|Chapter 9||Confidential Knowledge of the Ultimate Truth||Verse 23|
Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:
As the reality is that there is only one Supreme Lord and that is Lord Krishna and that the worship of any of the demigods who manage universal creation are all His devotees as well; then needless to say the worship of any other lesser god unconnected to Him is superfluous. But how is it that His devotees must still transmigrate incessantly in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death? What happens to them is being explained here. Although they are devotees of Lord Krishna they have a desire to worship demigods as well for material desires and although those desires zealously sought for are sanctioned to the demigod for bestowal because they are not following bhakti or loving devotion they have no chance for moksa or liberation from Lord Krishna because they are interested in mundane transitory acquisitions. Hence they also are born again and again continuously without cessation.
Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna speaks this verse to alleviate any doubt that He is the sole recipient and ultimate goal of all Vedic yagnas or offering and propitiation as enjoined in the Vedas.
Now begins the summation.
Superior by far to the worshippers of the demigods for desired results as found in the karma kanda or rituals for fruitive reward section of the Vedas are the Vaisnavas the exclusive devotees of the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations or expansions. The Vaisnavas are infused with bhakti or loving devotional service for the Supreme Lord and are without any desires for anything that is not directly associated with Him. The worship of Brahma or Shiva or the demigods is also worship of the Supreme Lord as it is He who they are worshipping but it is indirect. Also to perform Ashwemdha or other such Vedic rituals for desire of rewards is also worship of the Supreme Lord as it is He who sanctions such rewards but it is not direct as well. The Agni Purana states: That the spiritually intelligent verily regard the demigods who are the directors and managers of different aspects of creation as Vaisnavas and that is their service to the Supreme Lord. It should be noted that upasana or meditation on the attributes of the Supreme Lord as paramatma the Supreme Soul within the etheric heart of all sentient beings as well as meditation on His qualities and lilas or divine pastimes is in and of itself the Supreme State.
Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna confirms that everyone who worships the demigods like Brahma or Shiva as prescribed in traividya or the karma kanda or fruitive reward sections of the Vedas; as well as worship of lesser divinities such as Indra and Surya and also worship of impersonal conceptions of god are all in reality propitiation to the Supreme Lord but offered in an unconscious, indirect way. For this reason as stated previously all the 330 million demigods comprise the body of the Supreme Lord Krishna and within the etheric heart of each He is residing as paramatma the Supreme Soul as also within all living entities. In every sense all the demigods find their highest good and noblest purpose by supplication to Him. The ignorant who worship the demigods and other lesser gods are totally oblivious to this eternal truth and are not performing worship of the demigods in the manner prescribed in the Vedic scriptures. The Taittiriya Upanisad III.II.II beginning chatur hotaro yatra sampadam gacchanti devaih states: By paramatma the four Vedic rituals known as hotri are fulfilled by the demigods. The Supreme Lord in His localised aspect is paramatma who makes the ritual successful. Thus it is clear that the benefits gained by ceremonial worship to any of the demigods is only by grace of the Supreme Lord.
The four hotri rituals as prescribed in the karma kanda section of the Vedas such as Agnihotra or propitiation to the sacred fire by offering it oblations of ghee and grains everyday. Two of the other hotris given in the Taittriya Upanisad I.VI.VIII beginning ya evam vidvan are Purnamasa or penance for full moon and Darsa or penance for new moon. The followers of traividya cannot comprehend that all the rituals and worship that they offer to the demigods is in reality indirect worship to the Supreme Lord who has Brahma, Shiva, Indra, Surya and all the 330 million demigods as part of His transcendental body and that He is the actual object of their worship. Hence because they worshipped indirectly they are entitled to indirect recompense because it descends from the Supreme Lord back down through the demigods who taking their share bestow whatever mundane and transitory desire the ritual was performed for such as entry into the heavenly planets and because such a boon is not eternal when the allotted time fo enjoyment has expired they will be recycled back into samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death again as mortals.
It should be clearly understood that although the Vedic scriptures directly enjoin worship of the demigods they also explain that the demigods constitute the transcendental body of the Supreme Lord and that He is the spirit soul within each and every one of them as well and thus the spiritually intelligent mahatmanas or great souls easily understand that by worshipping the Supreme Lord all the demigods are automatically worshipped as well and thus with great love and devotion they exclusively worship the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures.
Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:
The astute can perceive that if all the demigods comprise the Supreme Lord Krishna's transcendental body and that He resides within each and every one of them as paramatma the Supreme Soul as He does in all sentient beings; then worship of them is indirect worship of Him and also that all the demigods devotees are indirectly the Supreme Lords devotees. So what is the cause of their falling into samsara the perpetual cycle of bith and death without cessation. Just as Lord Krishna's devotees worship Him directly, the devotees of the demigods such as Surya and Indra worship them directly. But because Lord Krishna is Himself eternal He can award benedictions that are eternal such as moksa o liberarion from samsara. Contrarily the demigods themselves are not eternal so they cannot offer anything to their votaries that is eternal and hence everything bestowed by them has a time limit and after it has expired such votaries are forced back into samsara. In an unconscious, indirect way the devotees of the demigods are worshipping the Supreme Lord but they are not worshipping Him in accordance with the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures and so they are not entitled to receive eternal benedictions from Him as they are merely worshipping the demigods in accordance with the Vedic scriptures. The ignorant worship the demigods, lesser gods and even impersonal gods profusely without any reference to the Supreme Lord.
Oblivious to the reality that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Lord of All and that He exists omnipresent within and without all living entities; whatever ritual, ceremony or worship the ignorant embark upon for their fruitive desires has no real significance as there is no propitiation to the Supreme Lord and has no real meaning as it is devoid of knowledge of Him.