Now, yajña is practically... According to the Vedic rituals, yajña, or sacrifice, is offered to different devas, demigods. There are hundreds and thousands of demigods mentioned in the Vedic literatures, and the whole portion is called upāsanā-kāṇḍa. Upāsanā-kāṇḍa means worshiping different demigods. But what are these demigods? The demigods are just like different parts of the whole body of the Supreme Lord. They are, so to say, just like the government of the king. There is one king, but there are many state officers. Just you can imagine that if for management of a city like New York you have got so many departments... As soon as we go to this chambers, we get so many departments: criminal department, civil department, and so many departments. So for management of these universal affairs, there are different departments also, so far we can get information from the Vedic literature. And each department there is a particular director. And Brahmā is considered to be supreme director of this universe. So this yajña, sacrifice, by Vedic rituals, they are indicated to pay different taxes to different demigods. But the Supreme Lord is above all. Therefore if one performs sacrifice for the Supreme Lord, he is immune from other obligations. That is also mentioned.
- devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛṇāṁ pitṟṇāṁ
- na kiṅkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan
- sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ
- gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartam
- (SB 11.5.41)
Now, as soon as a living being is born in this material world, he has got many obligations. He has got obligation to the different demigods. Why obligation? Now, because just like the sun is also one of the demigods. He is supplying you light, so you have got some obligation. Don't you have any obligation? If you have got obligation to the electric powerhouse for supplying this light, which you are enjoying now, have you got no obligation to the sun who is supplying so much profusely light? Yes, you have got. The Vedic literature confirms it that you are indebted to the sun. Similarly, you are indebted to the moon. Similarly, you are indebted to air. And so many things we are taking advantage of the supernatural power. So we are actually indebted. Similarly, we are indebted to the ṛṣis, great sages, because they have left behind them all this Vedic knowledge. You are taking advantage. Just like this Bhagavad-gītā, or any scripture, any book of knowledge.
So we are indebted. Deva, ṛṣi and bhūta. Bhūta means ordinary, general living beings in our dealings. Suppose if I go to consult some lawyer, I have to pay. If I want to consult some medical practitioner, I have to pay. So this is obligation. This is no mercy; this is obligation. Similarly, we are obliged in so many respects—to the supernatural power, to the sages, to the ordinary living beings, and to the animals also. Because we are drinking milk from the cows, so we are indebted. But instead of paying our indebtedness, we are killing. You see? These are all reactions. We are creating reactions. If you don't pay bill for the electricity for a many long time, your electricity will be cut off. Your telephone will be cut off. But we must be conscious of our indebtedness to so many things.
Devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛṇāṁ pitṟṇām (SB 11.5.41). Pitṟṇām means the family in which you have taken your birth. You are indebted to the forefathers. Therefore, according to Vedic rites, in certain time you have to offer respects to your forefathers. Śrāddha ceremony. During the month of October there is a general śrāddha ceremony in India. So we are indebted to the forefathers. Devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛṇāṁ pitṟṇām (SB 11.5.41).
So we are in so many ways indebted. Our obligations are there. But sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ gato mukundam, na ṛṇī na kiṅkaraḥ. The Bhāgavata says, "If somebody fully surrenders unto the Supreme, Mukunda..." Mukunda means one who can offer you liberation from this material bondage. He is Mukunda. So if one surrenders fully unto Kṛṣṇa—Kṛṣṇa is Mukunda—then he is no longer any more indebted to all these obligations. He is immune. At one stroke he becomes liquidated from all obligation. And in the Bhagavad-gītā you will find this statement confirmed in the last portion of Bhagavad-gītā. The Lord says that ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi: "If you surrender unto Me..." Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). The Lord says that "You have not do. You have to do nothing. You simply surrender unto Me." Sarva-dharmān parityajya (BG 18.66). "You have got so many obligations; it is right. But it is impossible for you." Of course, there are systems how to liquidate your obligation. But especially in this age, oh, who is going to satisfy the demigods? Who is going to satisfy the forefathers? Who is going to satisfy the so many obligation with ordinary living being? Nobody is going. But if you don't satisfy your indebtedness, then there will be reaction. But if you surrender unto the Supreme Lord, you will be protected from all reaction. Therefore it is very easy. By one installment we become free from all obligation. Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyaḥ (BG 18.66).