jnana-yajnena capy anye
yajanto mam upasate
ekatvena pṛthaktvena
bahudha visvato-mukham

aham kratur aham yajnah
svadhaham aham ausadham
mantro 'ham aham evajyam
aham agnir aham hutam

pitaham asya jagato
mata dhata pitamahah
vedyam pavitram omkara
rk sama yajur eva ca

gatir bharta prabhuh saksi
nivasah saranam suhrt
prabhavah pralayah sthanam
nidhanam bijam avyayam

Others, who engage in sacrifice by the cultivation of knowledge. worship the Supreme Lord as the one without a second. as diverse in many and in the universal form. But it is I who am the ritual. I the sacrifice the offering to the ancestors the healing herb, the transcendental chant. I am the butter and the fire and the offering. "I am the father of this univers. the mother the support, and the grandsire i am the object of knowledge the purifier and the syllable om i am also the BG. the Sama, and the Yajur Vedas.

Srila Prabhupada

"I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge, and the most dear friend. I am the creation and the annihilation, the basis of everything the resting place, and the eternal seed." – BG, 9.15-18

Those who directly worship the Supreme Lord the Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna have been described as mahatma, "great souls" other worshipers who cannot conceive of the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly on account of being less advanced, are described here. Any means "others" These others worship the Absolute Truth in three diffrent ways as first class, second-class, and third-class worshipers.

In every department, as you have experience in the material world, things are first class, second class, and third class. Even the whole material world is under the control of first class, second class, and third class. First class is the mode of goodness, second class is the mode of passion, and third class is the mode of ignorance. Similarly, in every department, more or less, there are three classes. 

There are persons who worship the Absolute Truth not directly as the Personality of Godhead but as ahangrahopasanam, which means taking oneself as the Supreme. The correct understanding of taking oneself as the Supreme is to see oneself as the part and parcel of the Supreme. If I study myself, then I can understand what God is, because God and I are of the same quality; we are both spiritual entities. The only difference is that quantitatively God is great and I am small.

Ahangrahopasanam is the first kind of worship, or upasana, mentioned here that is not direct worship of God. The next is ekatvena prthaktvena. Prthaktvena means pantheism. There are persons who worship any demigod as God. Their opinion is that the demigods are different forms of God so if we accept any form as God and worship him, we shall benefit; we shall approach the highest perfection. That is another section of worshipers.

These are different processes. But one has to transcend these processes. Simply studying the sunshine is not a complete study of the sun. Although the sunshine is not different from the sun, if you simply study the sunshine you will not get a full understanding of the sun.

The third type of worship mentioned here is worship of viSvatomukham, the universal form. It is stated in the Sastras, the scriptures, that the hills are the bones of God; vegetation is just like hairs on the body of the Lord; the ocean is the navel of God; the highest planet, Brahmaloka, is the head of God; the lowest planet, Patalaloka, is the sole of the foot of God. In this way the whole universal form is described.

In the Line of Worship

Three types of worshipers have been described. Someone prefers the universal form. Someone else thinks, “Everythingwhatever we seeis God.” And someone else prefers to think, “I am God.”

These are different methods of appreciating God. Persons who follow them are accepted as worshipers because they have taken to the line of worship. They are better than persons who are just like animals, simply eating, sleeping, defending, and mating.

The impersonalists prefer these three processes. And personalists prefer to worship directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. The others are all transcendentalists; they’re in the line. But here in the Bhagavad-gita those who directly worship the Supreme Lord have been described as mahatma, “great souls.” And those who worship in other processes have been described as anye, “others.” They have not been given as much importance, although they have been accepted because they have come into the line.

There is nothing beyond the form of Krishna, with two hands, holding a flute. One has to come to this point. You may go in a different way accepting yourself as God, accepting everything as God, accepting the universal form of God but to make actual progress you have come to this point. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (7.19):

bahunam janmanam ante
jsanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti
sa mahatma su-durlabhah

“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” You have to make progress for many, many births. You have taken to the line. That’s all right. But coming to the conclusion will take some time. By processes other than direct worship of Krishna, you will not come to that point in one life.

