Asuras worship the demigods as being separate from the Lord, not knowing that all the demigods are powerful because of being servants of the Lord. If the Supreme Lord were to withdraw the powers of the demigods, the demigods would no longer be able to offer benedictions to their worshipers. The difference between a devotee and a nondevotee, or asura, is that a devotee knows that Lord Visnu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that everyone derives power from Him. Without worshiping the demigods for particular powers, a devotee worships Lord Visnu, knowing that if he desires a particular power he can get that power while acting as Lord Visnu’s devotee. Therefore in the sastra (Bhag. 2.3.10) it is recommended:
“A person who has broader intelligence, whether he be full of material desires, free from material desires, or desiring liberation, must by all means worship the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead.” Even if a person has material desires, instead of worshiping the demigods he should pray to the Supreme Lord so that his connection with the Supreme Lord will be established and he will be saved from becoming a demon or a nondevotee. In this regard, Srila Madhvacarya gives the following quotation from the Brahma-tarka:
visnoh pradhanyatas tatha
jivasya tad-adhinatvan
na bhinnadhikrtam vacah
Since Visnu is the Supreme, by worshiping Visnu one can fulfill all one’s desires. There is no need to divert one’s attention to any demigod.

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