yaanti devavrataa devaan pitrunyaanti pitruvrataahaa |
bhootaani yaanti bhootejyaa yaanti madyaajinopi maam || 25 ||

 
Those who worship deities attain the deities, those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors, those who worship spirits attain the spirits, but those who worship me attain me.
 
yaanti : attain
devavrataa : deity worshippers
devaan : deities
pitrun : ancestors
pitruvrataahaa : ancestor worshippers
bhootaani : spirits
bhootejyaahaa : spirit worshippers
mat : my
yaajinaha : worshippers
api : but
maam : me
 
As we are exploring the topic of worship, we should not make the mistake of thinking that worship only happens in a temple in front of a deity. In many cases, worship of individuals is something that we take for granted. If we need a loan, we have to worship the loan officer to gain his favour. If we need a job, we have to worship someone in that firm so that they can do a referral. If we need admission into a school, we have to worship the admissions officer.
 
The eighteenth chapter of the Gita categorizes every action into three types: saatvic, raajasic and taamasic. Worship of a guru for knowledge is saatvic worship. Worship of a loan officer for a loan is raajasic worship. Worship of a gangster to kill someone is taamasic worship. But ultimately, any knowledge that comes under the realm of the three gunaas is finite.
 
In this shloka, Shri Krishna gives examples of worship towards deities, ancestors and spirits that encompass most kinds of so-called spiritual worship performed today. However, as we saw earlier, the best that this kind worship can give us is a finite material result. Even if we get to go to heaven through such worship, we will have to come back to earth one day when our merits are exhausted.
 
The infinite Ishvara has ability to give us liberation. Instead of asking that, we ask finite things like exam success, job success and so on. It is like asking a millionaire for pennies. We do so because we have conditioned ourselves to accept very narrow materialistic definitions of success. If our definition of success is narrow, our definition of Ishvara somehow becomes narrow as well.
 
So therefore, we come to the conclusion that we have to learn the correct technique of worshipping Ishvara. How does that work? Is it something arcane and complex? Shri Krishna provides a beautiful answer to that question next.

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