For whom is Kāli-puja prescribed?

By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda

mumuksavo ghora-rūpān

hitvā bhūta-patīn atha

nārāyana-kalāh śāntāh

bhajanti hy anasūyavah

[SB 1.2.26]

Translation: “Those who are serious about liberation are certainly nonenvious, and they respect all. Yet they reject the horrible and ghastly forms of the demigods and worship only the all-blissful forms and plenary portions of Lord Vishnu.”

Krishna emphatically says in the Bhagavad Gita (18.66) that everyone should worship Him alone and no one else. In the seventh chapter, He specifically mentions that the intelligence of those who worship the demigods is stolen

Krishna emphatically states in the Bhagavad Gita (18.66) that everyone should worship Him alone and no one else. In the seventh chapter, He specifically mentions that demigods are worshiped by less intelligent persons.

Asūya means envious. Just like when we present Krishna, especially in India… This botheration is not there in other countries, outside India, because they had no information. I have placed before them that “Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You are searching after God. Here is God. Here is God’s name, here is God’s address, and here is God’s activities. You try to understand God. Why are you speculating?” So they have accepted it. They are not asūyava. They are not envious. Here, if I present Krishna, one may say, “Why not Kālī?” ghora-rūpān. “Oh, Kālī is very active. It has got so long tongue. And it has got a sword in her hand, cutting the heads. It is very nice. And we shall be able to eat goats.” You see. Actually the Kālīpūjā means for the meat-eaters. This Kālīpūjā means because the Vedic śāstras are so made that from the lowest rascal to the highest intelligent man should be elevated. That is the purpose. Because all classes of men are there. Some of them are influenced by the modes of goodness; some of them are influenced by the modes of passion; some of them are influenced by the modes of ignorance. But the Vedas are meant for all human beings.

So since there are different types of human being, therefore there are different types of śāstras, to attract all classes of men. Every living entity has a general tendency to enjoy, to satisfy the material senses, and enjoying material senses means eating meat, drinking wine, and have sex life. This is material – satisfying the material senses. So they are regulated by Vedas, “All right. You want to eat meat? All right, then sacrifice one goat before Goddess Kālī and worship her on the amavasya, dark moon night.” So many regulations. The real purpose is to restrict him, but if it is directly said that “Don’t eat meat,” he will revolt. Therefore there are so many prescription of worshiping different demigods. Otherwise, there is no necessity.

That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita: kāmais tais tair hrta-jnānāh yajante anya-devatāh [Bg. 7.20]: Those who are worshiping other demigods, they have become blind, they have lost their senses. hrta-jnāna: Real knowledge is lost. Therefore they’re after so many demigods. Krishna says, “There is no need of worshiping any demigods.” This is the Govardhana-puja. Nanda Maharaja was arranging for worshiping Indra, and Krishna stopped it. And He engaged him for worshiping Govardhana, which is representation of Krishna. That is the Govardhana-puja.

We are therefore restricting worship of other demigods. Therefore when I started this mission many friends advised me “Why don’t you make it ‘God consciousness’ instead of Krishna consciousness?” God consciousness is bogus – Krishna consciousness is appropriate. Otherwise, they’ll put so many gods. “Here is another god, here is another god, here is another incarnation, here is another avatara,” All nonsense. krishnas tu bhagavān svayam [SB 1.3.28]. Nārāyana-kalāh śāntāh. So try to understand our mission. Here it is said. We have to accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krishna also says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekam [Bg. 18.66]. “Unto Me only. Then you’ll be saved.” Otherwise you’ll go to hell.

So we don’t advise that “Either you worship Kālī, or either you worship Shiva, it is all the same.” We don’t speak all this nonsense. We simply say, “Come to Krishna. Then you’ll be saved.”

[An excerpt from a lecture delivered on the Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.26 in Vrindavan, India on November 6, 1972]


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