Chapter VII: 22-23
Endowed with that faith, he engages
in the worship of that (form) and from it he obtains his
desires, these being verily ordained by me (alone).
Verily the reward that accrues to those men of small intelligence is finite. The worshippers of the gods go to them, but my devotees come to me.
CommentaryThe superficial meaning is clear as daylight. No one is compelled to accept or reject any particular method of worship of any form of the supreme being as long as that worship is with the faith that: "I am worshipping God." The Hindu is not an idol worshipper. He worships God, the divine presence in the idol that is the medium through which he can contact God. He worships God in and through his guru and the saints, in and through God's manifestations in the mineral, plant, animal, human and celestial kingdoms; but there is the ever-present faith that he is worshipping not the form but the spirit in all these. This faith is initially based on intellectual or metaphysical grounds and the testimony of sages and saints. In due course, it becomes a conviction born of direct realization.
The great declaration of the vedas: "The reality is one, sages designate it variously" indicates that whatever religion people profess, they are worshipping the Supreme Being in their own way, with faith. God, being omnipresent, responds to the devotee's prayers, meditation or worship in his own way. Having this attitude, the devotee regards whatever he receives in his life as the gift of God, and he is forever happy and unperturbed.
He who recognizes the all-pervasiveness of God and still worships the supreme being alone through his different aspects will go to the supreme; but he who, unable to comprehend this truth, worships the forms themselves as God - even he is not lost! He will become one with that aspect of God and in course of time realize God's infinity. What a heart-warming doctrine! No one is condemned forever. Whatever be one's concept of God, faith redeems him, for while the form remains as such, God is made manifest in the heart.
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