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sivam yavasam subhadram santam ksemam amrtam abhayam iti varsani tesu girayo nadyas ca saptaivabhijñatah; manikuto vajrakuta indraseno jyotisman suparno hiranyasthivo meghamala iti setu-sailah aruna nrmnangirasi savitri suptabhata rtambhara satyambhara iti maha-nadyah; yasam jalopasparsana-vidhuta-rajas-tamaso hamsa-patangordhvayana-satyanga-samjñas catvaro varnah sahasrayuso vibudhopama-sandarsana-prajananah svarga-dvaram trayya vidyaya bhagavantam trayimayam suryam atmanam yajante.
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
The seven islands [varsas] are named according to the names of those seven sons — Siva, Yavasa, Subhadra, Santa, Ksema, Amrta and Abhaya. In those seven tracts of land, there are seven mountains and seven rivers. The mountains are named Manikuta, Vajrakuta, Indrasena, Jyotisman, Suparna, Hiranyasthiva and Meghamala, and the rivers are named Aruna, Nrmna, Angirasi, Savitri, Suptabhata, Rtambhara and Satyambhara. One can immediately be free from material contamination by touching or bathing in those rivers, and the four castes of people who live in Plaksadvipa — the Hamsas, Patangas, Urdhvayanas and Satyangas — purify themselves in that way. The inhabitants of Plaksadvipa live for one thousand years. They are beautiful like the demigods, and they also beget children like the demigods. By completely performing the ritualistic ceremonies mentioned in the Vedas and by worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead as represented by the sun-god, they attain the sun, which is a heavenly planet.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
According to general understanding, there are originally three deities — Lord Brahma, Lord Visnu and Lord Siva — and people with a poor fund of knowledge consider Lord Visnu no better than Lord Brahma or Lord Siva. This conclusion, however, is invalid. As stated in the Vedas, istapurtam bahudha jayamanam visvam bibharti bhuvanasya nabhih tad evagnis tad vayus tat suryas tad u candramah agnih sarvadaivatah. This means that the Supreme Lord, who accepts and enjoys the results of Vedic ritualistic ceremonies (technically called istapurta), who maintains the entire creation, who supplies the necessities of all living entities (eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman) and who is the central point of all creation, is Lord Visnu. Lord Visnu expands as the demigods known as Agni, Vayu, Surya and Candra, who are simply parts and parcels of His body. Lord Krsna says in Srimad Bhagavad-gita (9.23):
ye ’py anya-devata-bhakta
te ’pi mam eva kaunteya
“Devotees who worship the demigods with firm faith worship Me also, but not according to regulative principles.” In other words, if one worships the demigods but does not understand the relationship between the demigods and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his worship is irregular. Krsna also says in Bhagavad-gita (9.24), aham hi sarva-yajñanam bhokta ca prabhur eva ca: “I am the only enjoyer of ritualistic ceremonies.”
It may be argued that the demigods are as important as Lord Visnu because the names of the demigods are different names of Visnu. This, however, is not a sound conclusion, for it is contradicted in the Vedic literatures. The Vedas declare:
candrama manaso jatas caksoh suryo ajayata; srotradayas ca pranas ca mukhad agnir ajayata; narayanad brahma, narayanad rudro jayate, narayanat prajapatih jayate, narayanad indro jayate, narayanad astau vasavo jayante, narayanad ekadasa rudra jayante.
“The demigod of the moon, Candra, came from the mind of Narayana, and the sun-god came from His eyes. The controlling deities of hearing and the life air came from Narayana, and the controlling deity of fire was generated from His mouth. Prajapati, Lord Brahma, came from Narayana, Indra came from Narayana, and the eight Vasus, the eleven expansions of Lord Siva and the twelve Adityas also came from Narayana.” In the smrti Vedic literature it is also said:
brahma sambhus tathaivarkas
candramas ca satakratuh
evam adyas tathaivanye
viyujyante ca tejasa
vitejas ca te sarve
pañcatvam upayanti te
“Brahma, Sambhu, Surya and Indra are all merely products of the power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is also true of the many other demigods whose names are not mentioned here. When the cosmic manifestation is annihilated, these different expansions of Narayana’s potencies will merge into Narayana. In other words, all these demigods will die. Their living force will be withdrawn, and they will merge into Narayana.”
Therefore it should be concluded that Lord Visnu, not Lord Brahma or Lord Siva, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As a government officer is sometimes accepted as the entire government although he is actually but a departmental manager, so the demigods, having achieved power of attorney from Visnu, act on His behalf, although they are not as powerful as He. All the demigods must work under the orders of Visnu. Therefore it is said, ekale isvara krsna, ara saba bhrtya. The only master is Lord Krsna, or Lord Visnu, and all others are His obedient servants, who act exactly according to His orders. The distinction between Lord Visnu and the demigods is also expressed in Bhagavad-gita (9.25).
yanti deva-vrata devan
pitrn yanti pitr-vratah
bhutani yanti bhutejya
yanti mad-yajino ’pi mam
Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, whereas the worshipers of Lord Krsna and Lord Visnu go to the planets in Vaikuntha. These are the statements of the smrti. Therefore the idea that Lord Visnu is on the same level as the demigods is in contradiction to the sastras. The demigods are not supreme. The supremacy of the demigods is dependent on the mercy of Lord Narayana (Visnu, or Krsna).