The Direct Approach

It is said, Krishna yei bhaje sei bada catura. Bada catura means very intelligent. One who worships Krishna directly is very intelligent. Why? Because he does not take the roundabout way. He goes directly. If it is a fact that one has to come to this point for perfection of knowledge, why not take it immediately? I may not understand anything, but let me accept it blindly. The teacher says, “This is fire.” The scientist says, “Oh, I’ll see the characteristics of fire. I must see. Then I shall accept.”

All right, you can see. And somebody says, “All right, you are my teacher and you are saying that it is fire. I accept it.”

But the scientist, after studying the characteristics of fire, may come to the fire. He’ll also feel the warmth of the fire, the heat of the fire, the light of the fire. He’ll also understand. The result is the same, because fire is fire. Whether you blindly touch it or scientifically touch it, fire will act.

Krishna then says, “I am the father of this material world.” How is He the father? What is the definition of father? The father gives the seed. And Krishna says, “I am also the mother.” What is the definition of mother? She receives the seed from the father, and the child is born. So matter, or the material covering, is the mother. And each of us the spiritual spark is a seed. We are part of the Supreme. The material energy is the energy of the father, Krishna. As I am a spiritual spark, I am also a part of the Supreme. So He is my father and mother.

Mother Worship

Some people worship the Supreme as mother, such as goddess Kali. That is materialism, because in the present conception of our life this body given by the mother is matter. Therefore to worship mother means to worship matter. That’s all. There are so many worshipers of mother. You worship your country. That is the same thing; it is material worship. This kind of worship is called Sakty-upasana, or worship of the energy of the Lord and not the Lord directly. Sakti worship is materialistic. Scientists are worshiping the mother by finding out the complexities of matter.

One who worships the mother, material energy, is called a Sakta. There are five stages of evolution: Sakta, then ganapatya, then saura, then Saiva, then Vaishnava. This means worship of Sakti, then Ganesha, then the sun god, then Shiva, then Lord Vishnu. The impersonalists worship in these five ways, called pancopasana.

One who has come to the Vishnu stage has reached the real stage. One must come not to the impersonal conception of Vishnu, but to the personal Vishnu. That is the perfection of worship.

The Lord accepts any kind of worship, but that acceptance is different from devotional acceptance. If you worship materialism, you get material benefit. And one who worships spiritually gets spiritual benefit. You cannot expect spiritual benefit from material worship. Different methods are accepted as worship of the Supreme, but they have different results.

Our ultimate aim is to come into the confidence of the Supreme Lord. For that you have to take to devotional service. The Lord says, “One can confidentially understand Me by bhakti, by devotional service, not by any other means.” (Gita 18.55) It is clearly stated: bhaktya, “by bhakti.” If you want to be directly in touch with the President, you have to work differently from an ordinary person. And if you are satisfied to be a constable in the government service, you cannot contact the President. So although there are different kinds of God worship, there are degrees and differences.

Going to Krishna Gradually

Then Krishna says, “Everyone is coming to Me gradually. They’re all coming to Me.” God is maintaining us, and He’s giving us a chance: “Come this way or that way. That’s all right. Come gradually, gradually. That’s all right.”

Prabhu means He is the Lord. Nobody can be equal to Him. In the ahangrahopasanam process, worshipers think, “I am God.” We devotees offer flowers to the Lord; they take the flower and offer it to themselves. We offer the garland to the form of the Supreme Lord; they put the garland on their own neck. You see? So the question is, “If you are God, then why aren’t others worshiping you? You are worshiping yourself. So what kind of God are you?”

We should not be satisfied with these other methods. We should try to go further, on and on. These other methods are for encouragement only. But we have to come to the last point: vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah (Gita 7.19): The rare great soul understands that Krishna is everything. If you want to be the rare great soul, then you have to come ultimately to Krishna, the Supreme Lord.

Thank you very much.