Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 2: Chapter 3: Verses 1-14
Worship of different deities for the gratification of various desires and
the superiority of Devotion to the Lord
Sri Suka said : I have thus told you all you asked me, viz., what should men who are thoughtful among human beings do, when their end has arrived. A seeker of pre-eminence in sacred knowledge should worship the sage Brhaspati, (the preceptor of the gods). Even so he who seeks to acquire keenness of the senses should worship Indra; while a seeker of progeny should propitiate the Prajapatis (gods presiding over creation). The seeker of prosperity should worship the divine Maya (the Lord's own potency or the Goddess presiding over Prakrti or Primordial Matter) and the seeker of indefatigable energy should adore the god of fire. Similarly, a seeker of wealth should worship the class of gods known as the Vasus; while the powerful man who aspires for more power should worship another class of gods called the Rudras (part manifestations of Lord Siva). A seeker of food and foodstuffs should worship Aditi (the mother of the gods); while he who seeks (an abode in) heaven should adore the sons of Aditi (the twelve Adityas). A seeker of sovereignty should worship the Viswedevas (a particular class of gods born of Viswa); while a ruler who desires to secure the allegiance of his subjects should worship the Sadhyas (another class of gods). A seeker of long life should worship the twin gods, the Mwins (the physicians of the gods) and he who desires stoutness should worship the goddess Earth. Similarly he who seeks stability of position or worldly prestige should adore the two mothers of the world, the goddess Earth and Dyauh (the goddess presiding over the heavens). A seeker of personal charm should worship the Gandharvas; while he who desires to have a (lovely) wife should adore the celestial nymph Urvasi . Even so he who seeks lordship over all should worship Brahma. A seeker of renown should worship Lord Visnu (the lord of sacrifices or the deity presiding over sacrifices), while a seeker of treasures should adore Varuna (the god presiding over the waters). Even so he who seeks to acquire learning should worship Lord Siva; while a seeker of conjugal happiness should adore Goddess Lima, so devoted to Her lord. He who aspires to lead a pious life should worship Lord Visnu of excellent renown; while he who desires to propagate his race should adore the Pitrs (the manes). He who seeks protection against odds should worship the Yaksas (a class of demigods); while a seeker of bodily vigour should adore the class of gods known as the Maruts (the wind-gods). He who seeks to acquire a kingdom should worship the gods that rule over the world for a whole Manvantara (the age or period of a Manu); while he who seeks to employ spells for some malevolent purpose should adore Nirrti (the goddess of death or the demon presiding over the south-west). Even so the seeker of sense-gratification should worship Soma (the moon-god); while he who longs for the cessation of all desires should adore the Lord who transcends Prakrti or Matter. A wise man, however-whether he has no desire at all or is actuated by all sorts of desires (all those mentioned in the above verses and others too) or seeks liberation (final beatitude-should worship the Supreme Person with intense devotion. The attainment of the highest good even for those who worship lndra and the other gods lies in developing unswerving devotion to the Lord through the fellowship of His devotees. As a result of the discourses on Sri Hari (that are held in the company of devotees) dawns that spiritual enlightenment which sets at rest the waves in the form of passions; nay, the heart gets purated and is filled with joy and one develops an aversion for the pleasures of sense and a love for devotion, which is an esteemed road to final beatitude. Having once tasted the joy of listening to such discourses on Sri Hari, who would cease taking delight in them ? saunaka said : On hearing these words of Suka what else did king Pariksit, the foremost of the Bharatas, then ask the son of Vyasa, who was not only a seer but well-versed in the Vedas too ? Suta, learned as you are, kindly reveal all that to us, who are keen to hear the same. For in an assembly of holy men there must be talks that ultimately lead to discourses on Sri Hari.