Chapter XVII: 4
|The sattvika or the pure men worship the gods; the rajasa or the passionate worship the yakshas and the raksassas; the others (the tamasa or the deluded people) worship the ghosts and the hosts of the nature-spirits.|
We should not commit the grievous error, here, of considering that the tamasa (tamasic) people deliberately choose to worship ghosts! Not at all. That is their idea of God.
Even the gods are the reflections of different aspects of the supreme being in the medium of maya and therefore not really real. Consequently, they are classifiable into sattvika, rajasa and tamasa. The good or the "benevolent" gods are sattvika; wrathful and emotional gods are rajasa; and the semi-divine beings of malevolent nature are tamasa. They are not essentially different from him, the supreme being; for, let us not forget for a single moment that naught exists but he. Lord Krishna himself has pointed out that even they who worship these other gods worship him only, though the wrong way. They are the light of the divine looked at through different filters.
The word worship is important here. No one worships any but God. The aspect of God "visible" to the individual is that aspect which he is capable of perceiving. This capability is determined by his innate nature or the quality that is predominant in him.
A clear understanding of this doctrine enables us to grow. The child does not grow into an adult merely by throwing the doll away. The subtle inner transformation (growth) continues steadily. Swami Sivananda used to say very often: I have sown the seed, it will germinate in its own time. Even if the man does whatever he likes, it will work. Hence, Krishna warns us: Do not disturb anyone's faith, but help him grow inwardly.
At each stage, it is God who is worshipped and who accepts that worship if it is offered in full faith.
Web Editor's Notes